When she was a little girl living in Tokyo, Anchita Ghosh liked to stay behind after school and help her teacher clean up the classroom. When she was at home, she liked to help her mother cook. Her mother practiced professional Indian massage, and Anchita liked to pick up the towels, put away the oils and change the sheets after each client left. She seemed destined for a life that would be happily and quietly spent in domesticity.
Not so. Born to an Indian family and brought up in Tokyo, Anchita went on holiday one year with her parents and brothers to Australia. She fell in love with the country. She couldn’t put it out of mind.
As she was approaching graduation from the American School in Japan, she decided to apply to enter a university in Australia. She was accepted by Griffith University, and two years ago went to live and study in Brisbane.
When she was at school in Tokyo, Anchita had trouble remembering dates in history. Her brothers used to coach her. But in plays, for which she was often chosen to take major roles, her memory never failed. She was flawless in word and action.
Having made up her mind to go to Australia, and once she had university acceptance, her motivation was confirmed. She is majoring in biological science, and anticipates receiving her bachelor’s degree next year.
“I have registered to take the graduate Australian medical school admission test,” Anchita said. “If I pass, I will be interviewed for a place in medical school, probably in the University of Queensland. If I pass the interview, I will be moving on to medical school for the next four years of my life.”
No one in the pedigreed Ghosh family has been a doctor. Anchita comes from a long line of yoga teachers and practitioners. A statue to her grandfather in a Calcutta street testifies to his stature for his lecturing in the Himalayas and at Columbia University in New York. He founded the Vajranga Physical Center and the Ghosh Yoga College in Calcutta.
Anchita’s mother, Karuna, and her father, Jibananda, founded the Ghosh Yoga Institute Japan. They also set up the Indo-Japanese Association in Tokyo and Calcutta to promote exchange of national cultures. Anchita grew up in a home entirely devoted to yoga and the benefits it promises. On a sound basis of traditional values, she built her modernity.
Last July on Anchita’s 20th birthday, her parents opened in Brisbane the Ghosh Yoga Institute Australia. Though still a university undergraduate, Anchita functions as manager and head instructor of this center. She takes care of morning classes from 7 o’clock before attending her university lectures. She sees her mission in part as initiating further interflow among Japan, Australia and India.
She said, “I do not see myself not becoming a doctor, because every morning when I wake up, all I can think of is the day I get my degree and begin to help others in their needs.” She added, unexpectedly: “I have always had a passion to become a doctor because, I don’t know why, I have terribly low self-esteem. I believe that by helping others I will be helping myself. I feel this every day.”
She faces the possibility of not passing her test and interview next year, or even reaching a stage where she tells herself that, after all, “being a doctor is not my spiritual calling. I would possibly then go into naturopathy and homeopathy, as well as ayurvedic medicine. Possibly I would like to spend more time in India learning directly from the pioneers of these medical remedies.”
Anchita went on: “Another urge in my life is to travel. I believe that interaction with many different people, and experiencing as many different emotions and scenes as possible, would be my key to becoming a successful yoga instructor. I want to concentrate more on my health and spirituality. I know for sure that there are many more techniques and skills that I can learn from my parents.”
At this time of year, the Ghosh Yoga Institute observes certain regular annual events. Yesterday it held its early morning winter yoga training session at Hanazono Park. Today it is holding its championship competitions in the five groups of kindergarten, school, college, all-Japan and inter-Ghosh Yoga Institutes.
Next Saturday, it will celebrate its birthday with variety programs and Indian curry. The day marks 27 years since the Ghosh Yoga Institute was established in Tokyo.