UnHIDE held on 24/05/2020


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Author: Arya Swami, Intern, NICHE Advocacy Foundation

The 12th session of UnHIDE held on 24th May 2020, was indeed a special one. It began with the host, Hrishabh Yadav, one of the e-interns working with NICHE Advocacy Foundation, introducing the day’s session with a few lines and welcoming the audience.

The very first sharing was done by Priyanshi Mukharaiya in which she recites a poem she wrote which describes how a woman often loses her identity while helping others and why it is important to retain it. The next participant was Ms. Shivangi Kulkarni who chose to sing Yeh Honsla, a song that gives her inspiration and strength to stay away from her family during this difficult time of the pandemic. Our next participant is a sort of child prodigy. Kabeer Tawde, an 11-year-old harmonium player, enthralled the audience with his music- Mann Mandala, a song about mind and dreams. The 4th presenter was Mr. Neil Sahastrabuddhe, who sang Tujhse Naaraz Nahi Zindagi– a song that accurately depicted his emotions in the current situation.

Next, Mandar Anjikar through his humorous narration expressed his concern over people not following the guidelines and rules of lockdown and proceeds to talk about the janta curfew and how it is being followed religiously by people. The next speaker, Prajakti Deshpande, then shared with us her own experience with the lockdown describing the difficulties she faced and then proceeded to narrate Tumhi Aabhar Mana Tumhala Ghar Tari Aahe, by Vaibhav Joshi, a poem that throws light on the plight of the migrant laborers in India by saying that we should be grateful that we have a shelter/home to reside in.

Dr. Abha Bang Soni, a practicing psychiatrist, took the session forward by talking about care-givers and emphasizing on the importance of taking care of themselves first in order to be healthy and take better care of the patients with the example of the instruction of using masks on ourselves in case of an emergency on an airplane, before helping others. She included tips like exercising, getting adequate sleep, talking to people (about topics that do not include their patients) etc. She also explained why it is necessary to ask for help when needed.

Immediately after this, Mrs. Sandhya Durge introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Ms. Madhuri Sakulkar- a women’s rights activist (domestic violence against women). She addressed the issue and gave statistics of domestic violence in India while mentioning Sakhee and Saheli as two International bodies for women. She argued that domestic violence is prevalent worldwide and wrong parenting plays a huge role in forming ideas of violence in a child’s mind, and further went on to talk about how patriarchy gives chances to men to exploit their power. Talking about the current situation she mentioned that women, especially homemakers are under a lot of pressure since everyone is always at home and have extra demands that are hard to meet. She also said that sometimes women justify violence themselves as they believe that it is a norm. In a survey conducted in India, 55% of males believed that it is natural for men to hit women. She reasoned these statements and also mentioned the various movements that are taking place against these issues. According to Ms. Sakulkar, anger management, catharsis, accommodating, and respecting each other’s wishes are keys to peaceful co-existence.

Next on the list, we had little Parineeti Yadhav who recited a poem on the exploitation of women followed by Kimberleigh, currently a resident of Brisbane and a supervisor for residential youth. She shared with us her experience of living in different countries. She believes that we should not try to rush and achieve things, given the situation, that it is okay to not be doing anything right now. She also mentioned the importance of being grateful for things in life and the lessons we can take away from our past. The event moved on with Prachitee Sirsikar expressing how conscious she felt about making grammatical errors in Marathi and wrote a poem in order to work on it. She proceeded to narrate this excerpt to the audience from the book that helped her, Shri Dattakakanshi Sukjsanvaad. Ms. Asmita Kulkarni then shared her views about the other side of the lockdown via a poem and also shared a funny anecdote while making a relatable statement about how we all have lost track of days due to the lockdown to which Dr. Poornima read out a fun impromptu poem written in response to her poem, by Asmita’s friend. The former then introduces Dr. Manjusha Sherkar- office-bearer of the Indian Medical Paediatrician Association. Dr. Manjusha started off by sharing her experience and stating that the satisfaction in serving the community is greater than the exhaustion felt due to the work. She also mentioned that she feels proud and privileged to be a health worker. Dr. Manjusha proceeded to share health tips to take care of children right from the mothers’ womb, and the need to take special care of children as their immunity is not built. She also stressed on the need to follow the guidelines laid down by the Government of India.

Dr. Poornima then addressed the crowd and talks about NICHE Advocacy Foundation and emphasized on the theme ‘Neuroplasticity for personal change’

In the last segment of the event, Dr. Truptee Borulkar recited her poem which talks about her own experience and the little things she observed during the lockdown. She also expressed her helplessness in this situation and her view on the social nature of man, where one needs another to survive. After this, Mrs. Mrunmayee Kulkarni immediately proceeded to grab the attention of the audience by talking about the positive side of the lockdown, a subject that was not addressed by a lot of people. She expressed her happiness in being able to spend more time with her family, getting in touch with nature, and numerous other things that gave her joy. She also believes that this lockdown took her 25 years back in time and she got to experience that.
Arya Gijare then performed a beautiful Bharatnatyam dance piece called Varnam for the audience which was followed by Akshita Magre expressing the distress she faced during the lockdown. The host, Hrishabh Yadhav, then took the virtual stage for the last time and thanked the audience with a couple of lines written by him.

The event was then concluded by Dr. Abha Bang Soni who summarized the happenings of the event followed by a guided mediation for the audience.