The Suriname connection

My neighbour Lizzie from the Czech Republic is a true yoga fanatic ...

By Raksha Chandnani

When I look around today, it amazes me how so many in the world have transitioned to practising yoga daily, committing to an ayurvedic or vegetarian lifestyle, embracing the Hindu and Muslim religions and the taste for Bollywood movies. I learnt more about chakras, meditation and spirituality after getting married and settling down in Barcelona with my husband than I did while growing up. Here, t-shirts with the “Ohm” sign are a novelty, just like agarbatti, chakra bracelets and Ayurvedic teas. Moreover, Ayurvedic practitioners are preferred by many over allopathy and golden-milk lattes often overshadow a Starbucks’ latte. Namaste is a greeting I witness at every spiritual gathering and yatras to India or Bali for yoga are something coveted. Karma is such a common word, that the Catalan public transport actually has placards stating “Viatja Amb Karma” (Travel with Karma) all over their platforms, in order to stop freeloaders from misusing these facilities.

It is beautiful to keep expanding my spiritual knowledge through both Western authors like the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsch and Gabrielle Bernstein (an advocate of Kundalini Yoga and Kirtan Kriya) whilst watching Neo-Indian spiritual advocates like Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and Deepak Chopra on YouTube with my friends from Italy, Ireland, Poland and the USA. I have slowly but steadily realised that what was inherently ours in terms of culture, has now become everyone’s. I distinctly remember a letter my nana wrote me when I landed my first managerial job, stating: “As Indians, our spiritual and religious background can help us achieve our goals greatly, as they help increase our potential and perseverance and with that, our contribution to any society.” My nana was right, our diaspora has so much to contribute besides their entrepreneurial and scholarly skills, tact for languages and willingness to integrate. His words always serve as a beacon for hope, especially when I feel lost.