Apart from being a homemaker, Routray Minati Lenka is a writer, singer, a Yoga instructor and social activist – all rolled into one. Her poetry compilation ‘Kichhi Swapna, Kichhi Asha’ and one-act play ‘Ekabinsha Satabdi’ received rave reviews.
Minati also teaches Yoga to schools and college students free of cost. The array of her social activities include plantation, relief distribution during calamities among many other things. She shares her varied experience with Orissa Post as a writer, poet, social activist and yoga teacher.
Minati’s association with Yoga started when allopathic treatment failed after she suffered a paralytic stroke. “I followed medicines prescribed by the doctor, but it went in vain. Then I decided to learn yoga to free myself from pain. I watched a television channel and learnt yoga. And to my surprise, I found great relief after trying anulom vilom pranayam. However, I realized, people are not aware that yoga can cure all ailments. I decided to create a disease-free society by imparting yoga lessons to others. I set up a Yoga Kendra in 2010 where I provided classes to students, homemakers and employees freely. Besides, I visit schools and colleges to teach yoga lessons. So far, I have trained 4,000 people in Yoga.”
Yoga will certainly have the panacea when Allopathy fails, recounts Minati. “Rupali, a job-holder, was new to the city when she was suffering from sciatica. Her condition did not improve after traditional treatment as per the doctors’ prescription. She was experiencing pain and numbness due to sciatica. When she came to me for Yoga, and learnt a few yoga postures, she felt relieved. An elderly person subsequently sought my help to ge rid of rheumatism. I taught him a few asanas. After trying a few asanas, he was able to stand without anyone’s support. Interestingly, his son was a doctor. But he preferred yoga to medicines. Besides, I have helped people suffering from gynaec and thyroid-related diseases.”
Recalling an interesting incident, Minati said, “I had been to Pareswar Kanyashram, a government girls’ hostel at Paradip. It was already 9pm when I was reluctant to take a yoga class due to power cut. However, the inmates insisted that I teach them in lantern light.”
Minati began writing poetry and stories for children in 1995. She came to limelight after her short story ‘Aparanha’ got published in an Odia daily which brought her appreciation from litterateurs. So far, she has penned 1,500 bhajans. She was felicitated with Manjari Samman by Mrunmayee magazine for her poem ‘Mo Agana Dhulikana’. Nabagunjara Sahitya Sansad also honoured her for her contribution to literature. Her novel ‘Saptapheni Ra Phula’ is under print.
Minati Lenka writes a popular column ‘Hanuman Kathan’ for a weekly magazine narrating the ordeal of people in day-to-day life. That’s not all. Minati is also a singer of repute. Her albums “Kala Kanhei” and “Nali Sindura Ku Badi Nadia” are popular among bhajan listeners.
The prolific writer’s love for social service started when she was a school student. “I bunked school for four days to help flood-affected people in my neighbourhood,” she recollects. “I made dough and prepared rotis to serve the flood-hit people when I was in Class X. I helped the victims of super cyclone that hit the state in 1999 to the best of my ability. The woes of the people during the calamity triggered my poetic instincts.”
“During my college days, the lives of Mother Teresa and Vivekananda inspired me. I raised funds from people to help fire and flood victims. During winter, I and my husband, a retired professor Debendra Nath Routray decided to distribute blankets to the needy,” adds Minati.
RASHMI REKHA DAS, OP