If happiness was a place, it may have looked like the fairground on the Techno India University campus recently, where they held a “happiness fair”.
“Earlier, parents would dream of a successful career for their children but after two years of the pandemic, they just want their kids to be happy and healthy,” said Manoshi Roy Chowdhury, co-chairperson, Techno India Group, at the fair’s inauguration. “It was during the pandemic that we realised how important mental health is and started Monoshij, a mental wellness platform of the Techno India Group.”
Monoshij has been conducting workshops with their teachers, providing emotional support to students and holding awareness camps at locations like Swapno Bhor, the senior citizens’ park in New Town.
The chief guest at the event was Debashis Sen, chairman of New Town Kolkata Development Authority, who shared the township’s experience with happiness. “A few years ago we had invited IIT Kharagpur to conduct a study and determine the happiness quotient of residents in New Town,” he said.
Sen had been expecting a score upwards of 8/10 but was devastated at scoring a mere 6.4. “While on the surface it seemed that residents here had everything, it turned out that women felt unsafe walking home in desolate stretches at night. So we set up coffee shops at corners that soon became busy and were well-lit,” he said, inviting the group to hold the next happiness fair in New Town.
The fair had something to make everyone smile. The art stall provided visitors with colours, streamers, ice cream sticks and glue to create something fun and visitors like Sanjana Nayak of B.Tech rushed over. “I love art and craft, and find myself sketching whenever I am low. I’m doing what I love now,” said the girl, painting a cup.
A “gratitude wall” had students penning thanksgiving messages for their friends and urging one another not to lose hope. A “bin of negativity” had them writing down any negative emotions they felt within — jealousy, anger, greed, insecurity — and symbolically binning them. “I’m feeling much lighter after doing this,” smiled BCA student Hrishav Banik. “I find writing a journal cathartic too and today I have tried to throw out many negative emotions.”
There was a mindfulness stall that played motivational audio clips for visitors who put their earphones on. “Mindfulness teaches one to focus on the present instead of getting distracted by past failures and future worries. We have audio clips to help visitors build inner strength, cope with uncertainties, express gratitude etc,” said Sweety Mondal, a teacher of Techno India Group Public School, Garia, who was manning the counter.
There was also a 30-second computer-aided test that revealed whether a candidate was more left-brained or right. “Those with a dominant left brain are sticklers for rules, good at languages, strategy, rationality, logic, details. Those with stronger right brains are imaginative, creative, curious and intuitive,” said Nirajita Roy, who was manning the stall. “Ideally one should strive for a balance of both.”
There was a band from the group’s Ariadaha branch belting out feel-good numbers like Aha ki anando and a chaat counter by its Garia branch. “Good food leads to good mood,” laughed Debadrita Gupta of Class X, serving a customer Jhaal Muri.
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