…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menotra (men-oh-tra); the yatra you have during the meno years

Continuing the report on a short but hectic Himalayan trip. 

On the afternoon of our first full day (which was October 1st), we traipsed over to the CORD compound.  It is along a semi-sealed, single lane road and involves going into a dip and out again.  Your correspondent was finding that a wee part difficult given the state of the joints, but it turned out to be well worth the effort - for two reasons.

Whilst Emm and Go-go were given the full grand tour of the facilities, I was able to sit and enjoy the peace and serene energy of the place.  Then I got a surprise and a blessing all rolled into one.  Dr Kshama Metre, the driving force of it all, personally ensured that I received some heat  treatment in their physiotherapy department.  For half an hour I simply lay and let the body absorb the heat and thought about the vision of the place.  Since that treatment, the whole pelvic, sacral and lumbar areas have been freer and looser and walking has improved by some 50%!  I knew myself that this is what I needed, but had not at all expected to obtain it this way or in this place.  I was immensely grateful for the relief.

Another thing was that I found the very special items that I wanted to treat myself to as souvenirs.  That it was also to directly benefit wards of a CORD project was a bonus.  Three pieces of artwork which will eventually adorn the wall of my living room in Scotland.  Classic Indian painting by hearing and voice impaired young men. (I packed and forgot to photograph them to show you - but this is the style…)
It is just one of the many projects overseen by CORD.  I cannot at all do justice to explaining it to you.  Do please take the opportunity to look at the great website.  You will find very real, very active empowerment and health programs.

To give an insight I copy this from the website;

"Chinmaya Mission is delighted to announce that Dr Kshama Metre, Founder and Director of Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD) was declared winner of the Guardian International Development Achievement Award 2012 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London on 22nd November.

The prestigious annual award aims to celebrate one individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the lives of some of the world's poorest people. It recognises those whose work goes above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference, (supported by Marie Stopes International and run in partnership with Barclays and GSK.)

Following the screening of a short film about Kshamaji, she gave an acceptance speech emphasising the importance of a 'bottom up' approach to tackling poverty and engaging the marginalised in transforming their own condition, which has proved so effective through her own direct experience. Addressing a select crowd of development experts, corporate sponsors and journalists, Kshamaji paid tribute to Pujya Gurudev, and explained how meaningful change takes time, but is truly possible when you listen to, live and work alongside the poor communities you seek to uplift. 

A paediatrician by profession, Dr Metre left her flourishing medical practice in Delhi in the early 1980s to serve in the tribal villages of the Himalayan Mountains, inspired by Pujya Swami Chinmayananda. She is an early pioneer of the microfinance movement in India, which today is the largest in the world. In 2008, the Government of India honoured her with India’s highest award in the field of social service, the Padma Shree. Her holistic model of tackling rural poverty addresses corruption through empowerment at the grassroots level, healthcare and nutrition, micro-banking and income generation, rehabilitation of children with disabilities, and natural resource management."

We witnessed some of these very things even as we visited.  There was a three year old getting physio and another of about five years working at speech therapy.  Others were in play therapy.  For adults there was the sewing and embroidery room where wonderful bags and garments are created and then of course the art room.  We got to meet some of the artists and they proudly showed their current work.  Healthy, happy young men being productive in a way that may well have passed them by but for the presence of CORD.

What I can report to you is that maximum money reaches the people who need it and goes into the services required.  Minimal admin fees are entailed and all overheads are tightly managed.  A difference is being made.

It was made to me right there on that very day.  Love and compassion go a long, long way to the success of this project.
Image `  © Yamini Ali MacLean


  1. Sounds like a wonderful place doing lots of good.

  2. Looks great, Yam. I'll be back to read it after my head gets unstuffed.
    Luv, K

  3. Our Pujya Gurudev. A man of great vision, and compassion, and his work and vision is on going here. Chinmaya mission members from, all over the world, volunteer to work here, for the greater good.
    My second visit here, and it has inspired me to try and do what I can.


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