Ukulele bonanza and happy faces all around: Learning how to strum the ukulele (a Hawaiian adaptation of a small guitar called machete of Portuguese origin). Some of the seniors showing keen interest and trying to make up their mind about the ukulele with the help of music entrepreneur Rajat Kukreja (in black t-shirt); a few songs and healthy tips by Mrs S Kamat, Reshma Melvani full of smiles; finally relishing wholesome snacks of sprouted mix salad with health drink kasaay (courtesy Directorate of Health Services, Campal) after the eventful excitement of discovering that music is nourishment for heart and soul and Ayurveda education!

By Tara Narayan

MY GOODNESS, seniors are really living it up in Panaji! At the Ukulele Picnic organized at the Melvani Recreation Centre for Senior Citizens the other day (Aug 27, 2019) they were learning to strum this guitar-like instrument called ukulele with on-the-spot guidance by young musician Rajat Kukreja. It was the centre’s monthly social so cake was also cut and other goodies sweet and savory were also shared out after the ukulele session with various seniors singing their favorite songs and recounting stories of what it was like in the old, old days…interesting, everyone listened, including the young like Malaika Kamat (my friends Prakash and Parvez Kamat’s daughter).
Various members had contributed towards the snacks and I must confess I rather liked the pez contributed by Gracy maybe, and the beetroot ladoo made by Mrs Kamat were too good, give recipe? She replied, “Take fresh beetroot, grate, cook in little water, add grated coconut, stir, when dry add sugar, add ghee, stir, when when cooked and soft remove from fire, mix in elaichi powder…make into ladoo shape and enjoy! One of these days I must make beetroot ladoo for Ganesh Chaturthi, so simple and easy.
There was a little pep talk about music being good for the health of the soul, courtesy Rajat of Kadence Experience and in the easiest way he explained the role of music in triggering good factors like neuro chemicals endorphins, dopamins, serotonins and last but not least of oxytocins… “Endorphins make you grow, they’re a runner’s high! Dopamins are for ache din feelings, serotonins make you caring and giving to validate what you do…oxytocins are to do with feelings of love and bonding to be happy forever after. You live longer if you’re happy!” Also more caring, sharing, kinder, more generous…you get the idea. Be happy, make someone happy. All that is a great way to harvest the highs of the good life, real good life, not fake good life, okay.

An Ayurveda-based Prakruti Parikshan Camp for seniors of the Melvani Recreation Centre at Fontainhas: (top to down) Dr Minal Joshi explaining the ABC of the constitution as per Ayurveda to a senior; all smiles with the gift of tonics, hair oil and medicines! Director of Health Services Jose d’Sa happy to create awareness about Ayurveda programmes at primary health centres. One of Dr Joshi’s “girls” awaiting her turn for a consultation and live-wire senior couple Saloni and Suri exchanging notes, they’re the helping couple all around for the cause of achhe din for all seniors young in spirit and not so young!


I must say I enjoy these seniors out temptations at the Fontainhas’ based Melvani Centre for seniors rest and recreations and much, much more. The Prakruti Parikshan Camp which took place on Aug 24 was equally invaluable in more information about what makes one tick constitution wise. Doing the honors was Dr Minal Joshi, Ayurveda doctor par excellence and with wonderful smile, she called all the “girls” to come in one by one so that with the help of a detailed form filled earlier she could tell them what kind of a primary constitution they had in Ayurveda terms — Pitta, Kapha or Vata, mostly it’s a mix of two, and yes, she responded to query, with the years adding up constitution remain the same but some changes may be here which can be taken care of with dietary intake.
She checked my pulse and exclaimed, “You have such a weak pulse! Is your digestion all going hay wire?” I told her it was always in hay wire mode! She smiled, be serious, what I suffer from is probably because of that…but I know that. I’ve been through bypass surgery. So what, she gave me a tonic to improve digestion, “It is tasty, you will like it” and bottles of hair and body oil, and urged me to learn how to give myself Ayurveda massage once a week…it is possible, apply the oil and massage yourself from top to toe, and have hot water bath. Will improve circulation.”
Ayurveda’s bottom line is that it tells you more about your body, it helps to know your body, “All of us have a basic constitution which never changes, there is prakruti (constitution)and vrakruti (state of dis-ease), the idea is always to balance the dosha of kapha, vata and pitta as they are influenced by seasons and dietary changes. So try to know your body!” All of it sounds interesting and I’m determined to meet up with Dr Minal Joshi again just to be treated to her warm smile and sort out what’s bothering my feet these days…and mind. Her comment on my form about my constitution: “Pittapradhan vatanubandhi!”
While she took care of the women, Dr Sameer Sadekar took care of the men and I chatted a bit with Jose D’Sa, (director, Directorate of Health Services) who was present for the inauguration, because the entire camp was courtesy DHS as part of their AYUSH Mission. He was a fund of information. According to Dr Jose d’Sa three hospitals dedicated to Ayurveda healthcare are coming up. Also OPDs in Ayurveda and Homeopathy consultation are already functioning across Goa, these are attached to primary health centers and dispensing medicines. Sixty medical dispensaries are functioning with 30 in rural areas. Anyone may enquire at their nearest Primary Health Centre for consultation and medicines in Ayurveda and Homeopathy.


The idea is to eventually also focus on physical exercise or yoga and preventive health care through dietary changes, people have to be taught to drink and eat in a different way than they are doing presently. About funding, he said AYUSH contributes 60% from Central funds, the remaining 40% comes from the State. It sounds somewhat vague to me but we may look forward to a full-fledged 50-bedded Ayurveda hospital with facilities to accommodate patients in-house as soon as possible…find out more about it if you wish. At the moment one may not avail of a massage at any of the AYUSH facilities attached to primary health centers! Some do conduct yoga classes though I’m told.
Personally, I think the bulk of AYUSH funds are going towards funding research in Ayurveda for cancer cures! Also, purchasing generic medicines to stock ODP dispensaries. The Panaji Primary Health Centre though neither offers classes in yoga nor cafeteria/canteen dispensing nutritious food. Both would be welcome to say the least here, my dears!

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