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16 October 2014

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By Lal Lourie
October 2001, Ruthin
A digital story from Capture Wales
Lal's a writer, Reiki practitioner and director of Namaste Productions.

"A Brahmin Hindu couple are making a pilgrimage in South India in 1916. They stop on the way in the Methodist Missionary Hospital in Mysore, leaving their new-born baby girl in the care of the nurses there. They say they will return for her when they have completed their journey.

Whether by accident or deliberate design - they never come back.

The baby is a buttery-skinned bundle. Blessed, abandoned and blessed again. As a Brahmin child - now without parents - her natural destiny is to serve God by performing baranatyan - the devotional temple dance which symbolises the human longing to be re-united with the universal soul. Instead, she becomes a life interrupted, adopted by the Welsh Methodist Missionary, sent alone on a ship to Wales at the age of four in 1919, while the world is in the aftermath of war.

Namaste; the word means "my heart is open".

Accompanied by a gesture of the hands joined in prayer, it is both a greeting and a yoga posture. These first words from my yoga teacher's mouth unlock years of spiritual disconnection. When my 28-year-old body begins to bend and break open, my 10,000 year old soul is released in a breath which says welcome home and starts a new journey at the same time.

That Brahmin baby was my grandmother. In life she never returned to Mysore, but from death she appears in my dreams and visions asking me to take her there.

One day, my 10,000 year old soul will lead both of us home to Mysore to do some yoga, visit the temple and to say Namaste."

Lal Lourie

What are your interests?
Working out of Liverpool and North Wales, my current projects include editing the manuscripts and co-writing with a Taoist monk. I am also working on the flagship publication for Liverpool's City of Culture bid, and am working on my first novel.

What inspired you story?
I wanted to make "Namaste" because: I'm pathological about spreading the word of the multiple benefits that yoga brings, because my grandmother died without ever visiting the South Indian city of her birth which happens to be the home of ashtanga yoga, and because she is a thousand stories, mostly untold outside of our family, in one dynamic bundle.

How did you find the workshop?
The experience of making a digital story was inspiring, energising, exciting, enormous fun, was my first foray into film, made me want to make fifty more of them straight away, created a strong group dynamic via the ancient art of storytelling in a thoroughly modern context, was empowering, enabling, extremely generous of BBC Wales, should be repeated all over the country.

Your comments

"As a British born Hindu Brahmin albeit non-practising,it is ironic that yoga,rooted in Hindu scriptures (but open to all faiths and atheists),is a big mystery to those,like myself,of indian origin.This is avery nice,touching story,which will help me discover the beauty that is yoga." Seema Parkash.

"I really enjoyed the Namaste story. As one who attempts to practise yoga, I found it informative and interesting." Sue Davies, Neath.

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