Mysore Marvels

Tom and Amy of lovely couple fame have been testing out a few new ideas for our guests. More and more people are now coming for longer. Some even stay with us for the whole of their holiday, using our home as a base and reaching out to other places for day trips or even further a field.

Here’s a great example of a day trip from Mysore. There’s more to follow and on our main site here

I blame my parents

I was there……

In the middle, to the foreground with the wings….

No, not actually in the photo. This is Butlins holiday camp pool in the early 1970’s when I most definitely was or had visited with my family. Take in the photo. Look at how white we were and slim! How things have changed.

So why do I blame my parents? A convenient excuse? A contradictory mix of experiences that helped me prepare for the consistently inconsistent life that is India. On the one hand we’d be pioneers driving through England and France to holiday in Spain. Visiting quaint villages that are now over fifty years later, Temples to package tourism. That was in the early 1960’s when I was a little nipper.

My holiday education did also include ten years later the decided working class holiday at this very holiday camp. Rows of cabins, knobbly knee competitions for the Dads, beauty completions for the mums, activities for the kids, soooo non pc. In terms of my working class upbringing, let’s not forget the ultimate: Charabanc (coach) trips to Blackpool illuminations and Skegness from our home in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England., organised by the archetypal ‘Working Men’s Club’

So why am I telling you all this?

It helps make up who I am.

Check the Guardian article that relates to the photo.

Coincidentally Martin Parr, who’s exhibition this all refers to, lived in Hebden Bridge early in his career probably shortly after this photo was taken. In 1986 when Liz, Ben and I moved to Hebden Bridge we bought the very same house where he’d lived.

We’re off….

We don’t get out much.

We’re off to Hampi for a short break before the big rush sets-in at Mysore Bed and Breakfast.
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  It’s just an ordinary trip, our second to Hampi in about a year. It is however, a bit of an adventure. The NEW escalator, at the station, the very first in Mysore, outside the shopping Malls, is actually working. Hooray!! Yes my life is so mundane, the working escalator is a highlight!

When it first opened people fell off it, not knowing how it worked so they appointed guardians to help people work it out. All seems to be hunky dory today. Manjula, for one is sooooo experienced at this.

We’re on platform three for the overnight sleeper train to Hospet. At the door of our coach a couple of young foreign women were reading the list of passengers posted on the outside and exclaiming in English in load squeaky voices that there are lots of men in the 50’s due to travel on the train. What about me I’m 59? It’s seems I was acceptable as they were concerned about travelling with Indian men. I have No comment!

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Manjula made some supper. Wonderful!

The sleep and journey was pretty uneventful except Manjula says for the snoring, phone ringing and loud voices of the INDIAN men in their 50’s.

Then she breaks out laughing at the people having a poo beside the rail track. Well coffee has arrived so all is good with the world.

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My beef is that nobody seems to have a volume control. Says the quiet, reserved Yorkshireman!

So it’s now 6.30 am and we’ve just stopped at the station which we think is the one before ours.

CRASH BANG… what the hell! The curtain and its rail for ours and the next section falls to the floor. A man burst in between Manjula and I to reach through to yank the emergency cord. He definitely looked as if he might have been in his 50’s

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Well guess what? He’d only missed his stop, no real emergency and you know that in India, things sort of work out, in the end, well the emergency stop cord didn’t stop the train, so we weren’t stuck explaining why our emergency stop cord had been pulled! Then again, don’t rely on it in an emergency folks.

 

 

but rest assured there is a socket to recharge smart phones, laptops etc. Priorities are sorted.

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I’m getting a bit slow with the camera, so you’ll have to imagine…the next one.

We’ve just passed a simple old station, stencil painted on the buildings that are no longer used, instead of the usual word: ABANDONED it said ABUNDANT. Classic!

Hampi madness here we come!

WOMAD

No MUD WOMAD

Manjula’s Latest FIRST was a camp for the weekend at a music festival.

 

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Manjula once again brought the sun to England! There was cloud but very little rain. Changeable weather, absolute downpowers and all types of mud known to mankind are real risks at any English festival but not this time!

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One of many highlights was Anoushka Shankar!

It was full of new experiences for Manjula

We camped (in our own little village of individual tents, event shelter for a living room and our very own kitchen tent) with a great group of friends. Manjula prepared one of her signature dishes for dinner.

Manjula’s view on life

I have no idea what Manjula thinks of the experiences she’s had in the UK. Just look at her clothing! ….. a world away from her daily wear of Saree back in Mysore. It has been a very rich and varied experience and as with other things, she takes it all in her stride. She’s becoming a very western woman 😉

I look forward to hearing her reflections, once its all over and she’s settled back into Mysore.

Farrell Factoid

WOMAD, the World of Music Art and Dance is held annually in the South of England and in locations throughout the world such as in the Canaries and Australia. It was originally created by Peter Gabriel the original vocalist of the band Genesis. its a great mix of international music both contemporary and more traditional ‘folk.’ As a group some of us have attended the festival for over ten years.

Manjula’s BIG trip

I wake alongside a babbling brook. It’s early and I can hear the trickling of the stream alongside my head. I quickly orientate myself. We must be camping although surely that’s planned for a few weeks later at the WOMAD festival.

It’s  Poppy!

we’re staying at my eldest son and his partner Alice’s, who are my granddaughters mum and dad and therefore personal assistants.

Poppy has brought her potty to the living room alongside the futon (I.e. close to the floor) just  to the side of my head to have her early morning pee 😉

So that’s me up, empty the potty, wash it out, welcome to Poppy’s world.

manjula manages to sneak a couple of extra hours sleep, her legs are aching after all the walking…..

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by now Poppy is an animal! 😉

 

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Let’s give Manjula a Break

Yes, let’s give her a break….. A new visa application is IN.

She needs one, who wouldn’t, after being with Stephen for OVER six Years?! yes Six years!

We’ve been overcome with the support, since the news got out about the rejection, from our wonderful friends, many of whom are visitors to us here at Mysore Bed and Breakfast.

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Thank you, it means a lot to get that encouragement and emotional support. We’ve also had tons of invites for holidays elsewhere. Top of the list at the moment (from the no. of suggestions) are  UK (ha ha thanks for that ), Australia, Canada, Europe (we’re voting to stay IN) and Israel.

So the thing is, the new application is submitted and we think we’re providing firm evidence on the main issue. She just wants a holiday and she really isn’t trying to slip into the country and stay there!!! She doesn’t want to move to the UK

Can you send an Email to Manjula?

Maybe emphasising something on the lines of:

  • how she really is Mysore Bed and Breakfast and is critical to its continuing success
  • how and what you enjoyed about your stay
  • that you’ll be back
  • and any other way you can demonstrate your support

Every little might help, who knows?

Manjula@mycycle.co

She has an established life here, a job, she’s critical to the BnB, we have invested in our life here with a dog, a redecorated five bedroom house, a bike, a car, a successful business, a lovely garden that’s taken an age to create,  has dependents who rely on her, such as her mother and she doesn’t wish to move to the UK.

So why the photo of the Brahma Kamla flower?

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These flowers are very auspices. Each flower only lasts one night. It is at it’s best at midnight and the aroma is beautifully overpowering. They are not at all easy to grow. They are therefore considered very lucky. On the past three nights we’ve had a total of fifteen, yes fifteen of these flowers. So we hope the Brahma is with-us on this next bit of the journey of: ‘The Passage from India!’

 

 

all she wished for was a holiday

Manjula doesn’t wish to move there, or rip of the NHS, become an illegal immigrant, apply for refugee status or go underground and try not to return to the UK.

Manjula is a really honest, straightforward, easy-going person that wouldn’t wish to play a trick or be dishonest.

Manjula’s home is here with me in Mysore, we have an established business that has bookings through to March 2017

Manjula has responsibilities here such as looking after her mother and doesn’t intend to move away and neglect her.

Manjula doesn’t need any money to go on holiday to the UK. I’d cover everything and many friends including plenty who have visited Mysore Bed and Breakfast have kindly agreed to provide accommodation

Manjula is an innocent

The visa system involves completing a form online and submitting supporting documents to an office in Bangalore. The form, bio data and info is then passed on. The decision is made without any dialogue or any form of two-way communication by someone at the High Commission. There is no opportunity for questions or providing additional information in case anything is missing, one has to second guess what’s required and get it right, the first time. There is no discussion, debate or opportunity to tease out the nuances of the bland guidance notes.

They’ve rejected her on the grounds that she might not return to India after the holiday.

The amateur, yes that’s me, who completed the form for Manjula thought that by  agreeing to be her sponsor for the trip and demonstrating that we had a thriving business and established life in Mysore to which we needed to return to, would be sufficient. Obviously it wasn’t!

so what to do!?

Fond farewells

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We absolutely love having our wonderful and diverse range of guests. There’s no continent which hasn’t been to see us, except perhaps the Eskimos and Penguins, and their neighbours.

Stephen is often heard declaring how it’s one of his best jobs he’s ever had (except it’s not really a job), because it’s providing great opportunities to engage and communicate with people and we realise how much people appreciate our efforts. It’s Fab!

We’re so lucky.

So as we reach the end of yet another season, we celebrate being one of the top 1% around the world for the fourth year running, because of the wonderful reviews on TRip Advisor. Our MyCycle family extends, the Mysore BnB community grows, and as we say goodbye, we feel a warm glow but it’s also sometimes feels sad to say goodbye.

Thankfully, so many of you return.

Stephen and Manjula

 

 

With a little help from our friends

The retro phone kicks into gear, I hear the metaphysical cogs whirring, the bureaucracy has woken from its deep slumber.

Ping a SMS/Text arrives:

Your application with file no xxx has been granted on a Pre Police Verification basis. Received on 30/03/16

Passport printing initiated for your File No xxx You will receive SMS once your passport is printed. Received on 31/03/16

There is a sudden surge of activity after over two whole weeks of SMS lethargy (its maybe down to the hot weather and the Ministry has fallen into a vat of Lethagy Air – check previous entry in bloglet)

For one more time, (I hope) I log into:

Passport Seva, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India

I’m feeling nostalgic, have I become institutionalised and will I miss it? I imagine in some weird science fiction way that everytime I log on someone in the Ministry notices and nudges their colleague to say: “look here that English guy is visiting the site again, he is persistently annoying, what else can we do to wind him up!?”

What date is it? Surely as it’s not the 1st April it isn’t a joke!

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Now I wonder what to do next.

NO NO NO, don’t apply for fresh passport AGAIN you nutter.

I think I’ll view Saved/Submitted Applications and then maybe

check the Status Tracker

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Phew.

We wait with baited breath.

It still has to arrive

and our friends….?

Ok we admit it, we gave in and we asked for help.