Ali's Corner

Dr. Ali Khwaja

Real Friend

Travelling with …..

A sea of humanity, most of them with a far-away look, moving like robots following the arrows on the walls. Some have a worried look, some are in a hurry, others have the resigned look of having to wait for hours. All of them are travelers. The mode of travel may differ, plan, train or bus. The comfort level and cleanliness may vary significantly from airport to railway station to bus stand. But the humans are the same – their destination written in their minds, their bodies going through mechanical rituals of security checks, ticketing, baggage deposit.

Each individual has a different reason to travel. Some are excited, others are in anticipation. A few in anxiety and some more with sadness of parting. Some people enjoy travel, even look forward to it. Many take it as part of a routine to achieve something at the destination. There are also travelers who have to force themselves to make the journey.

To many individuals it is the company that determines their joy of journey. Friendships are formed, bonds are strengthened, discoveries made about co-travellers. It is as though a new window is opening, giving them a view and perspective hitherto unseen. For human relationships are far more important than the mode or luxury of travel. I try to travel with people I wish to know. It is a legacy from my grandfather who decreed that you really get to know a person well when you travel with him. He was an avid walker, trotting miles and miles to any venue he had to visit. If someone offered him a lift, he would ask the person to get down and walk with him – longer time spent together, no distractions, and very meaningful conversation.

Of course, no one walks any more.

Good Morning

I read a nice quote the other day: “Education is Head, Heart and Hands.” I often keep wondering at the education system and how we have been blindly following it for decades. Many generations have gone through the rote-learning techniques. The world has changed, needs have undergone tremendous alterations, but year after year children are made to “learn by heart” when the First Battle of Panipat took place, and to do “long division” without making “silly mistakes.”

I doubt if we can change the system in the near future. So can we supplement the learning by some more additions, innovative, creative and curiosity-based? Can we give some relief to children by providing them with some exciting learning which they will enjoy and actually look forward to?

I have a few tips and techniques that I keep practicing whenever I get a chance. I will welcome more such inputs so that we can all put our heads, hearts and hands together and do something challenging.

Slow and Steady

Have you noticed this……… You are mostly accepted, befriended, welcomed and treated according to

                    “Who you are, or Who you know” 
                    Not because of
                    “What you are, or What you know”.

Sad but true. Most people want to know your status, designation, wealth, or what contacts you have, who you are related to, and who you can influence.

Shouldn’t you be accepted for what you are i.e. your abilities, your temperament, your way of interacting, and for what your skills or achievements are, what you can share with others etc?

Look around and observe carefully – you will find a few, just a few people who will interact with you for the second reason…...

Cherish them, nurture your relationship with them, and you will never have a shortage of good friends.

Who are you?

I see illiterate plumbers and carpenters relaxed at work, doing things at their own pace, hanging out at chai corners, and taking off from work whenever they want to.

I also observe highly educated and accomplished CEOs’, Presidents & Directors who are perpetually rushed up, missing meals, tense, anxious, and unable to take breaks. Would they have been happier if they had dropped out in 5th standard?

On my part, I walk down to work

find time for anyone who wants to have a serious talk, drink tea and have food at my convenience, take an afternoon nap, and wind up the day by 6 pm enjoying the last cup of tea in the veranda or roof garden with my loyal four-legged friend Daughty.

Anyone wants to join me?


In the morning when everyone is either getting depressed reading news headlines of corruption, violence and politics, or is madly rushing off through traffic jams for work, one ordinary gentleman comes to the courtyard of our BDA Shopping Complex on his scooter, spreads out some eats on the parapet wall for the crows – who are just waiting on trees and buildings all around – and they swoop down to eat. Then he opens a cloth bag and pours out some grains, and before you know it, hordes of pigeons fly down to have their breakfast.

He then goes to a corner and sits and leisurely watches them enjoying their meal. When they have all finished and flown away, he starts his scooter and leaves. Today I saw that the crows had quickly finished what he had kept for them, and were eying the grains of the pigeons. He promptly went to a shop nearby and came back with ten packets of ‘Lays’. As he kept opening each packet and pouring out its contents, I could see the joy with which the crows hopped, skipped and jumped towards him.

Walk the talk

How many people do you think feel so comfortable with you that they know when there is a need they can just pick up the phone and talk to you? Whether you actually do anything for them or not, if they have the confidence that you will be there for them if and when they want/need you – you are doing a great service to them.

You have heard the proverb “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” I personally feel that we should be available to a friend not only when he or she needs you, but also if she wants you.

Similarly, if you do not need anything significant right now, but you just feel a little lonely or isolated and want someone to listen to you, who would you call – and what is the probability that person will respond to you at this very moment?

That is what true relationships are all about. Strive to build better relationships in 2019.