TNEC Exclusive: On Sunday a great initiative by ‘Baatein Ankaheesi,’ an organization that started in 2019, to provide space for conversation and dialogue exchange, especially encircling mental health in Indian households was organized at Shraddhanjali Kanan in Guwahati.
What is the purpose of ‘Baatein Ankaheesi’?
It offers an open platform for people to vent out their feelings without being judged. Everyone is encouraged to speak and discuss anything and/or everything about life.
The liberal platform they present attempts to openly challenge stigma and stereotypes of all kinds, with their major aim to normalize mental health in Indian households.
According to the organisers, “you can rant about your life in front of a group of strangers who care to listen but promise not to have anything to do with your life – no strings attached”.
During the event, various participants, aspiring entrepreneurs, Northeast’s first plus-size model, 12th standard girl, and many more shared their stories, their conversations, while a few sang songs too!
People spoke about how to erase the ‘Mental Health’ stigma, by creating a space for individuals to vent out their feelings. Some spoke about the molesting girls are facing every day.
What do the participants have to say?
The same participant said that they belonged to “this community (possibly the LGBTQIA+ community) where people need to voice out their opinions. They also mentioned how generally, people, for a very long time, did not know about the existence of the LGBTQIA+ community. In their opinion, “this platform was the best place to come and speak”, especially for a group of somebodies who had been kept shut for the longest of time.
While speaking to The North-Eastern Chronicle, one of the participants Prasant Kumar Ojha, Pro-LGBTQIA+ activist and a Queer Feminist, who is a vibrant and active member of Baatein Ankaheesi said, “For long time people didn’t know if LGBTQIA+ exists, so I thought this platform would be the best place to come and speak.”
Prasant added while highlighting the various societal issues and how we need to be more humane, “Culture comes later, humanity comes first, we cannot save culture if we are not saving the humanity…thus we have to create a common platform where no one is different after all we all have the same blood which is red in colour then why to create differences.”
They seemed particularly passionate about what they’re working for and cheerfully represented their firm.
Additionally, when the pandemic happened, they released “India’s first Online Mental Health Support Group program”. It consisted of a psychiatrist and 15 people. The session went on for two months, where the 16 people would meet virtually every day and just “talk”.
View of the exponents of ‘Baatein Ankaheesi’
‘Baatein Ankaheesi’ claims to have been driven by a passion for people and their experiences in life.
Their programs attempt to go beyond creating awareness, by also encouraging people to validate the negative emotions and navigate the positive ones, for a healthier and happier mind.
They hold conversational sessions
People can use the stage they provide, to vent out their feelings in sessions, that last up to hours.
They provide a “safe space”, a room with some strangers, where people may not even know each other. Baatein Ankaheesi says, “No intentions, No strings”. The sessions are composed of listeners and speakers who take turns; one offers a piece of themselves in exchange for a piece of another.