The Guftagu Story
The session of the Qafila fellowship that took place on 8th July was called “Guftagu”. Guftagu is an Urdu word, that means conversation. The sentiment that the word holds, however, is different, and this sentiment was carried beautifully through each part of the session…brightened by the breakfast potluck.
The session was a layered process that began in self-reflection, and the middle was full of surprises, anticipation, excitement and work, with the conclusion again being derived from self-reflection.
After coming into sync with their feelings with a check-in at the beginning, the conversation shifted towards the question of “how do we find ways to open up people for a small conversation around life and emotions?” Here the fellows tried to think of ways and little techniques with which they could begin a conversation with the community about who they are, and what they wish to do. This was a challenge because if not opened in the right manner, people tend to shut their doors and minds to conversations about mental health, as it is new for them, something they’ve not really experienced before. Through impromptu role-plays, jokes and stories, the fellows were able to find their way around this. This way was simply being honest, about their aims, their limitations, and their capacity.
This lead to the next layer of the session that was hidden underneath before. The layer of introspection and tolerance. This was mainly a conversation between the fellows and Rajiv, our co-founder and critical psychology expert.
He asked everyone, “why engage with the community, what does that contribute to you?” Most began with the idea they wanted to help people, but as Rajiv kept engaging with this narrative, the fellows became more aware of the thought that community engagement is perhaps something that fulfils them for very different and personal reasons. And these are the reasons that they continue to do what they do. Bhawna who is spearheading the fellowship, was also a big part of this discussion and made the fellows more comfortable about their personal truths and falls by sharing stories of her early days in community engagement. After the fellows had deliberated on this enough they made a decision to reflect and write on this for their anchors. Them coming abut this was an interesting process to watch.
After this discourse, Rashi, the head of innovation and outreach at Mind Piper let the plan for further community engagement out of the bag. Then fellows are to organise a ‘mental health camp’ This could mean whatever the fellows wish it to mean. They have been given freedom to experiment with the idea, they can go to the community and run their ideas by the people. They are to select two locations in Dariyaganj for this purpose. As the fellows were thinking about this task, Rashi brought out what seemed to at first be a large chart, and then opened up into a game of Ludo. This game was about addiction and had a question every once in a few steps, which the player had to answer, thus engaging the people present with the question. A similarly formatted “staphoo” was also brought out, the fellows engaged and played with it, and perhaps got a clearer idea of what a ‘mental health camp’ could be.
The session was concluded by once again coming in sync with our feelings by collectively sharing them. This provided a containing opportunity after an eventful and stomach filling morning.
About the author
Reva, a second year student of bachelors in psychology, finds the pleasures of life in writing. She is working with Mind Piper as our Story Designer. She can be seen in various parts of Delhi with a diary, a pen and a laptop; capturing the world through ink and words. Psychoanalysis is her coffee, and perhaps, her lens of viewing all that goes on within her, and outside of her. And what is a writer after all, without her cup of coffee!