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Being child-like

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/being-child-like-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

There is a great deal of difference between being "childish" and being "child-like", and often we do not understand one from the other. I always appreciate people who are child-like, who have retained some amount of innocence and straight-forwardness through ups and downs, and who have allowed their 'inner'child' to remain alive and kicking.

For example, if you still enjoy listening to little stories with some morals in them. if you can giggle at silly jokes, if you are willing to go out and purposely get wet in the rain -- then you are child-like, and your life will always be as simple, joyful and enjoyable as that of a child.

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How to clear misunderstandings

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/how-to-clear-misunderstandings-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Often someone comes and starts complaining about how a third person has hurt him or let him down. I ask only one question, "Did you put the fact before him and sought his clarification?" Quite often, the answer is No. I personally practice that as much as I can. The moment I dislike someone's words or actions, or if I hear from another source about something the person has done, I seek out the earliest opportunity to be frank and tell, "This is what I heard from X. I felt concerned/hurt/disturbed (whatever). I want to hear from you what the truth is."

You'll be amazed how often it clears up matters which would otherwise have become major misunderstandings, fights or break-ups. Hope you follow this too.

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I really wonder whether we truly appreciate what Independence means

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/i-really-wonder-whether-we-truly-appreciate-what-independence-means-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I really wonder whether we truly appreciate what Independence means. Most of us were born after India gained independence so we have not seen the times when hotels or clubs used to put up signboards "Dogs and Indians not allowed" right here in our own country. We can earn, live and express whatever we want. We can aspire for any achievements. We are surrounded by people of different castes and communities all caring for each other and loving each other.

Independence Day comes once in a year, but we need to acknowledge, cherish and nurture our freedom year long -- maybe by being better role models to the younger generation

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I want to wear my Nationality on my person

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/i-want-to-wear-my-nationality-on-my-person-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Four years back, just before Independence Day, I was driving down and saw an old man selling pins with small metallic National tri-colour flags for five rupees. I bought four of them, more out of pity for the elderly man braving the sun and heat in urban traffic, and started wearing them in rotation every day. For the first few days nothing happened. No one seemed to take any notice of this new appendage on my shirt. Then I started seeing curious looks. “Hey, Independence Day is long over” they said, “why the flag?” Some people even passed sarcastic remarks, “you don’t have to wear your patriotism on your chest every day”, they said. I waited for days and weeks, but I hardly ever received any positive comment or appreciative remark.

It set me thinking. People wear their religion, caste, political affiliations on their sleeve, and it is accepted. Everywhere I turn around I see people flaunting their faith or their community – on their foreheads, in their dress, through ornaments, and even on the dashboards or windscreens of their cars. It is well established and accepted that you would like to announce your identity to all and sundry, and no one gives it a second thought.

I want to wear my Nationality on my person wherever I go, because I genuinely love my country and am proud to be an Indian – and my friends treat it either as a joke or something to be ridiculed. We can flaunt our religious beliefs, wear our caste on our forehead, but we are not comfortable with someone wearing his nationalism on his sleeve. It is not that I am a diehard or extreme patriot – but I am a proud citizen of this great country, and I hardly have any other regional or parochial affiliations. My language, religion, caste, region or political affiliation are very minor in comparison to my identity as an Indian – and I would like others to know this fact, through a tiny metallic tricolor flag proudly worn on my chest.

I have now become immune to the quizzical and funny looks. As long as possible I will continue with this little crusade of mine, even if I am the only one around doing so. I know the worth of being an Indian in this free, democratic and progressive country. I need India more than India needs me. And I am looking for like-minded people to join the caravan.

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A relook at the meanings of some words

Author: Raju Thomas

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/a-relook-at-the-meanings-of-some-words-by-author-raju-thomas

There are some words which can be thought of as having slightly different interpretations than the usual dictionary meanings. I have come across a few of them, for which I would like to give the definitions as given below.

  • Intuition : The revelation one experiences from an “ Inner Tuition “ , i.e. by talking to oneself and drawing on the wisdom residing within oneself.
  • Insight : Looking inwards with an “ Inner Sight “, and getting the true answers to any problem, similar to intuition.
  • Realize : To see with “ Real Eyes “ and perceive through inner vision the true realities one faces in life.
  • Responsibility : The “ Ability to Respond “ in a positive manner, considering all (conflicting?) aspects in any situation.
  • Forgiving : A reminder that life is “ For Giving “, and not only for getting (from others).
  • Attention : A frame of mind, with an open, receptive and listening attitude, without “ A tension “ ; attention comes when tension goes.
  • Gratitude : Being thankful for everything in life, a “ Great Attitude “.
  • Independent : “ Inner dependence “ or being self dependent and confident.
  • Encourage : To instill or “ Enable Courage “ to others to do what they love to do, and not what you want them to do.
  • Impossible : Nothing is impossible, it’s just “I’m possible “ ; I can do anything that I truly believe in.
  • Team Spirit : A change from “ I “ to “ We “ , which can even change “Illness” to “Wellness”, and apathy to empathy ; a healing power of team spirit.
  • Individuality : Not just an indivisible entity of self, but an “ Indivi(sible) duality” of oneself ; an inner world and an outer world, a finite being connected to an infinite power source ( with faith acting as the power cord).

 


 

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Sorting Misunderstandings

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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

Today I was giving a talk on "sorting Misunderstandings" and I decided to tell something about 'preventing' misunderstandings. If we can tell periodically and regularly to those who are important in our lives, the following four words (as applicable): Love, Like, Respect, Appreciate. Tell your near and dear when and why you love them, like them, etc. Builds very strong bonds and overcomes even if there is a communication gap or misunderstanding

 

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Vividh Bharathi - Desh ki sureeli dhadkan

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/vividh-bharathi-desh-ki-sureeli-dhadkan-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I am an old timer who is still loyal to the 70 year old Vividh Bharathi radio station 102.9 FM (they call themselves cutely “Desh ki sureeli dhadkan”). There is an unexplained joy when you check the watch and wait for the start of a favorite program. I genuinely enjoy the concept of “delayed gratification” which most of us seem to have lost in today’s era of “instant gratification.” Nowadays every song is available at the touch of a button in a moment – but what is the fun when it is so easy? On the first of every month, the first song in the morning program Bhoole Bisre Geet at 7 a.m. is “Khush hai zamana aaj pehli tareeq hai.” I don’t get a salary on the first of the month, but I relish listening to the song.

There is a charm in waiting for something, looking forward to it, and then getting it!

 

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Being more sensitive to needs of loved ones

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/being-more-sensitive-to-needs-of-loved-ones-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

In my childhood elders used to exhort us to ask for what we want, otherwise no one will know our needs. In Hindi they used to say, “Even a mother does not give milk to a child unless he starts crying.” I feel sad that we need to ask (and ask, and ask) when we want something, even from a loved one. The assertive, demanding and overbearing people always seem to get their way, while others who gently remind someone of their needs are often ignored. When we love or care for someone, why can’t we be more sensitive to their needs and wants, and give them before they ask?

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Simplicity and innocence of the people of Varanasi

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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I had been to Varanasi to conduct a series of programs, and was quite touched with the simplicity and innocence of the people of that city. They live very contented lives in their cocoons and they hold no malice against anyone. People from all over the country and of different faiths live in such harmony. There are dozens of religious sects performing their own rituals and practices, but never treading on each others’ toes. I came to know something amazing. The ghats on the banks of the great river Ganga are much cleaner now than ever before – and I learnt that the major credit goes, not to the government, but to a group of young volunteers led by a Manipuri girl Temsutula Imsong (Google her and you will know what I am talking about). I wish there are more Temsutulas in every city, and I also wish we learn to acknowledge and admire their selfless services.

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You will never forget
how they made you feel

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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I am a firm believer in the proverb: “You will forget what people said, you will forget what people did, but you will never forget how they made you feel.” I get reassured on this fact as I did yesterday when an old (long forgotten) student of mine sent me such a touching and appreciative email saying that I have been instrumental in changing her life, and that she is doing very well in the past few years. It may appear to be a small gesture, but I really, really made me feel wonderful.

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Nothing remains permanent

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Whenever someone becomes pessimistic or loses hope, starts thinking negatively, I usually ask them to look at nature. When the temperature starts rising and it looks like the days will get hotter and hotter, we suddenly get rain and it cools down (as it happened in the last two days in Bangalore). Nothing remains permanent. There is a wonderful and very simple proverb that reminds people who are going through a bad time: "This too shall pass...."

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The selfless and humble ones

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-selfless-and-humble-ones-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Every now and then I come across a person who seems to be very ordinary and average. Slowly I come to know that he or she has immense talents, even great achievements, and has been highly successful in some field. I have immense admiration and regard for people who are humble even when they have reason to be proud. They don’t try to impress you and gain attention. They “do what they do” (famous words of former Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan, another humble soul who willingly went back to a teaching position in USA) because they WANT to do, whether someone acknowledges them or not.

In a world full of people who spare no opportunity to blow their own trumpet, it such a pleasure to meet the selfless and humble ones, and get mesmerized as I learn more and more about their wisdom, qualities and achievements. I always look around for such people.

 

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Swasthya Kendra - The Ashram in Madanapalli

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/swasthya-kendra-the-ashram-in-madanapalli-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Nestled in the barren lands of Rayalaseema, on the foothills of Horsley Hillls is the small town of Madanapalli. My student and friend Dr. Priyam gave up a lucrative job and has committed herself to look after the Swasthya Kendra of the Satsang campus. Nestled in lively groves of exotic plants the Ashram provides free education and healthcare to people of the surrounding areas, and Priyam is the live-wire – all over the place. She lives in a small room in the health centre, and takes personal care of innumerable children. For city people like us, the Ashram is an oasis of peace and tranquility. Life slows down, needs are very few, serenity rules. I enjoyed spending a day there last week, and came back mesmerized – to the concrete jungle once more.

 

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You are never too old

Author: Sheetal Suryavanshi

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/you-are-never-too-old-by-sheetal-suryavanshi

You are never too old
"You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream."
- C.S.Lewis

A great evening and a wonderful celebration! It all started with Dad getting an invite 3 days ago by a senior cricket clubmate (Swastik Union Cricket Club)/former Ranji trophy player for his birthday party on January 18th, 2017. The plan was I drop Dad off at the party and pick him once the party was over. I asked Dad: How old is your friend going to be? I knew this was an inappropriate question but was curious to know as Dad had mentioned that Uncle was quite senior to him. My Dad responded, “Old enough to throw a party and young enough to celebrate the spirit of life.“

I dropped off Dad to the party hall. As I was exiting, one of Dad’s friends asked, "Who is that girl?" My Dad responded, "My daughter!" Uncle came running to the door and told me, "We know your Dad from his teenage days. So, please come inside." He insisted that I attend the party and assured that I would not get bored. I didn’t have any option but to agree to his request.

This was a small gathering (8) of senior cricketers, most of them were octogenarians except Dad and another uncle who are in their mid-70s. The party kicked off by all these young lads observing one minute silence for the departed souls. I was touched by this.

It felt awesome listening to them. They had interesting conversations. The highlight of the evening was the discussion about the All-India Inter University Championship - Rohinton Baria Gold Trophy, held in 1962. Four people who had represented the Mysore University in 1962 were present and shared the memories of the game. Back then there was no money and the team had to borrow money from a well-wisher to travel to Kanpur for the tournament. They took pride in their victory as they had beaten Bombay University which had first class cricketers. The team victory was announced on All India Radio for the first time. The best memory of the victory they shared was how their manager got them black rum which they poured into the trophy and the entire team drank it together. They were also asked to deposit some money to carry the trophy back and with shared laughter, they recalled, "All of us have just one rupee in our pockets. So they gave thirteen rupees and brought the trophy with pride.”

They spoke with high regard about the founder of the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the late M Chinnaswamy who gave up his profession as a lawyer to focus on cricket administration. There used to be just one big table and a chair at the stadium in the initial days and the cricketers used to just go sit on the table and have fun. The membership fee back then for the association was just ten rupees per year!

They spoke about how the game helped them build character. No money, only pure passion and love for the game back then. They never wore any gear. They discussed, with glee, about how they used to sledge the opponent team players. They discussed about bowling and batting techniques of cricketers who played in 1950’s for the state and country. There was discussion about the history of chinaman bowling, and how it was because of M.A.K Pataudi that the players from the South got an entry to the Indian team. The room was magical filled with laughter, love, and nostalgia.

They even discussed about the current India-SA Test series where there was not one negative word of the team’s loss. All they said was it is healthy to lose and a learning experience for the team.

They indeed proved that age is just a number. And weed is just a plant!!!!! You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. These young group of octogenarians have never stopped wanting to learn. One uncle, at the age of 82, is learning Carnatic music, plays tennis at club level, enjoys hiking to the Himalayas and is into writing too. He said, “Original model still running in high spirits at 82!” And another uncle, in his mid-80s, walked up to me and said, "You know, I have known your Dad as a kid. I was the first one to set up a computer in ITI in 1965 and one of the pioneers to start IBM." He went on to say how updated he is with technology and is currently consulting on Microsoft applications. He spoke about artificial intelligence, data analysis and the current scenario of the IT industry. Oh God! I felt so behind the times and listened in awe. Every member present there was learning something new and was super enthusiastic about life. I loved their positive outlook on life.

To sum it up, this get together taught me a lot and reminded me that the most beautiful things in life are associated with memories and moments. Love and celebrate life. Learn, unlearn and relearn is an ongoing mantra of life. It was indeed a lovely and happy occasion.

To quote Henry Ford: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”


 

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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?
  • Are you stressed about your education?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by anxiety and fear?

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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