It was so incredible coming back to Mumbai SHG in-person after a gap of almost 3 years. The familiar YMCA Ghatkopar — kids playing on the street, unmanned (welcoming) gate, basketball courts, and the familiar classroom. We began meeting at the YMCA Ghatkopar in 2014.
Nikhil Iyer planned an incredible agenda that he shared on the TISA Mumbai whatsapp group days before the meeting and encouraged members to join. There were six of us who thoroughly enjoyed and benefited.
The first activity was introductions. Nikhil encouraged us to give our introductions as a speech with the option of filming it. We shared about ourselves — personal, professional, and everything in-between. This was a great ice-breaker activity and helped us learn who was in the room and how similar we all are.
The next activity built our reading comprehension and question asking and answering skills. Nikhil shared motivational articles from The Better India about inspiring people who are making a difference in the world. I also shared two articles about someone I look up to (farmer Jon Jindai) and how agroecology is a solution to world hunger. Firstly, these articles expanded our mindset from self-centered to other-centered. This shift in perspective makes us feel more at ease as begin to think about things beyond stammering; how ordinary people are making an extraordinary difference in the world. We all read all articles and each of us took turns being in the ‘hot seat’ where we had to answer our fellow stutterers questions about the article.
Nikhil’s next activity was brilliant. We were asked to sit silently for five minutes and notice our thoughts. After five minutes, we shared what thoughts we had — unfiltered. There was a group agreement that any thoughts shared would remain confidential within the group. It was nice to know that we had similar thoughts — envisioning and pondering our future plans, contemplating how we will share our thoughts with the group, wondering what’s happening outside as we hear people playing. I am constantly reminded how similar we are, yet we think we are the only ones going through something or thinking something. We, in fact, have no reason to feel lonely since our fellow humans around us are living similar life experiences.
Our last activity was an extempore/impromptu speech on a moment where we felt satisfied. It brought out a peaceful, serene feeling to reflect on moments where I feel satisfied. This activity helped remind me that while we may not always feel content/satisfied, we have felt that way before and hence can feel that way in the future.
We ended with feedback about the meeting and questions, especially encouraging first timers to ask openly.
A big thank you to Nikhil for organizing such a brilliant meeting. It was also a pleasure seeing him and another longtime TISA friend, Vishal Mishra. It was also great to see Prashant after a long time. And meet Harsh — an incredible rapper. Also, a warm welcome to TISA newcomer Ruhaan!
Haklao magar pyar se SHG ke saath ❤️