Posts Tagged ‘Roshan Ali’

Dear Friends,

I found myself hosting a panel of six eminent writers, psychologists and psychiatrists at the Bangalore Literature Festival 2019.

I am providing the link to the session descriptions here, please have a look …

However, I am placing Dr Ajit Bhide, a beloved psychiatrist of Bangalore and my own doctor too here:

“Most wretched men are cradled into poetry by wrong
They learn in suffering what they teach in song…”

Attended a panel discussion at the Bangalore Literary Fest, titled ‘I’m OK You’re OK’ , dealing with Mental health and more specifically mental illness. Amandeep Sandhu, currently in the literary news for his new book on Punjab, (and whose first autobiographical novel Sepia Leaves dealt with his own mother’s illness and how he as a young lad, an adolescent and a man learnt to deal with it – and with life) was the effective and empathetic moderator. Others on the panel were Jerry Pinto (Em and the Big Hoom), Anna Chandy, Himanjali Sankar, Gayathri Prabhu, Roshan Ali, and Shyam Bhat. Shyam elaborated succinctly the importance of the narrative in the practice of mental health. The narrators themselves came from the raw to the mature but with crystal clear sincerity.

The panellists shared their angst about their respective disquiet, the youngest (Ali)about his discovery of his own turbulence, and two about their mothers’ illness (Pinto and Amandeep, the latter minimally, as he was a most conscientious rapporteur/ moderator). Sometimes there was the awkwardness of spilling the beans, making private matters blatantly public and the guilt that comes almost always with it.

Anna’s ( a much sought after and respected therapist) sharing of her personal perspective led to familial and social ostracism, and unexpectedly her clientele stood by her through this. She rightly brought home the point of equity between therapists and clients (I still prefer to call them patients); a truly humane stance, well appreciated by those who seek help. This resonated with the chosen title of the session: I’m OK; You’re OK.

Sometimes there was a cavalier air to it all, the note of the author being strident and rabble rousing. But in a forum dealing with the perceived ugliness of the mind of someone close, and the sensitive nature of the entire realm it is I guess, to be expected. Gayathri’s reference to her letter to her deceased father, was to me very intriguing and that is one work I want to read. Admixing fact with some fictionalising seemed to have found many takers, and Shyam also made the often missed point of the need to seek the subject’s permission to share her/his story.

The width of the coverage and the systemic method of the entire discourse rendered it a useful hour and half. Not an easy task given the tendency of delicate content to turn maudlin and meandering. This session teetered that way at times, but was saved from dropping off those cliffs.

For this credit must go in great measure to the seasoned moderation by Aman; and to the panel’s overall ‘stepping out and stepping forward’ approach. The auditorium was packed from the start and I believe so were most listeners’ minds by the end of the session.

Tags: , , , , , ,