They come from different places and live vastly different lives. Yet when the sun rises over Delhi on Sunday, a paramilitary officer from Uttarakhand, a retired government contractor from Delhi’s Kanjhawala with an alcoholic past, a Delhi school teacher and a beautician from Telangana will find themselves next to each other, practising Yoga. Here is a look at four people among the many that are trying to write India into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Constable with the Border Security Force (BSF)
It was in 2008, at a camp organised by Baba Ramdev for the BSF that the 28-year-old had his first tryst with Yoga. Eight years down the lane, Sharma would be one among the thousands participating in the national capital in the International Yoga Day event. A resident of Jammu, Sharma — who is posted in Uttarakhand — is one among the 107 representatives of the paramilitary forces who have been practicing with the Morarji Desai Institute for Yoga in Delhi. On a three-month course with the institute, it’s only over the past ten days that the rigour has been enhanced in the run up to the big event. “We stay away from home for months and it is tough. But for the armed forces, something like Yoga can help. For me, it has definitely worked. I feel it has enhanced my personality and made me mentally stronger. But his experience will not end here. Sharma will be teaching Yoga to his battalion when he returns to Uttarakhand. “I have learnt how to concentrate and this is the one thing I will teach my fellow mates. It will come in handy in our combat operations,” he said.
Retired government contractor
The 59-year-old from Kanjhawala said he was an alcoholic since his teenage years. After a bout of hepatitis left him hospitalised and in the ICU in 2006, doctors pronounced his liver to be beyond repair.
“They said I could try leading a healthy lifestyle but it was too late. They said I would most likely need a transplant and should start looking for a donor. The I heard of yoga in one of the group alcoholics meetings I was attending,” he said. After he started taking yoga classes, Dabas said he started feeling better even though he kept putting off going to the doctor till a year later. “When I finally went to Delhi to see doctors at a private hospital, they were surprised at the improvement. Of course I stopped drinking and gave up non-vegetarian food, but I firmly believe that yoga helped me fight death. Naturally, I was the first one to sign up in my colony for this event,” Dabas said.
Delhi school teacher
The 56-year-old teacher and a mother of two has been practicing yoga since 1981. “My entire family practices yoga and I have been associated with the Morarji Desai Institute for Yoga for several years now. It has given my life new meaning and I have introduced it to my children as well,” she said proudly. Sharma’s husband, a businessman was to participate in the event but a foreign assignment kept him away at the last minute. “He would have loved to be a part of this historic moment,” she said. Veena will be spending the night at the institute to practice and ensure that she gets “the entire 35 minute protocol right”.
Beautician from Telangana
The 42-year-old took to yoga seven years ago after recurrent problems with rheumatoid arthritis, her kidneys, and obesity. She weighed 82 kg when she decided to start taking yoga classes. Now a little over 50 kgs, she will be among the estimated 35,000 people on Sunday who will perform yoga at Rajpath. “I was bed-ridden and hospitalised every week. Yoga changed everything for me and this is a tribute I am paying for my good health,” she said. Nirmala has since given up her old job and now teaches yoga.