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YOGA To Stay Connected - With Yourself

YogaWhat is amazing about our body is that our body communicates with us, by sending us specific signals.  Unfortunately, most of the time we tend to ignore them or pay minimal attention to them.  Gradually we take these dis-harmonies as normal rather than as signals to slow down and correct our ways. The result is lack of flexibility, stiffness and pain. As I was reading this article in one of the YOGA Journals, I was curious to know that how does one get to know that we are receiving these messages from our body? I continued my reading to find out the answer for my question.  And then this is what I found which I would like to share with you:

When we talk about YOGA, the first thing that comes in our mind is Postures, which is the third limb of Ashtanga YOGA (Traditional/Classical YOGA, as they call).  Whereas Yama(Restraints) and Niyama(Observances) which are the first two limbs (steps) of Ashtanga YOGA, are the Don’ts & Do’s, respectively of  YOGA.  Unlike Asanas(postures),if someone says, ‘I am practicing Yama & Niyama  presently’; one may not be able to understand what the person is actually practicing.  Then how does one understand these fundamental steps of YOGA? 

To begin with, lets understand the fourth Niyama : “Swadhyaya”(Sanskrit  term, which means (Swa=self and Adhyaya=study) – ‘Self Study’ or study one’s own self!   Our lack of knowledge about our self is a major block in our growth. There is a lot more to oneself, than what one sees or feels at the surface level.  In the West, the study of one’s self is psycho analysis, analysis of our thoughts, feelings and associations. On the other hand, ‘Swadhyaya’ is being aware about one’s own body and mind at physical as well as mental level without analyzing it.

Simple technique to practice this Niyama in Ashtanga YOGA is “REFLECTION”: 
One can practice it for 5-10minutes at the end of each day 
•    Sit comfortably in any meditative posture (Sukhasana/Vajrasana)
•    Recall the day’s events in a sequence. See them like a movie, happening in front of you.
•    Try not to jump back and forth and do not analyze.
•    By recalling the day’s events in sequence, while not analyzing (good/bad, right/wrong), one will simply becomes aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings and actions. And then,
•    Awareness automatically lays the ground for improvement.

We can say that ‘Swadhyaya’ is nothing but the REFLECTION on our own behavior, through which we understand our body and mind.   This can be an excellent tool to improve communication between them, and then of course we can always remain alert to read these specific signals.  And eventually can help to avoid pain, stiffness.  One think we must keep in mind though while practicing, that this Niyama is not finding faults with one self, but understanding why do we have these faults.
To see our external selves, all we have to do is to look in the mirror. But how do we see our inner selves? Yes, through ‘REFLECTION’ technique. They say that YOGA is an experiential science, and one can experience the benefits of YOGA by practicing them.  So enjoy practicing, and get connected to yourself!

YOGA To Stay Connected -  With Yourself

Modern Day Anthem



There's no land so beautiful and idyll as thee,

The Aravallis, the Nilgiris and the mighty Himalayas are thy glory;

Yamuna, Ganga, Narmada and Brahmaputra satisfy your thirst,

Our hearty oblation for you, my Mother comes first;


The Aryans, the Lodhis, the Mughals, the English have ruled thee,

But none was able to capture your spirit, as a falcon it remained free;

Brave sons you had in the Rajputs, the Marathas and the Sultans,

Courageously fighting the enemies in Delhi, Bengal, Lucknow and Multan;


The Buddha, The Mahavira, The Gandhi were all born your son,

Non Violence and brotherhood as weapon, many battles they won;

The Hindus, the Muslims, the Jains, the Christians are all but one,

You embraced with love all your sons and estranged none;


O’ Mother you have given us identity, hope, love and so many,

You are the creator and the preserver of our destiny;

I am proud to be your beloved son and I take a vow,

That i will serve you forever, before you O' Mother I bow ;



Modern Day Anthem

Coming to America

statue of libertyI am Mrs.Suhasini Shrikant  Diskalkar. I came to United States thirty years ago. My husband and I visited US as a tourist in 1978. We booked a vacation package from India and came to see America. My younger sister Archana Kulkarni was a well known physician in Montgomery,AL. She and her husband both were doctors and she invited me to visit US. She promised to process our green card if we liked this country. It was a 2 month long excursion trip. We saw  many  states and all the attractions from the East coast to the West. We were amazed by the land of opportunity. We liked America and asked my sister to start the green card process.

Shrikant worked as a Scientist in the government sector. He was posted in Bhavanagar,Gujarat since the time we got married. I was a convent school teacher in "FATIMA CONVENT"  and used to conduct tuition's after school. We had a lovely and respectful life in India. Salil was 8 years old when we left for US. He stayed with my younger sister in Pune while we visited America.

Our green card got processed very easily and quickly at that time. We all decided to finally move to US. It was a difficult decision to leave our family and a well settled life back. There was a fear of how well things would go in a new country. We were welcomed by my sister and her family in Montgomery,AL. It is surprising how we still live in the same town even after all these years. My sister has three daughters. The oldest one, Manju was Salil's age. And the youngest one, Sona was a baby. My sister moved to the US in the 70's and always complained of not having family to help out. As they were physicians, they had to be on call 24/7. So it was nice for them to have us manage all the kids while they were out on duty. We lived together for 2 years. I was worried about how Salil would adapt to the new life style, but he awed us by how soon he got adjusted to the new ways of life. He was very responsible and focused on studies. Manju often helped him with  projects and guided him in magnet school. Those two years were not easy. The US economy was pitiful and to get a job in a city like Montgomery, AL was very tough. I tried to get a teaching job but was faced with a lot of rejections as I did not have a US degree. I was forced to enroll in college to get a degree at middle age. My husband did not like the dependency factor. It is not easy to stay with somebody for 2 years even if it could be your own family. He got a job in Tuskegee University. He stayed away from us on the campus in the beginning as we did not have a car. I did odd jobs to pay for my college tuition. Salil, my darling boy was very responsible and started working from the age of 14. He saw that his parents were struggling to get their foot in this country. He worked very hard  through out his high school and college.Those were some rough days.

After living with my sister for two years, we moved into an apartment. Salil's Dad  moved back from Auburn and we started a fresh life on our own. I received my degree from University of Alabama. I was not very lucky to find a job in Montgomery,AL. So I took a teaching job in Tuskegee in a Private school. I was the home room teacher and taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade kids. I worked in that school for the next twenty odd years. Shrikant's job and my job was in Tuskegee,AL which is about 35 miles one way from Montgomery,AL. So we would drive together every morning and come back together.

There were very few Indian families in Montgomery at that time.We surely missed our family back in India and not to mention the cultural difference. Specially missed the festive season. All Indian families in Montgomery and nearby town would meet often and celebrate Indian festivals. My brother in law, Prakash Rao Kulkarni who was a Neonatologist, decided to meet once every month. He lead the community into buying a church which we then converted into a temple. We all still go to that temple every other Sunday and sing Bhajans and distribute prasad. Then slowly that group became a Temple group, and we started meeting often.Now there are many more Indian families than before. We celebrate every Hindu festival and sometimes call the priest from Birmingham. Well, my sister and her family moved out of Montgomery, AL in 1990. They are settled in Los Angeles,CA now.

I remember how difficult it used to be to get Indian grocery. We had to drive to the bigger cities nearby like Atlanta or Birmingham to get Indian groceries. Montgomery did not have an Indian store for the longest time. We would try to make our dishes with  what we got in Walmart or Winndixie. We never had ready made Chitale gulab Jamun packets then. So we made GulabJamun and Pedhe with dry Milk powder and ricotta cheese. We would alter recipes to accommodate what we found easily available. Coming from Maharashtra, we like Cilantro (Kothimbir) in every dish. But getting cilantro was a task. We used to consume Indian groceries bought from Atlanta or so very scarcely. Watching Indian movies or Marathi dramas was like a treat at that time. POTLUCK, another American tradition was new to us and I would find it funny. But now we socialize every other weekend and have potlucks. American holidays like Halloween,Thanksgiving, Christmas were also new but we love to celebrate all that with a lot of pride now. Teaching in American schools for so long gave me a very good insight into American history. I am proud to say that I know American history just like I know Indian history.

We bought our first house in 1988. We were very excited. Salil was turning in to a young responsible man and helped us at each and every step. His communication skills were excellent and he used to negotiate in a lot of matter  where people did not understand our accents. Tough times were behind and we had started enjoying life in US.

 I remember how we wanted to go back to India in the initial years. We had a comfortable life style in India and we had to think about spending every penny here. Talking about communication with folks back home,we used to write letters, send greetings,or in case of emergencies, use the phone. It was very expensive to talk on phone then. We used to talk with a high pitch as the lines would not be clear. But just to hear the voice of your near and dear ones, would make us ecstatic.One thing was sure though,that life in America was smooth and progressive There was a tinge of unhappiness that was felt. But  nobody showed it except when we met. Folks talked about it and expressed to each other what they were missing!
Things have changed a lot now. If you arrive in big cities, you are not going to miss any of the Indian culture. Internet has been a blessing too.
My Dad used to say,"Our children are like little birdies,we cannot cut their wings. Let them fly,soar high." I think that new folks who want to settle in foreign countries should perceive their dreams and progress.Culture and ties come automatically.
Everybody has different plans. Some come to stay here long term while some make money and go back to their motherland. Everybody has different perspectives. We should all follow our heart and be happy in what we do.

Busy Bee, another blogger of Indya Unlimited, often writes about things we miss from the India we left.

Have never starched a single piece of cloth in my last 10 years in USA. But I remember getting upset at my dhoban if my school uniform dupatta wasn't starched right. Is it because our American attire just doesn't need starch?...Click here to read the article

Coming to America

Hyderabadi Baataan (Tales of Hyderabad) – Part 2

Read Hyderabadi Baataan - Part 1 here!

Bargaining or haggling on the price is a passionately followed art form in Hyderabad. Your talent is put to test every day, whether you are buying lemons at the local bazaar, or expensive silk sarees in multi-storied, air-conditioned stores. You start at 25% and NEVER EVER go up to more than half of the quoted price. Finally, the shop keeper will seal the deal with an emphatic, “Arrey amma, abbhi aap bolre to detum main. Nahin to itte kam daam me nahi bechte hum logaan”.

One of my favorite weekend outing spots in Hyderabad was the ‘Public Garden’ or the ‘Bagh-E-Aam’. A beautifully designed and maintained garden in the heart of the city was the perfect spot for us kids to run around and the grown-ups to relax on the cool sprawling lawns. The gardens held a big mystery for me for a long time. Why was it called the Bagh-E-Aam when there were no Mango (Aam) trees around? I am sure I gave a massive heart attack to all the Urdu scholars in the city. I can almost hear them screaming - “Kya baigan ke baataan karri tu potti? Kya sochti ki kya ki…Aam boleto khaane ke nai…Aam boleto Public…boleto Aam logaan!!’

Speaking of Aam, summer time brought a variety of sweet mangos to the bazaars– Benishaan, Rasalu, Himayat were some of the popular varieties. While my parents (then recent migrants to the city from Maharashtra) thought that they didn’t stand up to Alphonso mangoes, I begged to differ....”Merku Benishaan ich achcha lagta”. Another peculiar habit of Hyderabadis…or at least of the ones who visited us, was to eat mangoes along with the skin. This was a shock of massive proportions to my mother’s Maharashtrian sensibilities. Till date she hasn’t gotten used to the idea.

Hyderabad has only two seasons – Hot and Hotter. Rains were a rarity. I don’t remember ever needing an umbrella or a rain coat. Or for that matter, ever owning a sweater. Of course, water and electricity shortage were in abundance! But the Hyderabadi spirit was always high….whether you were standing in the line to get water from a tanker or studying in candle light every evening.

We would look forward to the rare occasions when it did rain. The next day would invariably be declared a holiday. “Kya baarish hua miyaan kal…..rodaan pe poora paani bhar gaya na…bachche kaisa jaate eschool? Aur tum sweater kaiku nahi pehne? Thandi nai lagri kyaaa?” The rain would “cool” Hyderabad down to about 25C.

The little rains that we did get though were very powerful and evil! They would turn all the streets into pothole hells. You could hear the following dialogue from pretty much every Hyderabadi for many months afterwards -

“Ye kya baarish hai ki kya ki!  Itte gadde ho gaye sub rodaan pe!!”

“Hau…phir kya…galli me gadde hai ki gaddon me galli…..”

I could go on and on but the clock on the wall is reminding me, “Baataan bahut ho gaye, ab thoda kaam karo miyaan!” Until next time then!

Read Hyderabadi Baataan - Part 1 here!

Hyderabadi Baataan (Tales of Hyderabad) – Part 2

Differences between Jan Lok Bill and first draft proposed by Govt

Issue The Jan Lokpal Bill [3] Government's Lokpal Bill [1]
Prime Minister Can be investigated with permission of seven member Lokpal bench.[16] PM can be investigated by Lokpal after she/he vacates office.[20]
Judiciary Can be investigated, though high level members may be investigated only with permission of a seven member Lokpal bench.[16] Judiciary is exempt and will be covered by a separate "judicial accountability bill".[17]
Conduct of MPs Can be investigated with permission of seven member Lokpal bench.[16] Can be investigated, but their conduct within Parliament, such as voting, cannot be investigated.[17]
Lower bureaucracy All public servants would be included.[17] Only senior officers (Group A) will be covered.[17]
Anti-corruption wing of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) The Anti-corruption wing of the CBI will be merged into the Lokpal.[17] The Anti-corruption wing of the CBI not be merged into the Lokpal.[16]
Removal of Lokpal members and Chair Any person can bring a complaint to the Supreme Court, who can then recommend removal of any member to the President.[16] Any "aggrieved party" can raise a complaint to the President, who will refer the matter to the CJI.[16]
Removal of Lokpal staff and officers Complaints against Lokpal staff will be handled by independent boards set-up in each state, composed of retired bureaucrats, judges, and civil society members.[16] Lokpal will conduct inquiries into its own behavior.[16]
Lokayukta Lokakyukta and other local/state anti-corruption agency would remain in place.[17] All state anti-corruption agencies would be closed and responsibilities taken over by centralized Lokpal.[17]
Whistleblower protection Whistleblowers are protected by Lokpal.[16] No protection granted to whistleblowers by Lokpal.[16]
Punishment for corruption Lokpal can either directly impose penalties, or refer the matter to the courts. Penalties can include removal from office, imprisonment, and recovery of assets from those who benefited from the corruption.[16] Lokpal can only refer matters to the courts, not take any direct punitive actions. Penalties remain equivalent to those in current law.[16]
Investigatory powers Lokpal can obtain wiretaps ( to make a connection to a telegraph or telephone wire in order to obtain information secretly), issue rogatory letters, and recruit investigating officers. Cannot issue contempt orders.[16] Lokpal can issue contempt orders, and has the ability to punish those in contempt. No authority to obtain wiretaps, issue rogatory letters, or recruit investigating officers.[16]
False, frivolous and vexatious complaints Lokpal can issue fines for frivolous complaints (including frivolous complaints against Lokpal itself), with a maximum penalty of Rs 1 lakh.[16] Court system will handle matters of frivolous complaints. Courts can give 2-5 years imprisonment and fines of Rs 25,000 to 2 lakh.[19]
NGOs NGOs not within the scope due to their role in exposing corruption.[18]

NGOs are within the scope and can be investigated.[18]

Source: Wikipedia

Differences between Jan Lok Bill and first draft proposed by Govt

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