Special Banjara Events


My Impressions of Banjara Day - 18 Oct 2014

Author: Prabhakar Jadhav, a student of our Diploma in Counselling Skills Course, DCS-2015

I was looking forward to 18 Oct with a great deal of curiosity because Ali and a few others had talked about the late Raja Reddy with a lot of reverence and that smiling photograph of his in the classroom always looks easygoing but somewhat enigmatic.

The formal function started on time [as is Ali’s wont!] with the garlanding of Raja’s photo and a floral tribute.

The classroom soon filled to capacity and Ali enthralled us with anecdotes about Raja, Banjara and his own journey, interspersed with Raja’s favourite songs and jokes.

Ali Khwaja addressing gathering to celebrate Banjara Day on 18 Oct 14 at Banjara Academy, Bangalore

What I understood is that Raja lived his life fully, practising what he believed in:

“Live Well, Leave Well.”

There cannot be a greater proof of the above dictum - he donated his eyes to Minto Eye Hospital, his brain to NIMHANS, and his body for medical research to M S Ramaiah Medical College.

His doctrine was all about “feelings”; creating them in others and experiencing them within. It is not so much about 'doing', as it is about 'being', being one's best and being one's higher self.

A number of participants from the audience shared the experiences they had with him. They talked about Raja being in their heart, remembering him thro' his smile, his positive thoughts, empathy, gestures...

...how Raja made a difference in their lives, how he continues to be their inspiration in life and how they are following in his footsteps.

Indeed a moving and touching tribute to Raja!

Ali Khwaja addressing gathering to celebrate Banjara Day on 18 Oct 14 at Banjara Academy, Bangalore

The programme ended with a nice hot lunch - after a long time, had a nice and spicy bisi bele bath and khara boondi!

Did I miss out on something?

Oh yes! The DCS-15 students won the top prize for decorating the classroom! The cleanliness and simple but thoughtful thematic arrangements made by some of the students and a mentor were appreciated and complimented by all.

The preparations involved a great deal of effort but were worth it.

But the highlight of the day for me was when Ali felt that Raja had walked in when I had entered his room in the morning! A feeling shared by a number of attendees!

More pictures of the Banjara Day Celebrations can be viewed on Banjara's Facebook page.


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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.

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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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