Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Whispers

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Spreading some cheer
Cancer is nothing to laugh at, but in this therapy group, a hearty chuckle is actually part of the treatment. ‘Aashayae’, a voluntary group of medicos and non-medicos, gather on Sunday morning at Ghatkopar’s Multi-Purpose Hall to provide a ray of hope to cancer patients.

Cancer patients spread the love at an alternative healing session held at Ghatkopar over the weekend
Cancer patients spread the love at an alternative healing session held at Ghatkopar over the weekend

A session called ‘Heal & Happiness’ was held that mixed meditation, laughter therapy, yoga and other group therapies to give some light moments to cancer patients. Holding their fingertips on their cheekbones, chest and lower abdomen, nearly 40 cancer patients from Ghatkopar had “ha ha” and “hee hee” sessions as they forgot all their aches and pains.

“I didn’t even think about cancer during the ‘Heal & Happiness’ session and just had a great feeling. Things have been so hard that we hadn’t laughed in months. Such kind of sessions motivates us to live a healthy life,” said 50-year-old Prakruti Sinha, a cancer survivor from Ghatkopar.

“Cancer takes a toll on the patient’s state of mind, resulting in stress, depression and feeling sick or fatigued from cancer or its treatment. One of the great needs after a diagnosis of cancer is to talk about what one is going through and investing time in healing therapies like deep breathing and relaxation exercises,” said Dr Nirmal Raut, consultant oncologist and founder of ‘Aashayae’.

Dr Raut added, “When used in addition to conventional cancer treatments, these non-medical therapies may help in the overall healing process. Combining mind and body practices, clearly have tremendous potential to help patients manage the psychosocial and physical difficulties associated with the treatment and life after cancer.”

Green brigade to park’s defence
Following news of a move to “develop” the Maharashtra Nature Park in the city, the Farmers’ Market organisers have been galvanised into action not to hold an edition of the market, but to rally around the park itself.

The Farmers’ Market is currently in hiatus, and will begin again in October, but the Nature Park is so integral a part of the buyers and sellers at the market, who are also nature lovers, that it is impossible to sit still while plans are afoot to do away with the little haven in the middle of the city.

The park, at Mahim, has been created on what was once a dumping ground and landfill. Officials say the park is home to about 63 species of birds, 40 varieties of butterflies, snakes, other insects, and over 13,500 trees of various species including herbs, shrubs and grasses. Between October and March, it becomes the go-to spot for birdwatchers.

In place of this, plans reportedly include building of a carpark and food stalls scary just to imagine that. Where the birds, trees and flowers will go, is anyone’s guess. Hence, on Saturday (June 6) at 10am, concerned nature lovers plan to gather at the park and register their protest at this proposed “development”.

Jack of all trades
Yesterday was celebrated as Vat Purnima, during which one of the rituals is to serve five kinds of fruit the jackfruit, being in season, is one of the inevitable inclusions on the platter.

It’s the season of phanas. Pic/Shrikant KhuperkarIt’s the season of phanas. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

In Dombivli east, the Phadke Road Yuva Mitra Mandal made an arrangement to bring jackfruit directly from Ratnagiri, on a no-profit-no-loss basis. You can have a glimpse of the colourful Vat Purnima celebrations in our photo feature on page 11.

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