Sunday, 30 December 2012

What is Reiki - The Holistic Treatment

What is Reiki

Reiki is a Japanese word  made up of two key words : Rei meaning "Universal" or "Spiritual" and Ki means " life energy force " equivalent of Sanskrit Prana. Reiki is generally understood as a simple hands on healing system which is extremely easy and effective. It was rediscovered in 19 th century by Japanese doctor Dr. Mikao Usui. This alternative method of medicine is used to heal oneself and others.
Reiki is the primal energy. Thinkers, and philosophers have taught since ancient times that this universe is made up of energy. Modern physicists have now validated this belief that myriad forms the universe appears to take are energy impulses impregnated with information and pulsating at varying frequencies. Reiki, fundamentally is a energy which the universe is made up of. Reiki therefore is all encompassing and omnipresent.

Reiki symbols

The proper practice of reiki helps in correcting the imbalances of directions and speed. Human bodies have chakras, or energy vortices that act as an interface between our physical bodies and our auras.If there is any energy imbalance resulting from a disharmonious pattern of absorption and the circulation of cosmic energy within our system, reiki helps in correcting this. The practice of reiki helps us in maintaining all round physical, mental, psychological, emotional and spiritual health and balance.
A word of caution here : though reiki can do no harm and there can be no side effects, it tends to release the suppressed negative feelings like anger, grief and depression from the patients. So it is advantageous both for the patients and the family to be prepared for this as it ultimately contributes to the mental and spiritual growth and well being.

Reiki treatment

The reiki guru called channel moves ki or prana to the body of the person to be healed by placing his hands. Reiki energy first enters the crown chakra in the north , flows to the forehead and throat chaka, then down to the heart chakra and finally through the channels' palms in a counter clockwise path.
With the regular use of reiki, all the negative mental blocks in the mind and body are thrown out. Gradually the patient comes out of his negative energy and mindset and his mind and soul start moving in a positive direction. When the mind is free from fear and sorrow the positive feelings of health, energy and well being start emanating from him increasing the body's resistance and finally it becomes impossible for the body to fall ill.

Advantages of reiki

  • The most simple and easy curing method to learn and practice.
  • It can be done anywhere, anytime on anybody including one's own self. It requires just a few moments and movements.
  • One can practice this not only at home but also in one's work place, thereby creating a positive and healthy working environment.
  • With minimum discomfort and expenditure great results can be accomplished.
  • Reiki helps our body to eliminate negative and harmful micro organisms that have been hampering our growth. Once we feel more and more creative, our learning process naturally accelerates.
  • Post surgeries, the reiki helps in regenerating the tissues and fighting germs.
  • Reiki retards aging process by keeping us physically and mentally active.
  • If applied within two years of the surgery, it helps in dissolving surgical scars.
  • Reiki attunements have a life long effect.
  • Not only human beings, reiki can be effectively and successfully used on pets and plants.
  • It is a safest and intelligent process of healing, based on the need of the healee. For example if a person is suffering from a headache due to digestive disorders, the reiki will direct itself to the digestive system the moment the channel puts his hands on the head.
  • While in other treatment, the person giving the treatment gets exhausted, here he himself gets the energy and gets healed.

Limitations of Reiki

  • This is the method of healing where active participation of the patient is very important. If he/she is not receptive, there may not be desired results.
  • Similarly, there may be rare cases of the patients preferring their illness due to some strange reasons, like wishing to remain ill to draw sympathy and attention. Reiki inspects one's desire to be ill and hence the healing may be either slow or in-effective.
  • One has to be sensitive to feel the healing and growth to realize it.
  • Reiki cannot deal with serious illness needing surgery and emergency cases. It is more suited to chronic diseases.

Finding a genuine Reiki Master

The best way to be initiated into Reiki learning and healing is to find the bonafide reiki master. You can visit the seminars, interact with the participants and reiki masters and go to the person with whom you feel comfortable and whom you can trust. This is of utmost importance because your learning and healing entirely depends on the extent of your surrender and trust.

See all 5 photos

Computer programmer

Mathematics and Technology

I was basically an arts student. Since my father was a government officer and was on constant transfers to rural areas, I had access only to govt or small colleges which forced me to take up available arts course. I didn't mind as I loved language and literature. But I also had a lot of inclination towards my favorite subject maths. But unfortunately in those days, it was either pure science or arts.
But my craze for maths and technology continued. I strongly consider maths to be the mother of all languages. And its beauty of having only one correct answer had always fascinated me. And for me it had another philosophical trait too. That if you follow the formulas, go in the right path and work correctly, you are sure to get your result right. How apt when we apply it to our lives!......

Life Insurance

History of Life Insurance in India                                                                          
Life Insurance in India was nationalized in the year 1956 when a number of private companies were brought under the banner Life Insurance Corporation of India.Till the year 2000 when the insurance sector was privatized it held the monopoly of Life Insurance business in India. It has been most successful Insurance organisation in the world, recording highest number of lives covered, highest number of claims settled and lowest ratio of the outstanding claims in the entire world.
An Insurance contract is called a contract of Uberrima Fides - a contract of utmost good faith.....

This is a unique business on the lives of human beings. One cannot assign a value to the life of a person. A person cannot be rated or evaluated in terms of money. Yet when one loses his/her near and dear ones, a member of the family, it is going to be a big blow to the economic health of the family. At the same time an insurance company cannot be expected to blindly agree to the contract at an unreasonable sum assured. So the sum assured will be decided by the income, health and paying capacity of the proposer and the life assured. And here enters the principle of good faith. Though death is the only certainty in life, the time and the cause are beyond one's reach. So it is the honest responsibility of the proposer to disclose all the material facts which may affect his life and the premium calculation. If he conceals or misleads on any health or family related information, there is a risk of his claim being repudiated. So one has to be extremely honest in answering the questions in the proposal forms.

How is Insurance premium calculated ?
There are three factors that go into the calculation of Life Insurance premium - mortality, interest and expenses. Since the basic principle of Life Insurance is to give financial compensation at the unfortunate event of death of the life assured, the mortality rates of the country is taken into account while arriving at the probability of the death while calculating the premium. The second factor is interest. When a person purchases the policy, he will be paying the same installment of premium at every due date through out the term of his policy. This premium may be less or more compared to the cost of the policy at different stages during the term of the policy. And the insurer has to pay both death and maturity claims to his policy holders. So the premium so collected will be invested by Life Insurance of India in the statutory bodies as per the IRDA regulations. The interest earned on these investments will have a bearing on the premium calculation. And the final consideration is the expenses. The company [ Life Insurance ] will have its expenses in the form of salary, commission, underwriting, office maintenance et all which will have a bearing on the premium calculation. There are experienced actuaries who will be regularly calculating and monitoring the premium and the bonus of the policies.

Privatisation of Life Insurance in India 
In spite of the competition by 23 private companies, Life Insurance Corporation of India not only is holding its ground but growing from strength to strength even after a decade of privatization onslaught. Though it initially experienced a setback when the private players started capturing group insurance and market linked insurance markets, LIC with its vast experience and hold on the public sentiment and loyalty, regained its ground and from 52% it has now regained more that 80% of the share while 23 companies together could capture hardly 20%

The secrets behind the success of LIC of India
The secret of its success lies in its highly principled, clean and above the board practices. Though it settles lakhs of claims worth crores of rupees and sanctions thousands of rupees' loan applications everyday, there has never been an incident of bribery or corruption And it imparts high level of training to its employees and agents, adapts to changing market scenario and upgrades its technology constantly. It has a very good planning, execution and review practices which are the envy of every other business organisation. [Life Insurance] being a long term contract, customers in India have remained loyal to this great organisation. No wonder it goes on winning the awards for the most trusted brand year after year.

How to lose weight with Yoga and Kapalabhati Pranayama
Healthy way of losing weight 

The earliest memory of me checking my weight was when I applied for a job at the age of 18. I was 5.2" with a weight of 52 kgs. I had always been conscious of my weight since then, both from the point of looks and health, and have been steadily monitored it. Even after my two pregnancies, I had taken care to get back into shape once the children started growing up. But then suddenly I lost control. Though I was aware that I was putting on weight, as invariably happens once you near forty, I just could not control it. Suddenly one day my weighing machine showed 71 kgs and I panicked.

Never skip breakfast
Then started my rigorous journey of exercises, experiments with diet, trying every trick of the trade, but to no avail. The first thing I did was to skip my breakfast and eat light which proved counter productive as the early morning empty stomach made me weak and moody and in fact my weight increased.

Walking and Jogging
Then I started walking and jogging. Both my friend Kalpana and myself would set out in the morning at 6 o'clock to Krishna Rao park and jog. Alas! Being very beautiful and attractive ( seriously :-), when we started jogging, we not only had the company of dogs wagging their tails running behind us, but some grandpas also started to accompany us to every corner of the park trying to show off their wrinkled biceps! We were in no mood to pamper and provide free entertainment to these oldies a la Ashok Kumar in Shaukeen and soon did a disappearing act.

After Ashok Kumar, came Rekha. Yes forever young rekha, a great inspiration to us with her aerobics practiced sexy and lustrous body. Off came Jane Fonda and her DVD, (of course she was an inspiration for REKHA too ) and there started the aerobics dances at home. No doubt it gave some free relaxation and entertainment to my hubby, who would sit behind me with his coffee cup when I practiced in front of TV. It kept me extremely fit and energetic, but weight loss? No sir. Sorry.

                                               Liquid diet 
So it was back to basics again. My father had once narrated, how during his young days, on the advice of some Ayurvedic doctor, had survived on a liquid diet for a month and had lost almost 20 kgs. But there was a hitch. Every morning you have to drink one spoonful of castor oil on an empty stomach which was supposed to cleanse your system. Not only the taste of the castor oil but the failure to attain weight loss has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Weight loss fads and gimmicks by clinics 
Then came the wonderful advertisement from VLCC, a health clinic which promised an assured weight loss of 5 kgs for 5000 rupees in 10 days. What is 5000 rupees compared to a sculpted body? Off I rushed to their center and was thrilled to bits when I lost 750 grams on the very first day. Yes sir that's how they measured - in grams! I calculated in my mind, if this is the result in a single day, where would I be after 10 days! All my tight dresses pushed at the back of my wardrobe started dancing in front of my eyes. Ha! Only dreams are made of such stuff. What was actually being done in the clinic was, like in a physio therapy lab, they would connect low voltage wires with pads to our body and make us lie down for 45 minutes. Immediately on coming out they would ask us to urinate and then check weight. Naturally, when your body is heated, the fluids would dry up and the body would lose some weight. After coming home, I drank lots of water and ate one small custard apple and maintained the diet chart they had provided. Next morning I was aghast when the scale tilted to an additional kg. Instead of admitting the shady deal, they had the audacity of admonishing me for eating a custard apple. So the crux of the matter was, had I stopped eating and drinking life long and continued with their ironing, I would have lost a lot of weight. But the better sense prevailed and a bid a hasty retreat.

Yoga - Pranayama - Holistic treatment by Baba Ramdevji
Every cloud has a silver lining. It came in the form of Yoga Guru Baba Ramdevji. One morning when I was surfing through Aastha channel, I came across the live telecast of Yoga Shivir being conducted by Ramdevji where the participants were sharing their experience of losing 5, 10 even 15 kgs of weight. As I was always inclined towards Indian system of medicines, Yoga and Ayurveda, and also impressed by the rhetoric and impressive oratory skills of swamiji, I thought to give it a try as I had nothing to lose except weight! I ritualistically started practicing the yoga and kapalbhati pranayama as propagated by him every day. When I first checked the weight after one month, I could not believe my eyes. The scale which had almost stuck at 71 showed 70. It inspired me so much that every month on the same date I had a steady date with the weighing machine and it never failed me. Each month it was a reduction of a minimum of one kg. After I reached 61, I have been maintaining the weight. I know if I push a little harder I can go down by another 3-4 kgs. Mmm. Will do it soon.
Maharshi Patanjali - The Yoga Sage from India
It is an ancient breathing technique taught by Indian sage Patanjali, a breathing exercise for our internal organs. Just the way we do push ups and bending and stretching exercises for our external body, the pranayama is for the naval and heart centers. It activates the cells, removes toxins and fights obesity in abdominal region and helps digestion and tones down the abdominal muscles.

What is kapalbhati ?
The method of doing kapalbhati is simple. Just sit in sukhasana or padmasana, hold your thumb and index finger touching and resting lightly on your knees with palms turned upwards.Sit in a calm erect position closing your eyes. Inhale slowly and exhale forcefully through your nose. This will cause the abdomen to contract and activate the inner organs. Repeat this process in a cycle of ten rounds and gradually increase to a batch of 5 or 10. But those with high blood pressure or heart disease should not do this.

Advantages of Kapalabhati
The added advantage of kapalbhati pranayama is that not only does it cures the body ailments and drastically reduces the weight scientifically, it is also a great mind healer, making you emotionally strong and at peace with your inner self and also with your surroundings.
The points to remember is that this pranayama should be done on an empty stomach and at your own comfortable pace. Once you gain confidence with your practice, you can increase the duration to 15 to 20 minutes. The results are instantaneous.
So go ahead. Tone up your mind and body with yoga and pranayama. It will remain your friend for life.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Tulasi - Basil - Festival of India
This extended festival of lights has always enchanted and enthralled me since childhood. Amma would say " keep some crackers for Tulasi Lagna" and we would obey, eagerly waiting for the D day. I would invariably ask amma whom Tulasi is getting married to and she would smile and say " Damodara i.e Krishna ". Then she would narrate the story. This is the story of Vrinda, the daughter of giant named Nemi and the faithful wife of demon Jalandhar. Being born in ocean, Jalandhar claimed supremacy over the ocean and all the treasures churned out  during Samudra Manthana. He declared war over Gods and could not be conquered because of the boon that he would be free from death till his wife Vrinda was chaste. Vishnu, in order to kill Jalandhar, assumes her husband's form and beguiles Vrinda. When she realises this, Vrinda curses Vishnu to become a stone ( Saligrama ). Vishnu regrets his action and in admiration of her impeachable chastity and piety, transfers her into the sacred Tulasi plant and promises to marry her annually on this day of Karthik month. The story is registered in my mind along with the heavenly aroma and the taste of laddige prasada amma would prepare on that day. ( yeah, I will give your the recipe!.)

The Tulasi plant and Parijatha flower connected with our rich culture and vibrant heritage have always remained my favorites.  Parijatha with its divine and pristine beauty and Tulasi with her love for Lord Krishna and with the  her medicinal value have been on the top of my priority list of home plants. It has been my cherished  dream to have a big Parijatha tree in my aangan along with rows and rows of Tulasi plant.

Alas!  I always proposed and thieves disposed. On many occasions whenever I chanced upon Tulasi seeds, plants or saplings at resorts, gardens and friends' houses, I would beg or borrow and bring them home. Living in a west faced house, I was always forced  to plant the seeds and saplings  on the compound in planter box.
I would squeal in delight when rows of saplings would take life. But invariably in a week or so, to my chagrin,  my saplings would start disappearing.  I had  neighbors who would put up beautiful pots and plants on footpath without any problem and here I was losing every single sapling to these thieves. But like a never- say-die Trivikrama and  Bhageeratha I  would go on and on with my efforts and face the same results!
As if this was not enough, I had this " Gow Matha ", always pulling out my little "babies", if by any chance left by those thieves with her long tongue right in front of my eyes, disregarding my shouts and threats. I am really dismayed by their attitude and judgement! I have seen in many areas, besides their huge gardens, these "RICH(?)" people will occupy footpaths with  mini gardens and these "holy cows" sitting by the side of these gardens lazily munching with semi closed lids, never daring to even glance at the plants. Is it fear of "RICH N POWERFUL"? Naah! Methinks she just loves the taste of our little angels,  put up with all the love of our heart and soul !
I would try to deter her with some prickly boundaries. No sir! She would care two hoots for such silly tricks! As a last resort one day I put some big glass pieces as boundaries for my planter boxes. Hey! Don't look so flabbergasted! Genuinely I meant no harm, just wanted my kids to grow! Don't take side with her, she was not as innocent as she looked. I stood there when she  arrived and we both stared at each other. She would look at me and then at the glass boundary and at the plants beyond ! Did I see a glint of amusement, sarcasm or was it an indulgent motherly look  at we selfish human beings  in her eyes? Whatever -  she decided not to pursue and left me alone with my plants since then.
Before I could heave  a sigh of relief and hope that all is well, this extraordinary incident happened.  One evening around 7.30, both myself and my husband Prakash were talking  in the balcony in the first floor. Suddenly Prakash looked down and exclaimed " Look! somebody is lifting your Tulasi pot!" This fellow beat everybody else in the game! Instead of plant, he had lifted the whole pot and before I could come out of my dismay and shout, he just coolly walked off !
I pulled Prakash's hand and dragged him down, pushed him on to  his bike and hopped behind him in my nightie.For  5-10 minutes we had totally lost any trace of him. But soon we could spot him walking in the next cross, holding the pot to his chest. As Prakash drove his bike by his side, I jumped from the bike, ran across and held him by the collar of his jerkin like a Zhansi Ki Rani!
All the anger and frustration towards my unknown thieves came surging as I gave him a sound  piece of my mind. So stunned was he at being caught and at my verbal tirade that he even forgot to close his open mouth. By this time a few passersby had gathered, who were both angry at his misdemeanors  and bemused at my histrionics and  heroism! Like a trophy I carried my Tulasi back home a midst much fanfare from my husband and kids. But since then I have almost given up the hope in the face of such onslaught by these "petty" thieves, and my dream of having my little rows of Tulasi has remained just that... A dream...
One day... May be one day.............

             LADDIGE          ( Groundnut and Hurigadale Laadu )


Ingredients :

Roasted and pounded Groundnuts    :    2 cups ( They should be pounded into big pieces,size of hurigadale  )
Hurigadale                                       :    2 cups
Jaggery powder                               :    1 1/2 cups
Ghee                                               :    1  cup                      
Elaichi powder                                 :    1 tea spoon

Preparation           :

In a thick bottomed kadai heat ghee and jaggery powder only till jaggery melts. Remove from the heat. Add elaichi powder, ounded groundnut, hurigadale and mix well. Wait till the heat recedes and then roll into laddoos.


How to make Avarekaalu and Menthe Soppina Pulav

Ingredients   :

Basumati Rice                             2     cups
Ghee or Refined oil                       2     tablespoons
Avare kalu                                1     cup
Menthe Soppu                              1     bunch
finely chopped onion                      1
sugar                                     ½     tea spoon
salt to taste

For Masala  :

Green chillies                            5-6
Pudina ( Mint ) leaves                    a  few
ginger                                    1 small piece
garlic                                    2 cloves
cinnamon                                  1 tiny piece
elaichi                                   1
cloves                                    3-4
haldi                                     1 tea spoon

Preparation :

Nuchinunde and Sandige Huli

This is a royal dish generally prepared on the occasion of Devara Samaradhane 
before wedding and nuchinunde is also prepared on the occasion of Nagara 
Panchami. There is a wrong notion, rather hesitation to prepare it on other 
occasions with a feeling that it is a tedious process. Though it can be a 
little time consuming, with a little advance planning and  preparation one 
can enjoy this special dish on Sundays and holidays too. Why on a holiday? 
Because the meals would be so sumptuous and filling that one doesn't feel 
like working after eating this! So go ahead and enjoy! Happy cooking and 
happier eating!

Ingredients :

For Nuchinunde  :  

1. Channa dal  ( kadale bele )               :  2 cups
2. Tur Dal       ( togari bele )             :  2 cups
3. Finely chopped sabbasige soppu            :  1 bunch
4. Finely chopped menthe soppu  (fenugreek)  :  1 bunch
5. Finely chopped  Pudina  soppu    (mint)   :   ½ bunch
6. Finely chopped  coriander leaves          :   ½ bunch
7. Green chillies                            :  10 – 15 ( depending on your taste )
8. Hing powder                               :  1    tea spoon
9. Haldi powder                              :  1    tea spoon
10. Baking soda                              :   a   pinch
11. Jeera                                    :  2 table spoon
12. Salt to taste

For  Huli   :

Monday, 12 November 2012

Deepavali.. With Besan Undi, Chakkli and chooda !!!

Deepavali...... With Besan Undi,   Chakkli,   and Chooda !!!

The festival of lights and stars is here again. Lights, sweet and celebration! Lamps painted with colours and decorated with glasses!

But the name deepavali painting  brings back another memory. That of my Amma painting the bathroom before every deepavali with white and clay mud.Then filling the water in HANDE with fresh water and decorating with delicate rangolis and diyas. Not only the  bathroom but the entire house was filled with beautiful intricate rangoli designs and light from the earthen diyas throwing wonderful rhapsody of light on the dark nights. What a wonderful way of celebrating and worshiping the elements!

Today there are rows and rows of sweets prepared with all possible dry fruits and decorative motifs filled in the house.But I can't help getting nostalgic about " ele shyavige paayasa "  and " sandige"  in the night followed by kheeru poori, Jamoon made from fresh dilliwala khova on the following days. Shall I let you into a little secret? Amma used to prepare hundreds of gulab jamoons from fresh khova of which some 20-25 were always set aside by her in a secret little carrier. They were all preserved for me " sannaaki " ( the little one ) to be savored after festival when all the sweets were exhausted. Yumm!!!

As for Naraka Chaturdasi ......

What ? Is it ? Asking me  whether I know that Naraka chaturdasi is the celebration of the death of Demon Naraka, son of Bhudevi in the hands of his own mother who was incarnated as Sathyabhama and was killed at the behest of Lord Krishna ? Yeah sure, sure. I had read about that.

But the word Naraka Chaturdasi  rings in the memory of the day when we started bursting crackers. It was the time to get up at dawn, perform aarathi, get our share of money put in the aarathi by dad, brother, uncles to be shared by us women folk. Though this was a bonus, there was a   down side too ! The compulsion to forego the bursting of  dangerous crackers to boys. Though   never bothered about the equal share in property, during Deepavali we made anna to count each and every piece of crackers and distribute equally among we children.

Somewhere I have read that Deepavali is also celebrated as a festival  culminating the return of pandavas from thier vanavasa and agnathavasa. But the only thing we had learnt from Pandavas was to play PAGADE! Albeit nobody could beat or come anywhere near shakuni in his skills (?), there used to be Dharmarayas and Duryodhanas in equal numbers.
Without the onslaught of TVs and computers, we used to have very lengthy days and yet they were not enough to satiate our desire to play more. Entire locality used to assemble in somebody or the other's house every day during the festival and the games never used to end. Haan kabhi kabhi Mahabharat hote hote bach jaate the!

The ultimate treat of Deepavali was the Naastha ( snacks) wherein we used to get invitations for diwali pharaala each day from friends and relatives for almost a fortnight. And a sumptuous treat of besan undi, chakkli, gilaganchi and chooda, daani used to follow... The taste still lingers.....

Do you want the recipes? sure here they are !!!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Spinal Surgery

I am back! After a hiatus of almost one month, back with a better BACK !

Many a friends of mine always used to gush that I am their source of  strength, their inspiration, and their backbone! ( Hey! Promise. I am not joking, but telling this with utmost humility. Please read on!) What an irony! I myself did not have a perfect backbone! verbatim! Instead of sitting pretty and straight, my backbone had twisted a little. It was a manufacturing defect! From its normal ideal curve, a part of the spine  had twisted by 3.3 mm since birth. I used to  have back ache since childhood and had accepted it as my alter ego. But three years ago a disk had slipped on the twisted bone.

                                                                              You know how it is? Like you will be sitting on the ground in a crowded temple or bhajana mandir in sukhasana very close to each other. The person sitting next to you will put her knees on yours. It will be heavy and painful. Either you lift your leg or bear the burden. If you lift  your knee, you will have no place to put it back or else keep back on that person's knee who in turn will do the same to you! You are doomed either way!

I ate tonnes of medicines - allopathic, ayurvedic, homeopathic - got massages, physio and naturopathy,  did yoga, Reiki - you name it and I had done it to get a relief from my pain. Then I reached the dead end - a stage of extreme unbearable pain, when I prayed Lord Raghavendra to bless me with a permanent solution. When the pain further aggravated, I knew I had reached the end of the tunnel and there has to be some light at the end. Sure there was - in the form of Dr.Sujay Rao of St.Philomina's - a God unto himself. So confident was he and such a confidence he instilled in me that I 
underwent spinal correction operation on 10 th October. I am on my feet, though on a rest of two months.

 I am extremely grateful to my family and friends who stood by me and who put me back on my feet. Thanks to God Almighty for giving me the courage and strength to undergo an operation of 7-8 hours.  

I could not help but  to reproduce the wise  words of a nurse at St.Philomina's who chided and consoled me when on my admission to the ward I had tears in my eyes. She said " Don't cry. If you cry you will have tears in your eyes which will blur your vision and you can't see Him " 



Tuesday, 18 September 2012




This is an in depth analysis and guide for the Nature cure hospital at Shantivana - Ujire - Dharmasthala - Karnataka - India.                       

Dhanyosmi! This was the overwhelming feeling I had about the noble souls who had envisioned and started this Nature Care Hospital for a holistic treatment. They had a vision, a noble cause and a yearning to serve and guide the society towards a healthy living.

I had first heard about the nature care hospital at                  
Dharmasthala way back  may be in 2006-2007 when my
friend Sujatha from Tumkur, who had been there for treatment narrated her wonderful experiences. She was all praises for the service oriented treatment meted
out there. It had always remained at the back of my             
mind that I should visit the place. Infact just a month back when we programmer friends at the monthly meet were sharing our health and stress woes, we were sort of planning that at least once we should skip this daily mundane and escape to Dharmasthala. I, in my wildest 
dreams, would not have imagined that exactly one month later when all my colleagues were attending the meeting, I would be here in Dharmasthala indulging in a holistic treatment for the body and soul.  

Yes. That is what it is. I think there is a wrong notion that one should visit this place only when one has health issues or obesity problems. Contrary to this I feel that once one reaches 40, it is a place one must visit ( But of course, there is always heavy demand and one has to book the rooms very well in advance and generally, very healthy persons are not solicited, as they want to address the problems of the patients first.)
The accommodation in Ujire has been made to suits to all pockets and budgets. There is a general ward for Rs.300 per person per day, a special room at Rs.450 per day on twin sharing, Deluxe rooms on twin sharing at Rs.700 per day which has TV and AC. Then there are cottages which cost Rs.1250 per day per person,wherein the  occupants  have the advantage of having some of the massages and food in their rooms. The rent includes the room rent and food charges.For additional treatments they charge a nominal fee which works out to approximately Rs.1000 for  
a stay of ten days, with two treatments per day.If one needs further treatments like acupuncture, physio-therapy, then it costs about another 50 rupees per day.      
The procedure of admission is quite simple. The rooms can be booked over phone, but well in advance. Immediately on arrival, an in-house doctor will check us,   prescribe further clinical tests needed, if any, gives us a diet scheme depending on our body constitution and health problems. These notes will be recorded on a  card which will be updated everyday by the doctor visiting us. We are supposed to carry this card  for all our treatments, juices and foods.  

Well, talking about food, this could prove the ultimate boon or bane for our stay. Here is the real catch. Those who have a strong will power and self-control over their food habits need not worry. For weak minded, or those who love food                                                    
( then, who would not!? )   this is a strict 
no-no. We are not supposed to carry any eatables from home. At the entrance gate itself the security will whisk us and take away any eatables found on us. Once we enter inside, other than the food provided by the staff, we will  get ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Forget tea or coffee, even milk is out of our reach. But if you have some funny bones, you will thoroughly enjoy the sights there at the dining area! 

It will be a sight to watch how people used to indulge in sumptuous meals looking longingly at a hot chapati or a person weighing more than 100 kgs holding his cup of papaya gingerly and take half an hour to eat it or the girls who are officers back home in their towns, but are on juice diet at the centre pouncing on the plates of persons who are allowed rice. 

There are  three varieties of diet foods provided here :  boiled diet, raw diet, and juice. The taste every day for every food remains just the same ( In fact I always wondered how could they prepare it exactly the same way everyday. If you have tasted it for one day, then you have tasted it for all days! ) The boiled diet consists of rice boiled with a little green gram dal, a few vegetables and just a hint of salt and pepper. A few boiled vegetables, which would be cucumber, ashgourd or sorekai – thats it!  - again with a hint of salt and pepper.
You have a choice of soup or buttermilk. Hello don't jump with joy. Soup means the vegetable stock of the above mentioned vegetables and butter milk without salt or sugar ! Plus a cup of papaya or one apple.

The evening food will be the same type of vegetables with two dry chapatis instead of rice and everything else will remain the same. For raw diet, it is a salad of cucumber or carrot – I would rather not use the word salad because except the cut vegetables, it has no other ingredients – and on occasional lucky days you will find finely chopped apple or pineapple in it. No salt or khara ! And if the doctor thinks that it will be more food for you, they may just prescribe one apple or one cup papaya along with buttermilk or soup. Mind you, if you feel instead of buttermilk let me take soup – sorry madam, you have to get doctor's permission – who will be available in the dining hall - before taking the plate. Once you cross that point, even if you beg, it cannot be changed. Sorry.

And for those less fortunate souls, who are over weight,it is a glass of juice four times a day ! Don't feel so sad, at dinner and lunch time, they will 
keep the juice made from lime and honey and you can have an extra cup or two! Other than that if you complain of tiredness you are advised to drink lots of water. Don't worry, you will get used to it and in extreme situations, doctors are there round the clock to take care !

The food picture looks extremely bleak – is it ?  No that is not the case. If you feel you will not be able to sustain or feel weak, you can approach the doctor      next day who will switch over the diet from raw to boiled or increase the number of chapatis or fruits. But then forget about the weight loss ! But for the fortunate few who need not worry about the weight, there is a choice of ragi ganji at 9 am. and sprouts with cucumber slices at 4 pm, plus a cup of milk at 9 pm. BUT FORGET ABOUT THE TASTE, SALT AND SUGAR AND SPICES! It is the principle of the hospital that not only should you eat SATWIK food, but control your craving for food too.

The daily routine is : getting up at 5 in the morning, go for a walk, yoga and pranayama  from 5.30 to 7 A.M. At 7.30, it is juice – whichever the doctor has prescribed for you , it may be line and honey, carrot, ash gourd or bitter gourd.  Then back to rooms where everybody will sleep for a mud pack on their eyes and tummy for about 20 minutes. Immediately after, rush with your card to the treatment area where you will be given the treatment which your doctor has prescribed for you. 
These treatments any day beat the best of spas' treatment. It includes a variety of water treatment like hip bath, spinal bath, cold or neutral water immersion bath, jet bath, whirlpool.... There are still many more. Or steam bath, souna, reclining steam bath, oil massage, mud bath, haldi pack... you name it and they have it. Essentially it is back to nature - an idea of treating us with five elements earth, wind, water, fire and the sky. I must never forget the attitude of the staff involved in the treatments. They always have a smile on their lips and a spring in their feet. They are virtuous  to a fault.

Each treatment is given with such a sincerity and dedication that you will feel like you are in the lap of your mother when the personnel share your pain with a sympathetic understanding and rejoice at your relief. 

We were fortunate to be at this place on 15 th August and in the serene atmosphere on a bright and sunny morning we witnessed the flag hoisting and sang the National Anthem with a pride. After the ceremony we were no less than the school children when trays filled with some covers arrived at the venue. There was excitement all around and murmurs of laddoos, chocolates, sweets filled the air. You should have seen the face of all the recipients when they opened the covers and found that there were two dry dates and two tiny pieces of rock sugar in it! What a healthy way of celebration! 

Though the entire building is spread over a vast area, a french architect has designed it so well that from every room, hall and window you can view a garden and rain.
If this is the photo of our bathroom window you can very well imagine how the entire building is built. The rooms, treatment and yoga centre are all a midst greens and gardens and throughout your walk from one end to the other, there is proper shelter so that no rain or sun can dampen or hamper your spirits. 

There is a swimming pool, a gym,a hillock to walk and indoor games and library. But library and TV will be available only at free or rest time so that nobody misses the treatments or sessions. The yoga and pranayama are taught with utmost proficiency and personal care. 

There is a personalised treatment and care for every inmate and on the last day we would be given a follow up chart and advice for our treatment and diet back home. That day, we will be given passes to visit Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple which entitles us a direct entry to the sanctum sanctorum.

I have a greatest sense of gratitude towards Dharmadhikari Sri Veerendra Hegde, The Man behind this noble venture and when I had the fortune of meeting him at Dharmasthala, I made an humble request to him to start one such unit in our very own Bangalore. My joy knew no bounds when he informed me that the land has already been purchased on Tumkur road in Bangalore and the treatment centre may come up there soon.Amen!