CHENNAI : The Bliss Catchers is an event put together by life coach, happiness curator and author AVIS Vishwanathan and Vaani Anand. The monthly programme recently celebrated its fourth season. “The Bliss Catchers is all about coming alive. These experiences are shared by people who have chosen to do something they love. Some of us get stuck in a rat race by giving too much importance to the economic calling. There are others who are willing to take a dive in what they like doing,” AVIS begins the one-hour session at Odyssey in Adyar.
The two speakers of the day were Sandhiyan Thilagavathy and Deepika Arun. While Sandhiyan runs an NGO called AWARE that fights for gender equality, Deepika runs a school called Jhoola, which has a concept of ‘no gadgets for children’. Both have an academic background in engineering. Deepika pursued it because of her high scores. But as time went by, she couldn’t continue with her job. She moved to a teaching job for a short span.
During her break of one and a half years she came up with the idea of Jhoola. “Jhoola means a swing. Imagine the amount of joy playing on a swing would’ve given you as a kid. I wanted kids to have those simple pleasures of childhood. So my space is full of activities and board games. It has no space for gadgets,” she said. Her recent 30-day parent challenge is to encourage parents to spend time with their kids without gadgets. It could be just stargazing at the terrace, a simple nature walk or storytelling.
Sandhiyan is also a techie. He quit his job and started a Facebook page AWARE, five years ago. AWARE takes up issues faced by women like sexual abuse, domestic violence and female infanticide. This volunteer-run organisation conducts workshops and events to spread awareness. Sandhiyan comes from a family of three kids. His two sisters stopped their schooling to educate him.
His mother runs the family. “If I am able to converse with you all in English then it’s because of the sacrifice my family has made. Even when I quit my job, my mother was there like a pillar to support me. She motivated me to pursue this as my full-time goal after seeing me work day and night during the weekends. She is my inspiration, “ he shared.
The event brought two individuals trying to do what they like for the society under one roof. Sandhiyan promises to do more events and earn to support his family, meanwhile Deepika is determined to bring back the childhood days into every child’s life.