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I have a friend called Aab

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/i-have-a-friend-called-aab-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I have a friend called Aab (it means 'water' in Arabic). Like water, Aab has been around for centuries, and he is not generally visible to people. But I have learnt so much about life from him, and keep learning even now. He is like a mongrel or even like a piece of scrap paper that flies in the wind here and there. These are around us but we never notice them. Hence Aab gets a chance to notice everybody silently. And how much he learns about human behavior! Particularly since he has no likes and dislikes, no ambitions, no attitudes, and he follows the theory of the old Bollywood song, "bazaar se zamaane ke, kuchh bhi na hum khareedengey, haan baich kar khushi apni, logon ke ghum khareedengey."

I'll introduce you to him some time......

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What happened to people who used to read books

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/what-happened-to-people-who-used-to-read-books-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I am slowly starting to wonder what happened to people who used to read books. In my 'good old' days books were rare but we would somehow borrow and read. Today books are plentiful but hardly anyone seems to read them.

A book does not need to be 'booted', no recharge is necessary, it stays quietly in the corner till you pick it up. You can read even one page at a time and put it away. You can read at your own pace unlike TV programs, you can lie down, relax and go deep into your thoughts when reading.

When our library had 500 books years ago, we had a hundred people borrowing from it. Now we have more than 4,000 books and not even thirty people read its books.

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Bangalore Community College - Including the Excluded

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/bangalore-community-college-including-the-excluded-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I was invited to preside over the Convocation of a small institute known as Bangalore Community College. They provide vocational training to children who cannot go through mainstream education, and empower them to become employable. I was very touched with their motto: "Including the Excluded" because they take in those who have failed or those who are not accepted by any other college.

I wish all of us can make that as a slogan in our life -- including those who are excluded (for any reason). What a wonderful world we will be creating !

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I was wondering how we recognize someone as a Guru

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/i-was-wondering-how-we-recognize-someone-as-a-guru-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Today is Guru Purnima day. I was wondering how we recognize someone as a Guru. Is it someone who taught us with a chalk and duster in the classroom? Is it a religious or spiritual person who can give us gyan and lead us on to moksha? I look upon many people outside the classrooms and religious garbs as my gurus. Some have taught me humility, some forgiveness. Others have inculcated patience in me, while some others have taught me empathy. One thing is clear -- I have learnt much more from people who have taught by practicing and being role models rather than from those who have given lectures and sermons. Let us all together salute each of these unsung and unrecognized Gurus !

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Great Indian Woman

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/great-indian-woman-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

There is an amazing species existing on earth barely recognized or appreciated: I call her the "Great Indian Woman" GIW for short. A woman born and brought up in the Indian culture and environment is willing to do anything and everything for her loved ones. She makes severe and continuous sacrifices and does not even expect a reward. Her love is so unconditional, and her willingness to forgive, adapt, give significance to the other, and the fulfillment that she gets in taking care of her family, is perhaps unparalleled. I really wish we can declare a "International Day of the GIW" to let the world know that such a phenomenon exists all over our great country.

I wish I could quote examples (which are innumerable) but confidentiality restricts me. So, GIW, Tussi Great Ho! My salutations.

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The true relationship

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-true-relationship-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Have you had occasion when you were suddenly feeling very lonely and just wanted to reach out to a friend? Did you have occasion when none of your "close" friends seem to be available, no one was taking your call or calling you back?

If yes, then let me share with you a simple mantra to overcome this possible hurdle. Nurture a couple of good friends. They may not be people you meet or talk to regularly, but you know they are compassionate, caring and that they genuinely love you. Tell them in advance that if you feel down and out you will probably reach out to them, and you just want them to spend a few minutes listening to you.

If they agree, don't forget to tell them that YOU too will be available if they want to reach out to you. That is a true relationship.

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Goodness not only exists but is thriving

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/goodness-not-only-exists-but-is-thriving-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

While so many people keep lamenting on how the world is full of greedy people, corruption, politics, terrorism etc, there is a small set of humans who walk into my life every year at this time and reinforce to me that goodness not only exists but is thriving. These are people who come to enroll for our counselling course -- highly qualified persons, people holding eminent positions, people giving up luxurious comforts of their homes to come and become students, people who have had so much experience in life that they can teach me more than I can teach them. They all make a commitment to spend the year with us learning counselling and basically taking up an activity that is totally selfless and only to help others. But nature has its way of rewarding -- and almost all of them at the end of the year say that their quality of life has improved !

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Creating water bodies for birds

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/creating-water-bodies-for-birds-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I am not an expert on birds, and cannot identify them by their breed. But I do find them intriguing because they are so unassuming, they fit in anywhere, and do not disturb anyone else in any way (mostly). I feel bad for them in summers because there are hardly any water bodies from where they can drink water, and I am told many die of thirst. So I do my little bit by keeping two bowls of water on the balcony, and refilling with clean water every day. You should see the way some crows come and complain loudly if the water is over, and I have not refilled !

They are harmless but they do contribute a lot to ecology. Let us do our little bit to support them -- for after all we are the intruders who have taken away their natural habitat

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The way of nature

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-way-of-nature-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Before we knew it, the summer has been swept away from Bangalore by the rain clouds. Periodic drizzles, a few torrential rains uprooting trees and causing traffic jams, lovely evening breeze, and we no longer have to complain about the sun and heat.

That is the way of nature -- it teaches us never to complain about adversity or challenges, because 'tough times never last, tough people do.' "This too shall pass" tell us the rain clouds as they zoom above us. Animals, clouds, rain, insects, plants are all Banjaras. Only we humans are stuck to our houses, offices, possessions, desires.....

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Sakleshpur - amazing place filled with nature

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-way-of-nature-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Spent two days in Munzerabad Club at Sakleshpur, which was set up by the Britishers over a century ago. Such serenity, decades old trees (one tall mango tree, we were told, is about 150 years old and still giving fruit!) spanning wide shade giving areas, innumerable birds of every variety, light drizzles and soft cloudy weather, hills as far as the eye can see, and of course steaming hot tea sitting in the verandah! These moments remain etched in my mind long after I get back to our good old Bengaluru. I strongly recommend to all my friends -- please get out periodically, even for short breaks, not to exotic Switzerland or USA, but to these amazing places filled with nature, within a few hours from our city.

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Vasu - a beautiful person inside and out

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/vasu-a-beautiful-person-inside-and-out-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Lost another wonderful friend! Vasu, as we all called her, was a beautiful person inside and out. Daughter of the Maharaja of Baroda and Maharani of Sandur, wife of a minister, a person with stunning beauty even in her seventies, she was modest to the core. She underwent DCS and then DLS courses with us, was quietly involved, bewitched people with her dazzling smile, reached out whenever required, and did whatever she did so modestly, no one would ever be able to guess who and what she is.

Again, I do not mourn her death, I celebrate her life!

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Maintaining a harmonious relationship

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/maintaining-a-harmonious-relationship-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

When you need to clarify, question or disagree with someone, and yet want to be careful not to offend him, try out a simple technique (it works for me): As far as possible avoid any “why” question. Begin your sentences with “what” or “how” or “whether”, and you will see that the other person is much more relaxed and comfortable to respond. And make sure that when you ask a question, allow him to complete the answer. Any interruption is a signal that you are disagreeing with him, and he gets defensive.

Then see if you can hold back your view or response, tell him that you will continue the discussion later, and take time off to think. You will be amazed how well you will be able to get over the situation, get your needs fulfilled, and yet maintain a harmonious relationship.

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The river never drinks its own water, and the tree never eats its own fruit

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-river-never-drinks-its-own-water-and-the-tree-never-eats-its-own-fruit-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

There is an old Bollywood song “Nadiya na piye kabhi apna jal, Vriksh na khaye kabhi apne phal….” (The river never drinks its own water, and the tree never eats its own fruit) Whenever I look at nature I wonder why we humans (the “superior” race) choose to be so selfish and just keep gathering things for ourselves. How we want to accumulate beyond our need, and how possessive we are of our wealth, status, loved ones – just about everything. When we give in charity also we calculate and give ensuring that we have enough left over.

But if we learn to give of ourselves, our good deeds, smiles, gestures, kind words, we will never run short of them. And we get so much of solace, joy and satisfaction in return. Once we make it a habit, it is so easy……

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We should aim for a situation where our loved ones always love to be held tight by us

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/we-should-aim-for-a-situation-where-our-loved-ones-always-love-to-be-held-tight-by-us-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Someone nicely said that a child goes through three stages before he reaches adulthood: “Hold me tight, Put me down, Leave me alone.” Babies want to be held, toddlers want to be put down and explore on their own, and teenagers just want to be left alone! I was thinking that often this happens in love relationships also – the honeymoon phase, then wanting some space and independence, and unfortunately in many cases just wanting to keep away. At the intellectual level we know that this could happen both to children and to our partners – but do we work on it practically, try to bring about better bonding? Regardless of which stage you or your child is in, do work on it. We should aim for a situation where our loved ones always love to be held tight by us. Takes some hard work, sacrifice, compromise, but it’s worth it.

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FREE Online Psychological Counselling by Banjara Academy for anyone, anywhere in the world FREE online counselling for the depressed

  • Are you stressed about your child?
  • Is your marriage in trouble?
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Just mail your counsellor now, sharing your problems, your worries, your anxieties, your fears. Your counsellor will reply to you, and be there for you until you need her to help you cope and get going.

Leading Banjara Academy's online email counselling team of volunteer-counsellors, I realize it is not an easy task reaching out to a person one has never met, never seen, without the added advantage of gestures, eye contact, a gentle reassuring touch, tone of voice and yet providing empathy, positive strokes, making the person feel heard and understood.

With the aid of only written words, it is quite a task building trust, making people open up and share and helping them cope and feel better. So when in many instances they write back saying thank you and that they feel so much better, the feeling one gets is priceless and incomparable - knowing one has done something right, something good!

Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Ali Khwaja

 

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