It’s a joke….

And the one’s I like are also serious.

A very good friend — who will remain nameless, until I get his permission — is responsible for this.

We met during the initial lockdown. We were still allowed to cycle, as I did most mornings. We had great conversations as we cycled together.

I joked that he was receiving a degree in critical thinking, in return I was losing years by the day, sharing insights and learning from someone over forty years younger.

At first he didn’t admit to his parents that he was cycling with a Firangi, a foreigner.

There were some sensitivities in the community as they were confused about where the virus might be caught. Obviously, Foreigners might have brought it into the country.

When he did tell his parents, I became known as Tata or grandfather.

Some weeks later we cycled on my favourite place srirangapatnam and met up with his extended family for breakfast. Great!

His mum declared later that I wasn’t a Tata, more an uncle.

Thanks Amma, I appreciate that, for me it is acceptance and that I’m younger than expected.

Later nameless reflected and decided that godfather was more appropriate. I like that too.

As I’ve now turned 65 — he says with a wobbly voice, while leaning on his stick — and finding new things to do in the community that commemorate MAnjula, it seems to fit.

Over the past few months you might have noticed a little girl. I’m trying to get her mum to let me to finance her education. Now that really is being a Godfather.

So I’ve used one of Kaveri’s paintings of me and created a card.

Nameless and Kaveri will be the first to get one of my super new jokey-serious cards to remind them I’m here for you.

On the back are details of how to make contact whenever you wish for whatever reason.

Yes I’ve obliterated some of the details. It’s not for everyone 🤭

Footnote: the term Godfather is not intended to reflect any diety or relate to any Christian rituals nor resemble anyone living, dead or in the afterlife.

It was fun

the survival of the famous twelve, an englishman and his dog

We’re all back home now but what an adventure.

Manjula’s Mysore, our new venture — sponsored our happy holiday — to thank everyone for their help and helping us commemorate Manjula

Enid Blyton anticipated the challenges of five young people holidaying together but eleven of all ages in India! Now that is madness. Who’s idea was that then?

Chera Rocks is a great location. Chosen because it was close to where Manjula and I first went on holiday together but had the capacity and closeness to the beach that we needed. We ate together, could join or not as we preferred and had enough to entertain us without leaving the ‘resort.’

Holidaying as a family let alone a group with no previous experience of being together can be a real challenge but what a wonderful trip it turned out to be. Maybe our angel was watching over us.

Kerala and food, enough said.

the motley bunch say farewell, for now.

some of us sneak an extra night and have the exciting storm and refreshing showers

..

Our own fragment left at last

It was a wonderful trip thanks to all and a big hug for Manjula

Five families going together on holiday together is a challenge anywhere so, the Englishman had to visit beforehand to get the ‘lie of the land’. with a half-hearted attempt at planning. Sally and Shabaz as always were an essential help.

Eleven plus an Englishman and a dog go mad in Kerala

On MAnjula’s death anniversary, we came up with a great idea to celebrate her— even more — by going on holiday to one of her favourite places.

It may provide material for an Enid Blyton story

Kannur is where Manjula and I first went on holiday together after our engagement in 2015.

Maybe we’ll find treasure, or at least get wet.

It’ll be a great adventure with MAnjula giggling from the antics of the loosely formed team.

It’s a challenge, anywhere, to bring together fragments of four families with two additions of an Englishman and his dog but this is India. It’ll be OK.

Thankfully we’ll not be cycling.

It’s a great way to thank Sowbaghya, Tanuja and Satish for the help they’ve been in so many ways, including setting up the new business.

It’s also an opportunity to spend fun time with Kaveri and her young auntie Rhadika.

That’s Rhadika dressed up for ethnic day in the midst of her exams.

We’ve got the go ahead from Kaveri’s mum, Satish has worked it out with the school and Jo will definitely have completed her term.

So we’re good to go…

Wonderful

So which amazing place is going to host this motley crew?

grief gravy

I have swam in it, swallowed it, fought it, opened my arms to it, shrivelled from it, tolerated it, hated it,.. It’s hit me like a personal tsunami, been wishy washy, sticky beyond treacle, invaded my brain to make it fuzzy and cracked open my tentative comfort zones. I know it’s a lifelong friend I have to accept it. It’s equal with and probably surpasses the combined effect of all the worse times in my life and for the first time uncovered real solid regrets.

It’s a gravy train that doesn’t bring benefits or maybe it does.

My heart was broken by losing Manjula, I covered it up and held it close but now I’m beginning to feel able to open my heart again. So there are positives to discover and learning to reveal.

I now love Manjula even more and in ways that I couldn’t imagine. I’m tentatively beginning to be kind to myself.

Part two of this series of postings is the heart

Thank you for your support during this horrendous journey.

I love you Manjula

HELP WANTED

Do you speak and write good English and Kannada?

Confident with all sorts of people and good at building relationships?

Experience of social media?

Can bring the woman’s perspective?

Able to challenge and change?

Willing to learn?

This role is open to women, of any age residing in or near Mysore. The successful candidate will be familiar with computers, using social media, writing content and confident with people from different backgrounds with an open attitude and interest in meeting new challenges.

..

Based in Mysore this is an opportunity to work with and assist Stephen. He’s a YIndian, Yorkshire (it’s in England) by birth and Indian by marriage. Together with Manjula, he set up Mysore Bed and Breakfast and MYCycle tours.  

Over the next year, he needs help in researching for a book to share their story, publishing and promoting it (mailing list, mailouts, online presence) and other things that will arise depending upon the interests and ability of the person.

This might include: interviewing people and transcribing, researching a locality, writing for the internet, creating an online community linked with Mysore Bed and Breakfast, assisting with other aspects of the business such as the Homestay and cycle tours.  

What do you gain?

Recognition of your abilities and experience, learn new things. 

It depends on you.

Stephen has a range of experiences and his approach is to learn from each other.

Expenses are covered.

Further details to be negotiated and agreed.

Please note: Manjula is unfortunately no longer physically with us but is, in spirit. The business will continue in her memory but is likely to be closed for most of this year due to the pandemic. If you’re interested to discuss and find out more:

..Contact Stephen on tours@mycycle.co or voice/txt 9886705179

For more details of who they are and what they do:

www.manjulasmysore.in

www.meandmycycle.com

there’s also presence on Instagram, twitter (meandmycycle) and Trip Advisor (mysore bed and breakfast and mycycle).

Manjula and Stephen

Spot the mistakes in this posting and you’ll begin to see how and why he needs help.

If you re interested, here’s more detailed information.

For this to be successful, we share equal responsibility to determine if you have the skills and aptitude, that it’s an appropriate and suitable placement and determine whether we can work together. It’s essential to be absolutely honest and realistic.

Here’s a few ideas of what is required to help you decide if it’s a suitable opportunity for you. Some  of it will require you to be present in Mysore

Create an action plan.

A simple initial project: interview a local maid in Kannada, write up the interview, create post in English, link to other postings about maids in India.

Visit our two web sites, Instagram and Twitter, provide a report analysing them, what works, what doesn’t and what you would do to improve their impact and following.

Role, together with Stephen,  might include some or all of the following, subject to negotiation and agreement:

  • create summary pages highlighting current ‘top’ blog posts, these might in due course become newsletters to mail out: Manjula, life in India, Tips for Tourists: first timers, old hands, Maid in India, Why India is like is it like this
  • target audience
  • create e-mailing list from gmail account
  • set up form for site visitors to join the mailing list
  • grow the followers: twitter, facebook, instagram, web sites
  • suggest ways to promote offline
  • e mail : target audience 3/4 times over the year
  • interviews: friends, family
  • promote book
  • investigate how to self publish: Ebook, POD

What questions do you have? What do you need to know to help you decide if its something you will enjoy, suits your skills and you will learn from?

How will you be able to bring the woman perspective in you’re not a woman?

Can you base yourself in Mysore if you don’t already live here?

What do you want to get out of an internship?

Feel free to contact me with any of your questions.

Stephen

tours@mycycle.co

lets introduce some brevity

Slogans, pithy sayings, brands gone wrong… there must be tons of humorous examples. I’ve spotted a fair few in my travels and many more since I came to live here in India. So let’s have a break from all this boring stuff about IDs, bureaucracy, passports, visa. Can you find examples from here in India or elsewhere? of often unintended or everyday humour?  So the gauntlet is down, let’s see your best examples. …..I’ll start us off….. Here’s a couple on T shirts, to get us going

for me it’s not just the slogan but the context, often poor innocent guys who may have little idea what they’reDSC00985 wearing.

 

 

don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting the guy down. just the whole idea that there’s a leap quantum or otherwise, just seems so funny.

 

 

 

 

Now the next one knew exactly the nuance of the message, I met him on a cycle tour up Chamundi Hill and he was interested to know its origin with the band: Pink Floyd. Now some smart alec is going to inform me it originated somewhere else!

DSC01174

So this is an open invitation, give us your suggestions.