May 2015 By Life Positive Can love have a place? Apparently yes. Megha Bajaj’s Miraaya Centre in Chembur is a spring of love, truth and purity in the midst of the stress, strife and struggle of Mumbai. Miraaya is a holistic growth centre for children and adults that lovingly and tenderly inculcates whatever schools and institutions don’t teach. Says Megha, “I got the idea of Miraaya in my deepest meditation. I wanted a community centre where I could do body-mind-spirit work with children and their parents. In schools we are taught history but not how to make history; chemistry, but not the chemistry of relationships. Here at Miraaya we do all of that.” For Megha, the creation of Miraaya was a spiritual journey. “My role was that of a spectator. I met my uncle Rajesh Chowdhary with the idea who immediately offered his help and support. From then on people and material needed for Miraaya came about naturally and effortlessly. The inspiration is my Guru Mahatria Ra who I met at the age of 23.” Says Megha’s sister and cofounder Dr Nidhi Gupta, physiotherapist who has designed the curriculum for the centre, “Till you have a holistic approach you can never be happy. As a doctor I used to feel that it was not the technique which helped the patient, but the person you are that heals a patient. This is true for teaching too.” Miraaya depends on participative, cognitive and insightful teaching. Instead of telling children that potato has starch and tomatoes have vitamins, they create a play where the tomato and potato fight for supremacy. Then a wise man comes along and tells them how much stronger they would be if they came together to create a tasty dish. The children are then taken to the kitchen where they see the vegetables peeled and cooked before them. In this way they learn about foods, the value of co-operation and cooking skills at one go. “They never forget such lessons,” says Nidhi. Adds Megha, “In the morning prayers while thanking God and sending love to parents, teachers and siblings, children are taught to hug themselves and say ‘I love myself’. It is amazing to hear them giggle since nobody ever taught them to do it before.” Continues Nidhi, “We teach them unconditional love. Once two rabbits – one with brown hair and one with white hair – were brought to the centre. The children were asked which one they loved more. They said they loved both the rabbits. When asked if the colour of the rabbits mattered to them, they said no. Using the same example we taught them that people too should be loved in the same way. Not because of their skin colour, dress, money or looks but because of the way we feel love for each other. These practical lessons go deep within the subconscious and stay there.” “Such is Miraaya’s impact that many things which were difficult to communicate to the parents became easy once they saw how their children were changing,” says Megha. While children do activities, mothers enrol for yoga and meditation at the centre. “It is sheer hard work which has made the space what it is, and mothers like me want to always be connected to this place in some way or the other. There is certainly some magic at Miraaya Centre. My daughter Rhea always wants to be there,” says Kiran Narkar. Contact: Shikha: 9987102555
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