Hope and positivity can come in different shapes and sizes. Especially when you are not expecting it. Sometimes your closest person is not able to understand what you are going through but a stranger will understand and console you in the strangest way possible.

I am Indu Matiyani and I am working as a counselor. In brief, my job role entails listening to, empathizing with, encouraging and helping to empower individuals. It is very difficult at times when you are listening to some else’s trauma and you have to deal with your own emotions as well. You have to be mentally focused at that moment, as your client needs you as their counselor but who knows there is a battle that even a counselor is fighting on the sidelines by dealing with his/her emotions.

It is very simple to say that Mental health services are available to everyone and anyone can afford it but the question is.” Do we want to avail of those services or not?”

It takes so much courage for speaking your heart out with a stranger. I give a lot of appreciation to my clients as they belong to a large slum cluster and their knowledge relating to the field of counseling is nil meaning they do not understand what is counseling and how it can benefit them? But still, they come to meet with the counselor and do pour their heart out in front of us.

Stress and burnout is common feature of our job. It is demotivating at times and exhausting too. Nevertheless, some days we also meet some clients who spark that energy in us and we feel alive and revived. I felt the same today.

I met a client of mine who usually speaks less and I use an interpreter to communicate with her (genuine language barrier). To my surprise, she was not only speaking more today but she also brought something with her and that something was her drawing which she made as part of her homework given by me. She wanted me to keep it, as she was very happy after involving herself in something creative after a long time. She had always loved to draw but left it considering her present situation. However, she feels at peace to start it again.

The drawing that she made is a freehand drawing with the help of a pencil. She drew a tree and 2 birds sitting on it. The branches of the trees go out till a lamp post which is visible in the dim moonlight. I do not know what she had in mind while sketching it. But the moment I saw it, It immediately put my mind at peace. Of course, I loved the gesture but the message behind is truly inspiring.

It depicts a bright cold winter night with 2 birds sitting on a tree and just waiting for the night to be over and the sun will shine again with a brand new day and with endless possibilities. And, even the depiction of night itself isn’t depressing. Rather, it is giving you hope that lightness and darkness can coexist with each other and that one has to determine what one has to choose or which way one has to go: lightness or darkness.

This small gesture of giving me her sketch gave me a lot of hope. Therefore, a counselor’s job is full of stress all the time but these small moments can also make it less tense. I like this job for moments like this. When you feel inspired and when you feel that you can reach out to someone and that someone can reach out to you and that is why I feel proud to be a counselor and take pride in my work be it even very small and not known to many people. There is a saying that great things commence with simple beginnings. Maybe, this is the simple beginning for me.

By Indu Matiyani, Counselor, Umeed Ki Kiran Clinic