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Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham

By Ratandeep Chawla
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Mumbai, Jan. 17. The 4th edition of 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham', a festival of feelings conceptualised by Shalu Mehrotra was held by Prafulta Psychological Services on January 13 at St. Dominic Savio High School in Andheri for students of class five, six and seven from various schools in Mumbai.
The objective of this event was to create awareness among the students about their feelings and to help them express difficult feelings like anger, fear, jealousy, sadness in an appropriate manner.  The event was all Khushi or joy for the 350 children that participated in the programme and for the team of 60 counsellors and college students of St. Xavier's who facilitated it.

Different time slots were given to each standard, beginning with class five at 9 am, class six at 10.30 am and class seven at 12 pm. Each session was for 1 hour 15 minutes, which comprised of a number of full-filled activities. The children were welcomed and emoticons drawn on everyone's fingers.

The session began with an animated entrance into the mela where a story was narrated about a girl called 'Pari' who experienced various emotions during the course of the day. These emotions were labelled in the story as
Ms. Bulbuli (happiness), Mr. Gusselal (anger),
Mr. Ghabruchand (nervousness), Ms. Dukhiyari (sadness) and Mr. Jaljalan (jealousy).  The children were then assisted to integrate these emotions within their body and thoughts. ''I really enjoyed the event and want my brother to attend this programme next year as he gets angry most of the time,'' Pratik,  a standard six student, said.

In the later session, the counsellors and facilitators were constantly helping the children articulate their emotions on paper through drawing or writing. Those children who had emotional difficulty were identified and attended to separately. As a follow-up, their parents/school will be sensitised and emotional help will be provided.

Finally, in the last session through song and dance they understood that it was okay to experience different emotions; yet to act impulsively overcome by emotion may not always be healthy. Students were also taught to speak about their emotions to trusted people like teachers, friends, and counsellors.

While the students were engaged in the Festival of Feelings, parents who had accompanied their children to the festival, had a separate hour-long session on 'Effective Parenting'. Experienced psychologists addressed a number of queries and concerns of parents. ''There is a lot of aggression in children. They know what is right and wrong, yet they choose the easier option,'' a parent pointed out.

The special highlight of this year's workshop was that not only mothers but many fathers were in attendance. The interaction with parents was not just about academics, parents expressed concerns about their children's behaviour, social media habits, and other areas of wellbeing. ''While we know most of the things, such sessions help you open up your thought process,'' a father said.

It was a fulfilling experience for the organisers as well as the counsellors to be engaged with young energy at the festival. ''It felt good to be young again,'' a counsellor, said. In the days and months to follow, Prafulta looks forward to continuing working with these children and their parents, thus building a more resilient and happy society.
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