UnHIDE (not just an open mic) 11th Session held on 17/05/2020


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Author: Shagun Singh, FY BA LLB, NMIMS, Mumbai 

With the 11th session of UnHIDE (not just an open mic) we at NICHE Advocacy Foundation took a step further in our journey of spreading emotional fitness and mental health awareness and providing a platform for people to talk their hearts out. The session was efficiently conducted by Ms. Sandhya Durge. It begun with a recording of Mr. Vinay Pathak’s beautiful poem on the current lockdown, in which he talked about how he had anticipated this to be a ‘torture’ but it actually turned out to be a ‘teacher’.

It was followed by Ms. Rasika’s inspirational journey of realising her true calling while continuing to learn from with  life every passing day. She shared her experience of how at a point she was struck with the realisation that she needs to marry her skills with her intentions. Her journey had not been easy but she is still on her way of discovering her “Ikigai” as we all hope to someday. After that Ms. Dulari Pawar talked to us about how she got lucky with her. new job just before the lockdown encouraging all of us to try and get something positive out of this situation. Next we had Mr. Sanjay Jog sharing his experience of the lockdown and advising us to ‘make the best of it’. According to him ‘if you can’t avoid it then enjoy it’ and this is something each one of us should learn from him. He is a vice president of the CIDCO exhibition centre in Mumbai. In the lockdown state, the centre contributed by giving shelter along with facilities to the migrant labourers in the exhibition center. 

Fuelling further onto these positive thoughts was Mr. Hrishabh Yadav who with his poem urged us to not care about what others think and refuse to let them rain our parade. His poem reminded us of the timeless classic ‘kuch to log kahenge / logon ka kaam hai Kahna’. Following that we had Ms. Samruddhi Prabhudesai inspire us with her initiative about mental health awareness, through their Facebook live project: MindnMatter  

We also had  Ms. Shilpa Ganpule who told us about her husband, Capt. Ranjit Ganpule who is a retired air force pilot, now working for a private company. He is still working day in and day out rescuing and bringing back Indians from across the world, and persistently flying for essential services. And as we remain in the comfort of our homes complaining about this lockdown we should take a moment to thank these people who are risking their life for us and the country. These are the unsung heroes of the pandemic. 

A big relief during this lockdown was Doordarshan airing Ramayana and Mahabharata again, drowning a whole lot of people in a wave of nostalgia. Rohan, a student of Delhi Public School also resonated with this idea. He told us that after watching the show he got so inspired that he started reading the Bhagwad Gita and even delved further into research about the Mahabharata. The passion in his voice reflected the impact that it had on his mind.  We also had a beautiful poem by Ms. Ishita Mallik who was a firm believer in believing in oneself. She shared her wisdom with us and reminded us that ‘we get what we deserve not what we need’. Ms. Anusha Gawade expressed about her perspective about the. Lockdown and how she has learnt to be grateful to small things in life and how she ia also eagerly waiting for the lockdown to end and normal life to resume. 

Amidst all this we had Ms. Maneesha Kotherkar from Bharatiya Stree Shakti who told us about the distinguished work that they have been doing in this lockdown. From providing ration kits to commercial sex workers (whose business is totally shut down due to lockdown   and is likely to remain so for many months to come) and transgender people (who mainly relied on begging on streets and signals), to providing necessary and essential medicines to pregnant women and young mothers in rural areas. They are also actively working with migrant labourers and street dwellers trying to make this as less painful as possible and helping them survive this lockdown. Their work reminds us of the cruel reality that exists outside the comforts of our four walls. It reminds us of the privilege that we have and how we fail to recognise it. It reminds us of the disparity that exists in our society. Because here we are complaining about not being able to go to our favourite restaurant or club. While there are other people who are surviving through an entire day on a packet of Parle-G. So, while we rant about trying to make this lockdown more productive, relaxing and following the perfect skincare routine we should also try to recognise the privilege in this and the fact that not everyone in our society is fortunate enough as some of us. This should motivate us to do our bit in society and try to help the people in need and be grateful for our privilege. In times like these we see who our heroes really are and it’s not the people we were made to believe as children but people like Sandhya ma’am, Manisha, Mr Ganpule, along with all the doctors, pilots, army/police personnel and social workers who are diligently working even in such dangerous times. These are the people who make this world worth living.

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