What’s in a name 6

All we want is a passport, so Manjula can visit the UK. Is that too much to ask?

Well it feels so much like a board game we’ve created our own. Looks complicated? Well it is!

We’ve had to find four items of ID to prove:





date of birth

and ensure they are all accurate and consistent (no mean feat).

Move down each vertical line to realise each of the things we’ve had to complete. Sometimes we’ve had to create something from scratch, with others we’ve amended most of the key details, with others, well we’ve been running alongside Alice for some of the way and no were not mad, yet!

This is however, only part of the journey and until we’d got all these forms of ID we were unable to submit the application for Manjula’s passport. Well we’ve passed another significant milestone and we are now ready to apply.

imageImagine you are a poor illiterate person. Admittedly, if you’re poor, you’ll be less likely to require a passport, but that’s to miss the point. I reckon most people would find this intimidating. Bureaucracy seems to be designed to hinder people and not to help. When you understand the complexity of something that should be relatively simple you can see how disabling this is and how ‘brokers’ are so necessary in life. All this causes stress ( I can vouch for that) and money!!

Why tell Manjula’s story?


Manjula’s Story


Manjula is from a poor background.

Her poverty, family instability and the consequences of being a woman in a patriarchal society are not atypical. She has shown great determination, fortitude, even stoicism. It’s a common story for Indian women (and men) coming from difficult backgrounds and managing to survive through challenging life circumstances.

Manjula’s story helps illuminate what life is like for so many people living in contemporary India. There maybe, explosive growth of the economy and with it the middle classes – we can see the evidence in many ways – higher disposable income, spare money sloshing around, leisure holidays, the shift to the cities, flash cars, house dogs, you name it, it’s here.

But as with everywhere else in the world, probably more so here, in India, the rich and poor have traditionally lived ‘cheek by jowl’ yet as the economy grows people are left out and left behind. The distance between the rich and poor actually becomes greater. There is always the risk that their story is not told nor realised, their needs forgotten, a myopia of the modern age.

Manjula’s fortunes, have changed, she has seized the opportunity of running Mysore Bed and Breakfast and in many, ways she not only survives but thrives. So, she’s sort-of-moved-on but is still a bridge between those different worlds and hence provides invaluable insights. I, therefore, believe it’s all the more critical that we share her story, her experiences and her world.


Of course, I’m in no way, biased. She is, of course, a beautiful woman of great character, with wonderful beguiling wit  combined with an astonishing tolerance and resourcefulness….

The story shared through this site, comes from recordings she has made, the tales she tells me and our shared experiences since I came to live in Mysore six years ago when I first met Manjula.

…. do join us on our journey.