With the acquittal of the Talwars, new findings in the murder of the murdered Delhi schoolboy, and the astounding reply given by the airlines after their employees mercilessly bashed up a passenger, I’ve firmly come to believe we have a master fiction writer in our country who writes tales stranger than fiction!

“That’s his house!” said a local to me, “And that room right on top is where he writes his stories!”I climbed up the steps of the fiction writer’s fancy home and waited in his living room. I didn’t have long to wait, as the storyteller greeted me with folded hands, “Welcome!” he said, “I’m just doing a piece onNov 8th being Anti-Black Money Day: Bit of a difficult piece though!”

“Who hires you?” I asked curtly.

“Mostly government, quite often the police!” he said, “But they are bad pay masters so I don’t put too much masala into their stories, and within five years or so, the plots crack up!”

“Like the Talwar case?” I asked, and the fiction writer nodded. “Silly plot!” he said, “Took me five minutes to write, but strangely held for a while. Even got them into jail. The inspectormanaged to tell it well in front of the cameras, till this high court judge realized it was mere fiction!”

“But your plots get the wrong people in jail,” I said crossly.

“I’m paid to write stories,” said the writer, “it’s you guys who believe every word I write!”

“That Delhi schoolboy murder was not a nice thing!” I said, “Blaming that poor bus driver!”

“The police came running to me,” laughed the fiction writer, “asked me to cook up a story that would get them off the hook, sort of take the heat off them, and I did just that!”

“And now for this airline you write a rejoinder about the beating up of a passenger?” I asked, “You’ve mentioned that the sacked whistleblower, the person shooting the video was actually egging the employees on to bash the poor man! How can you expect people to believe that?”

“They will!” cried the storywriter chuckling, “I find the public swallow whatever I write. You people have become such fans of my fiction that I don’t have to think too hard about making convincing police, private or government plots anymore; anything is believable! Half the innocent people in jail are there, because of my stories!”

“While the real culprits roam free!” I whispered.

“Like I said, it’s my bread and butter to write!”

“And ours to believe!” I said bitterly as I walked down the steps and out of the house. Outside, I saw  Whatsapp groups and online readers nodding as they believedfictitious stories and fake news, made up by such storywriters for the gullible people of our nation, who have not yet learned to separate fact from fiction..!”

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There’s no automated car wash around where I live, no fancy water jets that spray my car while I sit smiling inside, imagining I’m under the Niagara. All we have are car washers who walk from car to car every morning, and clean the outsides and insides with cloth and water.Have been quite happy with the arrangement till a friend, who sometimes travels with me, pointed to a stain in the cup holder, “Don’t you have someone to wash your car Bob?”

That’s when I vowed to catch the car washer at his job.

I watched next day as he walked to my car, his movements smooth and fluid; in a single gesture, he dipped the already dirty cloth into a bucket of greyish brownwater and continuing the cycle, the cloth came out wet, and was splashed onto the sides of the car. I watched, dirty grimy water trickling down, then the wiping of same water at a speed which would have left my windshield wipers ashamed. In a jiffy, he’d finished my car, moved to my wife’s car, then repeated the same with my daughter’s!

Three cars washed in a few moments. Three cars a little dirtier than before, washed with a filthy rag, with deft, convincing gestures.

I see those same gestures fooling the rest of the world. Even nations that have automatic car washers are fooled by their president’s gestures.

A truck mows down innocents on a cycle track in Manhattan, “We’ll give him the death penalty!” gestures the country’s president.

Corruption is rampant in the Indian sub-continent, “Demonetize!” gestures the prime minister.

Terrorism gets rampant in England, “Brexit!” screams the English Prime Minister.

And fooled people believe their nation is washed clean.

I remember getting into my car, my newly washed car, and my friend looking at the cupholder and his nose wrinkling up.

Noses are wrinkling up today in the world. In the USA people wonder whether the quick twittering gesture their president uses is dirtying their country more than ever before.

In India, reports from financial papers and experts suggest the Indian economy took a nosedive after the car washing demonetization gesture that the prime minister so thoughtlessly made.

In England it’s the same, as the English gestured to move away from Europe and face the crumbling of their already crippled economy as they try to stand alone.

Closer home I see such car washing gestures in social clubs that are supposed to have dental, diabetic and cancer camps for the poor, having them instead, in places where only the rich will benefit.

Empty gestures, futile, useless, pointless, and all in vain!

Terrorists continue attacking.Gunmen continue shooting.Black money continues increasing, and the poor continue dying of diabetes and cancer, as the car washers in suits, skirts and Modi jackets, fool their people with deft, deceptive, defectivegestures..!

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China, has warned world leaders and politicians against meeting the Dalai Lama, saying it would be perceived as a ‘major offence’!

I smiled as I read this headline; I’d seen the Dalai Lama many years ago; a man who’s very personality exuded such peace and tranquility, one came away feeling blessed and sanctified. I’d not seen any Tibetan army around him, no soldiers with machine guns, not seen any sign of bullet proof vest on him; everything around him was about calm and quiet, and then I had watched videos of the Chinese army; marching in brutal formation to scare the living daylights of the viewer. Faces impassive, trying to feign harshness, cruelty and glazed warlike look, jaws jutting in defiance, mouths curled in surly grimace. Ready to take down any foe who stood in their way.

Yet, scared of the strong arm of peace.

The world has seen such muscle in many: Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Jesus, and others who changed the world not with guns but with a smile. Not killing bullets, but tender words. Not temper and angry rhetoric but gentle, soothing utterance.

And always, yes always, it’s the strong arm of peace that’s won in the end!

The men of war, do come back victorious, but are soon sent packing home. Churchill won the war, but four months later, lost an election. So, with others across the world.

We all, I’m sure know Aesop’s fable about the wind and the sun:

The wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveler coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger You begin.”

So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveler. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveler wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveler, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on and took it off!

“You see my friend,” said the sun to the angry wind, “Gentleness works!”

Today I see Mr Windy Trump berating the rest of the world with his missile and machine gun, rousing a rabid Korean pup from his idle barking and building rifts and walls with the Islamic world. The same with China, as its soldiers glare and blow hate on countries that don’t follow its thinking.

Somewhere behind a cloud the sun shines, patient and waiting, hoping to envelop an edgy,oppressed world with peace and harmony!

I remember the Dalai Lama, and will watch as China crumbles finally, under the strong arm of peace..!

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By Yogi Ashwini

Asans are not exercises. They are the gradual process of evolution in the body effectuated under sanidhya of a Guru. They are to be performed gently and with internal awareness. A mantra is codified form of energy in the form of sound and must be channelized by the siddha of the mantra for expanding consciousness. It is through consciousness and heightened awareness achieved through asans and mantras that the body becomes healthy. When the body is healthy, one gets experience of the subtler world and is in bliss all the time.

In this series we have been discussing the asans and beej mantras for the various chakras and how one can activate them and strengthen the corresponding body parts. Last time we discussed the swadhishthan chakra that is present two inches above the mooladhar. Now we move to the Manipoorak chakra.

Manipoorak (Navel Chakra): Located at the point of navel, it controls at the physical level the small and large intestine, liver, spleen, and pancreas. It is largely responsible for the power of digestion. At the pranic level it is the seat of power in a human being. It is from here that the body draws prana when there is depletion, and this is where the body stores prana when there is excess. Its base element is fire. The beej mantra for this chakra is RAM.

Maintaining the awareness of Manipoorak chakra, start with the chant of RAM. Keep the chant deep and slow. Continue with the chant as we graduate into the asans for Manipoorak.

Dhanur Asan (Bow Pose):‘Dhanur’ means ‘bow’ and this asan looks like an archer’s bow when one is in full pose. Gently, maintaining ujjai breath, lie down on your stomach. Bend your knees and hold your ankles. Inhaling pull your legs and thighs up with both your hands while your upper torso is also raised such that it forms an arc. Tilt your chin out and look up. Maintain this posture for as long as you can along with chanting of the beej mantra. Exhaling come down and lie flat once again on your stomach bringing both your hands to the side of the body. The asan must not be practiced in case of people suffering with peptic ulcer, hernia, or cases of thyroid or endocrine gland disorders.

Vyaghra Asan (Tiger Pose): Vyaghra is practiced on all fours. As you exhale, you lower your head and neck towards your chest making an upwards curve with your spine. Simultaneously your right leg also moves inwards with your knee touching your nose. As you inhale, the head and neck move upwards making a downward curve with your spine. Simultaneously your right leg moves upwards forming a downward curve with the sole of the foot facing the sky. This is one set. Repeat this seven times. Once through, do the same with the left leg. Throughout the asan, maintain awareness of Manipoorak chakra and the chant of RAM.

Ushtra Asan (Camel Pose): ‘Ushtra’ refers to ‘camel’. This asan when done resembles the neck of a camel. Sit in vajrasan. Gently raise your buttocks off the floor and stand up on your knees. Inhaling, gently lean backwards, reaching for the right heel with the right hand and then left heel with left hand. DO NOT STRAIN.  Push the abdomen outwards, keeping the thighs vertical and bending the head and spine backwards. Keep breathing in ujjai and hold for as long as you can with the chanting of RAM and then come back.

Those who find this difficult, can begin with Ardha Ushtra Asan. In this, sit in vajrasan. Gently raise your buttocks off the floor and stand on your knees. Twist to the right and with right palm reach out for the right heel. Simultaneously raise the left arm in front of the head such that the hand is at forehead level. Keep breathing in ujjai and chanting RAM, hold for as long as you can and then come back. Repeat on other side.

This asan must not be practiced by people with severe back ailments. Those suffering from enlarged thyroid should also be careful.

In the next article, we will discuss the properties, asans and mantras for Anahad and Vishuddhi chakras. It is advised that you visit your nearest Dhyan Foundation center to learn the correct way to practice asans.  The effect of all these asans becomes manifold when practiced under the guidance of your Guru who channelises energy into each asan.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at www.dhyanfoundation .com.

Subramanian G, a resident of Bangalore who had recently visited the islands as a tourist wrote a letter to the LG volunteering to serve in any capacity he can. Subramanian also suggested improvements that can be made for the benefit of tourists visiting the islands. A copy of the letter was shared with Andaman Chronicle.

Subramanian noticed a general lack of co-ordination in the four activities that happen in North Bay - snorkeling, scuba diving, speed boating and sea walk. To begin with the time allotted by boat owners for a visit to North Bay is just two hours. Upon landing at North Bay, Subramanian discovered that the four activities he had already paid for at Rajiv Gandhi jetty were being handled by four different private companies.  The shacks being managed by these private companies were not well marked and it took Subramanian 15 minutes to figure out where he was supposed to go. There was no one to facilitate coordination or respond to tourist queries.

After 15 minutes had lapsed, Subramanian realized that there would not be sufficient time to do the four activities that he paid close to Rs.10,000 for. Furthermore Subramanian found that the four activities were overbooked and there was some confusion about securing slots. Since the tickets for these activities are not sold at North Bay but are sold at Rajiv Gandhi jetty, it was only in Port Blair that Subramanian managed to get a refund on the activities he had missed out on. Subramanian mentioned that he had to plead his case for a refund because the tour operators were skeptical that he had skipped an activity due to lack of interest rather than lack of time.

A few small adjustments could improve the tourist experience at North Bay vastly. To begin with tour operators should sell activities only at the venue i.e. North bay rather than at Port Blair. It seems unfair to charge tourists for an activity in advance, when they have no criteria to evaluate whether they would like to participate in an activity in the manner in which it is being offered. Moreover tourists would then only pay for those activities they actually participate in rather than those activities they hope to participate in, avoiding the rigmarole of cancellations and reservations. Furthermore better sign boards, markers, informational pamphlets and if possible a coordinator or an information booth of some sort will help tourists navigate North Bay much better and make the most of the two hours they spend there.

Subramanian contracted food poisoning on 2nd October and was rushed to the CHS at Rangat at 9 p.m. Despite the fact that it was Gandhi Jayanti and a public holiday, the nurses at the CHS called two doctors who were on leave who promptly showed up. The doctors even agreed to discharge Subramanian at 3 a.m. in the morning on the 4th of October so that he could catch the early morning bust at 9 am at Middle Strait. Subramanian said that the care he had received was far better than any hospital in main land. He concluded his letter by declaring that he can never forget the love and affection he received and that though this was his first hospital admission, it was something "truly worth remembering".