We need to start treating the patient as well as the disease’. This line from the movie ‘Patch Adams’ may have been ahead of its time when the film came out, but today, there are many who see the true meaning behind it.
Colours, designs and textures have always been known to improve one’s overall health and well-being and there are a number of artistes in the City who use their art as more than just a means to express themselves.
They are using it for a good cause, which includes helping the sick feel better or children with learning disabilities learn faster. Art, they all feel, is one of the best forms of therapy.
Harish Bhuvan started ‘Compassionate Clowns’ around two years ago. “I was in depression and didn’t want to take anti-depressants. I wanted to become better by just being happy and that’s how I came up with the idea,” he says.
Today, ‘Compassionate Clowns’ has many volunteers who visit ill children at hospitals like Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Narayana Hrudayalaya and St John’s Medical College Hospital and help them laugh and be positive.
“Sometimes, the children are so engrossed in our act that they forget their pain. There have been times when they have even started eating better. Even for the volunteers, these sessions are an amazing experience and helps them overcome their weaknesses like stammering,” he adds.
“When you are putting yourselves at the level of the children and making eye contact with them, you not only help them change but also change yourself.”
Just like art, sports can make one more optimistic too, feels Tejas, a final-year student of psychology in National College, who had always wanted to do something for the society. He combined this desire with his love for football to start ‘Sparky Football’. Through this venture, he teaches the sport and tricks related to it to underprivileged children and also helps sick children feel better. He also made a documentary recently for kids in hospitals.
“Over the years, I have worked with many underprivileged and sick children and feel that football makes kids happy. It motivates them to be positive and helps them forget the pain. Sometimes, these kids even forget that the nurses are giving them the injection. Even the parents of sick children, who are usually depressed, become happy when they see their kids responding better,” he says.
Megha Mehta, who operates a space called ‘Artfully Yours’ in Kalyan Nagar, interacts with special children and those with learning disabilities and teaches them clay modelling and painting.
“I work with two groups — one has mixed disabilities while the other one consists of 10th standard students who have learning disorders. Working with paint and clay helps them develop their motor skills and grasp information better,” she says. Her own journey as an artist has helped Megha realise the power of art.
“It has a lot more to offer a person in terms of development. It helps you perceive things in a different way and moreover, it activates the right part of your brain, which is more creative. By tapping your creative potential, art helps you progress in ways that you couldn’t have thought of,” she says.
While Megha believes that creativity is innate to us and art comes to each person naturally, Tejas sums up, “In the end, it’s our thoughts that make us feel better. So if my tricks can help a person think happy thoughts and feel better, then my job is done.”