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

Much awaited 8 June 2013; the day finally arrived. Excitement of seeing all the familiar faces and the known/lone voices read on FB. Meeting the friends we made during the course but never met over the summer as we were busy running like clockworks with the child's schedule, eh...friends of inconvenience!

We get into the bus at RT Nagar, raring to go like children on their annual picnic. The location is no less than just that. Aah! Everybody's looking fantastic; the women all resplendent 'n' gleaming and the guys all spruced 'n' looking squeaky clean! (Maybe it's the weather that's heady!)

Meeting folks, the bonhomie and love is infectious; it's a free flow of hugs galore! As though a reunion of family, the warmth is unmistakable - a unique feature of Banjara Academy. We assemble there, get seated; students facing the amphitheatre and family in the chairs set on the side.

Kanmani extends a warm welcome just as she had done not so long ago on another day and another time in a closed room on a heavily trafficked road. This time the rustic setting had a charm of its own to stir up some magic. Vasudha rendered a devotional song in her melodious voice. (Sapna too added to the welcome address).

Then, it was the crowd's beloved Uma Madan who imparted a few gems of wisdom such as 'keep your feet firmly on the ground and reach for the stars' and regaled us with a song Kabhi alvida na kehna. Next was another favorite, very popular and somebody that most people revere; Sreedhar. In his usual practical way gave very relevant pointers explaining how each had come to DCS with a different goal, so we need not compare our journeys. Sreedhar played a few lines of my favourite ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh, Haath chhoote bhi toh rishtey nahin...

Kanmani requested students who had had any experiences to share them with the gathering. Prem shared a wonderful experience that had everybody enthused to do likewise Wink. Kanmani then asked the children and the parents of the students to share their experiences. Sheetal Patel's son spoke very well; Bela Patel's daughter also spoke highly of her mother's changes; Vinita Mitra's daughter also praised how Vinita had evolved through the course as did Priya Prasad's dad. Prasad, an ex-DCS student, spoke of his experience and Priya too spoke of how the course worked well for her dad in making a smooth transition from life in the Navy to civilian life. Vinita expressed gratitude to the course that had enabled her to make some very difficult decisions that had helped a transition in her life.

Somewhere in between we had a juice break.

Just between, in the serene surroundings it was very easy to slip into a reverie ... to shape a new dream/aspiration. All the encouragement was possibly getting into our heads.

Kanmani welcomed Asha too, Asha used the KISS tenet. In her own softspoken ways she taught us enough and more by opening her heart and sharing whole-heartedly. Ali arrives and in his familiar good-natured way tells us episodes and stories of his experiences. Kanmani then called Sonal Patel and the CDP gang; each added a few words. We got to know a little bit more about the CDP (Child Development Programme), their work plus opinions from two of the students that were present who'd done the course.

Finally, the moment of great joy and pride; not forgetting the sweat and tears that Sreedhar mentioned that had lead us to complete the course. With the deadlines of assignments amidst no gas cylinders, children's exams, practical sessions and my own confused mind trying to fathom things in retrospective and introspective ways as well! Late bloomer that I am, just as I had begun to learn 'n' understand, the course was over. Li'l happy but a lot more sad that this journey was over, as the destination had been reached. It really all made sense; enjoy the journey, don't worry about the destination. It was time for the diplomas; each batch assembled in the gangways of the podium.

Diplomas were distributed by the ex-students of DCS, Uma Madan, Prasad, Ramaswamy and Bhaskar. Cheering batchmates, beaming smiles and loud applause. Diploma in an envelope and a li'l red bag for curiosity; like eager children, each received the sweet fruit of labour! Smile

The shutterbugs went click, click in a flurry, the evening was drawing to a close in a hurried blur. Capture the moment, seize that emotion ... aah, but all good things come to a pause/end!

DCS-2013 Convocation Pledge
The most important part, The Pledge.
On being awarded recognition in the field of counselling, I, hereby solemnly declare and pledge that:
* I will use my skills and knowledge purely for the betterment of mankind.
* I will maintain confidentiality of anything that has been shared with me in confidence.
* I will remain non-judgmental in my assessment and perceptions about people.
* I will not betray the trust of anyone who seeks help from me.
* If I cannot help anyone, I will ensure that I cause no further harm or distress. And I will maintain the highest level of values and ethics as I understand them.
(By now, being a Counsellor has finally sunk in!)

Followed by the National Anthem, the evening was drawing to a close. We were then treated to some yummy snacks and chai. The overcast skies held the rains until we safely left the verdant fields to our onward journeys. Each pursing unsaid words of gratitude and nursing their own visions and dreams. Dearly missed our friends who were writing an exam, others who were at work and the touring writer.
But, hasta la vista~au revoir~ciao~
Kabhi alvida na kehna...

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

Iffat Agboatwala A
Iffat Agboatwala A
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