Chakraburtty Reveals Life Secrets
R.D. Lawrence Place was the spot to be if you wanted to learn about life, food and Henna on July 21st. Sneh Chakraburtty, the author of 14 books, shared a number of tips and little-known facts with the guests, while her granddaughters Saakshi and Divya created beautiful Henna art on listeners.
Sneh completed training in Dublin, Ireland, and became a certified doctor before returning to her homeland orTanzania. She was eventually an emergency room doctor in Niagara Falls for 20 years, then later in Minden, Haliburton and Lindsay. Sneh also taught at McMaster University in Hamilton and is now retired and resides in Minden. At one point, Sneh became very ill, which is when she wrote the two books that were the focus of the talk. “I hit stormy weather with my health,” explained Sneh, “I didn’t think I was going to make it.”
“Writing is my passion,” insisted Sneh. Then, discussing her 13th book which is currently in the editing stage, Sneh joked, “Usually at the end of writing a book, you’re fed up with it and you don’t want to critique it yourself. My editor is a great help.” Her books LifeStyle and Ayurvedic Fusion Cooking were the main focus of the book talk, which was put on by the Minden Hills Cultural Centre.
“Ayurveda” is an Indian philosophy which aims to prolong life and offer an alternative from traditional medicine, or as a complement to modern medicine. Ayurvedic Fusion Cooking is a collection of “everything I have learned about cooking. You don’t eat until you’re full,” said Sneh, “you fill one third of your stomach’s capacity with food, and wait until you feel thirst – about an hour after you’re done eating. Then you fill the second third with water, and leave the last third empty.”
Sneh is an expert in Ayurvedic Fusion Cooking and explained that “there are some foods you just can’t eat. Instead of taking medication to allow you to eat foods that don’t agree with you, just avoid those foods.” She further explained that people’s tolerance for food is broken down into sections: “There are three types of people: fire people, water people and air people. You are likely a mixture of them, and it has nothing to do with your metabolism, it’s in your physique.”
Her book LifeStyle focuses on how people should be living. Sneh is a strong believer in the power of meditation. “We all know instinctively that we need to delve into ourselves, which is why we retire. Nature has been telling me to ‘shut up and just listen.’”
Sneh added some humour to the talk as she presented a self-designed guideline used for raising children; she broke down instructions by ages. “Zero to five years: if your child wants to go to the moon, at least take them to the nearest planet. Five to 15: parents should become Mr. and Mrs. Hitler. 15 to 25: University time, focus on education.”
For those over 45, Sneh says that they should now commit to community service, learning about nature, and finding true knowledge. “This is the time to find the silence within.” Self-knowledge is another of the focuses of LifeStyle, as Sneh said “You have to understand who you are. You have to give. You have to not be in want.”
The proceeds from the sales of Sneh’s books are given to a charity called the Chinmaya Organisation For Rural Development. This charity is described as one which does work in Northern India to end extreme poverty, gender discrimination and to improve literacy. Sneh is adamant that contributing to charitable organizations is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
Divya, Sneh’s granddaughter, explained that, “Henna is made by crushing dried leaves, adding water, lemon, sugar and salt, or just grinding fresh leaves into a paste.” Saakshi told the group, “Growing up in Canada, we thought it was very important to learn our own culture from where our parents and grandparents came from.”
The sisters travelled to India to visit their paternal grandparents, which is where they learned how to create Henna art.
Stressing her views on the subject, Sneh added, “They are not being encouraged just to do things that their ancestors did, but also what Canadian youth do. They need to know both sides; it will enrich them.”
The idea of Henna is one of beauty. The most common designs of Henna art are floral patterns, which has a great significance. Certain designs and patterns are what make Henna unique. The art is often used to decorate a woman’s hands and feel before she gets married, with the message, “May your life be more flowery and give you even more than what is in your destiny.”
Sneh is a wonderfully talented author, which is made clear by the number of books she has had published. Using the knowledge accumulated over a lifetime of compassion and hard work, Sneh’s books reveal some of the tested and true methods of maintaining health of the mind, body and soul.
By Courtney Griffin