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Is It Bad To Be Curious About Others?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/is-it-bad-to-be-curious-about-others-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

My grandfather taught me that it is bad to be curious or to poke your nose into other people’s lives. I have stuck to that principle. But surprisingly, I find more and more people who want others to be curious about them. It started with going on social media and telling the whole world your day-to-day activities, ‘status’, friends, what you ate, where you went etc. I think people are getting more lonely, hence they are craving for attention. They want others to know what is happening in their life, even if it is very mediocre, so that they feel important. But isn’t it better and sufficient to have just one or two important people in your life who genuinely care?

About the author


 

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Dealing with Misunderstandings

Author: Raju Thomas

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/dealing-with-misunderstandings-by-author-raju-thomas

Misunderstandings are happenings which can play havoc in a relationship, and may even result in some irreparable consequences. People tend to perceive everything coming from outside through the filter of their personalities or as per the pattern of their belief systems programmed in their minds. This includes interactions and inter personal communications which can sometimes create misunderstandings. There is always a gap, however small, between what one person says, and what the listener takes it to mean. There can be a number of reasons for this. It is not only because of the literal meaning of the spoken words, but can also be due to the manner in which it is said. The same sentence can have different meanings depending upon the tone in which it is said. For example a simple question like “ What do you mean by that ? “ can either be a question expressing a genuine doubt, or an angry retort, depending on the tone in which it is conveyed, and also the accompanying body language.

Misunderstandings in inter personal communications can be due to a number of factors, such as :

  • Having a biased view or a preconceived notion about one another
  • Not listening to each other with full attention and with an open mind
  • Jumping to conclusions without considering all the factors involved
  • Tending to generalize based on an earlier interaction

While it is easy to fall into the trap of misunderstandings, it can also be prevented with a little care and mindful attention to the factors mentioned above. When one is not very clear about what is being said, it is advisable to ask for a confirmation by the listener reframing the speaker’s words. Sometimes something which is unsaid may be as important, if not more, as the spoken words. The listener could then try to read the thoughts or at least try to guess what is going on in the mind of the speaker. Of course, one should always respond only after letting the speaker complete whatever is being conveyed, instead of just reacting without understanding the real meaning of the words. Sometimes they may not agree with whatever is under discussion. But both the parties can then agree to disagree without any ill will or rancour to one another. There will be much less chance of any misunderstandings if we follow what I can call as the HAIL approach, that is , cultivating a spirit of Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity, and Love, in our interactions.


 

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In Praise of Egoism

Author: Raju Thomas

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/in-praise-of-egoism-by-author-raju-thomas

People behave in all kinds of ways, and all behaviour is basically self directed as well as driven by self motivation , whether one is conscious of it or not. Egoistic behaviour is no different , and in some respects it is similar to intuitive behavior. Actions taken intuitively are often found to be the right choice when faced with difficult decisions. Though the source of our intuitions is not quite clear to us and the phenomena is not well understood, there is no denying that such sudden insights coming to us always works in our self interest.

There can be two types of egoistic behaviour whenever it is the result of conscious thoughts and actions taken based on them. In one case, the actions will either not have any negative impact on the interest of others, or even be beneficial to them. In the second case, such a behaviour could have an adverse impact on others’ interests. These could be termed as positive and negative types of egoistic behaviours. It is the positive type of egoism which is very much justifiable and praise worthy. If each and every individual upholds and practices egoism in this manner, it can only benefit the society at large. Such an approach is also line with the theory propounded by Adam Smith, who is considered as the father of modern economics, in his classical treatise “Wealth of Nations“. According to him, if every business enterprise concentrated on improving their own profitability in a free market environment, the economy as a whole stands to benefit.

Egoism as a personality trait could have its roots both from genetic factors, as well as from nurturing experiences during early childhood. Whether such egoistic tendencies develop into a positive or negative type of behaviour could again be due to certain major life experiences faced by the individual, actions taken and the resulting outcomes. Further experiences in life will only tend to strengthen the chosen path.

What then are the characteristics of an egoist ? He is no doubt self centered, but is also deeply in touch with his inner self ( masculine pronoun used only for convenience, egoism has no gender bias ). He is fully conscious of his strengths, weaknesses, feelings and emotions, and takes pride in all that makes him a unique individual. He certainly looks after himself as best as possible. But that doesn’t and need not prevent him from extending help to all those who deserve it , since only by loving himself, he is in a better position to understand the emotions of love, compassion and empathy towards others.

With self acceptance and knowing the truth about oneself, an egoist will be able to lead his life with authenticity - his thoughts, speech, facial expressions and actions always being a reflection of his true inner self. In conclusion, a true egoist, according to me, is a person who takes pride in himself and his capabilities, is assertive in his views, and faces life with self esteem , self confidence and with a steadfast conviction and commitment to all that he believes in. Such are the attributes of a true egoist which are worthy of appreciation and, yes, even emulation.


 

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A Challenge to Eternity!

Author: Raju Thomas

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/a-challenge-to-eternity-by-author-raju-thomas

Who am I ? Where do I come from ?
An enigma pondered over by many a soul
Coming from nowhere , going nowhere
Nothing and no one dares to stop my unstoppable journey.

 

Life an attribute of everything
That which takes a birth
Must one day meet its end
Even this very Universe of ours
But not me , I am immortal
I have no beginning and no end.

 

I just go on and on forever
Passing through all things , animate and inanimate
Like they were just vacuous nothingness
But my unmistakable , indelible imprint on them I leave behind.

 

A resource most valuable am I
For whom realization strikes
About my versatile qualities
With equanimous impartiality
I offer myself to one and all in equal measures
To use it wisely , or loose it forever.

 

Though many a mortal soul
Expending their efforts studying me
And written volumes about managing me
Yet I remain the same , unaffected by all their elaborate theories.

 

My journey progresses at my own pace
Fast or slow my apparent motion appear on human minds
Battling with so many emotional upheavals
Untold pain and suffering I can bring on
Or joy , health and happiness
Depending on how I am used.

 

So who am I ?
I am that indestructible entity
The Lord of all , the Almighty TIME , aka ETERNITY.

 

But wait , do I hear something ?
A meek voice challenging me
Coming from the outer fringes of my borderless expanse
Be not so proud , Oh , Eternity , it says
Though I am not so independent as you
For I am dependent on human beings for survival.

 

Actually like a shell am I
Made up of WORDS , mostly written , layers and layers of them
Encapsulating thoughts , ideas and memories
Of people who ever have lived
And I will continue to live forever
As long as people and their thoughts survive on this planet of ours.

 

As fresh ideas and thoughts crystallizing as memories
Taking shape , layer upon layer , on this body of mine
Yes , I am also indestructible like you
Though I concede my humble nature
Needing mortal beings to give me my life
I too can proudly hold my head aloft
Happy with my efforts , enriching the lives of so many.

 

I , the TIME , do acknowledge your precious gifts
You , the WORDS , full of thoughts and memories
You are indeed the voice of mankind
And will forever remain , giving me company.

 

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Hold me tight, Put me down, Leave me alone

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/hold-me-tight-put-me-down-leave-me-alone-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

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 (hold me tight), then wanting some space and independence (Put me Down, or ‘Let me Do it My Way’), and unfortunately in many cases if the relationship has not been nurtured over time, it becomes ‘Leave me Alone’.

Hold me tight, Put me down, Leave me alone

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? If we can anticipate that this is a natural progression of a relationship, there is a lot we can do to improve on it, and keep the warmth and togetherness alive. Becoming aware of the individuality of the other person, ensuring that we do not develop emotional dependency, resisting the desire to control – are some of the lessons we need to learn.

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. It takes some hard work, sacrifice, compromise, but it works in the long run.

About the author


 

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Producing More Idiots?

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/producing-more-idiots

A senior professor quoted in a reputed academic journal:

“Scheduled Tribes (ST) refers to such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities, who are scheduled in accordance with Article 342 of the Consitution as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”

Do you remember the definition of ‘machine’ by Amir Khan in 3-Idiots? No wonder our educational institutions are not bringing out the best in our very talented students.

The same universities journal had another gem. Please translate into English and tell us what it means:

“Throughout life we are in quest of peace which is the state of full immersion and bliss. The reflections begin with evident and real dichotomy and its resolution. The validity of the cause and effect relationship knowledge has been questioned. An attempt has been made to find peace through symbiosis, education, sacrifice, resilience, giving and forgiving, unconditional love and affection becoming and de-becoming, justice, happiness, laughter and tears, search and research. An illustration has been made on Pig Predators and savor and some poems presented to revive peace.”


 

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Stay Relevant, Stay Sure:

Taming the automation tiger

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/stay-relevant-stay-sure

On a random day these days if you open any newspaper or switch on any news channel the probability that you read or hear about any automation is very high. Along with that you are more likely to read or hear about the consequential jobs that will be lost and the growing threat of unemployment. This may seem overwhelmingly frightful scenario especially for entry level college graduates and post graduates. After all they are at the cusp of starting off their careers. It may seem like you are facing off with the all too powerful automation tiger.

What should one read into this kind of forecasts? I believe that things are much brighter than one would read into at first sight.

The fact of the matter is that as people prosper economically new industries come up and replace some others which vanish. Old jobs give way to new ones. Steno typist as a job opportunity has almost vanished but the opportunities to do such wonderful desktop publishing and design has created many, many jobs and made several entrepreneurs’ pockets jingle. When people prosper Leisure travel and tourism industry grows and creates more jobs. Fashion, lifestyle goods and luxury goods and so on are on the rise creating jobs associated with those sectors.

The message for college students and faculty is not to dread job shifts due to automation. I believe JOB SHIFT is a more appropriate word not JOB LOSSES. The students should be ready to learn and adapt to changing technologies and areas of work.

Various new jobs are arising in Analytics, AI, Regulatory and Compliance that did not even seem like attractive options earlier. Statistics and Econometrics which looked like doomsday options are today hot cakes.

The IT industry has seen several shifts. Mainframes, COBOL, and Fortran gave way to JAVA, .NET and other programming languages and today even those have matured and are on the decline. Digital programming languages, Big Data, Hadoop, Python are the new emerging fields to build careers in.

Same goes for the surgeon in today’s corporate type hospitals, the pilots in today’s hyper-competitive airline industry or the hairstylist of 2017.

The mantra is to be relevant by up-skilling, recasting the knowledge you have and unlearning the things that you so methodically mastered. To do this we are very fortunate today to have access to latest knowledge at our finger tips on our palms and in our pockets. Real time nano learning has made it possible to learn in small chunk as and when needed and the ability to connect the dots by adding the stuff just needed in the next installment of learning.

So the reassurance that one should stay with is that the automation tiger is not going to destroy jobs and people’s careers. It is only going to need you to be agile and stay relevant and that way we will be able to tame this tiger like we never thought before.

Condensed from article by Dr. Rajiv Noronha,VP and HR Head (Analytics and Insights) at TCS which was published as a part of the TCS AIP News Letter Vol. 12, April 2017.

Republished with permission.

 

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Cry of the Youth

Author: Emma

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/cry-of-the-youth-author-emma

We are not sad,
We are not crying
But inside our restless bodies
Our hearts are dying

 

You will see us smile
Warmly in all places
But we are first monsters
Wearing human faces

 

We may not be perfect
We may not be smart
But there is beauty in what we do
For we are art

 

You cannot tie us up
You cannot keep us down
For we are kings and queens
We will claim our crown

 

We burn all our feelings
Except for hate
But don’t blame us for we are yours
We are what you made

 

We always live young
We always live fast
Because we are damaged
And running from our past

 

We are running from our innocence
Innocence is bad
Another entry to be added
To the traits that we had

 

We are the youth so feel our team spirit
Before you catch up and before you kill it.


 

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Appa, the Daughter’s favorite

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/appa-the-daughters-favorite

Appa, Thandri, Nanna, Thande, Father, Pappa, Dad, Dada, Bapu and may other Names to call the father.

Fathers are generally inexpressive of their feelings be it any relationship; with great difficulty they would tell their wife. Father apparently looks tough by nature, but he does have deep feelings for his family and children. He has his responsibility to support his family to a secure future, he has to earn for them. He is focused on hanging on to his job and get pay packets month after month.

More than two decades the daughter lives with you, and you have missed all her happy moments. Then comes your responsibly of getting her married, society demands “when are you getting your daughter married?” The worm gets into your head and you start looking for the groom knowing that she will not be with you forever.

Father, with all his mixed feelings and emotions of happiness, anxiety, curiosity, nervousness etc, gets promoted as father in law. His all-time happiness has gone to somebody else.

What an irony, when she was yours, you were not with her, you missed all that happiness from her in shaping her future, and now she is not there, you cry for her.

If required any father will lay down his entire wealth or life in the interest of his daughter. If the daughter is happy, father has no bounds for his happiness, and if she is unhappy father will bleed in his eyes… because of his helplessness.

Request to the current day fathers: girl child is a true blessing, never feel unhappy that you are blessed with a boy child, it hardly matters, love the girl child the best you can… Remember she is a limited resource once she is married you have only the memories, and the bundle of pictures to look at with a small face on them. So the girl child is the precious one, care for her.

A Father


 

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Ancient Aviator Anecdote

Life on the Edge

Author: Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Cecil Parker, MVC

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/life-on-the-edge-by-author-cecil-parker

Seven decades ago the ancient aviators of today were young lads, many of whom were fascinated with the idea of flight and dreamt of becoming pilots some day. Pre-Independence, very few Indians were in the profession of aviation. In those days most parents considered ‘flying’ as a dangerous occupation that kept one living on the edge. However, unforeseen events often influence mind-sets and a sudden medical crises in our family brought about a re-think on the part of my father and co-incidental consequences for me.

In 1946, as a young teen-aged school boarder, I came home for the summer holidays running a low fever. As the temperature kept rising and I went off food, our family doctor recommended immediate hospitalization. I was admitted into the PG hospital in Calcutta/Kolkata where my condition continued to worsen. I grew listless and responded to no treatment. My condition got critical and the hospital prepared my parents for the worst; in fact, I was measured for a coffin.

Suddenly my fever broke, I opened my eyes and felt weak but better, I had no idea that 22 days had elapsed but I slowly regained strength sat up in bed and kept down fluids. A very cheerful doctor, along with the ward nurse, visited me frequently and assured me that I was going to be fine but away from school for a few months till I recovered fully. He told my parents that he had no explanation for my ‘return from the edge’, did not believe in miracles but had just seen on.

Five years later, with the active support of my mother and the reluctant consent of my father, I found myself a flight cadet in Air Force Academy in Secunderabad. At a social function I was introduced to a pretty young lady teacher with the same surname as the doctor. In fact she was his niece and informed me that her uncle had married the nurse and the couple had immigrated to Australia. I courted the young lady for five years before we married in 1956. In the next 30 years we moved 15 times on postings while she adapted and coped with running a house, raising two wonderful children, kept teaching, carried out all her commitments as an air force wife and stood by me through all the ups and downs of life on the edge. It was many years before we could build a house of own to retire in. Now, in the 62nd year of our marriage, she is busy overseeing the travel arrangements for our next trip abroad to be present at the wedding of the first of our six grandchildren who are spread over three continents both sides of the equator. Notwithstanding the risk element in any fighter pilot’s career, ‘life on the edge’ has been very good to this ancient aviator and his family.

The author is a retired air vice marshal of the IAF and a freelance writer who can be contacted at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


 

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Rough Book

Author: Sonal Patel

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/rough-book-by-counsellor-author-sonal-patel

Rough book

Do you all remember our days of school where most of the work was done in rough books and then we used to write in fair books which we could show for corrections to our teachers or share with others. Life is so similar to Schools. If we adults can be children’s rough book and allow them to scribble, draw imaginations, erase uncountable times, tear some pages to make artistic folds or make planes and just try to fly??? This rough book was very important till the notes were written in fair book, which had systematic description of all that was required. Till then everything written or drawn with arrows and flowers and what not, was a hint to remember the rest that we wanted to actually write but due to lack of time only those hints could act as reminders.

Rough book

Many times I hear people expressing their love care concern for children but they do not have time to give on a regular basis. Can you become a rough book page for them? Most of the time mothers or the loved ones are the rough-book for their children. Children throw very easily all their emotions and questions on her and when he has to present himself in front of the neighbours, friends, relatives or even father we would have eliminated the “what will not be approved” and present only the best of ourselves. How significant are these rough books? Have you time and again acknowledged the importance of their existence in your life? Do think about it.

 

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Craving For Love

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People who do not trust easily, who are very careful in forming relationships, and who will not allow anyone to get close to them – are lonely people deep inside. When they start maintaining a distance from others their distrust increases. At some point they realize that they are getting isolated and they cannot fit into society like others do. They build a shield around themselves, and they blame everyone for being distrustful.

But the loneliness keeps growing subconsciously, and they get desperate for love. Then comes a moment when they perceive and identify the “right” person. Without realizing it they give out signals of how much they need love from that one person. They go out of the way to do anything for the person they “love”.

The other person enjoys this flattering attention, unconditional love and a sense of being put on a pedestal. He does reciprocate love, but only on his terms and as much as he wants to give. A one-sided relationship develops, but the first person does not realize it. She feels she owns the others. She turns a blind eye to all his shot-comings, his selfishness, and even the fact that he is taking advantage of her.

Until one fine day when stark reality hits! She feels let-down, cheated. She cries out in anguish, pleads, fights, but the relationship is over. She sulks, goes into depression and takes up the victim role of “why me”.

Slowly, steadily time heals the scars and she moves on looking for the ideal relationship which can bring her back into the ecstasy that she craves so badly…

 


 

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Where has all the love gone?

Author: Mary A. Vinayak

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/where-has-all-the-love-gone-by-author-mary-a-vinayak

“Your bag smells of India”
“You need to buy clothes. Yours are very outdated Dad”
“Your handbag looks so cheap Mum”
“The house smells of curry. I will do the cooking from now on Mum”
“You always keep food in the wrong containers in the fridge”
“How did you manage to finish the jam so fast?"
”Mum please do not come during the holidays as you spoil the kids!”
“Mum, Dad, you collect so much junk in your house in India”

We plan a trip to foreign countries, tell our relatives and neighbors we are going to US or UK or wherever. We carry all sorts of things that our darling children ask for not only because we love them but also because they are going to give us a good time on our visit abroad, that we need to come back and talk about.

We reach our destination and see happy faces greeting us. The babies are delighted if they remember their grandparents. The older members look happy while scrutinizing us and our styles which may not be in vogue over there. The first few days seem to be pleasant. Slowly the fault finding starts. The conversation reduces, there is nothing much to talk about anymore.

Many parents go through these experiences and start longing to return home where they are treated with respect and live with dignity. It is an eye-opener for many Indian parents. It is heart breaking, but this is what I have observed although parents rarely talk about it except to their immediate families. Instead they praise amazing USA or UK or wherever else and how well our kids are doing and how they looked after us, at the same time harboring heartache and disappointment privately.

There was a time in their lives when the children loved the smell of home and home food, they thought their parents were so stylish, they loved to be spoilt and the junk in the house was what they used to play and enjoy with. The above comments were not made by their parents to them in their growing years!

So where has all the respect and love gone?


 

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Humiliation

Author: Reena Banaji

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/humiliation-by-author-reena-banaji

It is very sad to see a child cry due to the parents or teacher’s humiliation, or a boss who hurts his subordinate creates weakness in them and totally spoils their life. These instances reveal how dissatisfied a person is that he vents all his anger of somebody else on innocent beings. Taking revenge on people how have done no harm to you is very wrong, next time be cool and think before you fire for no reason. Never feel broken hearted if the world offends you as this will give you strength to face life with confidence and no fear.


 

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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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