To live in others hearts is not to die

Manjula’s Mysore, our shared passion, will continue

Manjula has created a home to share, where people from around the world have visited and connected with others of like minded openness.

Her essence permeates the space and she’s left a piece, a mark with all of us.

We will honour her wishes, her work, and follow her pattern.

Manjula’s Mysore Bed and Breakfast will remain and change. We’ll build on what Manjula created and ensure it’s the same but different.

You can help

Come to visit and send your friends.

If you’d like to get more involved we also invite old and new friends come and help out. For a couple of weeks or longer come and help look after the place. In return for bed and breakfast help keep the place clean, welcome guests and maybe help create a new dimension to Manjula’s place.

There’s even been a few guests interested in setting up their own BnB so why not come give it a try and dip your toes in the water, just learn by doing.

I’ll be away over the next two months then reopen.

Stairway to heaven

Stairway to heaven….

I think not!

But it is a new beginning.

We know there are many of our friends in India and around the world looking forward to hearing about our latest tussles with the bureaucracy.

So here it is….

We’ve taken the big friendly giant (BFG) step and now fully registered Mysore Bed and Breakfast with the Police, the City Corporation and the Karnataka State Government. It’s been an absolute ‘joy.’ Yes, really 😉

If you like to see ‘the big picture’ first check the one at the bottom.

Step One

Visit: The Police Commissioner, followed by the local Police Station, to get a letter saying Manjula is a cool chick. No no no…. to show there are no objections ie. she’s a great character, has no record and the Police and neighbours have no objections.

Please note we’re saving you the agony by missing out 90% of the actual experience of visiting and managing the differently organised police service.

Step Two

ok, so you’ve got your ‘get out of jail free’ card, or your statement saying there’s no objection. Now collect up your documents: rental agreement, letter from owner agreeing to you using the house as a homestay, receipt for payment of tax.

Go to the office.

Then sort out the mistakes: redo rental agreement (letter not good enough) and pay extra tax. Spend two weeks trying to meet up with the officials, get letter typed up, and on and on and on… you just wouldn’t believe it…

is it incompetence, ‘we don’t care’ attitude or an intentional wind-up?

Step Three

The registration with the Karnataka Government was relatively straight forward. Complete the online form, upload the documents provided by the Police and City Corporation and rental agreement. Pay the bill, electronically or face the ordeal of going to a state bank queuing up, paying in cash or bankers daft, getting a receipt, scanning it in, uploading it. Forget that option! paid-up…. We now await the visit of the inspectors.

Step Four

Register on line with the Police to have foreigners come and stay and complete the online Form C within 24 hours of each foreigner who comes to stay. We’ll provide more details of this wonderful…. time consuming employment creation ordeal…. later to enable me (Stephen) to fully flaunt my Yorkshire sarcasm.

So we’ve done it. The team has arrived at the top step, we’ve had our highs and lows, we’ve learned to laugh and cry, we’ve met formidable obstacles, gone with the flow, we’ve sunk our flag in the hallowed ground. It’s taken time, almost a year, we’ve grown as a team and Manjula has made it happen. Phew!

She’s a star!

Next…. we’ll we do it all again next year.

The big picture

The A team includes:

Manjula, aka the boss, on point, who has traipsed around all the offices, made endless phone calls, been endlessly put off, turned up at the key offices to find the ‘houdini’ *official/policeman/Babu/patriarch (*delete as appropriate) has disappeared…. gone for lunch, on holiday, maybe hiding in the toilet, who knows? She gets a gold star for determination, fortitude, strength, with just a little innocence in the mix. madam has seriously been through it all!

Akram, auto driver extraordinaire, helping Manjula face the torture, mysticism and labyrinth workings of the Mysore City Corporation, and hiding outside when she faced the officials of the police commissioners office or the helpful smiley chaps at the local Police Station. To be fair he’s an auto rickshaw driver, rightly with an innate fear of coming into close contact with the constabulary.

Vidya and Tanu. Our knight-ettes in shining armour. Being Manjula’s counsellor, advocate, comforter, advisor and support in dealing with the Police.

Stephen, The clerk, computer operator, form filler, recorder and scribe. He lurks in the background. In the belief that to show his pale face will significantly add to the costs of said registration process.

 

Thank you for your invaluable help!

new journey

imagewe’re setting out on a new journey…. after the wonderful experience last year (Note English sarcasm) ..to firstly ensure that Manjula’s various IDs were accurate and consistent with name, gender, address, date of birth ( it took, four months), then the ‘reality game’ of applying for a passport (two more months) and being knocked back a couple of times (the board game of these tangles with bureaucracy will be in shops soon) then to top it all we applied for a TOURIST (yes just for a holiday) visa from the UK Government just at the time of some insignificant Vote or other (Brexit aka Biscuit idiotic referendum) only to be summarily rejected (Brit Govt is fast on its rejections, three weeks total) and applying again with an avalanche of papers (two weeks)… for you dear reader, what feels like lifetime’s experience compressed into six months has already been documented on these pages. Some of you may remember it .. well this new journey is…. wait for it…. an application to register as a Homestay with the Karnataka Government.

IMG_1428in my English wistful sort of way I think it will be very straightforward and probably a damn sight easier than a similar process in the UK.

lets see

background is we’ve been operating on the same basis as an AirBnB property but this year the Karnataka Govt has introduced a new rule and that means everyone has to register with them.

As I say let’s see, first step following the ‘critical path’ , let’s find out what’s required 🙂

Why?

So why?
India….
Cycling….and a BnB

IMG_0502

Think of it. Moving to a new country at age 54, launching a completely new venture in a field in which I had no previous experience and all this in India which at the best of times is mildly confusing and frequently incredibly frustrating.

If I’d thought about it for too long, it may have seemed daunting.

The fact is. Work was drying up in the UK. There was a financial crisis affecting everyone and a key market for our leadership and team training, the very banks who created the crisis (and clearly needed more effective teams and leaders with a smidgeon of sense and ethics) and other businesses suddenly didn’t require our services. It was time to find new cheese and that was to be in India in 2009.

Cycle tours and a BnB were in fact on the cards but not straightaway.

I have a track record of trying out and developing new things. My careers have ranged from social and community work, varied management roles and latterly as consultant and trainer with international companies. The only leads I had were a lifelong interest in cycling, a realisation that I thrive on meeting and engaging with people and maybe, just maybe a sign of real potential in the beautiful city of Mysore. A human scale city with great traditions, lovely people and a place where people go to retire ha ha.

Above all I’d fallen in love in India, in my 20’s and from a distance. A sort of blind date. But it wasn’t for another 25 years before I’d managed to meet her and realise the love was real. Like so many others before me, I wanted to get to India as much as possible.

I had indeed dipped my toe in the water by organising some events in India in 2006 (more of which later) so I knew a little of what to expect and I already had a small set of supportive friends here in Mysore, two in particular: Vasanth and Cary in Mysore.

To tell the truth….I hadn’t realised what an absolute joy it would be setting up and running this business in India.