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The Banjara Tribute to Raja's Life

Celebrate Life by Coniac PublishingThe suddenness of Raja's demise had left everyone shocked. Banjara Academy organized a get-together to celebrate Raja's life, on 20 October 11 at the RT Nagar premises. Since the attendance was overwhelming and all the people could not be accommodated in the hall, the session was split into two sessions, giving everyone a chance to participate.

Celebrate Life by Coniac PublishingThe session started with Bharath rendering a soulful song. Ali began his speech by saying, "Let me make it clear at the beginning - we are not here to mourn for the passing away of Raja". That set the tone for the meeting. Ali had known Raja for twenty-five years and said that he could not conceive the idea of mourning for Raja even though the loss was immense. Ali outlined Raja's last day which had been normal in every way. Raja had gone to sleep on the night of Sunday, 16 October and did not wake up on Monday morning. That was it.

Since every session in Banjara would have Raja speaking at the beginning after the invocation song, Ali said that we would continue the tradition and a ten-minute video clip was played out where Raja had addressed the last batch of outgoing DCS students on 15 August 2011. Sapna had done the recording.

Then a Powerpoint slideshow about Raja's life was presented. Ali mentioned that Raja did not believe in the traditional way of leaving even when dead and had donated his eyes for grafting; his brain had been donated to NIMHANS for research and his body had been donated to MS Ramaiah Hospital for medical research. Raja belonged to the Live Well and Leave Well society and he had adhered to its principles even after his death. Ali ended the session recalling a few humorous incidents from Raja's life. Although everyone was feeling saddened by the loss, we left the meeting "smiling through our tears" as Raja would have loved it. - Sreedhar M A

Goodbye to Raja's Mortal Self

Mixed emotions by Coniac PublishingAli started the meeting with a good statement, 'We are here NOT TO MOURN FOR RAJA but TO CELEBRATE RAJA'S LIFE.'

This statement shook off all my emotions. Till then I had been wondering how I would sit through this meeting without shedding tears. My throat had been choked thinking of it. Ali 's opening statement made me relaxed and helped me to understand Raja's life in a deeper manner.

A born counsellor: Raja had no formal training in counselling!

The slideshows showed us where and how Raja began his journey and how he ended up in Banjara Academy. It was a surprise for me to hear that he had not done any formal course in counselling. That was big news for me. Yes, as Ali said, Raja had been a born counsellor and lover of all people. That was why he could reach out to so many hearts.

The first time I had walked to Banjara Academy was in 2008; I was told that I would have an interview with the director. I was very nervous; I was wondering what kind of questions I would have to answer. Would I be able to face this person? And when I walked to his room, his gleaming smile and his welcoming eyes just put me at ease; I felt that I had come home.

From then on there was no turning back from this family. Though due to my ill health I did not do my Diploma in Counselling Skills (DCS) course then, I completed it with everyone's guidance and help in 2011.

Raja was one person who touched each of our hearts, guiding us throughout our counselling course. His positive strokes, his way of making us see  issues, helped me especially to see life in a very different manner.

Raja lives on through the life he led - teaching us, touching our minds, hearts and souls

I definitely feel that deep down in each of us, he resides to gives us all the strength and hope in life. Yes, as Ali had rightly mentioned, Raja has not gone anywhere; he is still with us in each of us, with his teachings and with his life he lived.

I personally feel that the true tribute to this legendary person can be paid by sharing his knowledge with others and by reaching to people with love and care as he had always done in his life.

Though Ali gave us many humorous anecdotes about Raja to make us all feel light, still when I walked out from the hall my heart was heavy. The constant thought in my mind was: I wish Raja was still here to guide more students who will come by, helping them lead their lives also in a better way.

Yes he did Live Well, and Leave Well. He lived well by giving to all his time, love and care, by just living life to its fullest with contentment; and left well by donating his whole body for medical research.

Through his eyes he will be giving two blind persons the ability to see the world; but he has made us all see ourselves with more insight and gave us all a better view of this world - the insight to reach out to our fellow human beings with love and care.

We have bid goodbye to his mortal self, but his Immortal Self is still living among us. - Mukambika

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