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The Nature Flows

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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

I sit on the balcony and look out. Some fields below, cows grazing, and birds flitting about. A dog wags her tail when I call out to her, a cat ignores my greeting and walks away majestically. The gaze goes beyond, and the land rises up to lush green-covered hills. Not very tall, but majestic by themselves. Serenity all round, everything moves slow and is measured paces – even the sun casting longer and longer shadows on the hills.

Though green dominates, other colours merge smoothly, even the bright yellow of the sunlight as it turns golden and then a dull orange. A spattering of red, purple and blue complete the panorama.

Whether we humans go there or not, nature flows. The dog chases the cat, the bull eats up the grass, and wild animals eat their prey. The lush green landscape turns a barren brown – until the torrential monsoon rains bring back the green from nowhere.

The trees voluntarily shed their fruit, the crop is razed to the ground. The old tree faces the brunt of thunder and collapses. Yet the fact is that nothing changes – unless man goes on a merciless mission of wiping out the bounties of nature.

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Go Out Into Nature

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/go-out-into-nature-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Yielding To The New Crop

Have you noticed how life tends to slow down when the summer comes? Children have holidays (except the unfortunate ones preparing for innumerable exams), business people are through with their financial year-end, attendance in offices becomes thin as people go away for vacations -- and of course the heat takes away our energy, appetite and zest.

Yet summer is the best time to get active, be outdoors, meet new people, explore the open spaces, savour the shade of huge trees and the unbelievable satisfaction of a cool drink! Stop reading this and go out into nature........

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Yielding To The New Crop

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/yielding-to-the-new-crop-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Yielding To The New Crop

As I grow older, the best thing I like is to see younger and younger people achieving so much. I strongly believe that a teacher's ability is not in his knowledge but in the curiosity and learning that the students acquire because of him. As the old crop has to be cut down and remixed into the soil for the new crop to grow, so it should be with us humans. I am happy yielding to the new crop and am sure they will do a much better job than me. Remember the Bollywood movie in which a song goes something like this: "Kal aur ayenge naghmon ki khilti kaliyan chun-ne waale, mujh se behtar kehne waale, tum se behtar sun-ne waale....."?

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Keeping in Touch

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/keeping-in-touch-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Keeping in Touch

I don't know if I am over-reacting, but I am coming across more and more people who do not keep up their commitments, conveniently 'forget' to inform you, do not respond to your messages, and yet are so busy on social media sending forwards and sharing jokes.

When communication has become so easy, why do we neglect people who are genuinely trying to communicate with us, and who have no vested interest and are not trying to 'sell' us anything?

Ironically the same people will not hesitate to call you a dozen times when THEY need something from you.

Of course I should not generalize, since I have very many friends who are always sensitive to respond or keep in touch. They enrich my life

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Overcoming Loneliness

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/overcoming-loneliness-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Overcoming Loneliness

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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Handling Criticism

It’s not all that difficult !

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/handling-criticism-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Criticism is certain – we should expect/anticipate that we will be subject to it time and again. There is no point trying to run away from it. Rather, it is better to gain the skills to be able to handle it.

It starts with our perception of others. We “believe” that some people are of a certain type, we have expectations from them. If we are disappointed, it shows in the form of criticism of the other person. Also, we select what we wish to perceive, what is important to us. Our opinion of others depends on our..…

  • emotional state
  • our programming
  • beliefs/values
  • physiological state of how we are feeling
  • our needs/wants and expectations at that time

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The Myth

Author: Lalita Jakathe

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-myth-by-lalita-jakathe

The myth of romantic love is an illusion. A myth may or may not be true. But the experience will last forever. This myth is a cultural invention, a common tradition dating back to Middle Ages.

Emotions of romance and love would have been created by our own set of beliefs, or even infused by friends and related elders around us.

Reading the age old “Chandamama” story books, “Amar chitra katha” fairy tales where a handsome strong Prince and a poor damsel in distress, a Mermaid and the wood cutter (the list can go on) will fall in love and after a long tale of love will marry and live happily ever after,we as kids either by reading or hearing these tales would have been mesmerized with the quote “happily ever after” without having any doubt of what actually happens after this “ever after.”

A few other prevalent sayings by our own people like “God has destined and we all elders approve you both husband and wife” “Horoscopes are matching with maximum compatibility, so both of you can tie the knot of marriage” and so on, creates emotions of illusions of romantic love. And we believe or are made to believe that this is real.

These myths may actually be getting in the way of truly nding the “happily ever after” in our lives. Then what is true love?

Now after the marriage and the honeymoon phase, the real life begins. We begin to sense the beginning of problems. We feel the consequences of the unmet needs. We start to see the other person, more like they truly are, not what we needed or thought them to be. Then starts the fault nding with each other, a period of indifferent behaviors, ego clashes and thus remain together in misery or separate with a baggage of hurt, anger and being cynical of relationship.

True happiness of love is not a theory, a Solar Eclipse Men and Women Price of LOVE 7 writer's imagination or a ction, it must be created and experienced by the “self.”

Being aware of one's self is the 1st truth. Recognizing, managing my own thoughts, feelings in a compassionate way even if they are scary or inconvenient. Once I am committed to my own truth, then I can work to create a long lasting relationship.

Now, with the partner. He/she is a different individual with different pattern of thoughts, behaviors, cultural and t raditional upbringing. To recognize and understand this individual from his/her point of view is the next priority.

Both the individuals should rst accept their own feel. The Truth, the same level of accepting each other.

And now learning to adopt the four basic Truths. Respect for each other's individuality, the Trust on each other (the understanding attribute) the Commitment which is being with each other in unusual situations too and enveloping the magnicent communication mantra “Speaking and listening skills should rst be learnt and sharpened often”

These 4 basic Truths will surely create a strong spectrum of love for ever, as each other's individuality is the only foundation upon which a mature marriage can be based and real love can grow.


 

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Solar Eclipse

Author: S.R.Mahesh Raju

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/solar-eclipse-by-s-r-mahesh-raju

As the sun rises from the mountain cradle, and reaches the top of the world, a ball as dark as the depths of an Abyss rushes to the arena.

Like a black knight galloping ahead to seek revenge, he engulfs the sun and his light, forcing all ora and fauna to bow to his indisputable supremacy.

But regarding the heart rendering cries of life, he agrees to bear upon his defeated enemy; and releases his prisoner – with grace and majesty.

As that warrior of great power departs, he leaves behind a ring of gold studded with a sparkling diamond, as a souvenir of his heroic exploit to be remembered for a long time.

As his chariot of darkness leaves the battle eld the sun is shining bright and all is ne.


 

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“Cover Up,Your Shape is Showing.” Why should I?

Author: The Fuan Writer

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/cover-upyour-shape-is-showing-by-the-fuan-writer

Why should I?
Why must I?
Why do I have to hide myself under sheets,
When I go outside to be free to breathe?

 

“Cover Up, Your Shape Is Showing.”
From your restraining grasps,
I struggle to keep quiet.
I bite my tongue,
Because I'm tired of being disobedient.

 

“Cover Up, Your Shape Is Showing.”
The enveloping sense of protection,
Made inherently a fear of the outside,
Feeding the paranoia of the eyes watching you,
Watching your every move,
Your every breath with the rise of your chest,
The boys in your class, the men on the streets,
All you should hide from, hide your unprotected self,
Your backside, your legs, your shoulders, your breast.

 

“Cover Up, Your Shape Is Showing.”
Sexualizing every curve, skin curling,
Flesh burning, to freeze in place,
For movement causes the fabric to stick
And display your wares for shameless gazes.

 

“Cover Up, Your Shape Is Showing.”
“Your gure is a woman's,
You can't forever hide yourself,
Under those shirts you wear.”
Shame on you, for making me conform,
To your ideals of dressage, your perfect uniform.
I always look pretty to you then, don't I?
Innocent and Feminine. Modest as they come.

 

“Cover Up, Your Shape Is Showing.”
I mumble to myself,
As I zip up my over sized jacket to cover up,
The shape of me.

 

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Life's Favourite Song

Author: Natasha Anne Wheeler

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/lifes-favourite-song-author-natasha-anne-wheeler

I walk along a rustic path
Leading to the key to my heart.
I stand alone on this trail
Never letting my dreams go frail,
Aware that I walk towards the light
Seldom faltering in the dreadful night.
Not knowing where this road may lead
Life sure is a mystery, yes, indeed!
I keep going, uncertain but strong
Humming an echo of life's favourite song.

 

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Who Are You?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/who-are-you-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Who Are You?

As an ardent student of human behavior, I often like to know how much time people spend in trying to understand their own self. Many of us take deep interest in analyzing, understanding and commenting on others. Not only those who are involved with us, but even about political leaders, film stars, celebrities etc. Hours are spent in idle conversations and comments about people whose lives we cannot (and should not) change in any way. But we do not spend even a fraction of that time trying to analyze and understand about ourselves.

You will live with yourself 24/7 X 365 for all the years of your life. You need to know your upbringing, attitudes, values, likes and dislikes. You need to introspect on what have been your achievements and your frustrations. You should evaluate what you have gained and what you have missed out in life. You should also be aware of the changes within you, how your aspirations and priorities evolve, what makes you happy or unhappy. Only if you do this periodically will you be able to face any challenges squarely.

In my training programs I often ask a question unexpectedly, “Who are you?” and ask them to answer immediately. It is amazing how many people flounder – they write the roles they are playing, ‘what’ they are, but many cannot really answer ‘who’ they are. Are you able to answer to yourself,

“Who are you?”

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Orientation to The Little Boys

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/orientation-to-the-little-boys-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Orientation to The Little Boys

"We ask our daughters where they were, but we do not ask our sons where they were and what they were doing..."

Often I stop on the road and discreetly watch the cute scene of a little boy holding the hand of an even tinier sister or cousin and taking her to school. I often wonder what happens to these boys when they grow up and develop insensitive feelings towards the fairer sex. Is it their fault, or is it the upbringing we give them?

For years and decades I have been reading about the sporadic incidents of eve-teasing, molestation and harassment of women in different places and cultures. Of late, thanks to social media, a big uproar is created, and people even come on to the roads with placards and justifiable anger and protests. The poor police is often made the scapegoats, whether they use force or whether they keep quiet.

I have very often wondered why we are not looking at a long term solution. As Prime Minister Mr. Modi said, "we ask our daughters where they were, but we do not ask our sons where they were and what they were doing."

Can we not begin by giving a better orientation to the little boys around us while they are still in their innocence? Anyone taking the lead, I am willing to join.

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Happy Independence Day

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/happy-independence-day-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Happy Independence Day

The festival worth celebrating most, our country’s Independence Day, has just gone past.

Most of us were born after India gained independence, so we have not experienced what it is like to live under the control of a foreign power. When we go around a totally free, democratic, secular and unrestricted gigantic nation, we perhaps cannot visualize what it must have been to be asked to crawl on certain roads because the Britishers felt offended by the ‘natives’, or what it was to see signboards reading “Dogs and Indians not Allowed” in our own nation.

The one very important festival that binds us together whether we are Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, atheist or Banjara is our Independence Day. Let us not only celebrate this great day with all enthusiasm and from the heart, but let the spirit of Independence continue in our hearts many days after 15th August is over. Let us cherish and protect this freedom from restrictive practices, internal and external threats, and even from our own narrow-minded thoughts if they occur.

Happy Independence!

 

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Guru Purnima - What really is a Guru?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/what-really-is-a-guru-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Guru Purnima - What really is a Guru?

Guru Purnima came and went last month. Even the full moon was a little dull due to cloudy weather. I received many messages of gratitude and appreciation that warmed my heart – though personally I don’t believe that I have really been a Guru as such.

Which made me think – what really is a Guru? Is it just the teachers who taught us through text books, is it the religious wise men who give sermons, is it the person who coaches you when you have exams and sees that you pass? Surprisingly my best and most effective gurus have been none of these – they have been people who encouraged me to think for myself, motivated me to progress without them being my crutches, cheered me on when I was doing something nice, and stood by me when I faltered.

Happy Guru Purnima

Some of my gurus have also been my worst critics who made all efforts to pull me down, and in the process lit a spark of determination in me that I should prove them wrong!

Many a time we do not realize how much we are learning from different people, leave alone acknowledging and appreciating them for what they have given us! Shall we start doing it now at least?

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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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