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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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Fear of Losing a Relationship

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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

Relationships affect our happiness more than anything else. We look for our own needs in close relationships (whether we admit it or not) and our expectations from them are often very high. We get hurt by slightest actions or words of our loved ones. Relationships are dynamic, and they have to be nurtured at all times.

Defined and labeled relationships are slowly giving way to more of the undefined ones, relationships of convenience, etc. All the more reason that we need to invest in relationships that are important to us.

Fear of losing relationships can be due to (1) death or (2) separation. How we need to deal with these two fears is completely different. In both cases, understand yourself first, be aware of your good and bad qualities, strive to make yourself emotionally likeable. Be aware that “What I am” is different from “what image I project.” At all times avoid Dependency, Craving, Obsession. Clinging to a person only worsens the relationship. Do not look in black and white – no relationship can ever be perfect.

Fear of Losing a Relationship

If you have past bitter experience of losing someone, do not bring those memories into your current relationship. Similarly, be aware that relationships deteriorate slowly, and we realize only when things get very bad. Ask yourself if you tend to desperately hang on to dead, dying or even suffocating relationships. Break free.

When facing differences, argue on issues, not on personalities. Be constructive when complaining to the other person instead of pointing fingers. Identify the fears in your mind, and rationalize them. Do the “Worst Case Scenario” introspection, and – hope for the best while you prepare for the worst. In extreme cases, remind yourself that at times losing a relationship opens the doors to other deeper ones, and a better quality of life.

If you feel that you “cannot live without him/her”, then do ask yourself why you are incomplete without another individual. Build your self-esteem. Relationships sustain best in the long run when there is no dependency or force.

Fear of Losing a Relationship

Sometimes you may be scared to allow someone to come too close, for fear of loss of the person later. If so, ask yourself: By trying to protect yourself against hurt, are you missing out on getting happiness?

Accept the fact that there is no such thing as “permanent” relationship. We may lose our loved one to death, distance, change in lifestyle or withering away of the love. Work on your important relationships when things are going fine, and ensure that when you are alone you will not be lonely. If you practice the tips I have given above, you will never go into distress whatever happens.

“Never try to maintain relationships in your life, just try to maintain life in your relations”

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Why numbers are so important to us

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/why-numbers-are-so-important-to-us-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I often wonder why numbers are so important to us: businessmen want more customers, multinationals set higher and higher yearly targets, religious gurus want more and more followers, ordinary people want more friends on Facebook – in fact we patronize those who have large number of people accepting someone. I see people rushing to buy something just because there is a big crowd and the stocks may get over(!) Even with a religious Guru I have heard people say, “You should go to him, thousands come to listen to him.”

Why numbers are so important to us

As far as I am concerned, I feel that lesser the numbers, greater is the personal touch and better the interaction/ understanding. To get gyan I would love to listen to someone who has the time and patience to talk to me alone. I thoroughly enjoy listening to retro music sung by my friend Ganesh, who doesn’t mind singing even if there is a total audience of two.

I will be very happy if five people read this little write-up of mine, and I will be grateful if one genuine friend sends me a greeting. In fact I feel the lesser the number of people greater is the personal touch, the individuality and the warmth. But perhaps I am a small minority who thinks that way (see, I’m going into numbers again!)

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When disparity goes beyond tolerable limits

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/when-disparity-goes-beyond-tolerable-limits-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

We hear that back in History there were cruel kings and landlords who used to keep the masses in abject poverty, while they enjoyed unlimited luxuries. We believe that now in a democratic set-up with equal opportunities, the differences have been brought down to a great extent.

When disparity goes beyond tolerable limits

But when I look deeper I find that the rich-poor gap is widening again at an alarming pace. I see some people with mediocre capabilities working in multi-national organizations or having businesses earning unbelievably high incomes. And I still see capable and sincere school teachers and salesmen who earn not even 10% of the former. Is this trend going to continue? As an ardent reader of history I have seen that whenever disparity goes beyond tolerable limits, there is an upheaval, and society undergoes transformation.

When disparity goes beyond tolerable limits

Where are we heading? But this is just armchair thinking on my part, maybe soon we will be able to say ….

“Aaall izz well.”

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Feeding With Our Loving Words

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/feeding-with-our-loving-words-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

It is said that one billion people go to bed hungry for food every day, but two billion people go to bed hungry at the end of the day for a kind word! Some of these two billion are around us, close to us. They may not talk about their emotional vacuum or their loneliness. They may accept it as part of life. But what does it cost us to give them a little Tender Loving Care, maybe just a few warm words? We cannot feed many people, but we can certainly feed with our loving words. I’m trying to do that as a regular daily routine. Do you?

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Festivals - The Never-Ending Stream

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/festivals-the-never-ending-stream-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

The New Year has begun and has erased whatever has happened in 2017. Sankranthi and Pongal marked the first major festival, and many more will follow in a never-ending stream. Different people celebrate their own festivals with fervor. Some do participate in others’ rejoicing too. There are the old timers who spend days preparing for festivals and religiously follow all rituals. There are many more who are quite secular – they use every festival to break out, get out and enjoy partying!

While we should respect all faiths and their festivals, is it not high time that we kept our celebrations and rituals private, after office hours, and get down to work? Let us declare holidays on Independence, Rajyotsava, Gandhi Jayanthi and such national occasions and come together to celebrate our great country and our unity.

Republic Day is nearing. Shall we all raise a toast to the greatest republic of the world and do something good to bring every Indian closer to each other?

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The Real Start-Up

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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

In the morning when I am walking down to office, I encounter a person who would not be less than 60 years old, frail, thin, tattered clothes. Pushing a cycle that looks older than him, he is on the rounds selling "kotha-miru". His hoarse call rarely brings a housewife out to buy a few rupees of this product, but he plods on with shaky steps.

To me he is the real "start-up", the Make-in-India, who is an entrepreneur even at his age, braving the sun and rain. He holds his head high and survives on whatever he earns. He does not have any angel-investors or venture capitalists. But he makes our food healthy and tasty

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Waiting Eagerly For Different Seasons

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/waiting-eagerly-for-different-seasons-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Winter is still making its presence felt, but it is going to give way, sooner or later to the summer. Sweaters will be stored away, fans will come on the whole day – regulator moving steadily from 1 to 5. Cool drinks will be in demand, food habits will change. Days will get longer, we will sweat more, and the sun will become unpopular.

There was a time when we used to wait eagerly for different seasons. Summers meant ice cream, particular months brought mangoes and other fruits, children would sleep out in the humid nights. One had to look forward and wait patiently for favorite seasons. But slowly it is becoming a thing of the past – everything is available in all seasons. The joys of delayed gratification are gone. Young people will not understand what I am saying.

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How easy it is to criticize someone

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/how-easy-it-is-to-criticize-someone-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I have been thinking how easy it is to criticize someone, or just make flippant remarks. When two people are talking about a third one, it effortlessly slips into something not very charitable about the absent person. The more conscious I have become about this trait, the more I realize I am practicing it. I am making serious efforts to either talk something nice, or not talk about the person at all.I don't know how much I am succeeding, but I will keep on trying. If any of you find me saying something bad about someone (even if it is true), just gently remind me, please

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Every language has a beauty of its own

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/every-language-has-a-beauty-of-its-own-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Every language has a beauty of its own. The other day a friend told me that he is missing me because I was not around. I spontaneously asked him how he would say the same thing in his mother tongue – and he was stumped! We often say that we are “remembering you” in our language, but it is not the same as “missing you.” Similarly, I find people struggling to say “I love you” in their mother tongue.

On the flip side I can reel out so many words and phrases that are so touching and are commonly used in Indian languages, which do not have an equivalent in English. Can we not assimilate all the good things from each language and use them in our day to day conversation?

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Good Old Bengaluru !"

Author: E.R. Ramachandran

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/good-old-bengaluru-by-author-er-ramachandran

Bangalore in the 1950s and '60s was still a Pensioners' Paradise and very much a sleepy town. It was mostly divided into “City” and “Cantonment” with Basavanagudi and Malleshwaram the best known among its residential areas. Jayanagar and its famous mosquitoes had not made their debut yet.

The City Market was really a conglomeration of various petes—Chikkapete, Balepete, Tharugupete, Akkipete, Cottonpete—holding the business community. Dandu, or Cantonment ('Contrumentru' as the villagers would call it) was still a very far off place for most Bangaloreans. Almost as far as London itself.

One got a fair idea of the City when one used BTS, or Bangalore Transport Service to give its full name (“Bittre Tiruga Sigodilla”, was the other full form). 50 years ago, the only other modes of transport for a common man were the Jataka Gaadi (horse driven covered cart) or nataraja service— local lingo for footing it out. The word 'autorickshaw' had yet to enter the lexicon, the contraption was yet to invade our roads.

Bangalore looked almost empty during the day as most of the eligible science and engineering graduates or diploma holders were herded into buses at the unearthly hour of 6.30 in the morning and ferried to HAL, HMT, BEL, LRDE, ITI, NGEF, Kirloskar, BEML, etc. The city suddenly perked up after the factory hands returned to their favorite haunts like Yagnappana Hotlu opposite National High School grounds or Bhattra Hotlu in Gandhi bazaar for the mandatory 'Three-by-Four Masale' or 'Two-by-three coffee' in the evenings.

The Sajjan Rao temple and choultry by the same name was much sought after for society weddings. The Satyanarayana Temple came much later as politicians became more and more crooked. Kota Kamakshayya choultry was opposite to the best bakery in Bangalore and may be the whole of south India, the V.B. Bakery.

After passing Modern Hotel and New Modern hotel where the whiff of SKC —sweetu, khara, coffee hit your nostrils, was the stop opposite Minerva talkies, which in those days mostly showed Tamil pictures for three shows and wore a culturally superior hat with Bengali movies and that too only Satyajit Ray for the morning shows! A 200 meters dash from Minerva took you to Mavalli Tifn Rooms (MTR) in a dingy lane, which morphed into MTR as one of the best eateries in town.

Kannada lms were nonexistent or a rarity those days. Except for an occasional 'Bedara Kannappa', 'Sadarame', 'Rathagiri Rahasya' (the song 'Amara Madhura Prema' was a craze) or 'School Master', it was all Sivaji Ganesan and M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) who ruled the silver screen.

Kengal Hanumanthaiah was seen often here before he started planning the construction of Vidhana Soudha. Much later, those who helped God to do his work went to Vidhana Soudha; they are still partners in His unnished business.

Behind Central College was the Central College cricket grounds which hosted all the international matches as well as the Ranji matches. It was here that a ball from the fearsome Roy Gilchrist hit A . S . Krishnaswamy on his chest and ew off to the boundary. Col C.K. Nayudu played here when he was past 70 along with his brother C.S. Nayudu and so did Lala Amarnath. Central Colleges grounds was the place all the Test cricketers from Mysore/ Karnataka cut their teeth playing State 'B' Ramachandra Rao shield, Rohington Baria Cup for Universities, and nally the Ranji Trophy.


 

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The New Year – time for celebration

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-new-year-time-for-celebration-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

The New Year – time for celebration and to welcome fresh joys and hope for better life. People celebrate enthusiastically, greet each other, dance, eat and go on shopping sprees.

I lie down and quietly think. I don’t make resolutions for the New Year. I introspect on the old year. I have always been concerned about how we discard anything old, particularly in today’s world of Use and Throw. I rarely throw away old stuff. Similarly I don’t throw away the old year. I introspect what I have achieved, the mistakes I have made, the time I have frittered away, and the time when I have ignored or hurt someone. It automatically helps me to prepare and change for the next year.

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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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