Friday, June 21, 2013

If you are happy, show it!

This is an interview of Jyoti Mate of Swalay, who has kick-started her new initiative on June 21 - Plant a JOY (Just Open Yourself).

There are two kinds of people in this world --- those who know how to express themselves fluently and spontaneously, and then there are those who hesitate to open up and choose to stay in a shell. If you belong to the second category, Jyoti Mate is here to help.
Founder of Swalay, Mate helps you express yourself and eventually discover 'self-rhythm'. Explaining the concept, the 43-year-old Kathak dancer, says, “Swalay or self-rhythm stands for four concepts. The first concept is 'expressive art therapy', which is conducted through music, dance, rhythm, colours, craft and painting. The next is 'art appreciation', for which, I invite masters/ maestros in that particular field to discuss their art. That said, it is equally important for the audience to participate in the discussion. The third concept is 'giving existing knowledge a different perspective'. This is mainly directed at teachers, who, if they think a little differently, can impart so much joy in teaching and the learning process. The fourth process is 'movementation', which is 'mediation on the move' or 'dynamic meditation'. It also includes variations like 'sufitation'.”

Let yourself go
Mate, who has been teaching self-rhythm for almost two decades, is launching her new initiative 'Plant a JOY' as part of Swalay. Here, JOY stands for Just Open Yourself. Says Mate, “I have always felt that most of us carry emotional baggage from the past that weighs us down and prevents us from exploring things that we have always longed to do. With Plant a JOY, I want people to become aware of the possibilities that they can explore; to take one step into the unfamiliar territory and let yourself go,” says she.
As part of this new initiative, which kickstarts this morning, Mate and her team will be spending a few hours with the children of Eklavya Nyas at the Bholagiri centre in Rasta Peth. The evening will be spent playing 'creatively crazy' games and listening, and swaying to junk percussion.

Book your date
Every month, Swalay will be conducting programmes for a larger audience. On July 21, the team will be conducting an art appreciation course titled 'Stories of Songs' for senior citizens, wherein the audience will be educated about legendary singer Kishore Kumar's compositions and the nuances of his singing.
On August 21, Mate has planned a musical soiree for ex-servicemen at the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Khadki. Swalay will hold a musical programme of old Hindi songs. Dr Anand Joshi will intersperse the popular ditties with anecdotes about the singers and actors as well.
On September 21, Amruta Satbhai will perform a one-act play Me Majhya Gharchi Rani.

Experience, explore & evolve
These activities and get-togethers can initiate exchange of ideas and contribute to finding solutions, feels Mate. “For example, when one of our members said that he buys plastic sheets and distributes them among pavement dwellers, the other members felt that they could chip in too. Suggestions like this spur more ideas and a willingness to reach out to the community and do social good,” explains Mate.
Learning to give and helping spread joy can be very rewarding. It may not always have tangible benefits but you will feel good at the end of the day.
Recounting an incident, Aashiesh Ghate, who is Mate's colleague, says, “At one of our 'Movementation' programmes for senior citizens, a 60-year-old woman, who was initially very reluctant to participate in the activities, opened up as the evening progressed. As we were drawing to a close, the woman started vigorously beating a plate with a spoon. She had successfully overcome her inhibitions and started enjoying herself, which was fascinating.” It's not always easy to open up and let go, but what's the harm in trying?

Join in the activities
To Plant a JOY and spread happiness, spend your morning with underprivileged kids at Eklavya Nyas' Bholagiri centre, Rasta Peth, today.
Or head for Kala Chhaya, Senapati Bapat Road for an evening of creatively crazy games and junk percussion.
For details, call Jyoti Mate on 9822597321 or Aashiesh Ghate on 9158882346.