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The way of nature

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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The purpose of my life is life itself

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Someone asked me the other day what was my aim or purpose in life. Long back I used to answer this question by saying “I’m still trying to find out”, which was true. Now that I have actually stopped trying to find out, or setting any goals for myself, my answer would probably be, “the purpose of my life is life itself.” I know it sounds philosophical at first, but it isn’t. Living one day at a time, making the most of whatever life offers you, being content with your experiences, achievements and frustrations, can be a very strong purpose. At least for me.

I don’t even want to say that I want to serve others. I feel that doing something for something also boils down to seeking some sort of fulfillment. So, right now my purpose of life is to share with you my purpose of life – not worrying whether you will read it and agree with it, or declare me a fool.

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Creative Ideas

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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I read something interesting the other day. Someone said that Creative Ideas come to us primarily in bed, bath, and bus. Have you noticed how true it is? You are dozing off to sleep and suddenly you get a bright spark. You are in the bath and you get a brainwave, you are travelling and your thoughts go to something that was eluding you for a long time.

I have indirectly been aware of this aspect, and I keep a pen and paper handy both when I am travelling and when I am going to bed. Of course I can’t do it in the bath, but I try to memorize the bright idea I get and come running out to write it down before I forget. You can use the ‘notepad’ in your phone to record the Eureka moment and the creative ideas so that you can follow up on them later. Try it out.

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On-line letter-writing service

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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I can't believe it. A gentleman has started an "on-line letter-writing service". Pay him Rs. 20 and he will write a post-card conveying your message to your loved one !!!

Have we come to the stage that we cannot buy a 50 paisa post card (yes, that's all it costs in any post office) and write a couple of lines to someone who is important to us, and drop it in the nearest post box?

I have been advocating the joys and outcomes of writing simple notes to anyone who is dear to you, for ages. Some people have actually picked up the habit. For the others, transferring 20 rupees to 'PostmanBaba' and asking him to write is much easier.

I wonder if eventually Postman Baba will acquire a string of admirers and lovers as after all it is his words that the receiver will be reading!

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Games Box - Entertaining-cum-educational toys

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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A friend of mine has subscribed for an activity/games box for her four year old child. It is called Flinto. Every month a box is delivered containing some entertaining-cum-educational toys which are age-specific. For example, the child has to assemble a simple plastic car, then blow air into a balloon and fix it to a nozzle at the back. As the air comes out of the balloon the car moves forward.

There is a simple explanation card which the child or parent can read explaining the dynamics behind each such game. What impressed me most is that there is no technology, electronics or ‘Apps’ involved. The child is working with his hands, understanding the logic behind how things work, and at the same time getting thrilled with the outcome of his efforts. Wish we could focus our children more in such activities.

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Taking more interest in the coming generation

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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I had read long, long ago that the country or society that will prosper most is the one that takes more and more interest in the coming generation. When I look around at the way we are treating children, how our education system functions, and the way children are being converted into cogs in the education machinery, I feel very alarmed. RTE act, POCSO Act, Examinations Authorities, police screening of teachers – I feel we have missed the essence of what a child needs. It is like a watchman of an orphanage had told me long ago about the Trustees, “they are so concerned about the orphanage that they have no time for the orphans.” I know that as individuals we cannot change the system, but can we do something for one or two children around us, to make them feel that they are growing up in a warm, loving and caring world?

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Books are becoming more and more expensive

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/books-are-becoming-more-and-more-expensive-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

One of my most admired authors Ruskin Bond, who is a Britisher but came back to India after 3 years in ‘cold and rainy Britain’ and eventually settled down near Mussorie in the midst of hills and greenery, and has now turned 83 years young.

He has just written his autobiography ‘Lone Fox Dancing’, which is priced at Rs. 599/-. I don’t mind investing the money, but I hesitate because after I have read it once, no one else would benefit from it. If I lend it to a friend, it will not come back (you know that well, I suppose) and the person would not even read it. Books are becoming more and more expensive. I have more than 4,000 of them in our library, which I want to share with others. But there are no takers.

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Disappearance of sparrows from our life

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Further to what I wrote about nature, I wonder how many of us are aware of the disappearance of sparrows from our life. They were all over the place in every city and town that I lived in my early life. They balance the ecology. But now I not only don't see sparrows in Bangalore, I hardly see them in even the small towns that I visit now and then.

Rotary had started a movement of making small holed wooden nests for people to keep in their balconies (because bigger holes means the bigger birds come and kill or eat up their eggs). I tried out two such nests, but no sparrow came.

There is a different bird of much smaller sparrows that I thankfully see in our Manthan retreat. Whenever I stay there, I spend my morning cup of tea observing their lively flitting and their socializing.

Amazingly, I do see a few sparrows quite fearlessly hanging around the food courts of Bengaluru International Airport. Small mercies.

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The harmony of all living beings ensures a smooth flow

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Sitting amidst nature and watching how the harmony of all living beings ensures a smooth flow, I was wondering about the way we argue whether the world was created by an omnipotent God or whether it evolved (Darwin's theory).

I hope and wish we can spend a fraction of that time on doing our little bit and ensuring that we preserve whatever is there that nature has given us free of cost. It is only we humans who keep destroying ecology shamelessly. Go into nature and see the vast expanses of hills and valleys, rivers and oceans, flora and fauna, how they co-exist and renew themselves -- as long as humans do not come and pollute and destroy.

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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?
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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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