Connections: Yoga for Bhopal. Novelist Meaghan Delahunt explains her connection to Bhopal and the work of the Sambhavna Clnic in Bhopal which uses yoga as one of a range of treatments.
I was in India in 2000, a place I had always wanted to visit. I was there for three months on a UNESCO International Literature fellowship. I was writing my second novel, The Red Book, which at the time I thought of as my ‘yoga’ novel. As usual, when writing a novel or a short story, I didn’t start with a plot or a plan but rather an image, a colour, a line. It’s always an intuitive process.
Shortly before I left Edinburgh I had a dream which involved the colour red, a Buddhist monk and the city of Bhopal. A child hovered at the edge of the dream. I took these images as a sign. On the day I arrived at Sanskriti Kendra – the artists’ ashram outside Delhi which was my base – the first person I met was a young Muslim man from Bhopal. We became good friends and he said, ‘You must stay with my family.’ That’s how I came to visit Bhopal several times and how I first made my way to the Sambhavna clinic. This clinic in Old Bhopal was pioneering Yoga therapy and Ayurvedic medicine in the treatment of the gas-affected population.