The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shaky Shatru rejigs nameplate

New Delhi, Jan. 20: Shatrughan Sinha has an unusual nameplate outside his office on the third floor of Nirman Bhavan which houses the health and family welfare ministry.

Before moving in, the Union health minister had turned the office inside out, dumped the old furniture and with it a matter-of-fact white and black nameplate usually stuck on the doors of ministers’ offices.

Sinha replaced it with a white nameplate with his name in yellow, running diagonally across in long hand, and a yellow border all around the edges.

This time, however, the story behind the nameplate cannot be traced to Vaastu Shastra — which Sinha passionately believes in — but to Feng Shui, a Chinese “counterpart” of Vaastu.

Feng Shui deals with positive and negative energy flow and believes that changing the direction of the negative energy flow can exert a positive influence on life.

So it is necessary to have certain objects with “positive energy flow” inside the room along with others which can neutralise the “negative energy flow”. All these objects must face a certain direction.

Since he took charge of the health ministry, Sinha’s “spin doctors” have been Vaastu experts. Now, however, it appears he is ready to be counselled by Feng Shui “doctors” as well.

A Feng Shui expert counselled the health minister that having his name written diagonally outside his office, instead of a straight line, would be lucky for him.

He told Sinha to instal a “fountain of running water” in his office and a “lucky bamboo branch”.

Sinha readily complied and installed a decoration piece with water spouting from its mouth and a bamboo-shoot branch in a vase.

After being appointed health min-ister, Sinha took his time to move into Nirman Bhavan because he believed his lucky number was three.

Though his predecessor, C.P. Thakur, had worked from a first floor office, Sinha said he would move into the third floor. And till such time as the office was not ready, he said he would work from home.

In the meantime, Vaastu experts continued advising the health minister on the position of office furniture — which piece should face which side of the room.

Sinha’s stars, however, have not been shining since he took over the health ministry.

Till last month, there was speculation that he would be shunted out if he did not pull up his socks.

The Prime Minister’s Office sent Sinha lengthy letters full of suggestions.

The minister wrote back to the Prime Minister informing him of the measures he would take to tone up the country’s health system and stabilise population.

But if speculation in Delhi is proved right, Feng Shui may not be able to help Sinha retain his berth when the Prime Minister shuffles his team in the near future.

Sinha, along with three health and family welfare secretaries, the director-general of health services and a band of 17 MPs, is now presiding over a consultative parliamentary meeting at Lakshadweep.

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