From Our Diary
Some months ago I visited a hospice in Bombay. There were only twelve inmates on that day and the attendant superior and her dedicated team of nuns were quietly and pleasantly going about ministering to the terminally ill people. Each of them was patiently waiting for the end to come – their physically tortured bodies were in the hands of medical science for pain relief but strangely, their minds seemed to be in total peace. This peace was entirely the result of the loving nuns and understanding of the attendants. It struck me then that a person in extreme pain – mentally or physically – needed counselling more than anybody else. This was the genesis of Vishwas. The one person I could think of to start a Counselling Centre was Wg. Cdr. P.R.N. Murty – a more dedicated soul than this I am yet to come across. The group of young people willing to donate their time was in a giving mood and a more giving lot I am yet to find. The training sessions were as much learning as fun from the first session on June 20, 1991. The culmination is today – the press conference prior to starting Vishwas formally on August 29,1991
Today is the opening day of ‘ Vishwas.’ There was a lot of visitors and activity. We were moving from room to room attending to the callers. I was nostalgic thinking of the ‘Sanjivani‘ enviornment from where I got my training and motivation to provide organised help and care to
the emotionally depressed people. I consider it my privilege to have been invited to associate myself with this new counselling society. The first batch of volunteers have been an extremely inspiring lot – so much in them and so much wanting to give – ever willing to learn and cope. I am happy to see Kishore Rao’s seed became a sapling.
My heart goes to the two senior citizens – I am proud to say my senior colleagues – Prabhakar Rao and Gurunandan Mulky who with their
silent strength and support have provided me tremedous inspiration in the training programme. We have to learn motivation, humility and
commitment from them.
I am looking forward to the growth and comfort Vishwas can provide to the society. Whenever we are in doubt about our interest, think of 28th and 29th August 1991 – birth of Vishwas and our commitments.
I had my first two callers on 5th September. It was like a new medical practitioner handling his first two patients. It was not as difficult as
I had thought it would be. The first caller actually put me at ease by talking in Kannada and making out as if we had known each other for
The second one – an older type – was also very free and almost confused me with high sounding words in psychology and typed articles
in behavioural science. It will take some more sessions to learn the “tricks of the trade.”
One thing we learn is that there are very many persons who are in far worse circumstances than we are. I think I will be better equipped to
solve any problems at home or rather to see that there are no problems at home.
It’s exactly one month since the opening of ‘ Vishwas.’ When I first ventured in to this charity, I had my own doubts about it
a) Whether people feel confident of ‘confiding’ to strangers
b) My capability in handling a caller
I could say, I am ‘AMAZED’. I could witness the reality of one’s problems, and I could also see that talking to someone makes a world of difference.
I feel very committed now to this venture, and want to spend more time at the centre helping people.
Apart from this, there is lot of self development. All of us as I can see have learnt to ‘listen’ with care and less judgemental / harsh in their
opinion about others. Isn’t that just great?
My awareness of others and their problems has increased by leaps and bounds ever since the commencement of Vishwas. I will never again
accept a person at face value and judge and compartmentalize him without further thought. In the month that I‘ve been at Vishwas, I’ve
learnt a lot about human nature and its been a real eye-opener.
This organization has helped a lot in my own personal life. I am far more understanding with people whom I deal with be it at school, home
or outside, and much slower in condemning them. I enjoy coming here once a week and look forward to it. In trying to help others solve their problems,
Life has taken on a new meaning, and my personal problems, if any, have become minimized.
Fifteen year ago when I got admission in Delhi School of Economics and happened to land up at Delhi School of Social Work – I decided
then that I would only pursue a post graduate degree in this line. I feel ashamed to admit that it has taken me 13 years to put my discipline
I really thank Vishwas and (Murthy and all my co -volunteers) for giving me this opportunity. August 28 was a great day in my life – it
was the beginning of what I’ve really been wanting to do. In this short span I’ve been amazed at what attentive, caring listening can do to
someone in distress.
I hope to grow with ‘ Vishwas’ and am prepared to give more of my time to it.
One year has passed and Vishwas enteres second year. It’s been quite hectic and like other institution I guess. We’ve had our ups and downs.
The ups – we’ve had a fairly regular stream of callers and we realise that there is absolutley no shortage of problems – the rich, the poor,
the educated and the non educated, young and old. Everyone has their share of them and the regularity of Thangam, Kali and others showed
tremendous improvements which all proves that the Vishwas experience is worth it.
On the down side – we’ have had more than our share of separations. Prabhakar and Rugmani left for Muscat. Then Asha – with Ram
followed and quite a few drop outs from the second training group.
So, while we’re doing well on the counselling front, can’t say the same for the inflow of volunteers.
Keeping fingers crossed and hoping for the best. As Murthy says – this is part of the business.
Hopefully, by the time I write this diary next, we’ll have more volunteers on the roster and maybe even 2 or 3 branches.
I am writing this after a send off has been given and every one has said farewell to me. It’s only to express my feelings as I leave Vishwas (for a
long break) and to fulfil my commitment to Murthy.
Vishwas has enabled me to see the world a lot better.
– Frankly I did not see myself succeed as a volunteer after the training was over. Unsure that I was about my mindset conforming to Vishwas’
orentation, style and beliefs in counselling, I decided tohave an open mind. But as I write today, I am leaving wiser, as I have definitely
seen and experienced that merit in looking at the emotional dimension of an issue / problem before one looks at solutions.
– It has brought about a change in me to take a DIL & DIMAAG appraoch to problem solving, rather than the dry, logical reasoning
approach. I have realised that very often the context of the problem becomes more relevant than the content of the problem and our onus is
to give the conceptual approach for the solution, rather than go through the mechanics of problem solving.
– I should thank all the callers. I dod not know, whether I made a significant difference to their lives but all of them at one point or the
other brought out something in me which was dormant all along.
Venue: Alpha Beta School
2. Malathi Rao
The fifth training programme started with 8 and dropped to 7 (Armdati Raja had to drop out after the first day due to her trip to MDS for
visa (UK). It was an excellent experience again. We had the seniors like Lalitha and Malathi and cubs like Girish and Gayatri. This group
was different in some ways – very committed, but very keen to go into details and depths of issues. Some of them, cautious learners but deeply interested and introspective. We once again had a marvellous time for 11 days with a large number of volunteers participating and helping and with training. I will remember this programme – I was more relaxed in this training program than any other. May be I have come of age.
Fifteen January 1995 is a very sad day in our lives. Today, Prabakar Rao is no more with us. It really seems unbelievable. Only on Saturday
Uttara and myself were working out the roster for Jain Hospital – where we decided that Prabakar’s duty for Tuesday can be counted upon.
Since the beginning, he was there whenever we needed him, in whatever capacity. His punctuality to Vishwas was unquestionable. It was almost impossible to beat him to it. He had this admirable quality of being able to joke about himself in the presence of anyone and everyone. The slight smile would mean he had something to share.
I can say this without doubt that he was a father figure for all of us. His enthusiasm and commitment always amazed me.
Prabakar, we are really going to miss you. I can still hear you say that you were only an ABC at Vishwas. I am sure you will always be with us in all our endeavours and guide us to greater and greater achievements and growth.
It actually happened – VISHWAS Jayanagar Centre. And in the same building as ALMAK. While volunteers thought it was an ALL FOOLS
DAY prank, the Jayanagar volunteers were serious.
At 6 p.m. the grand old man of Vishwas – who else but Mulky – lit the lamp. Was good to see him after a very long time.
Good samosas and sweets from Koramangala – courtesy Dharini –was appreciated by all.
Hopefully Vishwas Jayanagar will buzz with activity and make full use of the large amount of space available.