Tag Archives: Mysore

The Men Who Stop Traffic

Oct 22, 2011 via The National by Helena Frith Powell

Parashu ML, left, and Stanly KV started rescuing victims of trafficking more than 20 years ago.
Sitting across a table from these two softly-spoken, unassuming middle-aged men it’s hard to imagine them picking fights with pimps or collecting court summonses with a shrug of the shoulders; but Stanly KV and Parashu ML have been raiding brothels and private homes to rescue girls, boys and women for the past 20 years. Sometimes with the aid of the police, sometimes in spite of the police, these two quiet men of Mysore have kicked in doors and traded blows with traffickers to help free more than 2,000 victims across southern India.

The pair run Odanadi – meaning “soul mate” – an organisation that provides refuge, counselling, education and rehabilitation for up to 85 victims of trafficking at a time. They have taken in scores of domestic slaves and bonded labourers. They’ve raided 60 brothels and secured the convictions of 137 sex traffickers.

Impressive figures. But then the problem is on a massive scale. The Indian government’s own figures put the amount of people in some way involved in human trafficking – the illegal trade in people for the purposes of slavery, commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour – at around 100 million. Of those, 1.2 million are children.

But this fight did not start as a crusade against seemingly insurmountable odds; instead, they were shamed into it.

In the late 1980s, the two young friends worked together as newspaper journalists so closely their byline read simply ‘Stanly Parashu’. It was while conducting interviews for a piece on Dalits – members of India’s strict hierarchical system born below even the lowest caste – that they were challenged by a woman in the street.


“Her name was Radhamma,” Stanly says. “She was a prostitute, lower in social standing than even Dalits.

“She asked us: ‘What do you do with the story of these poor people? You write about them, get yourselves a good name, but these people get nothing in return. They think you are a saviour but you don’t come back.’ That really pricked our egos,” says Stanly.

Stung by the criticism, the men turned their attention towards one of India’s greatest taboos – prostitution – starting with Radhamma herself.

“Radhamma had been a housewife,” Stanly says. “But her husband took her to Bombay and sold her to a brothel. When he returned home without her he explained to her family she had run off with another man. He then married his wife’s sister.”

After two years Radhamma managed to escape the brothel and return to her village, now with a child fathered by a client. But her family believed her husband’s story and she was cast out, ending up living on the street working as a prostitute, depending on 10 clients a day to earn enough money to live on and send her son to school.


Radhamma had been working the streets for 10 years when Stanly and Parashu met her.

“We wanted to help, to give her financial support, and look after the boy’s education,” says Stanly.

Although they gave her a little cash and arranged for local restaurants to feed her son, Nanjumda, Radhamma found resistance to her change in circumstances too much to bear.

“When we returned a fortnight later, we found her again on the street in the same filthy condition,” Stanly says. “She said: ‘You gave me money but money is not changing my life. No one is accepting me, people are bothering me, police are harassing me.’ ”

Prostitutes coming under the police spotlight are treated with little sympathy.

“Women were dragged by their hair; there were no policewomen in those days,” Parashu says. “The male officers would drag them to the police station half-nude. “No one would ask the authorities about this violation of their human rights. We told the police that these ladies are citizens, human beings. We asked them to treat them humanely.

“We started questioning this ill-treatment and dragged chairs into the offices for the women to sit on instead of being forced to stand in the corner of the police station,” says Parashu. “This started the gap to open between the police and us.” Next page


Om Yoga Book: Ashtanga Interviews

Om Yoga: A book about yoga by Kia Naddermier, Lisa Ljungh Strömberg & Magnus Naddermier

Featuring interviews with

John Scott, David Swenson, Danny Paradise, Chuck Miller, Dena Kingsberg, Dona Holleman, Shandor Remete & Maria Boox

Read more + pics

Shiva Swami is a dog lover with a difference

From the Times of India

Every stray dog is his pet

Lawrence Milton, TNN | Apr 29, 2011, 10.54pm IST
This Shiva?MYSORE: For many, love for dogs ends at their homes— having it as a pet, feeding varieties of food, giving a royal treatment, teaching their language, etc. All because it is their dog.But businessman Shivakumar, 50, aka Shiva Swami is a dog lover with a difference. A dozen stray dogs are his pets. Every day, he feeds them with bread and biscuits. He has been vaccinating over 100 stray dogs every year for the past five years. Of course, he owns two pugs, an English Mastiff, Labrador and a mastiff puppy.Calling for tolerance among people for stray dogs, he says a dog bites only when it is provoked. “Dogs are scared of people. I feel bad when people throw stones at them on streets. Once you show your love for dog, it remembers it all its life. Such is its love towards humans. That makes it man’s best friend,” he avers. Shivakumar wants people to take the initiative to immunize stray dogs in their neighborhood at veterinary hospitals where it is done for free.

Shivakumar’s love for dogs became deep rooted with his pet Moon, a Great Dane. But his happiness was short lived as Moon died due to an illness when it was 30 months old. Unable to recuperate form the loss, Shivakumar went into depression. He brought another Great Dane and named it New Moon. Though the Dane was a solace for him, he too died young.

Shivakumar’s dogs have participated in many pet shows and won prizes. Shivakumar, who also practices yoga, said he turned to saffron robes 15 years ago for peace of mind.

Beginner’s Guide to Mysore

Signifying Nothing’s tips on how to attract women in Mysore class.




Obligatory moment of contrition:

This indefensibly misguided post was written after five shots of whiskey compounded by the nettling thought that I’ve now done yoga for over three years without getting one date from a yoga class.  This despite an average 10:1 female:male ratio suggests that….

A.) Yoga class is the worst possible place to pick up women.

(By contrast: Signifying Nothing‘s top 5 easiest places to pick up women:
5. School
4. Amsterdam, three a.m., most major holidays save Easter
3. the Zoo
2. Small meteor hurtling towards Earth containing me and a woman
(Like, really small.)
1. Prison

B.) It is time I start on the first of the eight limbs of yoga, Yama (universal morality).

I’ll start tomorrow.

(I was lying about the whiskey. I think of this stuff sober. Sorry mom. Lies: one more moral issue to tackle tomorrow..)

Beginner’s Guide to Mysore Yoga, Part 4:

Nymph: def. (from the Merriam-Webster dictionary), any of the minor divinities of nature in classical mythology represented as beautiful maidens dwelling in the mountains, forests, trees, and waters.

Yoga nymph: def. (from Signifying Nothing), any of the minor divinities of nature in modern urban settings represented as beautiful maidens dwelling in yoga studios.   Synonyms: yogini, Tinkerbell.

Tips on getting the yoga nymphs to alight near you:

1.  Shower before class.  Essential, but by no means the most important tip.  Ask Carl.

2.  Brush your teeth, and avoid using Listerine.  Listerine is easily detected on the breath, and it smells weird.  The Tinkerbells will immediately pick it up and wonder what you were trying to wash away, their first assumption being that you just came from a late night skuzzy porn shoot in your mom’s garage.  As exhilarating as that may sound to you, they won’t be into it, especially at 6:30am while trying to locate God.

3.  Don’t lose your balance and fall on her.  Yoga nymphs startle easily.

4.  Keep your focus on yourself.  No wandering eyes, no matter how amazing their bodies are or the insanely hot pose they are doing.  No one is here to get picked up, except for you, and that is just too bad.  The Tinkerbells don’t give a sneeze of pixie dust about you, how hard you think the pose is you are doing, or what your practice looks like, so long as you stay reasonably on your mat and don’t make a lot of noise or flail about.

5.  Don’t flail about.  Some poses will hurt; others are incredibly awkward; still others may seem pleasant and easy until you discover what you were doing wrong (in the form of an aggressive adjustment by your teacher).  Do your best, with the best intentions; breathe into discomfort; and don’t bring attention to yourself by wincing, grunting, snorting, rolling your eyes, laughing, or screaming.  Lying on your back crying softly to yourself is acceptable.  Or seems to be.  No one has said anything yet.

6.  Be humble.  You suck at yoga, and she doesn’t care.  What does this mean for you?  There is no way in hell you are taking her home.  If you signed up for monthly unlimited classes in hopes of it being a clever dating forum in which to show off your handsome shoulders and shapely chest, you are wasting a lot of money.  The best you can ever hope for is that the nymph practicing next to you touches your hand every so often with some impossible part of her body as she flies through a Tinkerbell pose.


continue reading


New Mysore Blog

Bloggers currently blogging from Mysore, India:

Martina 2011

Yoga by Emma

Jill Manning

Dorion Davis

Jen Goes to India
David Robson:  Toronto Body Mind

Miss Stan

The Unruly Ascetic

Kino MacGregor

Puro Yoga

Open Your Feet

We Blog the World

Inside Owl

David Garrigues

Jenny in India

My Yoga Journey

Realizing Mysore

Ashtanga Journal

India Outside my Window

Bite Size Yoga

Unfold Your Own Myth

LI Ash Goes to Mysore

Skippetty Street

Earth Yogi

Peace Love Yoga

From the Heart of Me

Tanja Bungardt

Lou Lou Loves Books

Cranky Goes to Mysore


New KPJAYI Website

The KPJAYI website has a new look, updates, and new online registration.  Check it out!


While you’re at it, Sharath’s 2011 Euro Tour has been announced and students made into the Mysore news.

KPJAYI: new Jois Yoga Shala in Encinitas

Sharath, Saraswathi and Manju to teach in the new Jois Shala in Encinitas, California, from the 20th of August. From kpjayi.org: