Matunga – Mumbai, January 2013.

Don Bosco Youth Services organised a five-day programme of 90 minutes each for the F.Y. students of Khalsa College – Matunga, from the 14th to the 19th of January. Prof. Allan D’Souza, the vice-principal of the Commerce section coordinated the course whose theme was “Giving Direction and Meaning to My Life”. During the sessions, various resource persons (Fr. Glen, Fr. Cleo, Venita Pereira, Rohini D’Souza, Dr. Fabian and Kia Scherr) helped the youngsters take a fresh look at their lives, at their family and friends, at society, culture and religion, and at the world and the environment, to help them discover values and find more meaning in life.

Priyanka Bhakhar, a F.Y.B.Com student at Khalsa college, narrates her personal impressions of the programme:

God helps those who help themselves”. The above words really mean a lot. Every time that we are in a problem we look here and there in order to seek help and when there is no one else, the last thing we do is pray… we pray to God asking him for help. But in this process we forget that he is the One who has created food for all birds, but does not always drop it in their nests. We are like those birds who have to fly around and search diligently for their food. In life we need people to show us the correct way to find this fruit. In their absence, we are like a “bhatka-hua musafir… na ghar hai, na thikana..”

Problems are a part of one’s life. There will hardly be anyone without them. But only those who fight their problems and come out of them are true achievers. However this art of fighting difficulties has not been gifted to us from birth. So in life, we need people who guide us and show us the proper way. I can quite rightly say that Don Bosco Youth Services has gone a long way in guiding me and my friends through the five days’ personality development sessions held in our college.DBYS-Khalsa-Jan2013_01

In life, we come across many people who contribute something to our life; but this contribution isn’t always positive. Our parents generously give us so many good things and values. But in today’s busy world, the interaction between parents and children has reduced, thereby reducing the inculcation of values. This communication divide between parents and children is increasing day by day, and is termed the generation gap. To our delight, we felt that this gap was bridged by the values imparted to us by the resource personnel from Don Bosco Youth Services. We learnt so many things, and they did their best to enable us to walk on the right path and make the most of our life.

On the first day, Prof. Allan D’Souza – who is our vice-principal at Khalsa college – informed us about the aims and objectives of this week-long session. Venita Pereira then spoke to us, giving us a broad perspective on Relationships. We understood how relationships are to be understood, evaluated and maintained. Now it will be easier for us to keep from falling into false or fake relationships.

The next day we listened to Rohini D’Souza who talked about Life which is a gift of God. This was the day when I understood the true value of my life, and learnt that I too was special. I realised that I was better off than many others who are deprived of the valuable things I enjoy in my life. I also came to know how spirituality contributes to my life, and what is the true meaning of being in contact with God. It made me feel close… or rather closer to the divine Spirit.

DBYS-Khalsa-Jan2013_04On the third day we were again guided by Rohini, and she helped us understand that we are a part of this universe. There were many aspects considered in the session which made me aware that I should behave responsibly towards the people around me and towards the environment. I learnt that I could contribute positively towards building up a good society and a healthy environment.

On the fourth day Dr. Fabian, who is a psychiatrist, addressed us. He talked about the different types of mental stress and illnesses from which people suffer these days. Youngsters often get overwhelmed by stress and problems, and in the absence of proper knowledge and guidance, they commit many mistakes, the worst of which is to take their own lives. In his session, Dr. Fabian spoke to us about how we could better manage stress, at what levels stress is harmful, and what must be done at such times. These tips helped me take a decision to be constructive rather than being destructive.

The last day was when we met someone who really made a great difference… Kia Scherr – who is a marvellous promoter of peace and love. Her biggest value is “forgiving”. There are very few of us who can forgive those who hurt us. She is someone who forgave the person who broke her heart by taking away what was most precious to her. She lost her husband and her 13-year old daughter in the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, and yet she forgave Kasab and the other terrorists. She is a true model for all of us.

The day before, when Fr. Cleo spoke about DBYS-Khalsa-Jan2013_02Kia to us, I went home and forgave my brother who stays away from me, just because I hate him for everything that I have suffered because of him. My decision to forgive changed so many things around me… a change for the better… a change which made everything around me become beautiful.

The beauty of anything lies in the way we perceive it. And these sessions made a big change in our perception. Every session made a difference to us and helped us change for the better. I thank Fr. Glen and Fr. Cleo for their efforts in organising this course, and Prof. Allan for coordinating it with them. I just wish that they keep on going and transforming the lives of many youngsters like us who really are in need of guides and mentors who can make a difference. I know and I feel in my heart that these five sessions were a life-changing experience for me and all my colleagues.

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