Connections

Remember that song?

The this bone connected to the that bone. Well it’s connections and especially medical or body ones that are the subject of today’s missive.

We’re visiting the umpteenth medical centre.

Manjula has been losing weight having gone from a Telly Tubby (Ok I exaggerate) to being thin as a rake at 35 kg in just a few months.

so very worrying.

Well her usual doc tested liver, kidney, thyroid all ok so he’s sent us to Dr Darla who tested and found her deficient in vitamin D.

Well we hope that’s it and the treatment works.

The connection?

Since being ill earlier this year and as a result she’s been home based hence there’s been a lack of sunlight. One problem, response, leads to another, a vicious circle of happenings let alone connected bones.

It occurs to me (and I’ve checked it’s OK with the Maharani) that as we’ve had so many friends ask about her health it’s about time we brought you up to date, so watch this space.

Credit where it’s due.

I have here a piece of paper….

Neville Chamberlain’s infamous attempt of appeasement with hitler.

Well I also have my own piece of paper.

Here it is….

ok it’s nothing like the first one.

On my return to India in August I was pulled aside by the immigration officers.

It seems that there has been a rule change and I was told in no uncertain terms what it is! (Maybe that’s the link, the current govt is definitely changing things for immigrants, ring any bells?) I’m here on a five year, multiple entry business visa which means I have to leave the the country every 180 days but can come straight back. At first I was uncertain. Does the rule change mean I can only stay a max of 180 days in any one year (in which case I’m very worried) or that if I go over 180 days in one year I have to go register with the police?

Anyway, it seems that if I stay over 180 days in the same year I have to register with the Police. But here’s where the credit comes in….. The FRRO the bit of the Police Commissioners office where one registers were superb. First off, I made a mistake with the form and the documents with an hour to go before the deadline, they sent me off to a chap to sort it out at little cost. Then once completed and an extra letter explaining the situation within a week I got my paper, my residential permit. Hooray!.

I once had to do something similar when I had an employment visa. It was one of those, go to about five different offices, provide duplicate forms, pay different lots of money, fetch receipts, hundreds of photos, wait endlessly…. now just one form and documents submitted online and take copies to the office, nothing more not even a fee, thank you Mr Kumar, job well done.

Let’s just hope the immigration officers are half as helpful when I next try to get in the country.

Mind the gap.

She was only a little mite but even in a very short time has left a gaping hole.

I first heard her yelping as we passed during one of our MYCycle Tours on Srirangapatnam. It was as if one of the guys at a chai shop was teasing or hurting her. I sort of adopted her. For the next week, I  saw her every time we passed by.

First impressions were not good. She was slow, almost subdued, had what seemed to be a scar on her head, was pretty run down and a couple of days later was completely covered in fleas. I fed her with milk each time and the locals, who have got to know me over the years realised she was adopted. Typical firangi! She seemed to be really very young but was already lapping up her milk. Her mother was nowhere to be seen. Pups are often cruelly separated and dumped. I treated her and got rid of the fleas. I decided to kidnap her (no one gave a damn) and took her to People for Animals ‘rescue centre’ aka death camp. ( a bit unfair but the level of illness and death is known to be high).

Ruby, as she became known with variants of Too, two and tue…. was left at the rescue centre for a check up and treatment but not for too long. It’s a lovely place with caring staff and volunteers but a lot of illness for puppies. I brought her home after a week. That in itself was a quandary. Should I have left her there for longer? What would the women of the household think?

At first she seemed to be managing OK. Eating, although not very much, the quantity of worms she expelled was amazing. This was the first of three lots. Her means of carriage, the princesses pumpkin with handles aka the shopping bag was ideal and endlessly entertained the local children. They couldn’t believe it when they noticed her little head popping out, I have of course reinforced their view that foreigners are more than a bit weird,

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Lucie and Ruby’s relationship was a ‘work in progress’ they generally kept a discreet distance.

She developed a cough and chest infection, laboured breathing, running nose and constant diarrhoea. We seem to be at the vets every other day. They’ve stuffed her with antibiotics, a drip and minerals to rehydrate, vitamins, powder to stop the shits you name it, she’s had it. Michael-virtual-vet-Heath, in Australia was advising from afar. Back at home I created a den out of a cardboard box with a lovely bed with pillow, blanket and neat little door to get in and out. As things seemed to be getting worse I’d just nurse her. Manjula reckons for most of the day. Then the three of us would go out on our Adams family jaunts.

On reflection if might have been better for her to stay longer at the centre and perhaps she was too vulnerable even for the bath. Who really knows. We did our best but for our lovely Ruby the roller coaster ride is over.

We now are left with fond memories and are pleased we could spend that precious time together.

Manjula who was all no-no-no (she was the same with Billi) was won over after just a few days.

It helps me realise together with some of our other experiences (this is not the most challenging by any means) , what a hard life it can be here and how important it is to make the most of it.

so this is just the latest example of …. it’s been a bit of a weird year, more of that later.

Ganesh

A Ganesh for Norbert.

Norbert and I were on a cycle tour and came across a wood carver I’d not found before. Norbert quickly decided to order one which, once completed was parcelled and sent for him to enjoy back in Germany.

Well I never….

My favourite ‘hotel’ which is an Udupi (meaning pure veg) restaurant cum cafe (without accommodation) is Indra Paras. Just opposite the market it’s been a long term favourite of locals, domestic tourists, and Firangi (foreigners). Great food. Slightly hectic at times.

Well I never. Hang on a minute. What is this?

One of my regular snacks. Sev Dahi Potato puri with a refreshing fresh lime soda, plain (no sugar or salt) but horror of horrors.

There’s a straw!

For the past two seasons we’ve tried to reduce our use of plastic straws wherever we can. Last year we sold bamboo straws for a local charity this year I carry stainless steel straws on the mycycle tours. (Yes, and clean them each eve.)

Well at first I was very disappointed but then discovered they were actually paper ….. wonderful

The very first I’ve seen in Mysore.

Well done boss!

is this a little too soon?

Mysore is a wonderful city, feels like a Town as its human scale and hasn’t YET been irrepairably damaged by over-development. Its a great place to cycle and our many MyCycle tour guests are a testament to this. However, I worry that there is the risk that half-baked projects might do more harm than good.

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We already have the first dedicated cycle lane that I’ve ever seen in India. We also have cycle lines on main roads formed by a white line. (no, its not a joke, its real. Yes, in a country where no one takes any notice of lines on roads!)

In my view they do no harm and are a great asset but on their own withough being part of wider infrastructure changes, effective measures to educate other road users and promotions for people to take up cycling, it has limited value.

Here are yesterday’s guests on our Mysore tour on the cycle lane.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been consulted on the viability of a cycle share scheme on the lines of the one first developed in Paris and subsequently copied by cities such as London. In places they’ve been a great success, in others an abject failure. This morning on my (occasional ) cycle back down Chamundi Hill I saw this…

It looks like its the installation of shelters for a cycle hire scheme. In principle that’s fantastic, the more measures to promote cycling, the merrier, but might it just be a little too soon, particualrly if its not part of a wider programme to support cycling?

My worry is that currently cycling is seen as a traditional activity of the poor villager or something for the crazy foreigners. Admittedly we’re seeing a dramatic increase in cycling as a leisure activity and the fact is we get a fair number of enquiries for cycle hire at MyCycle BUT many are the early adopters, the young people who are particualrly interested in high end cycles and going out on races! The question is will the mass, the people in the middle of the ‘market’ buy into cycling in Mysore and use the cycle hire scheme. I’m not sure that they will and it might be a bit early.

I hope I’m wrong and a good friend of ours may take on a role helping research take-up and help develp the initiatve. I worry that if it fails it will set back the progress of cycling in Mysore. You know the sort of thing… “promoting cycling? we tried that with a scheme, in 2017 but it didn’t work so no point promoting cycling again”. I reckon it will only work if its part of a wider programme to educate other road users, infrastructure development, promote safe cycling in schools and encourage young people (and especially women) to continue cycling as they get older.

I’ve developed lots of projects over the years and in my view its critical to understand the patterns of behaviours in a particular community (interest or locality) and build on that and not to blindly parachute in ideas from elsewhere, which might have worked in one place but need significant amendment and careful timing to work in another.

Many people worry about cycling in the city but are nicely surprised once they join a properly guided tour and they gain the confidence to go out on their own. Its no accident that our most popular tours by a very long way are in the low traffic routes on Srirangapatnam.

A better idea might have been cycle hire shop(s) in places where there are a network of potential cycle routes. That’s not a big capital scheme that reflects well on the powers that be so it would not be favoured. I know of such a place. It’s where our most popular cycle tour is held 😉 I’d wait to introduce automated cycle hire schemes to a time when there is more of a critical mass of cycle users, tamed traffic and more dedicated cycle lanes in the traffic intensive built up areas.