It is amazing what the strains of music, especially if the tunes are carefully selected can do to those who are mentally ill and undergoing treatment.
This was what a group of patients at the Government Mental Health Centre at Kuthiravattom in Kozhikode experienced.
Just as a kind word, gentle touch and affection can go a long way in soothing the minds of those who are mentally deranged, music too can provide comfort and joy, says Kaithapram Damodaran Namboodiri, lyricist, when asked on the relevance of his recently launched music programme among inmates of the Mental Health Centre at Kuthiravattom in Kozhikode every Sunday.
"This will be an ongoing programme. The song selection during the hour-long session would be spontaneous, depending on the mood of the patients," says Kaithapram.
C. Madhava Das, Superintendent of the Government Mental Health Centre, said the programme was launched among a select group of patients who would be at the hospital for some time.
"As many as 25 to 30 patients have been included in the music programme. It was initiated as per a directive of the High Court. The High Court asked the hospital authorities to provide assistance to the team to organise the music session for the benefit of the patients," says Dr. Das.
High Court Judge K. Padmanabhan Nair, who inaugurated the programme, was touched by the response of the patients. Some were quiet and just listened; others clapped and applauded while some just wept.
This is a practical initiative. Bureaucratic attitude to such endeavours ought to change. The attitude of the Kerala High Court in providing the assistance to organise the programme was to be commended, says Kaithapram.
Deepankuran, playback singer, students of the Swati Kala Kendra, including Prashanth Parashini, and Ratheesh Kumar, were part of the music ensemble that presented the show.
The response of the inmates was evident when the Hindi film tune `Gori tera gaon bada pyara ... ,' and the Malayalam film song `Guruvayurambala Nadayil oru divasam jnan ... ' were rendered.
Songs that featured ragas such as Mohana, Kalyani, and Sreeragam were selected.
Similar music sessions at the Mental Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram were also being mooted.
It took some time for the patients to respond, but once the music got going, the mood created was magical, adds Kaithapram, who is confident that his music initiative will have an impact in the long-run.