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Understanding and Building Relationships

A few moments of the camp - pictures shared by Aravind Narayanaswamy here

TannisthaManthan this time (Feb 2011) was as wonderful and refreshing as last time which I had attended in the month of October 2010. Well, why I go there again and again is just to enjoy myself, Nature, the atmosphere around me along with some people whom I don't know very much. I just enjoy that experience. I love being with myself there, away from all stresses and routines. More than the class I love the interactions I made with different kinds of people, midnight chats, camp fire and of course the rooms, and bathrooms remind me of my hostel days which I really cherish. Though it is a bit difficult and painful for me to stay there once dusk sets in without my little one around my arms but still it is worth going there again and again and again to know and enjoy more of myself and others. - Tannistha


SeemaManthan! Manthan! Manthan! Humaare mann ko bhaye Manthan
Saari pareshaniyon se door bhage chale jaaye hum sab Manthan
Taazi hawa, hariyaali, prakirtik soundrya pradaan kare Manthan
Khel kood, naach gaane se bharpur manoranjan kahaan ? Manthan
Ali ne kasar naa chodi rishton ki ghaharaayee samajhaane mein, kahaan ? Manthan
Pedhon ke nichein Raja pahunchaein dookhi mano ko sookoon, kahaan ? Manthan
Asha, Kanmani ne karwaai cat walk, kahaan ? Manthan
Sapna ne pahunchaya humko dweep par, ek manpasand saathi ke sang, kahaan ? Manthan
Pakki hui purani dosti, bane naye dost yahaan, kahaan ? Manthan
Mauj masti ke do din khaate peete, seekhte seekhate kaise beetein, kahaan ? Manthan
Mithee yaadein, hansi ke pitare liye, bhojil mann se nikal pade yahaan se,
Kahaan se ? MANTHAN - Seema

TannisthaA moment stolen from life...
Waking up to the symphony of birds
Staring at the eagle landing gracefully
Sinking my teeth into the sour-bitterness of the amla
Lazing out in the hammock
Letting my hair down at the bonfire
Bonding with friends
Soaring across the skies to meet those I care for
Losing myself in the memories of times past, but not forgotten
Finding myself, after a tete-a-tete with Raja
The occassional class to attend..
As memories linger, Manthan continues... - Sindhu

SajimaReached Manthan with hopeful expectations; One short stay and I woke up to a new realization, of a greener pasture on my side of the road.
I could feel anxiety dying in me. The poison that surfaced during the churning of the mahasamudra{my mind} was taken in by Raja, without spilling a single drop.
The amrut after Manthan was the deep understanding of the significance of nurturing important relationships. Much pleasure was derived; and much more I expect as I introspect; and open up to new ideas to employ to make my life more beautiful. Those whom I love and those who love me; The relationships defined and undefined made my day and stay at MANTHAN pleasurable - Sajima

AmbuFor the whole of the next day after I came back, I was still dizzy with my feelings of Manthan. I enjoyed it so much I did not feel like coming out of the place. The place really is so beautiful that you can just get lost in it. The morning fog and hot tea in the swing and our classes in the auditorium. Very health and tasty Food and special thanks to Mohan and group for that.
Only thing I found not enough were the activities. We could had more of activities, and that would have been more fun. I really do not know how much I learnt about interpersonal relationships but I made very good relationships with each and every one who had come there. I could reach out to most of them. When I was put with a CLS student, I was bit disappointed but I thought they would have some reason, and true to that thought, it really was good. I could know her well. We shared good moments with each other, though it was quiet short.
Actually I just relaxed myself and enjoyed each and everyone's company. I felt I was with a large family. Thanks to ALL, to make this experience a most joyful of my life. - Mukambika (Ambu)

SreedharTwo magical days at Manthan. The preparation began a little earlier with who is picking up whom and where kind of arrangements. We landed at Manthan at around 6 on Friday evening. It was a pleasure to see some familiar faces from the earlier October camp and some fresh ones. Mohan one of the student of this year's DCS runs a catering unit and we were greeted with wonderful tea/coffee as we all gathered in the canteen. Asha, Sapna and Kanmani were there to greet us. We were alloted our dorm accommodation and asked to assemble in the class room by 7:15.
The first session started promptly at 7:15 with us being given our name badges after we had to catwalk to receive that. Students of the CLS course had also joined us for the camp though they would be there only for one day and not the two days of the camp. Ali and Raja joined us towards the end of the session. Ali gave a brief account of Manthan and the facilities there. Dinner was at eight.
Whether some one enjoyed the classes, the activities, the bonding, the campus or not, I am sure everyone enjoyed the finger-licking food that the catering service provided us. Mohan and Neelam personally ensured that each of us enjoyed the food. They played the perfect hosts and spoiled us for the next two days. Hats off to this couple for indulging us. We all ended up having good inter personal relationship with the food!!!
The first night we assembled for the class after dinner at 9:15. Ali took us through the session introducing the concept of Important Relationships in our lives. The Important Relationship (IR) in your life need not be the most loved ones or those who love you the most or even those with whom you share a close blood relationship. They may not be necessarily be you best friends or those with whom you spend most of your time. Infact they may not even be people who you think of most often. Yet all of us have some people who are important to us. That was the introduction that set us off for the next two days on the exploration of Inter personal relationship- the theme of the camp.
As an overnight exercise, we were asked to list four IRs in our life and give reason for them being the IRs Each of us in the class were asked to write what we thought was an important ingredient in maintaining an IR. As a participatory exercise, we were asked to share with the class the name of an IR in our life and why they were so. The answers varied from the expected spouse, children, parents, siblings friends to undefined relationships. Sapna mentioned that an IR in her life was her milkman who delivered milk to her in the morning which motivated her to wake up as the refreshing sip of coffee would be the end result. In a way this evoked laughter in the class, but somewhere we all began to think that there are some IRs in our life (like our garbage collector, our maid, our driver etc) without whom our life would be miserable. And we don't even think of them in that manner at all.  The session ended at 1130 in the night and Kishore a veteran of 17 Manthan camps mentioned that this was the longest a session had ever taken place.
We split into smaller groups and chatter, discussion and laughter went on till early hours of the morning. Seema and Neetu had been chosen as Camp fire Jockeys with the responsibility of organising the camp fire on Saturday night.
>Five of us Sindhu,, Mohana, Sajima, Aravind and me had planned to wake up early and go for a long morning walk. The first three were up by five and set off. Aravind and me joined them. Just about ten kilometer from the city brings in so much of tranquillity in the atmosphere is unbelievable. We went out of Manthan and walked till the Airport Road perhaps a good four kilometer. The stillness of the morning, the chill in the slight breeze, the briskness of the walk and the laughter and banter from good friends added so much warmth to the walk and set a good mood for the Saturday.
The caterers were ready with spongy idlis, crisp vadas, Upma and steaming hot sambar and spicy chutney for us as breakfast. After the walk we tucked into it heartily.
We had been asked to give a write up to Raja on two issues
1. A person who enriched our lives and
2. A relationship that had hurt us, how we dealt with it and how we feel about it now.
Raja sat under the shade of the tree and began his sessions at seven in the morning. He patiently gave as much time as each one required for the one to one interaction. I was the first to go and spent a pleasant half hour in Raja's company.
The class session began at 9 in the morning in the amphitheatre. Ali took us through a wonderful session of creative visualization as he called it. We had to close our eyes and focus on the sounds, smells and touch around us. Then he made us in our visualization go to someone we loved and tell them that they meant something to us. It was a wonderful journey in the mind. When the students shared what they had done, some of them went and met people so out of their lives now, some of them met people who are no longer alive etc. This again showed that we value so many people even though they are not part of our every day lives.
Subsequent class room session dealt with the significance of IR in our lives, how and why we tend to neglect some of our IR, the concept of soul mate (here I must mention an important thing that Ali mentioned, he said many people search for soul mates as if they are available somewhere off the shelf but actually like every other relationship in our lives, we also have to work hard to build a soul mate). Ali also dealt with the permanency of relationship and how the concept only leads to distress as there is no such thing as permanency. He also dealt with the idea of guilt in relationships when we feel we have given too much importance to one relationship or neglected an important IR. He also emphasized on our need to nurture relationship in our lives. That is the only way to immunize ourselves from the epidemic of loneliness that is set to sweep the world.
Dr. Saikumar, a veteran cardiologist had come all the way from Chennai to attend the camp. He took a session for the students too. on healthy body and healthy mind.
Saturday night was a wonderful campfire. Neetu took the trouble of bringing Dandia sticks and she dressed up 5-6 men in dupattas and they danced to the tune of Radha kaise na jala from Lagan. That set off the celebrations of singing dancing, story telling and Anthakshari that lasted till almost dawn broke Seema and Neetu did a good job. Bharath and Farook joined in to make the camp fire a memorable event.
We had an important guest to Manthan. Ali and Srinivasachar had been penpals for years and had never met. Srinivasachar is the uncle of Ramaswamy the veteran volunteer of Helping Hand and a DCS student form the first batch. Srinvivaasachar came all the way from Mysore to meet Ali and talk to us. His spirit, his enthusiasm in sharing the incident of his life, his humor did not betray his ninety four yearof of age. Every one in the class loved the session with him.
We had been divided into 4 groups and given a KG Cardboard and each group had to present a collage and a skit on Inter Personal Relationship, the theme of the camp. There was scramble from the morning to collect material for the collage and write the skit. In the beginning everyone thought the time was too short and no one could do justice to the skit and collage. But the end result was amazing to say the least. When the time came to make the presentation at the closing of the camp each of the group came out with an innovative collage and a wonderful skit presentation.
Raja after all the sitting out in the open area came in to congratulate each group of the wonderful team work that they had done and he also distributed the participation certificate to all students. Many of the students had called in their family for the last session. We ended the camp with a last round of tea and snacks.
New friends, better bonding with old friends, walks, chatter, laughter all this we carried away. At the end of each interaction no matter what we do, all that we really create are memories and here in the two days, each of us had created some precious ones. - Sreedhar

See Dr. Ali Khwaja's thoughts on Nurture Your Relationships

Related Thoughts on Relationships
Nurture Your Close Relationships
Keeping A Relationship
Giving Up On A Relatonship
Building Relationship

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