Shared Thoughts

Oh SUN!

In the morning you bloom
Like a bride groom
At noon you are so hot and shine a lot
In the evening you are so wonderful and look so beautiful.

 

Birds

Oh! Birds, dear birds,
How lucky you are
You fly so high in the sky
You neither go to school
Nor carry geometrical tool
You are afraid of cats,
But eat up the rats.

-M.S.Kalpashri
(13 years), Spastic Society

SUDHA LAKSHMI shares what her daughter taught her:

Dear Mommy,
All I ask is to
Be EMPATHETIC and kindly RESPECT my feelings:
Though I don't respect you sometimes or do things that you may not like and behave very different, understand my feelings.
Please LISTEN to me and be PATIENT.
Even though I am a bit rude, though my rough tone and my jumble speech is hard to understand- my words are thought out and important. Kindly LISTEN to me. LISTEN means to stop interrupting, interrogating, advising, blaming. judging, moralizing.....

EMPOWER me and HELP me:
I need your help (definitely) but only when I ask. Every day I would like to try to do more and more for myself. Let me think and make my decisions. I need my space PLEASE UNDERSTAND me and give me UNCONDITIONAL acceptance:
You know that I am a teenager, So please give me time and space to overcome the challenges in my own way so that I can learn and grow. Yes, I too agree that I need to know everything about life, good and bad, but understand my level and my speed.
Mommy, I do need your care and love all the time throughout my life.

Your loving daughter!!

Stress Reliever #1
Wife : You always carry my photo in your wallet to the office. Why?
Hubby : When there is a problem, no matter how impossible, I look at your picture and the problem disappears.
Wife : You see how miraculous and powerful I am for you.
Hubby : Yes, I see your picture and say to myself, 'what other problem can there be greater than this one?'

Stress Reliever#2
Girl : When we get married, I want to share all your worries, troubles and lighten your burden.
Boy :It's very kind of you, darling, but I don't have any worries or troubles.
Girl : well that's because we aren't married yet.

Stress Reliever#3
Son :Mum. when i was on the bus with Dad this morning, he told me to give up my seat to a lady.
Mum : Well, you have done the right thing.
Son : But mum, I was sitting on daddy's lap.

Stress Reliever#4
Wife to husband : 'What's your excuse for coming home at this time of the night?
Husband to wife : Golfing with friends. My dear.
Wife to husband : 'What? At 2 am'
Husband to wife : 'yes we used night clubs'

Stress Reliever#5
A newly married man asked his wife. 'Would you have married me if my father hadn't left me a fortune, Honey?'
The woman replied sweetly, I'd have married you no matter who left you a fortune'

Stress Reliever#6
Father to son after exam : Let me see your report card.
Son : My friend just borrowed it. He wants to scare his parents.

Stress Reliever#7
How was your blind date? A college student asked her roommate 'Terrible' the roommate answered 'He showed up in his 1932 Rolls Royce Wow! That's a very expensive car. What's so bad about that? How was the original owner.

Early 80's 'Bangalore'. My sister and I, new migrants from the capital, taking stock of the simple South. With our flowing hair and confident ways (tinged with arrogance), we were the most teens all over the world are. One person who became a target of our cheeky attention was the baker's son in the neighbourhood. Along with his father, he ran a well stocked bakery, his Anglicized ways juxtaposed with the naam on his forehead making him a serious contender fro being the most laughed at by us!

Ignoring his squirming, we would walk into his bakery, giggling at his parrot green pastries and shocking pink cakes with coconut toppings. Things became worse for him when we trooped in to report a discovery of a cockroach in one of his loaves of bread! We would cruelly check with him every time after that if he had checked the batter! The worst embarrassment came for him when he got married and invited us for the wedding. Oh....So you are a 'dhula' (bridegroom)now!, we teased with disdain, even nicknamed him 'dulha'.

Time passed-marriage, parenthood, jobs- we moved to different parts of the country separated forever from our simple middle-class neighbourhood.

January 2004: Returning from work, late one evening, I passed the same neighbourhood and wanting to make an emergency purchase, parked by. I found the same bakery and walked in. The bakery was larger, neater and more hi-tech. The parrot green pastries wore a soft pista look, the cakes a lovely baby pink. And then, I saw dulha- slightly portly, balding, bespectacled now, he wore the same naam and swift business ways.

'How are your mother and sister?' He asked politely. I was surprised that he had recognised me. Briefing him on their whereabouts, I enquired after him. I have a son studying engineering and a daughter in high school, he informed me.

"My son is 18, an adult now", I replied softly, Quite suddenly something happened. Its nearly 25 years, he said. Yeah 25 years is a long, long time, my voice trailed off. I saw that his eyes were moist and I could not speak too. In silence, we ruminated perhaps remembering those days in the 80's.

What our tears meant, I know not.I don't know if we rejoiced the reunion or lamented the loss of days bygone. All I do is, that in that moment in time, something intangible, yet palpable bonded us. We were on even ground now.

--Monica Bakre

The greatest teachers in our life are sorrow and suffering. It is only when we experience severe blows does the realization dawn upon us and our peace of mind gets affected to the maximum. At this stage, hope, patience and toleration come to our rescue as a generous source of comfort.

A remarkable quality associated with suffering is the traumatic experiences over the years that strengthen you in mind, body and spirit. All of us encounter sorrow so suddenly that we are totally unprepared for the monster to enter our life but still face it with a brave effort. Although our family and friends are there to support, we are left all alone in our lonely battle towards recovery.

Suffering is of a transient nature- what follows is contentment, happiness and a life worth cherishing. It is the firm belief of many that after this pathetic phase the positive and bright aspect is distinctly visible, just as after a pitch dark night there is always the huge glow of sunlight streaming through.

Man has observed suffering in various ways, either as an unhappy employee being harassed at the hands of the boss, a patient who is suffering from years of illness, or an innocent child being beaten up by his parents. All endure problems- facing them is a challenge and it is not advisable fro pent up feelings to remain inside. Instead, express them to a loved one, this will ensure your good health.

Keeping yourself busy will divert your attention and chances are that in such a state you will forget the pain or misery, while worrying too much will make the situation worst. The mind is always thinking, so to avoid thoughts of sorrow it is best to involve yourself in constructive activity.

This tangle web of suffering can end and man can live a balanced life without ever feeling gloomy and sick provided he believes in himself and has a positive attitude which will certainly improve his quality of life.

- Reena.M.Banaji, a budding young journalist at Secunderabad.

Popular writer on management, humour and human behaviour, Mr.Dinesh Kumar declares:

And The Winner is ....LOH

A newspaper recently published criteria for judging wives. According to those criteria, a wife has to pass the following tests. Whether I agree with the criteria or not must remain in my private domain but going strictly by what the newspaper said, she is a champion bad wife if she does not. Here are the details:

  • A Bad wife is the one who does not keep karva chauth fast. When I very meekly suggested to her that she might consider keeping the karva chauth fast for my long life, I received a crisp, direct and no nonsense reply. 'When you start fasting for my long life, I will start fasting for yours. Until then I suggest that you keep your mouth shut. I don't remember whether she said trap or mouth because trap means a total ban on any outlet of protest. In support of her case, she even quoted Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and said that in relationship, it is either win-win or no deal.

  • A bad wife listens to English music. This one not only listens but also plays 'English' music on her piano. To make matters worst, she goes to a tutor and often drags me to classical western music concerts.

  • A bad wife eats before her husband. On this, she passed the litmus test with distinction from day one. In the early days of our marriage, I would return home to find that the Madam had just cleaned up her plate. My mother would always wait for our father to finish his meal before she put the first morsel in her mouth. This one won't even pass the dishes saying that I was an able-bodies person perfectly capable of managing myself the table. She would then start attacking the mangoes. It mattered little for her when I mentioned that my mother would not even think touching any new fruit of the season before my father has a chance to taste it.

  • A bad wife gives her career importance. Now she is a retiree. Her working career involved dealing with special children and her career came first always and every time. And I came a poor second always and every time. With retirement, this bad habit has lost some of its intensity of the old days.

  • A bad wife wears stylish clothes. She actually does exactly that. You should see her in her jogging outfit. You would think that you are in some decade society. With a white cotton-top the readers would agree that a skirt and a skimpy blouse are not only stylish but also outlandish. To make matters worst, she wishes "good evening" to any stranger passing by.

  • A bad wife sleeps until late in the morning. Here I do have a doubt with the criteria. I mean how late is late? I come back from jogging at 7 am and she is snoring. I cannot switch on the lights and read the morning papers lest she protects that I cut short her beauty sleep. And then she gets up, she asks me to take her the morning cup of tea. That must make her doubly bad, isn't it?

I shared the information I had picked from the newspaper and showed her this piece. Being a just and fair man that I am, I wanted to give her a fair chance to defend her position. I received a summary disposal when she told me that I must be a nut to believe in this mindless stereotype saas-bhi-kabhi-bahu-thi crierion. Her final verdict": I will be damned if I am stereotyped.

You see that. And therefore, the winner is the lady of the House (LOH)

One of the most remarkable individuals of the late 20th century was Ms.Grace Hopper. Born in 1906, she dreamt of excelling in mathematics and serving her country. Hopper earned a master's degree in 1930 and a doctorate in 1934 from Yale University. Both the degrees were in mathematics and were earned in spite of many voices assuring her she could not work in a "man's field".

In 1943, Hopper joined the U.S.Navy. When World War II ended, she tried to remain on activity duty but was considered 'too old' at age 39. However Hopper managed to retain her commission in the Naval Reserves. Over the next few decades Hopper did pioneering work designing early generation for computers. By 1955 Hopper created and standardized a computer programme language called COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language). All the while, she continued serving in the Naval Reserves harbouring a dream to bring the U.S.Military into the computer age. A sad day in her life came in December 1966 when she was mandatorily retired from the Navy at age 60.

However, the United States was engaged in the Vietnam conflict, and the Navy was having problems with the computer system it was using. Eight months after her retirement, Hopper was 'temporarily' recalled to active duty. Her mission: to reorganise in six months all the Navy's computers so that they could work smoothly together. Hopper spent the next two decades promoting computer use and educating military personnel in computer functions. Because of her age, every promotion awarded to Hopper took a special act of US Congress. She was made Captain in 1973. In November 1985, when Hopper was 79 years old, she was elevated to rear admiral (equivalent to Major General)and became the first woman to hold that rank. Finally, just before her 80th birthday, Adm.Grace Hopper officially retired with the satisfaction that her dreams had come a reality.

Mummy daddy don't scold me with "Why don't you study", tell me how can I?

I have to fight my mind's imagination when I sees puppies playing, where I fly the plane- when I try to concentrate.

I have to fight back when I see children playing in mud and think why can't I be playing.

I have to fight back when I wan to play with grandfather and listen to his story, you tell me to study.

I am small, but I need you to see my world.

Tomorrow I can see the world, through your understanding in me.

- Bhavana

Indira Parthsarthi recounts treasured memories of the weekend camps of students of diploma in Counselling skills, when they leave the hustle and bustle of the city, and spread far and wide into the quaint

VISTHAR************** an attitude of mind?

You led down your hair, unbuckle your shoes, put up your feet and relax.......

There is something in the air, a special, magical atmosphere. Slowly, gradually, your nerves are calm, soothed, the in-built tension is reduced, you begin to unwind. You are in Visthar, your mind is crystal clear, you are intensely aware of yourself and everyone else around you. Your perception gets sharper and sharper, your sense are alert and you are absolutely and totally alive....

You look at your companions with a new vision, you make fresh discoveries about them. You open up, they open up....this is Visthar. The hearts' experiences, long since bottled up, come out into the open and are shared and understood. You ask genuinely interested questions and you listen with your heart when you are answered. Oh! It's a wonderful feeling.

Visthar literally means spreading far and wide, opening up, broadening out, newer and fresher, ever-widening horizons. Stretching ahead of you....? Visthar.... an attitude, hopeful and eagerly expectant, a natural awareness of unknown vista, breathlessly, exciting full of possibilities, in front to of you, in the near and distant future.... Visthar- a wide awake state of mind, acutely conscious of everything going on around you, a refreshing outlook, open to new ideas and unfamiliar opinions.

We can create a Visthar of our own, wherever we are, whenever we wish. For Visthar is more a way of life, an all embracing and accepting philosophy, a lifestyle that has no restrictions and no limitations.

Let me end here with one of my favourite quotations: "As long as you have a window, life is exciting".

Uma Karanth shares a heart-warming experience of how, with a little help

I would like to share my experience, which happened 18 to 20 years ago. It was at Kudremukh where my husband worked as a mining engineer. The first day we reached there, a bot named Subhani peeped in. About 13 years of age, he was a child labourer and wanted to work at our house. He was smart boy and he worked with us for 6 months.

I came to know he had completed 4th standard and could not study further due to lack of money. I asked him one day "why don't you study?" He refused to study in English medium, but somehow we convinced him and admitted him at "Giri Jyothi School". I must have helped for about 6 months. Quarterly test he did not do well, half yearly he scored 60% and in the final he came 1st in the class- can you imagine? Then he came 1st in the class till SSLC. and finished his auto mobile engineering diploma in SJ Polytechnic. Now he is in Dubai earning more than Rs.30,000/- a month, married and owner of a house. So given opportunity and love I think there will be a million Subhanis in our country. These are the children I feel need just a little counselling and help to move on in life.

During the summer of '93, I was in Luknow in a business visit. One day, my colleagues at the Branch office and I set out for lunch at one of the numerous eateries that dot the mall in Hazratganj. I was trailing behind and was intercepted by a young boy, probably 13 or 14 years old, who was hawking flutes made of bamboo. He quickly played "yoon toh hamne lakh haseen dekhe hain, tum sa nahin dekha" and implored me to buy a flute, tempting me with a 'bilkul sasta' rate of Rs.20/- I was impressed with his skill, but told him I did not want a flute; instead, I asked him his name and why he was not at school. He said , "Saheb, I am Anwar, i do got to school but that is in the morning. I am trying to help me continue schooling."

"How much money will you make in this business? Is it enough to help you in your schooling?" "Saheb, I make five rupees profit on every flute I sell. On a lucky day I may sell 14-15 flutes, some days I don't sell any".

At this point my colleagues came back and said, "please do not waste time with this street vendor or else we will be late getting back to work". I asked them to go ahead and seat themselves in the restaurant across the road and I would join them soon.

I continued with Anwar. "Anwar, what do you want to be when you grow up?" "Insha-allah, I will become a lawyer." "Son. I do not want a flute, but I do want to help you. Here, take this Rs.20/- as a small help from me." Anwar looked disappointed but refused my offer. "Saheb, I will not pressure you to buy a flute, but I do not want any free money either. Thank you for your kindness."

He turned and started to walk away when suddenly Anwar's sense of self-respect hit me like a bolt. I called him back and bought two flutes, telling him of my intention to gift them to my nephews. My colleagues thought that I had been "papto-ed" by Anwar with a sentimental "Kahaani", but I did not mind.

Some years later, on another visit to Luknow, I sported Anwar again, but this time he had graduated to selling Ray-Ban look alikes, protectors for TV remote units and the like. He had started to sprout a moustache. I went up to him and asked him if he remembered me. He stared at me for a second or two and broke into a grin. He said "Of course I remember you Saheb. It is not every day that a customer asks me my name and what I want to become in life."

"How is business and how are your studies going?" "Okay I guess, I make more money now and I am still hopeful of becoming a lawyer". "Anwar, I am s happy to see your determination and I am sure you will succeed. Khuda Hafiz" A customer cam ealong and Anwar tuned his attention to business. I said good-bye and moved on.

I retired from work the following year and have not visited Luknow since the, but I often think about Anwar. I hope he has qualified in Law or is, at least close to doing so. His refused to accept "muft-ka-paise" as he called it and his determination to succeed in life has left has left a profound impression on me and often I wish there were more Anwars in our land.

- S.M.Subba Rao.

Attitude is the paintbrush of the ,mind.... it colours everything....

Persons with disability in society are usually associated with negative image of "being a burden", "object of sympathy", "stigma" leading to low-self esteem in the person and social isolation. Our attitudes can lack of disability has also resulted in environmental barriers (in accessible spaces) within our home, at workplace, public transport and public buildings which has made people with disabilities to be confined in their homes.

The general lack of acceptance of people with disability as a person leads to discrimination, denial of opportunities and more complex situations based on gender, caste and the social strata of the family. People with disabilities often feel the "nowhere to go syndrome".

Why does it happen?
We are not born with a negative image of persons with disabilities but these values develop as we see, hear and from the surroundings that we live in.

There is also a tendency for the needs of the disable- be it medical, education, hostel- being met in a segregated or isolated way hence disable people are not part of larger society and remain the "invisible people".

What are the needs of persons with disabilities?
Just like everyone else- persons with disabilities need; education, access to health care, play, entertainment involvement in social gatherings to be consulted during decision-making. They need marriage, employment. That the person with disability enjoys the same human rights as a non-disable is completely/conveniently ignored.

What needs to be done?
In order to bring a change we need to see people with disabilities in everyday life playing an active role of a student, employee, parent etc... people with disabilities must be part of mainstream society with a better quality of life.

- Mahesh.C Asst. Director, Mobility India

Completing the Diploma in Counselling Skills (DCS) opened avenues for me- i more ways than one, It can safely be said that Banjara Life gave a new identity to most of us. I discovered myself all over again, and continue to do so. Somewhere along the DCS journey I began to feel the strong desire to make a career in counselling. Therein lies the conflict.

Whenever I think of childhood, its always warm memories along with mother. Whether sponging me while I had fever, dropping me to school, holidays and vacation, or just coming home from school hungry, to the food mom kept ready- she was always there. I still enjoy that umbrella of security. In recent years I have heard mother regret letting go of opportunities.

She was offered a bank job, which she refused. She rues that she would have been an officer today and could enjoy a good pension. But mother's sacrifice did not go in vain. She started a play home, which will be 25 years this year. What's more, she continued the same mothering. She is instrumental in making me what I am today. I believe in honesty. Most of the time it is not because I read it in moral science. I want to be like her. I want to be there for my children. They are young and need me now.

I also want to make a career

Both roads beckon and required loyalty. Opportunities knock but once. Counseling as a career is throwing open it's doors now. Strike while the iron is hot, they say. How many of us are in this dilemma? To be or not to be. Counselors that is. To those who are dithering I say, take the plunge. (I have just begun to explore my professional capabilities. And my most vocal supporter is my son Raunak, aged 7. I keep him informed about my work as well as my interests. I can already hear the pride in his voice when he tells me how to go about my work. I share the joy of achievement with the children. My daughter is too young to understand all of it, but somehow identifies with me as she goes to "class". These two angles hold the passport to my career. I need their support as much as they need mine. I have started to venture out a couple of days a week, either to attend a lecture or to give one. I am making the transition from a full time mother to a career mother a slow and gradual process. So that by the time they grow old enough to be able to take care of themselves I will be able to spread my wings. To those of my sisters facing a similar dilemma, I say, listen to your heart. It is the best homing coming) We have potential to be more than what we are. Let us begin the journey. I know I have. It's a tight rope, between career and being a mother. Now that I am on it, I have nowhere to go but the other side. And I am enjoying the journey so far.

- Mamtha Rajesh

EXAMINATION

Oh! Examination.
What a creation
You brought me tension
I am waiting for the vacation
To go to a suitable location

My dream Boy

I don't mind if he is rich or poor.
I don't mind if he has gold or silver
But he should be good st heart

I don't mind if he is fair or dark
I don't mind if he is tall or short
But he should be good at heart

I don't mind if he is handsome or ugly
I don't mind if he is intelligent or a fool
But he should be good at heart

I don't mind if he is a hero or a zero
I don't mind if he is polite or violent
But he should be good at heart.

He is my DREAM BOY whom I am waiting for.

- M.S.kalpashri (13 years) Spastic Society

Subject: Upgrade from a girlfriend to a wife.
Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 7.0 to wife 1.0 and noticed that the new program began unexpected child processing that took up a lot of space and valuable resources.

No mention of this phenomenon was included in the product brochure. In addition, wife 1.0 installs itself into all the other programs and launches during system initialization, where it monitors all other system activity.

Applications such as Smoking 10.3 and Saturday Night Pubs 5.0 no longer run, crashing the system whenever selected. I cannot keep wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to rum some of my favorite applications like Night Club 4.3, Dance 'n' Drunk 2.0 and Bachelor Party 7.77. I am thinking about going back to girlfriend 7.0, but the un-install does not work on this program. Once I tried to un-install wife 1.0 but got this error "General Protection Fault in module House Security. The Un-installation will abort" Can you help me, please!!!

Reply from Tech. Support

Dear Software Engineer,
Ref: Upgrade from a girlfriend to a wife
This is a very common problem men complain about, but is mostly due to a primary misconception. Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to wife 1.0 with the idea that wife 1.0 is merely a UTILITIES & ENTERTAINMENT program.

Wife 1.0 is actually an OPERATING SYSTEM and designed by its creator to Run everything. It is unlikely you would be able to purge wife 1.0 and still convert back girlfriend 7.0. It is impossible to un-install, delete, or purge wife 1.0 from the system once installed.

You can not go back to girlfriend 7.0 because wife 1.0 is not designed to do this. Some have tried to install girlfriend 8.0 or wife 2.0 but end up with more problems than the original system. Look in your manual under "Warnings Alimony/ Child Support" which was given to you at the same time of registration with wife 1.0. I recommend you keep wife 1.0 and just deal with the situation. Having wife 1.0 installed myself, I might also suggest you read the entire section regarding General Partnership Faulty (GPFs) The best course of action will be to enter the command C:/APOLOGIZE. In fact I would suggest you to use this command every time wife 1.0 crashes on your system. Wife 1.0 is a great program, but very high maintenance.

Consider buying additional software to improve the performance of wife 1.0. I recommend Flowers 2.1 and chocolates 5.0 or movies 4.5 which will improve the performance of wife 1.0. Do not, under any circumstances, install Secretary with short skirt 3.3. This is not a supported application for wife 1.0 and is likely to cause irreversible damage to the operating system.

Best of luck.
Tech Support.

The sky was overcast with dark clouds. The dark patches of clouds looked like the huge wings of a flying demon. The demon, she felt, had swallowed the tiny and helpless moon. And she shuddered with unknown fear that she could be his next victim. Cold sweat appeared on her forehead.

Sonali was retuning home after her night duty at a hospital. It was past ten in the pitch dark night. Lonely, long stretch of desert road and a threatening sheet of darkness, strangely were provided her the illusion of safety.

Suddenly two young boys emerged from the side lane and started walking behind her, a little distance away. She noticed the boys were having a heated discussion. Their voices became louder as they came very close to her.

Many evil thoughts were striking her mind. Her professors and friends always praised her beauty. She felt like cursing her youthful beauty. She heard of young goons pouncing on lonely girls. What? If they too? Her blood froze, sweat thickened. Whenever she felt the fear of being followed, she hid herself under the thick patches of darkness. Fear was gripping her and every moment the road to her home seemed to get lengthened.

Now the boys were walking parallel to her. She squeezed her thoughts and tried to hide her thoughts and body, in the layers of her sari. She wanted to pray but her lips were lifeless. The boys passed by her...still arguing loudly.

All of a sudden, the boys turned towards a by-lane and how she was all alone on a dark and deserted road. The silence of the graveyard gripped the road. She too felt the fear of silence. Now, she was more scared.

- by Narayan Prasad

Ii was our first date after our marriage got fixed. Although I looked quite OK in my designer top and trousers, my hair in curly locks with a pair of big sleek earrings, I was very nervous.

My fiance is a very straightforward and frank person. I got this clue when he pointed out a white strand of hair in my head. Although it seemed that it didn't make any difference to him, inside me I was a bit embarrassed. Next my shoe strap snapped out and he took me to a shoes showroom and got me a new pair.

We were sitting in an open-air restaurant when wind blew so wild and left my curls in a mess. Some dumb college kids gave some ridiculous smiles seeing me. My straightforward fiance couldn't help noticing it but he added that he liked my hair. I was very upset. Although I was cool from outside, inside I was crushing myself, as I had no one else to curse. For a girl, all these petty issues are quite embarrassing. But as we neared the dusky evening my fiance said he like my company very much and he would like to take me out again.

From teens, I believed a couple should be a perfect match not only mentally but also physically. But standing today at this threshold of life (about to be married). I realized that physical aspirations are just the outer shell of married life. As we go further in a marriage, we surpassed the physical phase and only seek to a deeper world of trust, dependency, understanding, affection and love.

That day turned out well in the end, mostly because of the efforts and affection of my fiance.

- Sanghamitra Gangopadhyay

9 year old:
A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own, so she likes to look after other people's little girls. Grandmothers don't have to do anything expect be there. They're old...so they should not play hard games. It is enough if they drive us to where the electric horses are, and carry lots of one rupee coins.

Usually they're fat. But not too fat to tie kids' shoes. They don't have to be smart- only answer questions like why dogs chase cats... or how come God isn't married.

They don't talk baby talk. When they read to us, they don't skip words or mind if it's the same story again. Everybody should try to have one. Especially if you don't have television. Because grandmothers are the only grown-ups who have any time for children.

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. - Havelock Ellis
LET GO OF YOUR PAST, 6-8 Jan 2012, Residential Camp, Manthan, Bangalore
To live life fully, to move smoothly towards the future, we should get rid of any baggage of the past deeply embedded in our minds or our subconscious. Whatever has happened to us in the past, right from childhood, affects how we chart our life.
In two enjoyable fun-days, 6 pm Fri 6th to 4 pm Sun 8th Jan 12, at Manthan, learn how to LET GO OF YOUR PAST.
Leave behind your inhibitions, mobiles, laptops; experience a different world, one with nature. First-pay-first served basis [no refunds please]. Charges Rs. 1,900/-. For men willing to stay in tent, Rs. 1,200/-. CALL 080-23535766 today.
Let go of your past
Credit: Nasrul Ekram, CC-By-SA-2.0, flickr.com

Use your good memories as your strength to move on to the future

Is there a single reader of this piece who can say that life has brought only happiness and pleasure, and nothing else? I would love to meet such a person. For all the rest of us, life has obviously been a bouquet of flowers and thorns, plants and weeds, summers and winters, joys and sorrows. As you read these lines, I am communicating with you, but I do not know if you are in your summer or winter, or whether there are thunderclouds disturbing your life. I cannot fathom whether there is a lull after a storm, or whether the rainbow is shining bright.

What I do know is that like me, you obviously have a mind full of memories. Memories of days that will never come back, of a period that is gone forever and over which you have no control. At the same time you are painfully aware that you had many a time given the best of yourself and perhaps did not get back the best. Peeping from behind the dark clouds could be nostalgia about the times when you got more than what you had expected.

Be that as it may, you can cherish each of your memories and preserve them as your very own. They are your property and your assets; no one can ever take them away from you. There may have been some very good days shared with some loved ones who are no longer near you, but the memories of those days will remain with you forever if you preserve and look after them.

Memories of love - cherish and share this treasure

Good memories help you make life beautiful
Credit: Alex Bellink, CC-By-SA-2.0, flickr.com

Some relationships may be dead or comatose, but the love in your heart may be as strong as ever. That love is a good source of warmth to you, and it can be shared with so many others - look around and you will find the 'others' who are deserving but neglected. If you learn to value and cherish this treasure of love, you can make life beautiful regardless of what challenges it throws at you in future.

Make a conscious effort to be with your good memories - don't run away from them just because they came to an end. And using them as your strength, move on to the future, building up your life, both professional and personal. With this thought in mind, let us cherish the connectivity that you and I share, through this website and the years that we have known each other.

About six months ago I wrote in the columns of this news letter about attempt to learn car driving. This is the concluding part:

Now I drive around so confidently. No fears, no hesitation. Actually I have begun to enjoy it. Then it struck me that managing change, small or big, is such an important aspect in life.... Had I continued to remain diffident, not taken the effort to break my comfort zone of using a two wheeler/auto and take the initiative of continuing to drive, I would have remained guilty of wasting an opportunity, and kind of lost confidence in myself. In the beginning it was stressful ans scary, yet I did not give up... One day, I was driving on a not so congested road at 2.30 in the afternoon- hardly any traffic- but then suddenly, from no where came a big wedding procession near a busy traffic junction- and believe me, I managed to sail through people and traffic jam, another day it was heavy rain at night and flashing head lights of other vehicles... so far so good... This shows that, even when caught unaware, (or what we fear unduly) we do have the capacity to cope with it, provided the basic skills have been learnt. This experience has given me the motivation to go ahead and face several issues that I had not attempted fear of failure. And an important lesson: Face the challenges, overcome fear by taking it head on- for actually it may not be as bad as you imagine.

- V.Chenthamarai

The telephone is a very useful device. But it can create many problems because of several reasons and particularly due to the fact that people use the phone are not able to see each other. Can we try and see how we can handle such problems? Let us have a look at some points which can help us to improve our telephone conversation so that it becomes not only effective but also pleasant and enjoyable.

In offices they have telephone operators who are trained to receive calls in a polite way (Whether they put it in practice to not is a different story) So we can have a look at the way we handle tele-calls at home.

  1. Would it is sensible to mention our name and also 'Good morning' or 'Good evening' as the case may be instead of simply saying 'Hello'?
  2. Isn't it true that most of the calls received by us at home are from friends and relations so that mentioning our name with a greeting (instead of saying 'Hello') would be quite appropriate?
  3. Can we find better words for the following? "Who's this?" "What's it about?" " Hold on"
  4. Let us think about the following points:
    • - What should be kept ready by the side of the telephone?
    • - If the line gets cut during the conversation who should call again first (Assuming that you had called first?)
  5. A few things worth thinking about in the matter of telephone conversation.
    • who receives phone calls usually in our house? Are they used to respond in a courteous and helpful manner?
    • Are they aware of our intimate friends and colleagues so that if a call comes from one of those persons it is attended to in a nice way?
    • If you have requested to someone to make an important call do we keep our people at home informed about the expected call?
    • Are small children allowed/encouraged to receive phone calls in our house? While it is no doubt a good idea, the point is whether the children are trained properly for the purpose.
    • Do old persons receive calls in our house? Are they able to hear fairly well and handle the call properly?
    • Do people at home have some idea at least about our office and our work so that if there is a call for us they can handle it in a nice and helpful way instead of simply saying, "I don't know. You call after 8 p.m?"
    • Have we noticed/heard discourteous things while nobody might have heard such things when we spoke on the phone?
    • Do we always make it a point to 'return' a call received while we were not at home?
    • Usually how many rings go before we usually take up a receiver in out house? If for any reason there is much delay in talking the call do we say 'sorry' to the caller and give a brief explanation for the reason?
    • If a call comes for someone in the house and I take it do I make it a point to say, "Please hold on, I'll call him" or simply keep the phone down and proceed to call the person wanted?
    • Some people say that we should put a smile in our voice while talking on the phone. Are they joking? How can anybody put a smile in his voice?
    • Do you have any other points in this connection? If so kindly let me have the benefit of your views.
    • BY Clifford Martis

In the last 10 seconds or so,, in the "Diploma in Counselling Skills: programme. I have learnt quite a lot of words relating to us, our emotions, our behaviour etc. In all these one word that has really shaken me is "Silence", I had never realised the meaning of the sentence "Silence is Golden".

Basically, we all die to talk, never missing an opportunity to open our mouth. Never mind whether the other person is interested in it or not, or whether the topic is apt or not. Whether the situation demands it or not. Whether we are knowledgeable in it or not, we have to talk. Many a time we talk as if there is no tomorrow, or as if I know everything. Sometimes we do not have anything else to do, so we talk. I also come in the above category. I too loved talking very early and was quite verbal by my 1st birthday, which has not stopped till today. People around me say "How can Geeta get bored, she can start a conversation even with the trees on the road side." I was proud of it. They said that if I had a wooden mouth it would have broken by now- that much I talk. I felt very uncomfortable with silence, especially when in a group. I felt others are getting bored so I would start talking. Now I wonder what bored them more- my silence or my talk.

Then suddenly I was shaken by this word "SILENCE" after I attended these classes. Now I feel how much I must have talked, how much I have missed by being preoccupied with talking.

Silence is a wonderful tool. It teaches a lot. Being silent does not mean one is passive or indifferent, it means much more than that. I t helps one to think, analyse, respond. It gives a hole to peep into others' emotions, their wants, their nature,and it makes acceptance easier. It gives the other person a chance to express. I have realised the importance of silence and I would like learning and practising it (BUT IT'S VERY DIFFICULT!)

- Geeta Laxman

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:
There would be:
57 Asian
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both North and South
8 Africans
52 would be females, 48 would be male
70 would be non white. 30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian, 30 would be Christians
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1 (yes, only 1) would be a college education
1 would own a computer
When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent. The following id also something to ponder.... If you woke up this morning with more health than illness.... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world. If you can attend a religious meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death... you are more blessed than three billion people in the world. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep... you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet,and spare change in a dish someplace... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy. If your parents are still alive and still married.... you are very rare, even in the United States and Canada.

If you can read this message you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

The question is asked, "Is there anything more beautiful in life than a boy and a girl clasping clean hands and pure hearts in the path of marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?"

And the answer is given. "Yes, there is a more beautiful thing. It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on the path. Their hands are gnarled, but still clasped; their faces are steamed, but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired, but still strong with love and devotion for one another. Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love. Old love".

 There is hunger for ordinary bread, and there is hunger for love, for kindness, for thoughtfulness; and this is the great poverty that makes people suffer so much-

- Mother Teresa.

She is successful, rich and good looking. She is adored by thousands of people. She has friends who will do anything for her. She has admirers who crave just to see her or to hear her voice. She has a string of achievements to her credit. She is acknowledge as a simple, humble and sincere person, despite being highly talented. People are obviously envious of her. And more so of anyone who comes close to her. Being identified as her friend is in itself a status symbol. Being seen with her gets recognition. There are many who wish to possess her,and are willing to pay any price. But no one knows what her price is. For she is an enigma, very friendly socially, but very aloof at the individual level. She belongs to everyone, but does not belong to anyone.

She looks very happy and contented. But to the close observer, her wide eyes betray a far-away look, as though she is searching for something. I asked her whether she is searching for something in life. She hesitated, let her guard done for a moment and said, "yes" I waited to see if she would continue. I could see the thunderclouds of turmoil overshadowing the serene landscape of her features. There was an ominous silence that lasted a lifetime- like the moment between the lightening and the sound of thunder. Finally she replied, almost in a whisper "I am looking for a genuine person. I do not want to possess a person, but I want to possess his smile."

When children learn that happiness is not found in that a person has but in who that person is,
When they learn that giving and forgiving are more rewarding than taking and avenging.
When they learn that suffering is not eased by self-pity, but overcome by inner resolve and spiritual strength,
When they learn they can't control the world around them, but they are the masters of their own souls,
When they learn that relationships will prosper if they value friendship over ego, compromise over pride, and listening over advising.
When they learn not to hate a person whose difference they fear, but fear that kind of hate,
When they learn that there is pleasure in the power of lifting others up, not in the pseudo-power of pushing them down.
When they learn that praise from others is flattering but meaningless if it is not matched by self-respect.
When they learn that the value of a life is best measured not by the years spent accumulating possessions, but by the moments spent giving of one's self- sharing wisdom, inspiring hope, wiping tears and touching hearts,
When they learn that a person's beauty is seen not with the eyes but with the heart; and that even though time and hardship may ravage one's outer shell, they can enhance one's charter and perspective.
When they learn to withhold judgement of people, knowing everyone is blessed with good and bad qualities, and that the emergence of either often depends on the help given or hurt inflicted by others,
When they learn that every person has been given the gift of a unique self, and the purpose of life is to share the very best of that gift with the world,
When children learn these ideals and how to practise them in the art of good living, they will no longer be children- they will be blessings to those who know them, and worthy models for all the world.

Whenever I have to go from one place to another in the city, If I have the time, I like to walk it up. This saves money and enhances my fitness, and also gives a chance to the medley of thoughts that enter the mind at different times of the day, stand around for a while and then leave for want of room to stay, to assert themselves and take possession of me.

One evening, I was walking near Bangalore East station, thinking of the futility of the work that we do in this world in the context of that common end which negates and erases all achievements; and of the cruel joke that life is, played upon us by some mischievous and not particularly benevolent Power. It was well past sunset and the Muezzin was sending forth his call to Allah from the minaret of a nearby mosque. I stopped and looked at the tower profiled against the darkening sky, wondering whether the God whom the Muezzin called to would have an answer to my questions.

At this point, a bedraggled and dirty little girl of four or five years of age, in a torn dress, came up to me and said something in Kannada, pointing to the opposite side of the busy street. "Cross madu bekka?" (you want to cross the road?) I asked using my limited vocabulary. She nodded her head, putting her hand in mine confidently and conclusively- as if there was no question of my refusing her the little service. And I held her hand in mine and crossed her over.

Once she had reached the farther part of the street, she let go my hand and tripped away, her gait a cross between a walk and a dance, without waiting to say "Thank you, uncle" as well brought up children would have done.

I saw her enter a small shop. And then it occurred to me that perhaps she may not be averse to my rendering the same service for her return cross the street- a matter which, being an excellent manager of contingencies as they arise, she had apparently not considered while letting go my hand. And so, I stood opposite the shop waiting for her.

Being very small, she had to climb on the ledge to receive what the shopkeeper gave her in return for a coin, and as she returned towards me, I thought what she clutched in her hand might be a chocolate or a piece of sweet. I had it in mind to buy her a chocolate myself, so I asked her what she had in her hand. She opened her little palm and showed me three beedis; apparently, she was on an errand from some uncle or father who needed those objects of indulgence to ruin his lungs with!

I asked her "Chocolate bekka?" (would you like to have a chocolate?) She replied by nodding in a matter of fact way, not looking at me but at the jar in which the chocolates were kept. No gushing gratitude! No social graces!

I bought a chocolate for her and opened the wrapping clumsily as she stood patiently waiting for me to give it to her. Seeing her dirty hands, it occurred to me to put the chocolate into her mouth myself,and she opened her mouth to receive it. She did not refuse the chocolate, citing the well-being of her teeth as a reason. Nor again did she express her gratitude to me.

I took her hand in mine again and crossed the street to the point where I had met her earlier. "Where is your house?" I asked her in Kannada. But she was vague in her reply; she knew to get there, but not to tell me. So I let her take the lead and walked beside her, looking down at her as she shot an occasional sharp glance up at me- very occasional indeed, she having a clear idea of the extent of my importance in her scheme of things.

As I accompanied her, I began after a few minutes to wonder what I had committed myself to, no place appearing in view that could be her destination. But presently, she pointed to a little hut in the slum variety,and letting go of my hand, tripped away in her old style, without a look or a word for me.

As I looked after her, it seemed to me that there had been more meaning in those few minutes of my life than in the achievements of a lifetime that I usually enlarge upon in my curriculum vitae.

Thank you, little girl without a name! Thank you, Allah!

- Ramachandra

The individual who lives in the present is the only one who will be able to create his own history. Think about it... if you do't believe in the credo, the results speak for themselves. If you let you pass by - the only thing that happens is " somebody else lives your life. As a consequence your history is actually somebody else's. The resultant history only leads you to feeling unhappier with yourself and the inner peace remains absent.

Instead if you believe in ISTIA, you will find that your history is truly yours- and reap its benefits. In order to achieve ISTIA you need to start looking within today. From the moment you rise till well past the setting sun, you have to be in charge of you. As you begin to make a habit of this, will find that the AM is a part of IS and yearn for every moment when you can keep building in IS making it strong every moment.

- Rahul George

A group of frogs was travelling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. A ll the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop. as they were as good as dead. Finally, on of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

This story teaches two lessons:

  1. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day.
  2. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill him. Speak life to those who cross your path. The power of your path. the words.... it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times.

CHEERS! BUT THIS CUP BRINGS NO CHEER

The illusory euphoria of alcohol had ruined the life of many a misguided youth. Youth gullible, inexperienced lured by the temptation of alcohol- teenagers today indulge in such intoxication. It has become fashionable for young boys and girls to go to pubs to "chill out" as they put it. Alcohol "drinks" are on the menu in any party youth revelers who indulge in intoxication. From the harmless punch which is supposed to be a cocktail of soft drinks, teenagers nowadays have graduated to alcohol drinks at parties. There have been incidents of drunken driving and accidents which have claimed young lives. Increasingly, the youth and of now young girls are taking to alcohol.

The American type of society that the teenagers emulate and copy has become permissive, very permissive. Things which were taboo yesterday, are today accepted norms. In the west, wine is an accepted part of their culture. It is a part of their daily lives.

Yes maybe alcohol is good for health, taken in limited quantities. But few know where to draw the line. Many are the number of alcohol addicts, drunkards as one would call them. Today alcoholism and drug addiction is a globally rampant menace. India is no different.

Girls in traditional Indian society are meek, submissive, shy and righteous, according to tradition and culture, but today Indian girls are becoming more and more westernized. They imitate their western counterparts. Indian society is also becoming increasingly permissive and in the name of broad mindedness too lenient, leading the teenage girls astray. They take one peg, one more, another and before they know they are hooked! And addiction is difficult to overcome.

The youth are inexperienced and gullible, what about grown up women? The mothers who have to guide their daughters? The mothers, especially affluent socialites who habitually drink at parties and otherwise: what kind of example are they setting for their daughters?

Talking of mothers, mothers-to-be are jeopardizing their lives, as well as their newborn child with their alcohol intake. Female alcoholism is on the rise and we would take steps to curb it. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. But what cradle will the hand rock, when the life of that very hand is on the rocks, due to drink- unsteady, staggering and intoxicated?

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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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