Meeting of Spouses at Banjara
Annoncement of Spouses Meet: The partners, parents (even children) of some DCS students have been very curious about what their wife/husband/daughter/mother does at Banjara. Let's give them a chance to see with their own eyes. Please invite ONE family member (preferably your spouse if you have only one ;-)) to join us for an informal get-together from 4:30 to 5:30 pm on Saturday 11th December at Banjara
Reports of the event by Shashirekha and Aruna Vinayak
Spouses meet was a good break for all those who attended. Firstly, everybody met Ali and Raja in person.
Then we all settled down for a cup of tea with some slide show going on. Then Ali introduced himself and spoke a little about Banjara. After this the spouses were introduced by us. Actually, a few of us were accompanied by sisters or mothers. This session was a typical Banjara positive strokes session where everyone were appreciating the spouse about how accomudative they were and how they helped them etc.
It was then followed by a few words by the spouses who shared their views about how this counselling course had changed the behavioural pattern and helped bettering their views towards everything in life.
My mother who accompanied me enjoyed the session thoroughly.
It was a meet with a difference. We walked in with our spouses while they sported our badges. Some came with their spouses, some whose spouses were away and unavailable brought their parents along and some who were blissfully single brought their siblings along. The guests of the evening were introduced to the staff members of Banjara and were taken around the library, after which we were all ushered to the class room. Once, we settled down, Ali gave a brief introduction about the inception of DCS course and its significance. He also appreciated the spouses, parents and siblings of DCS participants to have encouraged their loved ones to pursue the course. This was followed by the introduction of the partners of DCS participants. We were asked to introduce our partners, and being prompt DCS students, we were very benevolent in describing the role of our spouses in our lives, and involuntarily practiced giving "positive strokes" without making it very obvious. Raja gave an insight into the procedure of the course and the mentors - Asha and Sapna explained their role in Banjara. The staff put the guests at ease, soon enough all of us got into discussing various issues, sipping Raghu's garam chai. All the spouses and family members present were assured that they too are a part of the Banjara family, and could approach Banjara whenever the need be. The meet culminated with a very thought provoking audio-visual presentation which conveyed the message that we all need to work on our own perceptions truthfully even before judging others.
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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! - Sreedhar MA