Let's Share Emotions, Thoughts


Rough Book

Author: Sonal Patel

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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.



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…




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?




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.



Created or Evolved?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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

Created or Evolved?

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 in 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.

I smile when Creationists debate vociferously with Evolutionists. Was the world created by an omnipotent god, or did it evolve over millions of years to its current state, they argue. I have a question to both - is it important? Is theorizing about the origin of humans more important, or is preserving the world of utmost priority?

City dwellers: next time you go out to a vacation amidst nature and come back to your concrete jungle, do ponder over what you inherited and what you are leaving behind.


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Headmaster of a school said, just after the Second World War:

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“I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness: Gas chambers build by learned engineers, children poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses, women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates. So I am suspicious of education.

My request is: help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.”




The Future

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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

The future

We spend less than Rs. 80,000 crore annually on education in our country, which works out to about Rs. 640/- per Indian. On the other hand much bigger amounts are spent on other areas of development. For example we pour in Rs. 3,60,000 crore annually for defence alone. A recent announcement was made that we are going to spend Rs. 1,10,000 crore for the Japan-collaboration bullet train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.

It is said that a nation or society that progresses most is the one that takes deepest interest in the welfare and development of the next generation. If we could ensure that we are putting in more effort towards the well-being and proper growth of our children, we can look forward to a peaceful and happy old age.

The future

Mrs. Sunanda Ali, who heads the unique Peepal Grove School in rural Andhra Pradesh has well said:

“Children do not need to be prepared for the future. They are the future.”

What are we doing about it?

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Creative ideas come in bed, bath and bus

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/creative-ideas-come-in-bed-bath-and-bus-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Creative ideas

Someone gave me an interesting food for thought. He said: “Creative ideas come in bed, bath and bus”, i.e. when you are about to sleep, when you are leisurely taking a bath, or when you are travelling. I do find it true to a great extent.

Give it a thought. On my part I ensure that I have a pen/paper or my electronic notepad handy when I am travelling or about to sleep. I don’t take them into the bath, but often I am desperate to come out and jot down the inspirational thought that occurs to be in the bathroom.

When the mind is free and is allowed to roam without restriction, that is when the best of thoughts and ideas come to us. Not if we are perpetually stuck to our mobile phones.


Footnote: A long- struggling Bollywood lyrics writer, Mr. Anjum Jaipuri, who subsequently become fairly successful, had told me long ago: “beta, geet (songs) air-conditioned rooms mein nahin likhe jaate hain, they are written on the back of bus tickets.”


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Jannat-E- Kashmir

Author: Sheetal Suryavanshi

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/jannat-e-kashmir-by-sheetal-suryavanshi

Asalam walekum chacha – These three magical words did wonders in Kashmir! Yet another adventures solo trip to Jannat-E- Kashmir. At the drop off the hat I decided to go on a hiking trip to explore/discover the valleys of Kashmir and re- discover myself too. The idea of exploring Kashmir got into my mind when I recently was going through an old album of my paternal grandma. She had visited Kashmir in 1950’s and the black & white pics are stunning. I called my friend Kamy (Kameshwari) as she had been to Kashmir few years ago. She was very encouraging and said just go and also gave me the family contact in Phalgham. Her encouraging words gave me confidence to explore the place all by myself. Thank you, Kamy.

I jotted a plan and decided to hike in Yusmarg, Sonmarg and Phalgham, and figured out home stays as well. The day I arrived in Srinagar I got a warm welcome from Anita aunty, the owner of Mahatta homestay. I wanted to visit the places which my grandma had visited in Srinagar. The first place was the Shankracharya hill which is at a hill top (Gopadari hill) and had to climb a flight of 250 steps. I guess when my grandma visited she had to trek to reach the hill top as back then there were no steps.

I wanted to take a picture but photography is strictly prohibited now. I did show the old picture of the Shankracharya temple to the security guards and they were all stunned. They were like, ‘your grandma had a camera in 1950’s’. I said, ‘yes, yes, she was rich and from a royal family .’ One of them said “Appaki Daddi kush hugi ke aap yahan aaye.” I smiled and said, “yes,yes,wherever she is now, she will be glad that her granddaughter has visited a temple :-p.” I bid adieu to them and left to visit other historical places such as Pari Mahal, Hazratbal Darga & Jama Masjid.

Every place had a story to tell! I was wandering in Old Sringar and witnessed pathar bazzi (stone-pelting).From nowhere few kids landed all in masks and started pelting stones on the compounds of the military office and disappeared in few minutes. Well this was indeed an experience. When I checked with the locals why did this happen? Their response was the kids are taking out their anger on the army and old Srinagar is volatile. After this I headed towards Shalimar bhag. I was keen on visiting this place as there were few pictures of this place in my grandma’s album. I headed back to the homestay where I befriended the cook/caretaker who were from Nepal and listened to their stories . It is rightly said that every person you meet has a story you can learn from.

The hiking in the mountains was indeed an awe experience to cherish. The first trek was at Yusmarg,a 14 km trek in the valley. I reached Yusmarg and wanted to hike alone but then I greeted an uncle saying “Asalam walekum chacha” at the starting point. He immediately responded saying, “salaam walekum beeti and said please don’t hike alone. I will accompany you.” Intially I was hesitant as I was not sure but then I agreed. I don’t regret this decision as he was the best company. We hiked talking about the history of Kashmir, his family,about Yusmarg and his view on the braid cutting incident. As we were hiking, there was bright sunlight and started raining too.Chacha said -beti ethu pyar ka musum hai bhaut dineo ke baad aaya hai! I smiled and said hann ethu meri magic hai :-). And as I was hiking, I fell in love with the alluring beauty of the valley and my adrenaline rush too.

After the hiking I enjoyed a cup of khawa chai with the locals/shepherds. I realised that how humble mankind is. Despite living in extreme conditions people greet you with a smile and treat you like a family member.

The second day trek was in Sonmarg! I befriended a chacha who insisted I take a pony ride as it was a long trek. I refused and told him, “no,no,I don’t like to torture animals. I would rather exercise my legs.” He was surprised and asked me, “are you scared of horses! LOL!” I told him, “yes,yes, there is a history. When I was in 7 th grade I had been to Ooty with my parents on a holiday and took a horse ride, which was a horrible experience.” Listening to this he laughed and said, “kya beti  .” I told him I dread to take rides on any animal. I didn’t even go on an elephant/camel ride when I travelled with my friends. We burst out laughing together! And I continued to explore the place on my feet. Viewing the snow-capped mountains was an instant magic. The hike was soul stirring and powerful.

The last leg was at Phalgam. Phew, I have no words to describe! Magical, serene valley, gushing water of Lidder River and freshness overloaded. Enroute (Srinagar to Phalgham) I stopped at Awantipora ruins. As I listened to the history of this beauty it took me to another world and there was a sudden rush of emotions and I had goosebumps. I have always felt that history in institutions have to be taught by visiting the places as it’s an amazing learning experience when one sees and feels the place.

My second pit stop was at Aishmuqam Shrine, which lays on a hill top. The steps were quite steep. I had to climb around 250 plus steps. The shrine is nested in a deep narrow cave. As I entered the cave, I saw a girl crying in pain, as she was finding it difficult to walk. I don’t know what happened to me but seeing her in such excoriating pain I was all teary eyed. As I walked passed her, I could feel her pain and the only one thought that was going on in my mind was “Oh God, please heal this child soon!”. I entered the sanctum and there a baba who was seated made me recite some sacred words in Arabic. In the end, he asked me to make a wish and the only wish I had in my mind that minute was – “Please let the girl get well soon and walk with no difficultly”. Until today I still carry this memory with me and hope that she has recovered and is all smiling.

I left there to continue my journey to Phalgham. Here I was with a joint family, they were eight adults and 12 children. This family reminded me of my childhood days as until 5 th grade I was part of a joint family. I really miss the joint family culture. I was welcomed with the utmost warmth. Here again the family din’t want me to go on a hike alone. So, I was accompanied by Kashmiri bhaiya and four children. I did some hiking in Aru and hanging around in Betab valley.

The highlight was Chandanwari, a stunning place to unwind in the lap of nature and breath-taking views. I felt like there isn’t anything that can truly take your breath away. I wanted to take a stroll in the morning before leaving to Srinagar. While I was walking near the Lidder river stream a chacha who was on his morning walk greeted me by saying walkeum salam beti. my response of aslam walkeum chacha triggered off another interesting conversation. After the walk I was all set to depart to Srinagar. The family gave me a rousing send-off . I was touched by their hospitality.

I left to Srinagar to catch the flight next day to Bangalore. I stayed that night with Anita anuty ji again. We had a lovely conversation, and when she got to know that I run a sports NGO for children from vulnerable background she immediately responded that the children of Kashmir need such training. They lack such life skills. She enquired if I would come back and do some training programs. She said she will have a word with the government. My eyes gleamed with joy and had a big smile on my face and I instantly said yes.

These six days (Oct 6 th to 11 th ) travelling all by myself was an enriching experience like none other. It allowed me to experience the place on my terms and gave me some “ME” time and introspection of my thoughts. Exploring the valleys on feet, staying with the locals, befriending strangers and listening to their stories. Sounds exciting right! Believe me Kashmir is a perfect place for solo travel. It’s a land of hidden jewels and beautiful hearts!

To sum it up, this trip was all about interacting with humans. I felt a deep connect with mankind, and it is an experience I will cherish forever.

I must quote this poem by Amir Khusrow – Kashmir Paradise on Earth!

Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast!

English Translation:

If there is a paradise on earth,


How not to take decisions

Author: Raju Thomas

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/how-not-to-take-decisions--by-author-raju-thomas

Decision making skill is considered to be one of main hallmarks of a great leader. While this is quite true, sometimes, how to avoid or postpone taking decisions can also be skill to be learnt. Whenever an organization is faced with making an important or difficult decision , it adopts what can be called as a ‘ Committee ‘ approach, which is to set up a committee to look into the issue and reach a decision by consensus. Since it will be a collective decision of all the members of the committee, no one person need take the blame for any adverse fallout arising from the decision. It can also be sought to be justified as a ‘committee decision’ taken in the best interest of the organization. Also, they avoid arriving at a final decision for as long as possible, with lots of discussion among the members, arguments and counter arguments for any proposed course of action. This kind of ‘Committee’ method is often used by the head of an organization when he has to make any unpleasant decision.

The role and importance of committees has been satirized in the form of a prayer ( source unknown ), which I would like to share. This piece has been lying with me for over 30 years or so, given to me by somebody during the time I was working in a public sector company.

“ Gayatri Mantra “ of Committees

Our Committee which art in quorum,
Procrastination be thy name
Thy agenda come, thy NIL be done
On Earth as it is in Eternity
Give us this day our daily delay,
And forgive us our progresses
As we forgive those who progress despite you
And lead us not into completion
But deliver us from decisions
For thine is the vacillation
The red tape and the veto
For ever and ever.



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.

About the author



Reviving Yourself With A Simple Exercise

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: http://www.banjaraacademy.org/reviving-yourself-with-a-simple-exercise-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Reviving Yourself With A Simple Exercise

Long, long ago I was taught by a yoga guru to just lie down in shav-aasan position, let your breath go in and out at its own pace, clear your mind of mundane thoughts, and focus on your breath. It took me many years to realize the significance of this simple exercise -- it not only gives your peace and rejuvenates you mentally and physically, it also brings your focus on the most important and most neglected aspect of your life i.e. your breath. As great thinkers have said, life is from the first to the last breath, and every breath is reviving you as a living being. Now I do it at least once a day.

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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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Page 8 of 48


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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