Thursday, March 28, 2013

A family Falling Apart--Part three.

Ajay next came to Sahyog after not fourteen,but 45 days.He was again looking very distraught.A lot had taken place in between.

A fortnight ago his wife had taken an overdose of sleeping pills & had to be hospitalized for 3-4 days.According to him this was the result of the same old money wrangles.She was still not on talking terms with him.

They had gone to Jaipur in connection with the hearing of their daughter's case.

Their son had come over for holidays & then absconded for twelve days.He came home only when he was given a pocket money of Rs six thousand .

Ajay packed him off after that.He was really at his wits' end.He wanted to conserve a tidy sum for his daughters' weddings,but since nobody wanted to curtail his/her requirements,he said he would go on giving them till he had funds left.After that--God help them!

Naturally he was deeply upset over all these set-backs.I asked him why his family was so focused on money & not at all concerned with his welfare.He revealed that while he was in service he used to get a tidy sum under the table.Hence they were all used to spending lavishly.Now they refused to adapt according to the changed scenario.I nodded my understanding  & he went on.He admitted that he had provided them with all luxuries but had not given them enough personal attention.Perhaps that was what had alienated them from him.I asked him since he had zeroed upon the root cause of the disintegration;what did he plan to do about it.

He came out with a very wise answer.He wanted to interact with people having similar problems with whom he could discuss:--
* Interpersonal relationships in family
* Husband wife relations
* Errant behavior of progeny
* Monetary problems
* Mental health issues

We discussed some more about these matters & he went away in a thoughtful mood,promising to return again after a month since he had affairs to tend to.Unknowingly,he had asked for group therapy,which was an excellent idea.I tried to bring this about but could not get them all to come for such a session,so it had to be dropped.

Ajay's next visit was his last one at Sahyog.He was in the process of setting up his shop & family life was running more smoothly than before.He was advised to work for greater bonding with his family members.I also gave him tips for maintaining sound mental health.Thankfully,he was far from the teetering edge where he had been when he first came.He went away looking confident & determined to master the situation.

After a few months i rang him up for a follow-up.When i asked him how things were going he said he was very happy,all was well & 'there was complete peace in his home'.This was a very satisfactory end to the whole affair.

The picture above is from google search.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A family falling apart--part two.

Ajay looked happy,confident & at ease when he visited me after two weeks.He said that he had successfully united the family once more & they were more positively inclined towards him.

He sorted out his financial affairs by selling the pricier house & also his car.He had started fulfilling some of the demands of his family members.But he was unhappy because he had no job.He was planning to open a store in a new colony.He had got his son admitted in a diploma course of computer engineering on the basis of his tenth class marks,which were good.

After all this rush of good news,he had a confession to make.Sometime back he had helped a widow with her child's illness.But he did not want to dwell on this topic.I wondered silently if this was why his family had ostracized him;because they were all grown up,old enough to understand infidelity;if it was that,(the youngest was the son who had failed thrice in twelfth class).However he did not want me to connect this with the fissure in his family.Obviously he blurted this out because it was weighing heavily on his mind.I also did not press any further because i did not want to breach his comfort level.

He was an intelligent man & quite capable of righting the emotional & financial turmoil in his home(however i was going to be proved wrong in his next visit).His daughter's suicide and the ensuing legal battles,his only son's errant ways,his own joblessness & perhaps his guilt pangs;had all combined to push him into deep depression which obstructed constructive thinking.Opening his heart out in the first session had done him a lot of good & he had regained confidence in his ability to solve the disputes raging in his home.

I suggested that he should analyse when & why all these problems started,what was the cause & how he could prevent it from recurring again.I asked him how he had brought about the changes in his family's atmosphere & we had a discussion about what all needed to be done to give a fillip to the family's cohesion.

Congratulating him for all the progress made,i again expressed a desire to meet his wife but he was reluctant to do so.I asked him to come again after two weeks.

To be continued....

Friday, March 22, 2013

A family falling apart--part one.

This is a true case history .It shows how events disrupt a family's cohesion.Is it possible to unite that family once again?Read on to find out.
This happened in the year 2004.A highly agitated man of about 60 yrs entered my office.His left hand was bandaged because of a deep gash--self-harm or an accident resulting from emotional turbulence;i did not know at that time.But i could see that he was at the end of his tether & needed time to compose himself.His hand was shaking so badly that he could barely manage to pour out a glass of water for himself.

His tension ebbed slowly & then he began to tell me about himself.Let's call him Ajay. He had retired from a class one officer's post three years ago.He had a large family--five daughters & one son.Two daughters were married & the third--she was no more.Nine months ago,five days before her wedding,her in-laws demanded a car from them.She poor girl,could not bear this affront      and committed suicide. Ajay had already given them two & a half lacs at the time of engagement.

According to Ajay this was the flash point--all of them were naturally upset.They became irritable & fights began to erupt at the smallest provocation.

Then,there were monetary problems too.They had two decent houses,one car & four two-wheelers.Ajay was also getting a pension of Rs10,000 per month.But all this was not enough for them.All of them wanted to continue their old life style & refused to trim their demands.They had stopped talking to Ajay & they were all on one side while he was all alone.

He was also worried about his son,who had slipped badly in studies & failed thrice in 12th class.He was under the influence of a set of rich kids.

All these factors had taken a huge toll from him & he wept copiously as he narrated the above facts to me.His wife acted as a mediator for the children.She was educated,smart & popular.When i expressed a desire to meet her he was extremely reluctant to do so.I counselled him suitably & called him again after two weeks.But i could not understand how a tragedy in the family in fact segregated them instead of bringing them together.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lousy Day ?Perk Up !

A lousy day !!!!We all know what it means.The cause could be any but the end result is that you feel rotten,restless,off-key,overburdened & drained of energy.Everything sucks & you don't know what to do with yourself.

So what is the remedy?To begin with,let us have one fact clear--when we talk of one lousy day we must recognize that all days are not lousy.Celebrate this truth.And remember,with every tick of the clock,this day is moving out of your life.The best way to deal with such a day is to lie low & take it easy.And if you think you are going to explode sometime soon,warn those around you--at least you will avoid adding disgruntled souls to your list of woes.But it is essential to get rid of such poisonous moods too.Here are some magic mantras to facilitate this:---

*Change your physical status--if you have been lying supine,brooding since time immemorial,get up.If it has been a hard day of slogging at work,then take time off (the sky won't fall down if you do), to flop down on a bed or a couch.In short,break the monotony of what has been going on in this day of yours.

*Venture out into a park or natural surroundings.It will refresh you unbelievably.

*Now,assuming that you are a woman at home,take out your favorite dress;yes,your party dress,even if there is no party.Deck yourself up humming a nice tune all the while.

*For a lady again,or for the metrosexuals--treat yourself to a nice facial,spa,massage or a dashing new haircut you fancy,but have been too timid to try.

*Ready? Now take out a tempting dish from your fridge or pantry,or cook your favorite snack if you are into cooking,or order something yummy from an eatery if you hate cooking like me.Make a cup of tea or coffee or a cold drink,sit down & gorge (it is permitted now & then,especially when it plays the role of an anti-depressant).

*If you are musically inclined switch on your pet music tracks.Better still,dance to the music as if you are the one for whom this tune is being played--force yourself to do this even if you do not feel like scattering the dust on the floor!

*Did you get breathless after all these pelvic gyrations?Ok,sit down & phone a long forgotten & neglected friend or relative--there must be someone that qualifies? If not this,then phone a bum-chum,tell him/her how you feel & ask how s/he is doing.Connecting to your loved ones is a sure-shot cure for misery.Visit one if you can.

*Another spell of rest is due now.Take out your magic box. You don't have one?Go ahead & make it. Put into it,all that makes you smile.This could be a sentimental letter or a greeting card,pictures of your loved ones,trinkets which are inextricably linked to happy memories,a toy which reminds you of your childhood or a D.V.D. of your chosen humorous movie.Put all this into your box & keep it handy for such days.Sorting through these memorabilia will chase away the remaining blues. Now laugh like this fellow on the left & admire yourself in the mirror. Awww, you look so happy & charming!In the end remember :

All pics courtesy google search and

Thursday, March 14, 2013


The other day i was piqued by the behavior of a friend which was even more domineering than it normally is; which too,is way out the tolerable limits.As i discussed this with a common friend she advised me to accept her ways since she is incorrigible.This set me thinking.Acceptance is a very positive attitude.We counselors & psychologists often advise our clients to do this.Now i was being advised to do the same.The tables had turned, i was being asked to put up with something i detested.

What exactly is acceptance?You can see the literal meaning here but in psychological terms it entails adjusting according to a person or a situation we resent without trying to avoid or change it.The catalyst is usually an unpleasant but essential part of life & attempts to evade or modify it can have disastrous consequences.Hence the advice.But acceptance is sometimes misunderstood.Let us give some more thought to it.Acceptance could relate to:
1) Ourselves
3)Life Situations

Accepting Ourselves
As far as this is concerned, it's justification is relative.If i am a mouse,accepting my weakness & coasting along on the outskirts of life;it is not acceptance, but a crime turned towards my own self.

However not all deviations from the so-called normalcy deserve to be shunned.For example there are some persons who are happy to be alone.They do not feel the need to be in the thick of things.They would feel uncomfortable if they tried to ape an extrovert.It is better for them to accept their nature.

There is a third category of persons who are dissatisfied with their physical appearance-either they are too fat,too thin,too tall,short,bald,ugly,dark complexioned or afflicted by some other    physical disability.Extreme cases suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder .Such individuals would definitely be happier if they could accept themselves as they are.

Accepting Others
Our lives are inextricably intertwined with many others,be it our family,close friends or those who hold an important space in our career or professional life.If these people have certain traits or kinks which bug,then the first option naturally would be to voice our discontent.But if this does not ameliorate then it is best to accept them as they are & amend our own thought process & reactions.We can remind ourselves for example,that our habits too might be a source of annoyance to them,so it is best to turn a blind eye.

Coming to those who are on the periphery of our lives-i do not think we should accept whatever they choose to dole out to us.As  a individual entity we have certain rights,expectations & boundaries which ought not to be crossed.If we allow every so & so to trample all over us,what is left of our persona to be proud of ?This is not acceptance but cowardice.It damages our self esteem.

There are some persons who lie in the grey zone--we want to retain their friendship but do not wish to tolerate their discourtesies.With such persons it is vital to voice our discontent.If A insults me but i lack the gumption to retaliate, then this is not acceptance,but cowardice or escapism.I lose a chance to learn how to assert myself,augment my confidence & evolve.
However a word of caution will not be out of place here.There are occasions when even a tiny spark from our side could result in a conflagration.It is best to walk away at such moments with our dignity intact.

Accepting Life Situations
Sooner or later we are bound to come across situations which we wish ,had not arisen.We may lose our loved ones or suffer loss of health,wealth,job or reputation.A sudden upheaval or tragedy leaves us shaken & disoriented.We wish it had not happened.Our thoughts take us back to old times when all was well.We avoid facing the truth.This only delays the process of resettlement.Wishes are not horses that we could ride upon them to an Utopian future.Such changes require whole-hearted acceptance.When we accept that a situation has changed irrevocably & we shall have to live with it,we sift through available options & adjust accordingly.Slowly pain or frustration decreases,stability returns & hope rises.This is real acceptance.

It is in our best interest to not confuse acceptance with abidance, submission or cowardice.The last three are detrimental to our growth while acceptance adds a new dimension to our personality.We evolve & learn effective coping skills.We gain peace of mind & maturity.When we accept that setbacks or unsavory conditions are an essential part of life we have already taken the first step towards tranquility.

Image courtesy google search.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Zodiac Sign Libra

If all earthlings were Librans there would be no acrimony,no disputes and no wars.What an enchanting thought!But the Librans are that-enchanting!More than anything else they love peace,harmony,beauty & elegance.The environment has a strong influence upon them & they cannot be happy in discordant or ugly surroundings.Their ruling planet Venus blesses them with a love for beauty,luxury,art & music.
A very prominent feature of their personality is tact & diplomacy.They are charmers------period!As if that was not enough booty for one sun sign,they possess that elusive balance between head & heart.They evaluate everything from all possible angles & perceive the pros & cons in every situation.As a result they can accurately decide what they want & being the lovable subtle manipulators that they are;you will soon find yourself toeing their line & believing that this is what you need!But no need to fear,because their sense of justice will not allow them to wrong anyone.Naturally they are very good at making friends & these friends contribute a lot to their success.Er,they manage to put them to work very smoothly.It is easy to get along with them because they do not hurt any one's feelings.

The image on right gives a concise tally of their strengths & weaknesses.Now for the tricky part .Librans' secret nightmare is that anyone should dislike them.To obviate such a chance,they face the prospect of turning into people pleasers .After all creating a good impression is of paramount importance !So they may nod their heads to this,and also to that,because it is painful to take sides.They not only want to make a good impression,they also do not like to hurt anyone.But this tendency can project them as being unreliable,changeable & indecisive.

Before i wind up,let me vote for my own post.I have a Libran grandson& all that i have written above resonates with what i see in him.He is a darling,but prone to people pleasing.
A word of caution too:Librans are susceptible to diseases of the lumbar region,lower back,kidney & bladder.
If you want to read about other sun signs here they are--
Aries  Taurus  Gemini  Cancer  Leo  Virgo

The pics are courtesy google & text courtesy Richard Sterling

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Uranus-Pale Green Beauty of Solar System

The third largest planet in the solar system & seventh from Sun,Uranus looks like a pale greenish body when viewed from a large telescope.It is twice as far from Sun as Saturn & huge enough to accommodate sixty earths;but since it is so far away,it can barely be seen with the naked eye,except on very clear nights.Enveloped in a thick atmosphere of mainly hydrogen & helium,it has no solid surface & is mainly composed of various ices.It has a core of earth sized liquid rock.

Uranus has seventeen moons & also rings,which are dark & do not reflect light.It has the coldest atmosphere in the solar system,the minimum temperature dipping up to -224*.Internal heat is low.There are winds  raging at a speed of up to 370mp/h.

Being far out in space,Uranus takes 84 yrs to complete one orbit at a dizzy speed of 15,200 mph. It also rotates mighty fast--only 17 hrs 14 mts make it's day.Uranus is truly unique in one more respect-while all other planets orbit the Sun straight or slightly tilted like a spinning top;Uranus almost rolls along on it's side.If one pole faces the Sun,the other is turned away from it.As a result each pole gets 42 yrs of light followed by 42 yrs of darkness.

The Hindi name of Uranus is Arun though some also regard it as Rahu .According to astrology Uranus is the ruling planet of Aquarius .It bestows on Aquarians the qualities of individuality,unconventional thinking & revolutionary tendencies.
However some astrologers feel that it is too far off to have any effect upon humans.

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Pics courtesy google search
Text courtesy Robin Kerrod