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How To Overcome Mental Blocks?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/what-is-holding-you-back-from-moving-ahead-and-bettering-your-life-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

How To Overcome Mental Blocks?
I am presenting the process of overcoming mental blocks in a step-by-step procedure. But, as in any issues concerning human behavior, these can at best be guidelines, and not rules. You may have to change and adapt the steps, add or delete some of them, and find the right path that gives you best results. Remember that IT IS YOUR LIFE, and you are the only person who knows what your needs and wants are.
  1. When faced with a mental block, first take steps to stop panic or anxiety from setting in. Practice deep breathing, yoga, relaxation techniques, and tell yourself that you will take time to overcome the situation, even if it seems quite bad and un-surmountable at present. Developing a positive mental attitude goes a long way.
  2. Accept the situation, do not try to run away from it. Acknowledge that you are on a sticky wicket, that you may have turbulence for time, and that you may have to make some sacrifices.
  3. Define the situation and problems in clear terms. If necessary, write it down, clearly outlining what the problem is, and how it is affecting you. If possible, list out the strengths and weaknesses you have in the field that you are about to tackle.
  4. Then start an extensive brainstorming on all the possible alternatives to get out of the situation. Initially write down even the weirdest thoughts that come to your mind. If you feel that suicide is the only way out, write it down as one of the alternatives – and then look for other options. As your list grows longer, you will realize that you have alternatives. This is absolutely necessary to get out of what is referred to as the TINA (There Is No Alternative) Syndrome, which cripples a person’s thinking.
  5. Now start short-listing from the above list the ones that are feasible or practical, and the ones that are in your control. If some of them look very difficult, do not eliminate them – as long as they are only DIFFICULT, not IMPOSSIBLE. Over a period of time, you will yourself understand how to make the difficult tasks easier.
  6. Do some lateral thinking – go sideways instead of straight to your goal. Look left and right to see if by taking a diversion in your thinking or action, you may be able to avoid roadblocks and reach your destination smoothly. It is amazing how lateral thinking at times throws up alternatives that we had not thought of because we felt that they are not in our path towards our goal. Yet, when we actually put these lateral tasks into action, we find them far easier than we had thought they would be.
  7. If can think of one or two possibilities, then list out why you are afraid to take up those options. You will realize that it is due to one or more of the causes I have listed above in the topic “Why do we get Mental Blocks?” on page 3. Once you become aware of the factors, it will be easier for you to tackle them.
  8. The moment you succeed in overcoming the blocks and resolving the issue, give yourself a lot of positive strokes, make affirmations of your capability, and tell yourself that if you have done it once, you can do it again and again.
  9. Some time later, leisurely review how the mental blocks were holding you back from moving ahead and bettering your life. Become aware that you were your own opponent and that you had held yourself back. Resolve never to succumb to such a situation again, and ……… move on to a better quality of life.


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Happiness is a way of life

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/enjoy-cherish-each-moment-of-your-life-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Happiness is a way of life
Happiness is along the way, not at the end. Enjoy cherish each moment of your life, and happiness will come chasing you.

Almost without exception, all successful, happy or self-actualized people have a habit of doing continuous self-introspection. They find out from time to time where they are headed. They do not get unduly carried away either by praise or by criticism. They are justifiably proud of their talents and abilities, and are aware of their limitations and accept them. You too can be like them, if you start making the effort – NOW.

How do you go about changing the negatives that you may have uncovered about yourself?
Is it possible to identify one person, a friend , a counselor, someone who can be non judgmental, with whom you can sit down and create an action plan for slowly making the changes that you wished. The progress is slow, take one point at a time and start incorporating it into your lifestyle….

Daily introspection, daily march past.. at the end of the day … all the things you did, all the thoughts that you carried, all the emotions you felt, classify them according to the significance you give them… see what you wish to change and work at it. It is slow… but achievable. You may find that a few things don’t even matter to you anymore… this will tell you how far you have grown.

Periodically check if you have added other traits that you picked up while letting the original ones go… we grow, let something go, add something else…


Until you value yourself, you will not value your time.
Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
- M Scott Peck


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A Touching Tale"

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/touch-the-final-bonding-to-interpersonal-relationships

Of all the senses in a human being, the sense of touch is the one which gives the final bonding to interpersonal relationships. The use of touch has varied over the ages, and in different societies. People have generally touched each other in various ways to indicate their closeness or acceptance of others. Indian society has built up its own norms of touching, based on social status, proximity of the Toucher and Touchee, and the gender difference.

There are certain relationships where man-woman touching is permitted by society —doctors examining patients, for example. Elder women are allowed to touch younger men in gestures of maternal affection, but elder men are not normally supposed to touch younger women, except perhaps when blessing a bride, or if it is a small girl.

In Indian society, a man cannot touch his own wife in public without feeling self- conscious. In clustered urban homes the problem acquires severe, often comic, proportions. If an elderly relative or parent is present in the house, the young husband dare not show any signs of physical affection towards his wife. And the same is true once his children have gone beyond pre-adolescent ages. Young couples often have to resort to romancing in anonymous public places since their home offers no privacy.

In public places also any man and woman showing physical proximity, are suspect. It is strange that a simple act of holding hands while walking, which may be done even by a brother and sister, or two good friends for that matter, draws disapproving glances, and sometimes even rude remarks, from passers-by. The only acceptable touch by a woman to her man in public is on a two-wheeler, when she may lovingly put her arm on his shoulder, around his waist, or even on his hip, without any embarrassment.

Yet touch is one of the most beautiful and essential means of expressing love, showing care, feeling secure, experiencing warmth, and even improving blood circulation. If this article has “touched” you, please go and give a loving pat, hug, handshake, arm on the shoulder, or a gentle kiss to someone you love.



An Aam Aadmi from a different era"

Author: Radha Padmanabhan (Indian express chennai)

Banjara Acadamey's Helping Hand volunteer

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He was sitting there all alone in a third class waiting room of the Calicut railway station. We had expected the room to be crowded with dignitaries belonging to the government, with news reporters and others. So we almost missed him. He was reading a newspaper and his back was turned towards us. We thought he was someone else, not the man we had come to meet, until he put down the newspaper. The room was dirty, dusty and not spruced up as it is now. He did not ask for help nor were there any toadies round to curry favours because favours he would give none. He was waiting at the station for a connecting train that was expected in a few hours. This was way back in the early ’60s.

The simplicity of the man hit us with force. This man who a few years ago occupied the highest position in the land, from 1948 to 1950, the second governor general of India — C Rajagopalachari or CR as he was popularly known, a man of the highest integrity and the strictest of principles.

He was entitled to command the best government accommodation and his needs to be looked after, but he preferred not to. He was a freedom fighter and was awarded the Bharat Ratna. He was a staunch protector of his political principles and never hesitated to disagree with his closest associates.

He lived in a small old house in Kilpauk, in Chennai (then Madras). He could have easily got an allotment of a huge house — he did not. His family never earned the name of the first family. He did not believe in political dynasty, and his family did not benefit monetarily.

In some ways he is lucky that he did not live to see the present political scenario with all the scams that are being exposed. Rip-offs, fraud, trickery, swindles, amassing money by means of deception, fake-photos, non-existent addresses, non-existent directors of companies, companies without addresses...the list is endless. Election promises are made claiming to represent the aam aadmi. CR represented the aam aadmi — he was the real aam aadmi.jcomments on}



“Different Ways of Life"

Author: Balasubramanian TK

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This happened on a winter evening, when we were having chilly winds with intermittent rains, cloudy throughout, with slush on all the roads, all because of the cyclone Neelam. Very keen to attend a music program, we decided self-driving  to the venue was not a wise option, risking the traffic jam of the festive season, and water-filled potholes thanks to the on-going  work of the Metro in the K R Road stretch. As such,  there was  no alternative but to try our luck to get an Auto.

Strangely, to our surprise, an Auto driver readily accepted to come to our destination. We made it clear to him that perhaps he can avoid the Metro stretch, but compared to the traffic in other roads he said he will not mind taking this stretch itself  with a  bit of cautious driving. We thanked our stars and enjoyed the evening music session. However, not wanting to stay till the end as we may have to return by public transport only, with very little hope of getting an Auto, we left by 9 pm before the performance ended,  to catch a bus back home.

As we were walking towards the bus stop it was a surprise to find an Auto driver slowing down by our side and enquiring where we wanted to go. We were actually walking in the opposite direction of our destination to the Bus stop, and with least hope of his positive response, we told him our destination is N R Colony. We felt we won a jackpot when he said after a bit of thinking, “OK”, and asked us to get in. He checked with us which route he should take: whether the shorter slushy one or the longer one with  busy traffic. We left the option to him so long as he takes us nearer our home, and he chose the shorter one!

We thanked our stars once again. After a while, I asked him how come he accepted to take us though he was going in the opposite direction. Soon he started talking. He is a B.Com graduate in Kannada medium but could not land a desk job. He could converse well in English. He said he has certain principles in his driving profession. Never say no to seniors, not to refuse women with children, sick persons and passengers who may be in need of help whom generally others may like to avoid. He does not mind even if it involves going out of his way in such cases. In fact he was returning to his shed in Magadi Road, but for our sake he was willing to come to NR Colony which was in the reverse direction.

In the course of his driving he further narrated an incident that happened in his Auto: A passenger was taking his elderly father in his Auto, and that person was rather rude in talking to his father, which was not to the liking of this Auto driver. After a while he could not stand it anymore and  he told the son that if he continues to talk in such a vein to his father, he may as well get out of his Auto, as he cannot tolerate disrespect to elders, even if they are not related to him. We once again admired his courage of conviction, and his well principled views on life and we were happy we could come across such a person, after enjoying a nice evening of music.

On reaching our home we thanked him and wished him all the best in his life. He just took the right fare and returned the balance, and said he also had a sense of satisfaction on being of some help in taking us to our home. On enquiring his name he said he is Uma Shankar from Magadi.


For a Roof Over Your Head"

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/home-sweet-home

If you are old enough (and willing to admit it), you will remember the good old days when you spent your childhood in a house full of children. Mattresses would be laid out everywhere -- - uncles, aunts, grannies and cousins would sleep in every conceivable nook and corner of the house. You were not even aware that the house is too small for so many people, and that it would get even smaller as the children grew up.

There may be memories of the time when you were trying desperately to prepare for your final exams, and you would just not find any place where you could study in peace. That was perhaps the first time you realized that it would have been nice to have a room to yourself.

When you took up your first job, grannies and aunts would animatedly discuss about your matrimonial alliances. You were fantasizing about the demure and pretty bride or the handsome groom who would soon come to share your life. Was it then that you realized that you would some day need not just a room, but a home for yourself?

As you progressed in your professional life, your dreams of a home sweet home became more vivid. You would actually look at some quaint houses on the way home from work and wonder how your own dream house would look like. Perhaps you went “window shopping” with your spouse on Sundays, looking at pretty cottages and small houses, blushing with your talk about little children playing in the courtyard.

Next may have come the stage when you actually started planning to acquire that dream house — and found your dreams vanishing in a cloud of smoke. For, if you live in a metropolitan city, at first calculation you would have found that it would take you the equivalent of 200 months of salary to buy even the most modest of apartments in a far flung extension of your city. An architect designed bungalow with a lawn would cost nearer to 1,000 months salary (if you took no portion of it home even for food expenses!) If you are a middle class salaried person, just looking at newspaper ads and the prices of houses (if you can count the number of zeroes), probably would make you wonder why you were not born a pigeon or a crow!



Self Confidence"

Author: Apparao

Banjara Acadamey's Helping Hand volunteer

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/just-believe-in-your-self-by-author-apparao

The business executive was deep in debt and could see no way out. Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy. Suddenly an old man appeared before him. “I can see that something is troubling you,” he said. After listening to the executive’s woes, the old man said, “I believe I can help you.” He asked the man his name, wrote out a cheque, and pushed it into his hand saying, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.” Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

The business executive saw in his hand a cheque for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world! “I can erase my money worries in an instant!” he realized. But instead, the executive decided to put the uncashed cheque in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business, he thought. With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.

Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed cheque. At the agreed- upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the cheque and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man. “I’m so glad I caught him!” she cried. “I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the rest home and telling people he’s John D. Rockefeller.” And she led the old man away by the arm.

The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he’d been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him. Suddenly, he realized that it wasn’t the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his newfound self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after.

Just believe in your self and trust that you can do almost everything......jcomments on}




Self Improvement – A New Method

Author: Clifford Martis

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There are many self- improvement methods and modes. Many people have become famous by their writings on this popular subject. For example Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Stephen Covey, Shiv Khera etc. Many of these authors stress the point of re-training our mind for goal setting, positive thinking, auto suggestion, meditation and so on.

I wish to suggest one more method for self improvement. My suggestion is whenever anyone, any time, anywhere praises you or appreciates you, accept the praise and the good words willingly and thank that person. Be grateful and graceful in your response.

Before proceeding further with my theory I wish to mention that almost all of us have the habit of negating the words of praise. We say various things like, “No, no, I don’t deserve all that. It is only your generosity which makes you say so” or “No sir, I think you are pulling my legs. I don’t think I deserve all this praise”

Why do most people say such things and decline the praise and appreciation? They feel that accepting praise amounts to being proud and saying such things is necessitated by a sense of humility. I wish to suggest that accepting genuine praise does not amount to pride. Further, humility does not consist in denying and declining praise. Humility simply means knowing exactly who we are and not thinking beyond that realistic view ourselves. Imagine that we are fairly good at the written word. If we then claim to be masters of the written word then it is pride. Remembering and acknowledging exactly where we stand and not claiming anything more than that is true humility

It is a strange thing that people who yearn and crave for praise and appreciation find themselves unable to gracefully accept praise when it is showered upon them. This is a peculiar character of most human beings. They like it when someone praises them but they do not accept the praise gracefully but say various funny things.

Let us now try to see how genuine praise helps us to develop ourselves. When we make a good speech and a senior person appreciates our speech our opinion about our ability to make a good speech gets reinforced. There is a child in class who is very mischievous. The teacher calls him and praises him (Remember the teacher selects only those aspects of the students personality which can really be appreciated) and puts him in charge of some activity in the school. The boy is most likely to excel in the activity which the teacher assigns to him. All of us know very well about such transformation in boys who are a pain in the neck. But why does such improvement take place? I feel that the boy accepts the teacher’s praise – maybe unconsciously. This acceptance prompts him to do his best in the assignment given to him.

On one occasion someone said I was one of the best faculty members in an institute teaching insurance. Before I could accept the compliment another senior person said, “Not one of the best but the best” Believe me from that day onwards my entire attention and effort was concentrated on really becoming the best faculty in that institute.

I wish to narrate a story written by Premchand a well known Hindi writer. A village boy Biju had to be taken to the town in order to get him admitted to the school in the town. There was already a boy studying in that school So Biju’s people thought of going to the town and meeting that boy Sanju and requesting his help in taking care of the new boy. Hardly did they know that Sanju had become a drunkard and was indulging in all bad practices. Having been unaware of this matter the village men took the new boy Biju to Sanju, and begged his help. They said, “Dear Sanju kindly see that Biju becomes a hard working and well behaved boy like you. We are leaving him in your care. We have no worry at all because you are there not only as a caretaker but also a role model.” Can you believe that Sanju became a totally changed man overnight!. The title of the story is “Prerana”(which means motivation)

There are two exceptions to my theory of accepting praise gracefully and gratefully. One is when someone praises you sarcastically. People are good at making sarcastic remarks. So if you clearly see something sarcastic being said about you then you may just smile and keep quiet. Another case is when someone makes a clear joke. I mentioned some friends who wanted me to stand for election to the post of President. I tried to react by another joke. In all other cases we would do well to accept praise and appreciation gratefully and gracefully.




Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-most-potentially-dangerous-emotion

Anger, the most potentially dangerous emotion, is acquiring alarming proportions all around us. We have moved from a slow and satisfied lifestyle to one that makes tremendous demands on us and rewards us with unimaginable luxuries. Added to that is the consumer culture that almost forces you to buy, buy, buy. It is an age of instant gratification, and use-and- throw.

Obviously such a lifestyle takes its toll on our emotions too. Our patience is less, our expectations are more. We are perpetually in a hurry, and we no longer respect or regard those who are “failures.” The need to keep up with, or overtake, our neighbours, our colleagues, and our brother-in- law’s cousin’s nephews is so much that we face frustration if anything prevents our goals.

Anger is natural and is there in all of us. In fact it is contagious. It tends to accumulate, pile up, and overflow when we do not keep it in check. Anger cannot be managed by suppressing it, nor can it be got rid of by pouring it out on someone. It needs to be channeled, let out in proper dosages and in the right direction – like the steam from a pressure cooker.

Be aware of your anger levels, check what you are doing to reduce them, and work out the best techniques for letting them out in the best possible way – before it goes out of control.


A Real Eidee

Author: Sandhya Javali

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/eid-mubarak-by-author-sandhya-javali

Recently when I was in Kashmir along with some 200 girls for sight seeing, one small incident there made me think about lie in our education system. Is it because of upbringing that today’s children are forgetting their basic values like respecting elders, concern about others? Or whether the luxurious, modern equipments, working parents, single child scenario has made this generation more and more self-centered and selfish? Where we are failing as teachers? Or are we failing as parents to instill good values in youngsters? Day in and in day out I see more and more youngsters not getting up to offer seats to old, pregnant ladies in buses even if it is a 5 min. journey. May be because of the “I am self-efficient” “I can take care of myself” attitude?

On that particular day, after really tiring and strenuous activities – like trekking, pony ride and visiting the temple on the hill-top, we returned to the hotel feeling terribly chill and exhausted, All we wanted to do was to freshen up and rest for a while but when we reached the hotel, to my horror I realized our room key was with another lecturer who was in the other bus and those two buses were delayed by 1 or 2 hours. (other 2 buses reached early) Being Eid-day the hotel manager had left for home early having locked in all the spare keys.

I was highly disappointed as I badly wanted to use the washroom and rest. I sat on the sofa, shivering in cold outside the hotel room, sadly observing girls moving in and out. Some, with little concern (?) asked me “Ma’am, why are you sitting outside?” After knowing the reason “oh” was the only response. Nobody offered to help, even the thought of calling me into their rooms didn’t cross their mind. They were worried about the next program, time for dinner etc.

I continued sitting there as our tour organizer passed by, and learning about the keys he ordered a cup of tea and disappeared. Nothing else to do I sat there looking at girls, all ready to go out for shopping.

A young employee Md. Aman, who had spoken to me earlier, returned with genuine concern –“Madam, you are still sitting here in this cold?” He offered me his room to relax in, and I asked him hesitatingly –“your room? Don’t you go home?” He said – “I go but once in a month” and he took my hand bag, opened the room, which was like any other hotel room over there, except that in one corner all freshly ironed bedspreads were piled up. He hurriedly put a new bed cover, gave a blanket to keep me warm, switched on the T.V and said, “sit comfortably, how long will you sit there waiting for other madams to come?”

I was truly touched by his concern, his humanity, the one Muslim boy, uneducated, not known to me – and on the other hand my students, educated, well read. (No doubt they wished me whenever they passed by me)

That day being “Eid” (Bada-Din) for them, I wished him with all my heart ‘Eid mubarak’ and he left saying ‘Apko bhi hamari taraf se’



The wonderful phenomenon of the Indian Maid Servant"

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-maid-servant-of-the-house

In my childhood the maid servant of the house was a very conveniently available lady in the house with whom children could play, share innocent sorrows, treat her badly without being scolded, and generally have the reassurance that someone is around in the house. Those were the days of full-time live-in maid servants.

Lately “live-in” has acquired completely different meaning, and the maid servant features nowhere in it. She is now “living-out” and making a round of half-a- dozen or more houses trying to gather enough income to take care of her children, and maybe a parasite alcoholic husband.

Recently there was a discussion in our Counselling Skills class where each participant was asked to identify who was currently the “most important person in her life”. Many said children, some mentioned parents, one-odd person did mention spouse, and then, like a bolt out of the blue, one person said, “Of course, my maid servant.” She backed it up by explaining, “If my husband is late by a couple of hours, I get a little anxious – but if my maid is late by half an hour, I start getting a heart attack. So who is more important?”

Meet any group of housewives (including those who are themselves very successful and upwardly mobile professionals in their own right). Whether they belong to the lower middle-class or the stinking rich class, there is a common topic of interest that they indulge in with greater passion than when they learn about the extra-marital affair of their neighbour – and that is Maid Servants!

There is a constant clamour of how maid servants have not only become more and more expensive, they never come on time, take offs whenever they feel like (obviously without informing, even in these days of mobile phones). The other day one Mistress asked her maid why she did not come for three days, and promptly she replied, “I had put up on my Facebook account that I am going for a pilgrimage. In fact Saar (the man of the house) even commented ‘Like’ to that!”

If one were to get a frank opinion of the maid servants (and very few actually have a desire to do so, being fixed in their judgement about them), there will be a contrary picture of frustration, helplessness, a feeling of being stuck in a life without hope of anything better – and that comes out in the form of haughtiness, adamant attitude, and indifference or lying.

It intrigues me that in this age when most women have become highly educated, are earning so well, juggling and balancing their roles at home and office so successfully, why they are unable to find a solution to the perpetual ‘Maid’ issue. There is obviously no ‘Maid-to- order’ solution, but there should certainly be some way of working out something for the satisfaction of the home-maker and home-cleaner. Any reader has any answers?



Communication and Reaching out in Marriage – A Personal Sharing"

Author: Laxmi

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/who-will-feed-their-emotional-needs-by-author-laxmi

The state in which I am today, definitely has financial instability, but somewhere deep down within there is a reassurance which is keeping me going and telling me that it’s just a passing phase. I have always been a very confident and carefree person, a go-getter for anything I have desired in life.

Life changed completely after my marriage. I had moved to the city of dreams, Mumbai, to live my dreams. I started my roller coaster ride without my knowledge, leading life the way it came, giving the best in every aspect, like any typical Indian housewife -- till one day I found that I have been changing as per everybody’s needs. I lost my identity in this process, my likes, dislikes. In the name of commitments, duties, responsibilities I somewhere stopped living and started surrendering to circumstances. From an additional provider I took up the role of full fledged supporter to my family, was there for everybody and their kith and kin, till everybody got settled in their lives, including my husband. Yes, his perspective of coming out clean was by breaking the news that he has moved on in life with somebody else and intends to remain in his new found relationship till it lasts.

I cried and cried, not realizing where I went wrong. On introspection, I realized that there was no communication between us. Instead of getting into altercations, we chose not to express till it became a habit and we gave it the label of giving “space” to each other.

He knew very well that I have a strong will and could sustain this news. Yes, I lived up to his expectations, as the next day I was back on my role from dawn till dusk – but this time for my kids. I carried on with my household chores, irrespective of physical and emotional health. His leaving has hit us badly, our whole world got shattered but I was still on, as I didn’t know how to express my emotions and to whom. It’s been ages since I could vent out my emotions to anybody after my father passed away.

I was scared that my mother will not be able to take up this news. But to my surprise she came to my rescue like an angel. My family supported me a lot in this whole transition. The change of place helped me in re-building my lost faith and self confidence. I got associated with people who taught me that I need to give my life a meaning by putting and end to my past and moving on. I am in the process of unlearning and relearning for a bright future for myself and my kids.

This whole thought of writing this article came to me because last month I visited the same city, to re-learn that the city of dreams is also known as the city which never sleeps. I happened to meet my old family friends, a very friendly and accommodative couple. I was there with them for around 2-3 hours and throughout my stay I realized something very familiar in them. People call them the best couple, made for each other. ..etc. It was then that I got like a flash that, the story is the same there as well. We are so busy in pleasing others that we don’t even realize the hollowness, unsatisfied self within us. We all wear masks to hide it. Everything from outside seems to be good, but I was constantly watching the hostess – her eyes were giving away the story. Why do we try to please others and expect praise and happiness in return?

We actually live in a virtual world. We have gadget to do what we want but we have no gadgets to feel. We are so accommodative and flexible to the unknown people why can’t we be the same to our near and dear ones. Who will feed their emotional needs? What happens to our life partners, whom we choose and celebrate that event year after year, to remind ourselves that togetherness is happiness, but are we really happy? If only we can remind ourselves that happiness is within us and we need to communicate our needs and want, life would be much more easy and worth living. We have not been taught to be expressive, but it is one of the essential pre- requisites for a happy family. It’s a food for thought before it’s too late to extract time from Facebook and live our life face to face.

Million thanks to those who touch our life and guide us, for a fulfilling and prosperous future.



Do you Value yourself?Maid Servant "

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When you value something, you look after it well, don’t you? If you have a bike or a gadget that is expensive and delicate, then you will ensure that it is always kept safely, serviced regularly, and used properly. Perhaps the most valuable asset that you have, and which came free of cost to you, is your life. You have been personally and intricately carved out by your Creator – and if you have any doubt about it, just look at the inner side of your thumb. The curved lines you see on it are called “fingerprint.” Do you know that among 700 crore people in this world, no one, absolutely no one, has the same fingerprint as yours? The same way the Almighty has given you a ‘mental’ fingerprint which is uniquely yours.

Now the choice is yours whether you value your life and your intelligence enough to live up to it with values or not. It cannot be taught through text books, and it cannot be copied from someone. It is your choice to ensure that you live with the basic ethics, values and morals, regardless of what faith, community, denomination or religion you belong to. In today’s world when violence, terrorism, rape and corruption have become daily occurrences, you need to bring about a change starting with yourself. Keep in mind that only if you value yourself, the world will value you. If you live by your principles and refuse to get pushed by the winds of modernism and “herd” mentality, then eventually you will gain respect, success and popularity.

If you are a girl or woman, ask yourself whether you have good self-esteem and self-worth. Here are some relevant points:

  1. Check self statements of “put-downers”, i.e. how you put yourself down by saying or thinking negative things about yourself, or consider yourself inferior, particularly with regard to men.
  2. Distortions in your statements i.e. what is the actual truth about your qualities, capabilities and equality with all humans.
  3. Review who has made you feel inferior or inadequate, whether somewhere sometime someone has made you believe all these negative thoughts about yourself.
  4. Think and write down what the truth is, and the rebuttal to the negative statements.
  5. Make friends with yourself. Give positive strokes and rewards to yourself.
  6. On a day to day basis, repeat “Affirmations” of what you are and what you can do.
  7. Keep a diary or note book and write every day: (a) Some good qualities of yours (b) Some good deeds you have done that day.
Help every growing girl to develop in this manner, so that she will never allow herself to be abused or misused.

If you are a boy or man, understand that your responsibility to yourself and to society is even higher. Answer a few thought-provoking questions to yourself truthfully:

  • Do you feel that women are inferior, need to be looked after?
  • Do you at times look at any strange woman as a sexual object?
  • Do you feel that it is okay to break minor civic rules when no one is watching or no one may be affected?
  • Do you tend to compete recklessly, at times bending ethics, in order to succeed in your targets or work?
  • Do you sometimes find your anger going out of control?

If you have answered “yes” to even one or two of the above questions, then YOU are contributing to the problems that society and the world are facing increasingly. Terrorists and rapists were also ordinary men like you once upon a time – they neglected their basic values, bent morals here and there, and went down the roller-coaster ride from where they could never come out.

Whenever you find yourself blaming “them” who commit offences and cause harm, do not forget to introspect on your own contribution towards the degeneration. If you start with your own self, you can slowly reach out to your friends and acquaintances and bring them to your way of thinking, thus preventing the creation of more anti-socials. If you do not take the steps now, you may face the situation that Pastor Niemller lamented during the Anti-Nazi Resistance Movement in 1939:

“First they came for the Jews,

But I did not speak out,

Because I was not a Jew.


Then they came for the Communists,

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not a Communist.


Then they came for the trade-unionists,

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not a trade-unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,

And I did not speak out,

Because I was not a Catholic.


Then they came for me,

And there was no one left to speak out for me.”



Good People

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Good People
In a world full of scandals and nefarious activities, we are slowly forgetting to appreciate and acknowledge the innumerable good people around us. By giving them due recognition we will not be doing them a favor, we will be being kinder to ourselves – for if we put our thoughts and attention on the nice people we encounter or learn about, we are reinforced with the belief that the world is a nice place to live in. Our stress levels come down, we develop optimism, and we are better equipped not to get pulled down when someone treats us badly. From global celebrities to people in our neighborhood, there are simple, humble and genuinely “good” people all around. Let me recall a few:

I read about the amazing person who recently became the first Jesuit to be elevated as a Pope (Francis I). I read that he lived in a small apartment in Argentina instead of the palace that he was entitled to as Archbishop earlier. He used to travel by city buses. When appointed Pope, he went quietly to the hotel where he was staying, paid his bill and picked up his luggage. He refused to use the bullet-proof Pope-mobile, and got into a van with other priests. He is even dressing in simple white. His sense of humour was reflected when he thanked the Cardinals for electing him, and added “May God forgive you” for choosing him. He spoke not so much about religious sermons but about the need to make the church serve the poor and to give a boost to inter-religious dialogue.

Closer home I have had the privilege of knowing closely some remarkable Jesuit priests. Father Ronnie Prabhu and Father Pradeep Sequeira have been more than teachers and mentors to me. Lately I met the utterly humble and simple Father Ignacimuthu, who after having served as Vice-Chancellor of both Madras and Bharatiar Universities, continues his committed Ministry as an entomologist in Loyola Institutions, Chennai. I was very impressed with his broad-mindedness, his sharp mind, and his ability to look at every issue holistically.

I am not a Catholic, not a Christian. But I don’t even have to be a believer in God to believe in the goodness of human beings. All I need to do is to open my eyes, look beyond the media and gossip of corruption and terrorism, and cherish the knowledge of such wonderful people around me, regardless of their religious affiliation or their status in life. This way I can make my own life so utterly livable, enjoyable and hopeful.

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