Diploma in Counselling Skills, (DCS-2013) Convocation Report

Date: 8 June 2013

Almost a year ago, more than a hundred of us boarded a caravan that promised to take us to lands as yet unexplored. Not lands, in the physical sense of the term, but ‘lands’ in our minds, which we had not travelled to before. It brings to mind the famous children’s book series by Enid Blyton “The Magic Faraway Tree” where children climb atop a gigantic tree and discover mysterious and enchanting lands on its topmost branches. Similarly, we the students of DCS-2013 climbed aboard the caravan called “Banjara Academy” and set out on our own adventures of self-discovery, and in some cases even self-recovery, making new friends, forging bonds, understanding ourselves and those around us better, exploring the sometimes confusing and contradictory world of emotions and feelings like never before and what’s more, having fun while learning to “live life”!

They say that all good things must come to an end. But do they really have to? How does one decide that the caravan has reached a “destination” and we have to get off now? How do we know that we do not as yet have any more “lands” to discover, any more new roads to travel upon? This is precisely what Banjara Academy has helped each one of us here to learn. That “learning and exploring” never end. It is an ongoing process for as long as one is willing to walk on the “road less travelled”.

The occasion: DCS-2013 Convocation. The venue was the lush green surroundings of Manthan. Open air, a cool breeze and this time, even the rain Gods took a break and didn’t rain down on the parade! There was an air of delight and anticipation amongst all of us. Delight, on meeting our friends and batch mates and our faculty members after a gap of 3 long months. There were very enthusiastic and warm meetings and greetings all around. Anticipation, of course was to finally be able to get the coveted Diploma in Counselling Skills certificate for ourselves. The event began with a prayer song by Vasudha of RT-4. What followed were the touching and at times funny anecdotes by family members (mostly the children) of some of the students. They all seemed to agree on one thing though - that their moms and dads have become “way more cool and chilled out” in their approach to life as well as towards the kids themselves. How cool is that! Cool

DCS-2013 Convocation

Kanmani, Sapna, Sonal and Asha came up to share their thoughts and express their happiness at the successful completion of the 14th consecutive batch of DCS. They were also very generous with their words of praise, encouragement and motivation. Uma Madan enthralled and mesmerized us all with the song kabhi alvida na kehna which was befitting the occasion and the mood, while Sreedhar won us all over with the conviction and genuinity of his words. Dr. Ali of course had a lot of anecdotes from his vast experience to narrate to us and with ease demonstrated the differences between directive and non-directive counseling. He emphasized how imperative it is for each one of us as counsellors to make an informed decision based on the situation, the counselee and our own personal rapport with him or her whether we need to adopt the directive or the non-directive approach to counseling with that person. His words were very inspiring and instilled a lot of confidence in us in trusting our own capabilities while donning the hat of a counselor. Some of the ex-DCS students were also gracious enough to come on stage and share their valuable experiences with all of us. Amongst these were Mr. Ramaswamy and Mr. Prasad Narayan. Listening to them was very enriching.

Finally, the moment that each one of us was waiting for arrived. Uma Madan, Mr. Ramaswamy, Mr. Bhaskar and Mr. Prasad Narayan were called upon to give away the diploma certificates to the students. All of us received the DCS certificates amidst lots of applause and cheering from the rest of our batch mates. The feeling, as our names was called out and as we walked up to receive our diplomas cannot be expressed in words. It was a moment of joy, a sense of achievement and pride coupled with a sense of fulfillment. It was a slightly different feeling when compared to the valedictory which was held on the 9th of March. At the time, if we recall, we had just completed the course, many of us were still clueless as to what next. We were sad thinking of not being able to meet our friends and go to classes together anymore. We were missing attending sessions. This time around, after a gap of three months since March, most of us have come a long way. Some of us have jobs, some of us have branched out on our own while for some of us are content with whatever we were able to learn and retain and apply in our day to day lives and it has made a remarkable difference to our way of thinking and approach in dealing with life’s myriad hues. We are more aware of our own capabilities and are looking forward to going out there and trying to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us. The event concluded with the Pledge and the singing of our National Anthem.

As we all proceeded to the dining hall to partake of the sumptuous spread, we all had our hands full literally and figuratively speaking. With the DCS certificates safely in the large white envelope which we were clutching close to ourselves, the impact and enormity of our moral responsibilities finally sank in. We were officially counselors! Needless to say hundreds of photographs were taken with friends and faculty members. The usual promises were made in all good faith to stay in touch with one another.

All of us are taking a lot back with us in terms of learning more about ourselves by delving deeper into our beings, how to reach out to those in need, how to understand and decode the all elusive emotions in their varied forms and quite simply, how to be just a little bit more human! We are also in turn, leaving a tiny part of ourselves behind at Banjara. Who knows we may meet again - for sharing, for a chat, for a hug and a smile or for a cup of chai! After all, Hum hain rahi pyar ke; phir milenge chalte chalte! Smile

To view the full album of the DCS-2013 Convocation, click on photos by Vasantha Sanath and by Bharatha.

Vasantha Sanath
Vasantha Sanath
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