logo Imagen no disponible

Radio Cadena Agramonte emisiora de Camagüey

Curious, case, Punekar, placard, promise

The curious case of a Punekar, a placard and a promise to listen

“I want to do something for the society and create a space where people can safely talk about mental health,” says 24-year old Raj Dagwar. More famous in the digital world as the Pune guy who offers comforting, safe avenues to people who want to talk about emotional upheavals, mental health turmoils, share their blues, or just plain rant, Dagwar is no longer a one-man army.

His endeavours, which started in anonymity in December 2020, have now grown to a network of 225 volunteers called the Listeners Army active across India. A software engineer by profession, Dagwar works in a multi-national company in Pune and dedicates time to the group’s work in cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Ahemadabad and Kolkata. In addition to this, he goes for workshops and sessions to various local bodies and organisations, records podcasts with them and uploads videos on his social media to reach as many people as possible.

“Like-minded people reached out to me and I formed the Listeners Army in December 2021. Corporate trainers come and train the volunteers and we interview them before enrolling them. On an average, at least ten volunteers are active in a city and receive around 200 people,” he explains.

To say that his journey looks easy is to undermine the toll that mental health issues have on people. At 21, he battled depression alone and found himself isolated when he realised that there was no one he could talk to without being judged or being made fun of. “I was in a toxic relationship in which I was being constantly blamed and bullied. I was uncertain and under stress because there was no one around me who would understand. I couldn’t’ even share things with my parents because of the taboos we have built around mental health,” says Dagwar who decided to seek professional help and started sessions with a psychologist, without telling anyone. “You never know what one session of therapy can do for you. I felt so much better and within six to seven months, I felt like I had rid myself of the baggage,” he says.

His journey with combating depression, which started unraveling in 2019, came to a natural progression within a year when he finally felt free and decided to help others in similar situations. Armed with a steely resolve and a handwritten placard that read: “Tell me your story and I will give you ?10”, Dagwar parked himself on FC Road, a popular food, shopping and cultural hub in Pune. He drew many a curious stares and raised eyebrows, but it did not deter him. It took him all of four days to establish a connect with and build confidence in passersby. “It wasn’t as if I wasn’t scared, but all I knew was that I wanted to help,” he says. There have been times when people declined the token amount of ?10 from him, out of sheer overwhelmedness and goodwill.

Soon, his video went viral and that is when his mother came to know of it. “She was shocked as she didn’t read the full post or the description accompanying the video. She only calmed down when she read the whole post and came to know why I was doing what I was doing. They [my parents] have been supportive ever since,” he says encouraging young adults and youth to share their problems with their parents. “Your relation with your parents is the most important one in your life. They are the best well-wishers you will ever have. Just converse with them. Convey your message in a gentle manner; there is a way of opening dialogue. Once you open up with them you will be surprised with how supportive they can be,” he says. (Text and Photos: www.msn.com)

En esta categoría


Tu dirección de correo no será publicada *