Who wants to talk about a subject like mental health, which is important, relevant and need of the hour? None of us would do that intentionally.
But, people at PSY-Fi: For a Healthy Mind, had an amazing way out to discuss mental health related issues with people.
They turned to the traditional open mic event and re-invented it with the concept of discussing mental health in between.
How did open mic events look in the past?
If we trace the sands of time and reach the point where open mic events happened in every popular corner, we would find spots where people gathered to discuss current topics and listened patiently to the stranger who stood upon the mic.
The stranger could be anyone from the crowd, from the gathering, from the audience. While standing on the mic, they could narrate an anecdote, tell a story, present a perspective or bring forth an opinion. Also, he or she could be of any age. The mic was open for all.
Interestingly, at the open mic event, the stranger was free, not only to express, but also to choose the medium of expression. Poetry, music, drama or comedy - anything could be used by the stranger to express thoughts.
Mostly, the open mics had themes related to socio-political agendas, which affected and addressed the masses. Everyone had a chance to voice and vent themselves by way of these open mics. This was how open mic events looked in the past.
What was the purpose of open mic events?
The purpose of an open mic event was to enable communication among people, to inspire others by sharing life stories, and to bring about revolutions in perspective. There were questions asked boldly and answered boldly as well.
However, with the passage of time, open mic events have come a long way. Today, we see a lot of open mic events happening in public places around us. Cafes, metro stations, theatres, and auditoriums are popular venues for open mic events.
But, very often, an open mic event achieves its true aim. An open mic event must give the people, the audience, the gathering -
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of art
- Freedom of age
- Freedom of faith
When these three things are present, your heart draws again and again to those mesmerizing three-four hours of an open mic event where you were lost into a whole new world.
Do such open mic events happen today?
Yes. A big yes. PSY-Fi: For a Healthy Mind & The Jigsaw Company, organize one such open mic event every month in Delhi. Having been fortunate to witness one of heir open mic events, we could see the freedom of speech, freedom of age, freedom of art and freedom of faith, flowing in the air.
Young artists, as well as experienced elders of our society, both took to the open mic and discussed a very neglected subject of today - mental health. The title of the open mic event was ‘echoes of hope’, which very well symbolized that ‘we are here to listen to you’, irrespective of everything.
Let us have a look at some magical moments from last month’s open mic event.
1 - An all-girl band, which is better known as ‘The Rumoured Project’
13 young, dynamic, talented and outstanding musicians walk up to the mic to present a series of songs that leave the gathering spellbound. They are a semi-professional band, born and brought up in the premises of Kamla Nehru College.
The band members started their musical journeys during the last few years and are seeking to grow as artists with every performance. Besides having performed at well known cafés of Delhi, they have also collaborated with RedFM India and the Doorbeen.
While at the open mic event, they beautifully conveyed that life is a journey, not a destination. We all sang along with them, thereby understanding how music boosts mental health by relieving pressure.
Band members - Asmita, Rachna, Kriti, Priyanshi, Paridhi, Priyakshi, Jayanti, Ching, Tushita, Mehak, Ishika, Divyanshi
2 - “मुझे देखकर हसने वाली है दुनिया, मैं जो सौदा घाटे का कर आया हूँ बाज़ार से” from Sreepriya’s desk
Sreepriya is a mental health social worker, having an interest in the interaction between mental health and culture, media and social structures. She enjoys reading and writing poetry and fiction.
Following below is a magical piece written by her on present day situations:
3 - “Janam Janam Janam Saath Chalna Yunhi” Instrumental by Garima Seth
A cute student of class 8th, walks up to the centre and moves her fingers on the piano to play this beautiful track - janam janam. What happens next? The audience begins to oscillate and sings along.
4 - An engineer with creative aspirations, Sagar, resembled many in the audience.
He was one person out there on the mic who showed us that you are at peace when you do what your heart wants you to do. Here is an excerpt from what he recited at the open mic event:
Later, while exchanging a conversation with him, we got to know that he is trained in Hindustani Classical Music and also, has formed the Bangalore Poetry Circle.
5 - “Kya ye meri galti thi?”, an Anonymous question was raised.
Dressed in white salwar kameez and fully spread colourful dupatta, just like a feary, she walked up to the mic and narrates an incident from her life, which changed everything for her.
Having protested for an uncomfortable form of touch, from a junior, who was very fond of her, she invited a wide range of questions.
She was judged and even criticised for continuing talking to her junior, after the incident. People even switched from her side to his side, telling her ha it was her fault.
Ultimately made her feel betrayed, dejected and lonely. After having shared her story anonymously, her mental state was a bit relieved.
About the organisation & organisers:
PSY-Fi: For a Healthy Mind is a pioneering organization in mental health education. The motive is to impart education regarding mental health apart from awareness regarding Mental Health Disorders.
The organisation aims at making individuals capable of taking charge and care of mental health at individual and community level.
The Jigsaw Company is a responsible representative of a social club for people, allowing them to connect with their peers and express their experience with mental health and it's concerns.
The Jigsaw company is a branch of PSY-Fi: For a Healthy Mind.
Jigyasa Tondon, who is a mental health counselor; Prerna Tondon, who is pursuing a career in law; and Sagar, a music-poetry lover; are the key people behind this successful event.
Also, the event was listed in our events section, so it became all the more special for us!
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