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Soothing frayed nerves with ‘Fitoor’ on Storyweavers Facebook page

Those of you who really miss attending live concerts, can visit the Facebook page of Storyweavers ( today at 8:00pm, and enjoy the sufi, folk, Bollywood and indie-pop songs by the multi-genre band, Fitoor. The good thing is this is not just a one-day event, but a daily affair till June 30, with a different performer performing every day.

With an aim to provide healing to the stressed soul, mind and body, Storyweavers, a creative platform founded by Pritisha Borthakur and Rishi Paullah, has launched its digital campaign, ‘Artful Peace Cumulative’. The initiative blends art, lifestyle and professional medical counselling to soothe minds and find answers to the issues that scores of people are facing due to the ongoing pandemic and lockdown.

Over 80 musicians, poets and storytellers, healers, healthcare professional and lifestyle coaches are a part of the initiative. While doctors and lifestyle coaches are offering medical counselling and yoga and meditation sessions respectively, artistes are providing relief through their lively performances.

The initiative was launched with the Delhi-based multi-genre band Jazba E Junoon’s performance  early this month. Among others who are a part of it include folk singer Kalpana Patowary, Bollywood composer Ambar Das, and violinist Sandeep Thakur, Dastangoi artist Kafeel Jafri, Hindi poet Mohit Mudita Dwivedi, Tabla Player Sabir Hussain, Flautist Sudipta Dipak besides music bands like Zikrr, The Iyer Project, VRR Sutra and Aahvaan.

One major reason why Storyweavers began this initiative is because Borthakur herself is dealing with depression. “I have been battling depression for the last four years now. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any support from anyone, which deteriorated my condition. I, then, had to seek medical help, and am now on medication,” she says, adding that mental health issues should be accepted in the same way as the  serious physiological diseases. “Art helped me lot in dealing with my depression. That’s the reason why I wanted to make this available for others. We were earlier doing offline activities – under the banner of Art After Dark – in Delhi NCR and Guwahati, but COVID-19 pushed us online,” says Borthakur, who hails from Assam.

“We’re so glad that health professionals and artistes have extended their support to our initiative. But the best part is people are opening up about their own psychological issues, be it artistes or the audiences. They are talking about what they have gone through, how they battled depression, how they are trying to overcome their fear and anxiety,” says Paullah.

Appreciating the initiative, school counsellor Upasana Kinra says, “It is time people stop taking depression to be a feeling of sadness. It is a real serious issue which needs proper counseling, and in extreme cases medication. We need more such initiatives, particularly now as the pandemic has led to an increase in mental health cases. Such events help in two ways. On one hand, these remove the stigma around the mental health, and on the other hand, they provide the much-needed support to those currently facing issues.”

Borthakur, adds that the plan is now to continue the programme even after June 30.  “There is no shame in admitting what one is going through. I hope our initiative can change the perception of society towards mental health,” she says.

What’s behind the initiative?
One major reason why Storyweavers began this initiative is because its Founder Pritisha Borthakur herself is a  depression patient. “I have been battling depression for the last four years now. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any support,” she says.

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