Tag: Health & Well Being

Heal and hearty

Heal and hearty

Every year, at this time of the year, devotees numbering in hundreds of thousands, participate in a procession called Ashadi Ekadashi yatra, which is one of the oldest and also among the single largest processions in the world. Also called the Wari procession, it starts at Alandi and culminates with the darshan of Lord Vithal and Rukmini in Pandharpur on the Ashadhi Ekadashi day, which fell on June 29 this year. The procession lasts for 21 days and covers a distance of about 250 km with devotees walking barefoot through the hilly path.

With a procession of such large magnitude, eventualities of various kinds can be expected, medical contingencies being on the top of the list. To deal with these medical problems, Thane-based NGO Sahayadri Manav Seva Manch (SMSM) has been organising medical camps for the benefit of the devotees. 20 km after traversing the Ghats, when the procession reaches a place called Saswad on June 14, about two dozen selfless volunteers from SMSM greet them. This year too, a team of seven city doctors and 15 para-medicos conducted a free medical camp, from 9 am to 6 pm, which included free medical check up and free medicine. The procession spent around 24 to 36 hours at Saswad and during this time, SMSM volunteers examined and treated close to 3,000 patients. "As usual, most of the complaints were due to over-exertion, exhaustion, dehydration, malnutrition and so on. Some cases required minor surgeries too, which were performed by qualified surgeons," says Avinash Korde from SMSM.

Once again on June 22, the volunteers left Thane for Pandharpur, to hold camps at various sites along the path of the procession. For four days, the team of doctors and para-medicos from SMSM treated patients and distributed free medicine to those who required them, making the devotional expedition of thousands of people free of discomfort. In lieu of fees, the volunteers happily accepted the blessings of the devotees.

Work is worship
While lakhs of people were marching towards Pandharpur, little devotees from Saraswati Mandir Trust’s Pre-Primary School at Naupada took out their own little procession outside the school. Two children, a girl and a boy, were dressed up as Vithal and Rakhumabai, and the remaining students (numbering approximately 400) formed a procession similar to the one in Pandhardpur, and danced and sang praises of Lord Vithal as they marched towards the school.

The school dedicated the day to Lord Vithoba as teachers explained to the tots from junior and senior KG, the significance and historical perspective of Ashadi Ekadashi and why it is celebrated. The children learnt how Vithal, fondly called Vithoba, accompanied by his wife Rakhumabai, has been worshipped for centuries throughout Maharashtra, and why great saints like Tukaram, Mirabai and Janabai worshipped Lord Vithal. The children learnt important lessons from the stories narrated to them. For instance, from the story of Saint-Poet Tukaram, who was Lord Vithal’s devotee, and believed that work is worship, the children learnt that worshiping God does not mean leaving all worldly duties and heading off to the Himalayas – it means doing whatever you do, with love and complete concentration.

Spreading the Wisdom of Yoga

Spreading the Wisdom of Yoga

Ghantali Mitra Mandal (GMM) is known for helping people relax through Yoga. On January 26 however, the GMM members and their friends, families and associates found themselves relaxing. And causing them to relax was 72-year-old veteran TV anchor-cum-writer Mohini Nimkar. Nimkar, who is remembered for her long career as an anchor with Doordarshan from 1973 to 1993, was invited by GMM to stage her solo-act play Hasya Dindi, a light Marathi comedy that everyone present thoroughly enjoyed. "What a nice, relaxed evening. The play helped us forget all our worries," was sentiment echoed by the many who attended, among them prominent Thaneites.

The occasion was the celebration of the foundation day of GMM. 39 years ago, on January 26, 1965, Yogacharya Shri Krishna Vyavhare set up the Ghantali Mitra Mandal, a non-profit institute, with the sole objective of creating awareness about the benefits of Yoga Sadhana.

GMM has certainly come a long way since it humble beginning when Vyavahare Guruji, without neither money nor resources, decided to impart Yoga training. The task seemed uphill. But he was empowered with the knowledge he had gained under the guidance of Yogacharya Kaba Sahasrabudhe. So, much against the wishes of his wife, he sold his home furniture and began his first Yoga classes at home. Today, the institute has established itself firmly in the field of Yoga training. It has played an important role in promoting awareness and inculcating practise of Yoga among hundreds of Thane residents. Every morning, from 6 to 7 am, classes for a government recognised one-year comprehensive training course are held. Its teachers’ course for Yoga has initiated thousands of Yoga Teachers in and around the city since 1971.  

In 1988 GMM found a permanent place for its operations at the Sahyog Mandir. Since then it has become even more active in spreading the ancient knowledge of Yoga through workshops and seminars. Focused programmes for obesity, asthma, blood pressure mentally challenged children, senior citizens and other stress related health problems are regularly held. About 200 odd volunteers and 50 teachers attached to GMM conduct various short and long courses throughout the year at various places in Thane and also in Ghatkopar where GMM has a centre. 16 permanent members of the management work with dedication so that the benefits of Yoga reach out to as many people as possible.

Sujata Bhide, who is the secretary of GMM and also the editor of their publishing division, says, "We regularly organise Yoga camps to teach Mantra Sadhana, Swara Yoga (music therapy through Yoga) and other techniques. Our aim is to set up a research centre for the benefit of Thane residents."

GMM also has a culture division which Culture Division which organises cultural programmes to spread the knowledge of the Upanishads, karma yoga and so on. Their children’s division teaches how to use Yoga to improve memory and to develop a well-rounded personality.

Worldwide, Yoga has become synonymous with stress reduction and healing. But it’s expensive to learn this ancient wisdom in countries like the US.   Thanks to institutes like GMM, you need not worry about going bankrupt if you wish to learn Yoga. Simply call 25361349.

Eyesore!

Eyesore!

It is a known fact that computers are the number one cause of eyestrain. But why only eyestrain, computers have been guilty of various other health issues. Over a period of time, excessive computer use can have cumulative negative effects on the user including the worsening of eyesight, astigmatism, eye-focusing disorders and poor eye coordination. In addition, constant working from a set position can cause neck and shoulder stiffness, as well as stress headaches, which can then cause pain in the jaw.

Some studies estimate that 90 per cent of all individuals using computers for more than 3 hours per day experience Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) in some form.

But it is also a fact that these hi-tech processing machines have become indispensable. So, given that we cannot escape computers, we must learn to live with them. And helping residents of Thane city in this learning process is the Ghantali Mitra Mandal (GMM), a city-based group that organises workshops and seminars for the benefit of the residents. GMM also runs a yoga institute. Under the guidance of Yogacharya ShriKrishna Vyavahare, the GMM Yoga Institute recently conducted a two-week long workshop on CVS.
Sujata Bhide, one of the guides in the programme says, "In just two weeks, the participants showed such a marked improvement in their quality of vision. Blurriness and strain had reduced – so had headaches and backaches." The measure of success was based on the assessment by two city-based ophthalmologists, Dr. Vavikar and Dr. Gadgil, who examined the participants both before and after the workshop.

The response was so good that it prompted GMM to organise another episode of the workshop which began on July 14, earlier this week. At the workshop, five guides Dr. Ulka Natu, Sujata Bhide, Vidya Kunte, Sunanda Joshi and Arvind Bhave coach the participants in the yoga methods including meditation techniques that directly address the specific problems associated with computer fatigue.

"Computing is not about computers any more. It is about living," claims Nicholas Negroponte, Professor of Media Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in USA. The professor should know – after all, he lives with these machines.

Fact File
Here are a few tips from experts that may help you reduce computer-related fatigue:

  • Set up your computer correctly. The proper viewing distance is 20-24 inches. The correct viewing angle is 10 to 20 degrees from the mid-screen to the top of the screen.
  • Use a good monitor – usually the higher the resolution, the better.
  • Do eye exercises every 30 minutes.
  • Use proper posture – a straight upper back with feet flat on the ground.
  • Ensure appropriate illumination. The room should not be more than three times brighter than the screen.
  • Adjust screen brightness and contrast properly.
  • Keep your wrists relatively straight while typing. Wrist support pads can be very helpful. Support your elbows too, to prevent shoulder tension.
  • And finally, take frequent five-minute breaks to stretch your back, neck, hands and legs.
Call of Duty

Call of Duty

The Ashadi Ekadeshi yatra is one of the oldest and perhaps the single largest annual processions in the world. Also called the Wari procession, it starts at Alandi and culminates with the darshan of Lord Vithal Rukmini in Pandharpur on the Ashadhi Ekadashi day. The procession covers a distance of about 250 km with hundreds of thousands of devotees walking barefoot through the hilly path. The procession tests the endurance of the participants who march towards Pandharpur for 21 days. This year the procession began on June 20 and will reach Pandharpur on July 10, 2003.

21 days and 250 km on foot is not an easy task. Various kinds of hurdles can be expected, medical problems being the most likely of them. Fortunately for the devotees, social organisations like the Sahayadri Manav Seva Manch, a trust from Thane, reach out to assist them in their excursion.

20 km after crossing the Ghats, when the procession reaches a place called Saswad, a team of about 22 selfless individuals from Sahayadri Manav Seva Manch greets them. The team, which includes seven city doctors and 10 para-medicos, conduct a free medical camp which begins at 9 am and wind up at 6 pm. The procession spends about two days at Saswad and the noble volunteers from Thane examine and treat close to 3,000 patients. Most of the complaints are due to over-exertion, exhaustion, dehydration and so on. Minor injuries are also not uncommon.

Come July 5, 2003, and a busload of medicines, equipment, doctors and volunteers will once again pack off for Pandharpur. This time they will hold camps at various spots across the path and spend four days treating devotees to ensure that their journey is hassle-free and enjoyable.

Sahayadri Manav Seva Manch is a Thane-based trust that comprises of city doctors who are socially inclined with a desire to help the underprivileged. Registered with Charity Commissioner in 1994 under the trust act, the trust depends entirely on donations from individuals, institutions and certain pharmaceutical companies.

Though provision of health care facilities to the deprived and underprivileged happens to be the main thrust of the trust, it also undertakes synergistic activities like organising seminars and lectures on health and hygiene, drug awareness, prohibition and the like. It undertakes distribution of free books and uniforms to the Adivasi school children. Last year, it organised a medical camp for auto-rickshaw drivers at Thane Station.

One really commendable activity of the trust is the way they have medically adopted a remote village called Devbandh in Mokhada Taluka in Thane District. Surrounded by forest and hills, this secluded area has hardly any basic facilities to speak of, leave alone medical provisions. Every second Sunday of the month, a team of doctors and other volunteers from the trust, visit the village, carrying with them medicines and equipment that are needed for therapy. They examine and treat anywhere between 300 to 400 hundred patients and also provide them free-of-cost medicine.

"He who requires urging to do a noble act will never accomplish it," said Kahlil Gibran. NGOs like Sahayadri Manav Seva Manch do not require any urging – they engage in noble deeds voluntarily.

Infusing Discipline and Courage
The Jidnyasa Trust has been organising an annual "Military Training Programme" in the city for the last nine years. Held under the guidance of Major (Retd.) Subhash Gawand the programme is open to students of class XI, VII and VIII. The purpose of the training is to inculcate the highest sense of discipline among its participants. It also aids improving general behaviour, develops stamina & achieves overall growth of young students.

One of the objectives of this training is to prepare its students for the competitive entrance tests such as National Defence Academy (NDA). Students will be trained in Military Parade, Air-Rifle shooting, Self-defence, Mountaineering, First-Aid, Civil-Defence and Aero-Modelling. Important skills such as Group discussions & Public speaking are also on the agenda.

This year, the training is being organised in association with P.E. Society’s English School and training sessions will be held in the school premises.

The minimum weight of applicants should be 30 kg while they should be at least 135 cm tall. The training sessions will be held on every Sunday morning 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. from 29th June 2003 to March 2004.
 
Readers may contact Maj. (Retd.) Subhash Gawand, Trustee of Jidnyasa Turst, Thane, at P. E. Society’s English School, Mithbunder Road, Thane (E) between 7.00 a.m. on Sunday from 6 July 2003.

Thane Police Get Tips on Eating Right

Thane Police Get Tips on Eating Right

The lifestyle of a police officer is hardly enviable. Police work, by its very nature, is extremely stressful and requires enormous amounts of restraint. Abnormal duty hours make it difficult for a policeman to stick to the right eating schedule. Often, their work requires them to hang about at isolated locations for extended periods, making it difficult to get hold of proper food. All this coupled with the stressful occupation in which the policeman is involved means that health is invariably neglected.

It is this very concern that prompted Suprakash Chakrvarty, the City Police Commissioner, to suggest to The Rotary Club of Thane to organise a workshop on healthy dietary habits for the police force. On Monday, June 23, 2003, about 100 police officers of the rank of PSI and above from the 25-odd police stations of Thane, attended the workshop conducted by Dietician Kinit Hazare. The workshop took place the office of the Commissioner of Police and the attendees included Police Commissioner himself and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Dhivre.

Hazare provided valuable nutritional insights to the police officers. She began by inquiring about their eating habits and pointed out the erroneous patterns that many seemed to follow. One factor that was common most policemen was that when faced with odd hours of duty at secluded locations, they all fed themselves with whatever junk food that they could lay their hands on. She emphasised the importance of avoiding junk food as they were nutritionally empty. Never mind the taste buds, the fact remains that junk food causes more harm than good.

Hazare urged the police officers to eat at least one fruit everyday, especially in the evenings. She also underlined the importance of breakfast as an essential part of their routine.

She advised the addressees not to consume non-vegetarian food at night as it takes longer to digest. Her clear preference was green vegetables. She strongly recommended a balanced diet comprising of all the kinds of nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and so on.

A Q&A session followed the lecture by Hazare. Initially, there were no questions, perhaps because of the hesitancy factor. But not willing to let such an opportunity go by, our commissioner fired the first question. He jokingly said, "You are asking us to give up the good things in life? How will we live without them?" His question played the role of the ice-breaker and a barrage of questions then followed, each answered adeptly.

In this world of instant gratification and over indulgence we tend lose sight of the fact that "we are what we eat". When we eat the wrong foods, our bodies bear the brunt. Food is the fuel that keeps our engines running. And police officers ought to pay more attention to their eating habits. That’s because, although maintaining good health is important for everyone, it is even more so for those serving in the police force. They are expected to be alert, agile and stronger than the rest of us. After all they are the protectors of the society and they just cannot afford to take their own health lightly.

Reality Check

Reality Check

Dr Rajan Bhonsle is a renowned counsellor and motivator.

Manoj Khatri: How should students deal with stress in the run up to the board results and after that?
Rajan Bhonsle: The root cause of stress is "expectations". Invariably all children know well enough, how they have performed in the exams. If they keep their expectations realistic and proportionate to their performance, there will not be any surprises. Very often, in spite of knowing about how they have written their papers, children lie to parents about their performance. This happens mainly due to fear of parental reaction. As results come closer, they are filled with fear and dread being exposed. While this is happening, deep down they know quite well what the result is likely to be. Fear of parental reaction comes out of the previous experiences with parents. If the parents have been reacting harshly, children tend to postpone revealing the truth. If children want to eliminate the stress, they should have a free and frank interaction with their parents, about how they have done their papers much before the results. This will help the entire family to have realistic expectations. And when one has realistic expectations, then one is not distressed at the time of results.

Manoj Khatri: How critical is the role of parents in helping students cope with their results?
Rajan Bhonsle: Parents’ role is crucial. Parental reaction to results matters the ‘most’ to all children. If the child has taken genuine efforts and studied to the best of his/her ability, that itself should satisfy the parents. And it is necessary for them to convey this to their child in no uncertain terms, that they are happy with his/her efforts, and that the result is not going to matter much. Even in those cases, where the parents are not happy with the efforts taken by their child, they need not wait to react till after the results. They can very prudently convey their observation to the child and make it clear that they are not expecting any surprises in the result. This will eliminate stress at the 11th hour.

Manoj Khatri: How should students react to obvious comparisons with their friends who have done better than them?
Rajan Bhonsle: Students need to learn to accept and appreciate that their friend/friends have done better in academics than them and remember that academic excellence is not everything. SSC exams probably test their memory, writing skills and their understanding of subjects such as science, maths, history, geography etc. However, there are many more aspects to one’s personality that are not tested during the SSC exams. One may have the ability of artistic and creative expression, sporting skills, athletic efficacy, physical stamina, business sense, leadership qualities, social skills, capacity to love, high emotional quotient, and competence in areas such as elocution, acting, music, poetry etc. Respecting and accepting that each individual is unique eliminates many interpersonal and intrapersonal problems. Feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, superiority / inferiority complexes are all a result of not acknowledging the fact that each person in endowed with uniquely different qualities. While respecting the academic ability of their friend, they should respect the unique ability and talent that they are gifted with and proceed with careers where they can prove their worth.

Manoj Khatri: What would be your advice to students who are disappointed with their performance and feel like it’s the end of all hopes for a bright career?
Rajan Bhonsle: There are innumerble career options for every child. If you keep your choice narrow, there are more chances of disappointment. If you give yourself a wide range of choices and options, there will not be any disappointments. In every profession/career there are successful people and unsuccessful people. It is not the career that determines your fate, but it is your well utilized talent, genuine efforts in the right direction, perseverance, and a realistic foresight that leads you to success in ‘any’ career.

Manoj Khatri: Finally, irrespective of their grades, what is the best way for students to go about selecting their career paths?
Rajan Bhonsle: Students should expose themselves to people from different careers, engaging in discussions with them to understand the realities of that particular career, the path required to establish oneself in that career, the financial involvement, the current scene regarding the career, the growth potential, the time frame to establish oneself in it, the estimated financial returns, lifestyle accompanying that career and other similar issues. Such discussions with people currently engaged in that career will give them a realistic view. Such endeavours could be undertaken by schools & social organizations, by inviting people from different professions for detailed interaction with students. If institutes do not undertake such ventures, parents can arrange for their child to meet up with different people for such interactions.

Reality check for Students

  • Have "realistic" expectations from your results.
  • Results in SSC exam tests only a small area of your whole personality. So don’t judge your worth with your marks.
  • Don’t compare yourself with anyone. You are ‘unique’.
  • Keep a wide range of career options open and don’t harp on only one choice.
  • Be frank with your parents.

Reality check for Parents

  • Love your child unconditionally for who he is and not by what he has scored in the exam.
  • Strictly avoid comparisons, as each child is ‘unique’.
  • Appreciate his/her efforts and not the outcome (results).
  • Acknowledge the other qualities & talents of your child and encourage them.
  • Create a safe family atmosphere of free & frank communication for your child.
  • Do not ‘impose’ any career option on your child.

Sweeping Changes

Sweeping Changes

Mahatma Gandhi would have been rather pleased with the way Thaneites observed his death anniversary last week. On January 30, 2003, which is also observed as Martyr’s day, 600 students from 10 city-based schools paid homage to the freedom fighters and other martyrs in a novel way – they toiled in the hot sun to clean the garden area surrounding the Upvan Lake.

The students were participating in what was called the Shram-Sanskar Shibir (or work-philosophy camp, organised by the Jidnyasa Trust in association Srimati Savitridevi Thirani School. The programme was aimed at inculcating the habit of cleanliness among all. From 9 am in the morning, the students began to clean and painstakingly picked the scattered junk thrown by insensitive citizens. At 11 a.m. the students gathered to pay respects to the martyrs. Afterwards, each student took an oath that they will "conserve nature, protect the environment and keep the surroundings clean." Surendra Dighe, the head of Jidnyasa, reveals that the oath is actually a reminder of what the Indian Constitution has laid out – that it is the responsibility of every citizen to keep his surroundings clean.

Earlier, the teachers accompanying the students as well as the several VIPs, who attended the programme, set an example by venturing into the lake and getting rid of the floating litter. Dighe said, "Thankfully, the lake was not as bad as last year. So it did not take much effort to clean it."

Thane’s Deputy Mayor Subhash Kale who presided as chief guest, praised the students no end for their effort. He emphasised the importance of cleanliness saying, "It is our duty to keep our neighbourhood and our city as clean as we keep ourselves and our respective homes".

Most of us will agree with what Kale said. Unfortunately, as a society, our sense of cleanliness is indeed lopsided. Indians certainly believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness. So we keep maintain cleanliness in temples and other places of worship. We take extra care to keep these places free from dirt. We leave our footwear outside. Bathing (cleaning of self) is also an equally important part of Indian culture. Yet, when it comes to our civic sense, all these virtues are forgotten. Most of us litter on the roads without ever thinking twice. Spitting in public is another common phenomenon. This is not just a civic problem – it is a common social ailment – something that must be eradicated, if only to maintain our own health. Hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness ought to be given much more importance than is being given today – both by the government as well as the community at large. Strangely, it takes epidemics such as plague to shake up the mindset of the people in our country. Sadly, even that is soon forgotten.  

By cleaning the Upvan area, the 600 students have reminded us that it is our collective responsibility to keep our neighbourhoods and our cities clean. I think its time for a sweeping change (pun intended). Let us all emulate the 600 students by taking an oath to conserve nature, protect the environment and maintain cleanliness all around. After all, even our constitution demands it!

Freedom from Stress

Freedom from Stress

A recent survey showed that 70-90% of us feel stressed at work and outside. Today’s fast paced lifestyle is putting a toll on us. Unless we learn to manage stress, we will get sick. Stress and tension impact our entire being; our body, mind, and spirit.

But popping pills is hardly the solution. Ours is a chemically dependent society, perpetually drugging itself to relieve stress. What we fail to realise that painkillers, anti-depressants and other substances may provide temporary respite, but only at the cost of causing long-term, sometimes irreversible, damage to our physical and mental selves.

There is a safer remedy for our overmedicated, overstressed society: Yoga. We can overcome the effects of stress and manage them by utilizing the beneficial breathing techniques and postures that yoga provides. These techniques can not only alleviate the problems we encounter daily, but can revitalize and nourish the mind, body, and spirit over a prolonged period of time, enabling all of us to have long and healthy lives. The popularity of Yoga can be assessed from its followers who range from world renowned physicians to Hollywood superstars. Clearly, interest in yoga is surging throughout the world.

Now, overstressed individuals in Thane too have an opportunity to free themselves from the constant worries and anxieties accompanying them. Thane based Gogate’s Personality Development Center is introducing a one-month stress management programme for working executives. From September 01, 2002, Rashmi Bapat, a qualified Yoga teacher, will conduct early morning sessions on Yoga.

Bapat, who has a Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga & Naturopathy from Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation (Bangalore) explains, "Yoga is a proven and powerful transformative practice that integrates body, mind and spirit. Participants will learn yoga asanas, pranayam breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation techniques."

Each morning session will last approximately ninety minutes and will address the issues of stress. In the first half, the participants will be taught the physiology of stress and its management with yoga. The second half will comprise of a lecture on diet and relaxation. The session will conclude with half an hour dedicated to personal counseling to address individual needs. This last part is worthy of note as each individual has a unique physical and mental constitution. Therefore a generalised course may leave finer aspects of an individual’s problem unattended. To enable this personal attention, a maximum of eight persons will be allowed per batch.

Vasant Gogate, the founder of the center, is himself an avid student of Yoga. Having learnt about the benefits of Yoga early in his life, he wants to make this ancient wisdom available to the residents of this city. His programme is specially designed for the modern day executive who deals with various forms of social and personal pressures which in turn causes his/her health to deteriorate.

Blood pressure, cardiac problems and depression are some of the common derivatives of stress. So if you suffer from stress or simply want to give a new lease of life to your self, you may want to consider participating in this programme.

To enroll in the Stress Management Programme, you may contact Vasant Gogate on Tel. nos. 5400859, 5383486

At a glance – Benefits of Yoga

  • Physical: Through healing, strengthening, stretching and relaxing the skeletal, muscular, digestive, cardio-vascular, glandular and nervous systems.
  • Mental: Through the cultivation of a quite and a peaceful mind, alertness and concentration
  • Spiritual: Through a heightened awareness of self; helps in meditation
Home Service

Home Service

Revathi Gogate’s circulating library is unlike any other. Instead of members visiting the library, books are sent to them. This is how it works: Each week members are allowed to borrow two books. Members choose the time and day of the week that is most suited to them. A library representative visits the member’s house at the designated time with a few books based on member’s preferences.

What started out as an experimental endeavour is turning out to be a successful venture. Revati Gogate is a booklover who owned a personal collection of around two hundred books. Just like any genuine booklover, she had an urge to share her wealth with others. This urge took the form of the library with home service. The library is a not-for-profit venture organized for the purpose of cultivating a closer relationship between Marathi literature and booklovers in Thane. Today, in less than a year, the library has a collection of four hundred books which is growing at a rapid pace. The collection includes novels, storybooks, biographies and books by celebrated Marathi writers like P L Deshpande, Gauri Deshpande, Jaywant Dalvi, and Venkatesh Madgulkar. Books are regularly added on the suggestion of readers.

When asked why she chose to offer books at home, Gogate replied, "Members of circulating libraries often find that the books they are looking for are not available, making their trips to the library unproductive. The service we provide eliminates this aspect completely. Besides, once we know the type of books a certain member is interested in, we recommend good books to them." Old men and women find this service especially useful as they are spared the visit that many of them find cumbersome.

But circulating books is not the end of the agenda. To start with, the library has organised a gathering of members on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 in Sahyog Mandir at 5 pm. Vidya Bal, social worker & editor of Miloon Saryajani, a Pune based women’s monthly, will preside over the function. Members have been encouraged to bring along their friends and acquaintances who share their love of books. The event is open to all and lovers of Marathi literature can call Revati Gogate on 5447918 or 5400859 for more details.

Next on cards is a Reader’ Forum. This forum will attempt to bring together avid readers on a common platform so that they can plan and organise regular activities that will benefit the community and also spread the love of literature.

Spitting Disorder
"Cleanliness is next to Godliness" is a wise saying that is advocated by almost all religions. But unfortunately it is rarely put into practice.

As he was walking on the streets of this city last week, this writer had a disgusting experience. No sooner than he stepped out of the station that a dignified looking man spit out in front of him, almost nonchalantly. Two steps forward and another man repeated the same "spitting" behaviour. The two gentlemen did not even apologise. Is something wrong with our sense of hygiene and cleanliness?

Lack of sufficient laws make it extremely difficult to control the spitting syndrome among the insensitive citizens. Unfortunately, it takes something as dreaded a plague to wake up our sleeping administrators. When plague hit Gujarat, the world threatened to cut all ties with India. Suddenly awareness drives were seen all over the country urging citizens not to spit in public. But now that the threat is over, things are back to normal. People spit everywhere – bus stops/stations, beaches, parks, cinema halls, inside buses, outside temples and inside hospitals! One favourite spot for habitual spitters is the staircase. Invariably every staircase is decorated with red colour stains of pan. Several societies have come up with an interesting way to deal with this problem. They have put up picture of deities so that the god fearing individuals will refrain from the unhealthy practice.

The TMC regularly fines people who spit in public and collects an estimated Rs. 3-4 lacs every year. But it is virtually impossible to catch every defaulter. The only way out is to create awareness about the importance of cleanliness on a regular basis, which sadly is not happening.

Here’s an appeal to all readers in Thane: Never spit in a public place. The human saliva has a lot of micro organisms and spitting in the open makes other people vulnerable to infections caused by these micro organisms. If you have to spit, do so in a washbasin and run enough water after that so that all harmful organisms are washed away. Let us always keep our city clean.

Humane Project

Humane Project

Money donation for good causes is a great thing to do. But donating blood to save precious lives is perhaps the noblest of all donations.

For those who are wary of blood donation for the fear of contracting undesirable diseases, please note that improvements to the blood collection process have made giving blood today safer than ever. In addition to the mini medical examination, which makes sure donors are healthy, a new needle is used for each blood donation, and once it is used, the needle is destroyed.

In fact, studies suggest that blood donation is a healthy practice as each donor passes through the mini medical test – there have been cases when high blood pressure among certain individuals has been discovered during the process of blood donation. Preliminary studies have also found that heart attacks and other cardiac problems were less common in men who had donated blood compared to men who had not.

Now that you are aware of the rewards that accompany blood donation, you may want to make your self available for this noble deed. Fortunately, the Rotaract Club of Thane East (RCTE) has pioneered a project called "Lifeline" – an enduring blood donation drive for the benefit of the poor and the needy. The RCTE has committed itself to help those in dire need of blood and cannot afford to pay massive sums that are needed to buy blood.

Manish Kotwani, member of RCTE says, "We have tied up with Pooja Blood Bank in Mulund, wherein we deposit the bottles on an ongoing basis and these bottles would be mobilized to help the poor & needy on a 24/7 basis. In this endeavor, we would be able to serve the community better if we are able to get help from responsible citizens."

So if you or any of your friends are interested in donating blood, please contact Manish Kotwani on 540 1004 or email thane-east@rotaract.org

Trunk Call
Kahlil Gibran, one of the greatest poet-philosophers humankind has seen, wrote "Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky. We fell them and turn them into paper, so that we may record our emptiness".

Nature lovers in Thane would be happy to know that Thane Municipal Corporation has taken up a tree counting and surveying drive in Thane city. Along with M/s Environment and Biotechnology Foundation, the TMC has already surveyed eighty thousand trees over ten wards.

Commenced on March 15, 2001, this massive crusade aims to collect detailed information about the city’s trees so that they can protect endangered species, improve the quality of others and weed out degenerating ones.

The survey will collect information based on several interesting parameters. Class, species, genus etc. will provide botanical information. The survey will also determine the age of the tree using a scientific approach. In fact, this campaign has helped find trees that are as old as one hundred fifty years. Other parameters of information such as height, area of growth (forest, road, private property, lake etc.) and medicinal quality would also be recorded. Areas that have potential for tree plantation would be noted too. Students of Botany would benefit greatly from this kind of data.

But perhaps the most important information that this campaign would provide will be that of the optimum number of trees required for tackling the grand problem of pollution. The authorities plan to use this vital information to create and enforce laws on tree-destruction.

The project is expected to get over in June 2002.