The Fake Terrorist

Mistrust among the people is growing, as was amply demonstrated in a BEST bus recently. It was about 4:30 pm and the 496 Ltd. had begun its journey from Thane Flyover to Andheri Station. When the bus reached Mulund Check Naka, a passenger noticed an "abandoned" suitcase lying on the front seat. The conductor inquired with the passengers if the suitcase belonged anyone of them. When nobody owned it up, fear began enveloping the passengers.

Soon, everyone was heard discussing what action should be taken. One passenger suggested that the bus be taken to the nearby fire station. Another proposed calling the police. Few passengers even tried to recollect if they had seen the "terrorist" slipping away. Patience was running out and the bus was finally evacuated at the Bhandup Police Chowki stop and the conductor informed the police station. A constable came to investigate but even he refused to take the "risk" of touching the bag.

The "case" was finally solved when a man from the next 496 Ltd. got down and came running to claim the bag. It turned out that he had mistakenly left his suitcase behind as he got off from the bus at the Thane flyover, which was the last stop.

A worthy Successor
Padmashri Padmaja Phenani-Joglekar is a household name amongst music lovers in Maharashtra. Last week, Thaneites had the privilege of listening to some vintage Marathi songs in her inimitable voice. She was at The Gadkari Rangayatan as part of a charity show.

During the show, the compere narrated an interesting anecdote about Padmajaji. Reporters at the New York Airport once asked Lata Mangeshkar which singer in her opinion was fit to be her successor? Lataji replied without hesitation, "There’s only one: Padmaja Phenani".

Recently, at a function in New Delhi, Padmajaji recited a few poems of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The PM was present too. The compere asked Padmajaji if she was nervous and overwhelmed by his presence. Ever humble and witty, she replied that India was indeed lucky to have such a sensitive poet-leader and that his presence and encouragement was re-assuring.

Once she started singing, she closed her eyes, as she usually does, lost in her melody, completely oblivious to her distinguished audience.

Wonder Kid’s Compassion
Amey Gawand’s compassion towards animals is really touching. This physically challenged child from Thane is extremely clever and won numerous competitions. His school friends have nicknamed him "the wonder kid" after Times of India carried a story on him last year with the same title.

When Amey was 6 years old, he created a profound impact on his father. Dr. Gawand, a self-professed, hard-core non-vegetarian, was preparing himself for his regular dish of chicken and meat, when Amey walked up to him and asked him a few straight-from-the-heart questions:

"Dad, can you give life to anybody?" "No", replied his father. "Then what right do you have, to take anyone’s life?"

"Fish, chicken… did they come and trouble you?" "No", said the doctor. "Then why do you trouble them?"

"Dad, I have seen small chicks gather under the hen for protection. This shows that they have a family. Would you like it, if someone troubles your family?" "Of course not, son" replied his father. "Then why do you trouble them?"

"If you really crave eating flesh, try eating tigers and lions. Why do you go after the helpless ones?" Dr. Gawand did not have an answer to this one.

Soon afterwards, he voluntarily left eating non-vegetarian food. His son’s questions had hit him real hard.

A hope for nature lovers
Of its many drawbacks, urbanisation’s toll on environmental balance is perhaps the biggest. But nature-lovers in Thane still have HOPE. Instituted by the Rotary Club of Thane, Here On Project Environment or HOPE, as its popularly known, is an active club of nature loving beings.

Don’t be too surprised if you see people of all ages, enthusiastically planting mangroves near the Kalwa Bridge. HOPE regularly organises such plantations, which go a long way in restoring and maintaining an ecological balance

A club dedicated to the environment, HOPE holds meetings every Saturday, between 7 and 9 in the evening. Environment experts, forest officers and HOPE members talk about their experiences and discuss future projects to deal with pollution, global warming, tiger conservation, illegal forest trade and more. These meetings are open for all and HOPE encourages nature-conscious Thane citizens to attend these meetings.

From time to time, HOPE also organises Nature treks and Workshops to teach new skills such as nature photography and garbage recycling.

The ever-increasing amounts of work in such fields require more dedicated members and HOPE invites collegians, housewives, retirees, and others with some free time to spare to come forth and join the organization. For more information, contact Shyam Ghate at 5422493.

"Good Health for Thane"
Yoga, which is enjoying growing popularity in the western countries, is also gripping Thane-ites. This can be gauged from the success of the Teachers’ course for Yoga conducted by Ghantali Mitra Mandal. This certificate course has initiated thousands of Yoga Teachers around the city since 1971. Young and old, from all walks of life, attend this course and then go on to spread the knowledge elsewhere.

The 10-week covers all the major aspects of Yoga, including history of Yoga, meditation, diet, the various asanas and pranayama etc. The organisation also holds focused programs on obesity, asthma, blood pressure and other stress related health problems.

Based on the tremendous success of these programs, the organization extended them new centres such as Gadkari Rangayatan, Sahyog Mandir and Shiv Malti Sabahgruh. The objective of the organization is to make the course and the programs available to as many people as possible.

Yoga is synonymous with stress reduction, and if practiced regularly, it is a very powerful healing and transformational tool. For those who wish to take the course or attend any of the programs conducted by the organisation, they may contact Ghantali Mitra Mandal at 5361349.

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