Candles melt, candles burn out, candles can be blown out. But Azeem is a candle who will neither melt, nor burn out, or be blown out. Working as a counselor, spreading light all around by bringing people out of their shells of fear, shame, shock, depression, dismay and hopelessness, Azeem Bolar has shown how one can turn one’s disability into a positive ability to help others.
By Nigar Ataulla for TwoCircles.net,
It was definitely one of the most positive days of my life! Meeting Azeem Bolar one sunny morning helped me not only to connect more deeply with the Creator but also to disconnect with the web of pride, prejudice, criticism and complaints that many of us get caught up in most of the time.
Dr Azeem Bolar, 47, is unable to see and is partially paralyzed. He lost his eye-sight more than 20 years ago. A trained counselor, with a number of degrees in counseling to his credit (he was recently awarded a Ph D), Azeem is working wonders by bringing people out of their shells of fear, shame, shock, depression, dismay and hopelessness. He works two days a week as a counselor at Aditi, a software company in Bangalore, and volunteers one day a week at the Banjara Academy’s free-of-cost counseling centre in RT Nagar.
Azeem is positivity, gentleness, politeness and cheerfulness personified, a precious asset to the society, someone from whom one can learn to rise above one’s discomforts and reach out to help others in distress. Azeem speaks excellent English and is a very articulate motivational speaker.
Azeem’s journey of life is a mix of sweet and sour, yet it’s an adventure he has lived through, making him a hero among heroes! Born in Mangalore in 1968, Azeem left India at the age of six, along with his parents, for East Africa. He hadn’t yet entered his teens when he developed juvenile arthritis. Azeem wanted to become a hotelier, and so he went to Strasbourg, in France, for a degree in Hotel Management. From there, he went to London for higher studies in the same line.
In 1991, Azeem returned to join his parents in Bangalore, where he took up a job as a restaurant manager. It was then that he began to lose his eye-sight, till he could not see at all. He was struck with meningitis and his first paralytic attack. Life took a completely different turn for him.
Unable to see and not able to move as freely as he could earlier Azeem’s priorities in life totally changed. “I now wanted to reach out to and help people in distress. This gave a new meaning to my life. Earlier, when I could see, I didn’t have much social concern. Now I realized that in giving joy to others I could gain happiness and contentment. Through counseling, one can bring happiness and hope for many,” he says.
And so, Azeem embarked on a long and successful career in counseling. He did course after course in this field as well in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This year, he received a Ph D, and he hopes to go even further – to do a post-doc project, on drug addiction.
In 2012, he received the Cavin Kare Ability Mastery Award and in 2013, the National Federation for the Blind Award for the ‘Best Professional of the Year’.
Although Azeem lost his eye-sight several years ago, he has never perceived his disability as a shortcoming in the way of his career. He does not bemoan the past, nor does he ask why what he has faced happened to him. “You have to accept reality – not run away from it or lament it – and you need to explore what best you can do in the situation you are placed in,” he says.
“Often, difficulties can bring out the best in you,” he oozes positive energy.
Leaving Azeem’s office, I felt truly blessed having been able to spend almost two hours listening to this amazingly inspiring person talk about life – and his life in particular – and learning about how in creatively responding to the many challenges that one encounters in life, one can turn them into precious resources for inner growth.
Facing difficulties in faith and with courage, rather than trying to flee from them, is a precious bit of wisdom that I learnt that day.
(Azeem Bolar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)