Learning Story – Sheetal
‘A Day without Laughter is a Day wasted,’ said Charlie Chaplin – I couldn’t agree more. I always stressed on happiness more than success and felt if one is happy one can do anything. It was in January 2016 when I heard the term medical clown for the first time. Circus clowns always fascinated me but I was unaware of anything called ‘medical clowning’. I was intrigued so read about it extensively. My immediate reaction was, I want to be a medical clown and be the reason behind someone’s ‘smile’.
Medical clowning is a therapy to help in the healing of patients at hospitals using play and humor. It is also called ‘distraction therapy’ as for a moment, the patient forgets about their pain and enjoys the moment. On 9 July 2016, with dinosaurs in our stomachs, we entered the hospital for the first time donning colorful wigs and hats. The moment we entered, the atmosphere changed from gloomy to playful, frowns turned into smiles and we started playing and doing some antics that I had watched in the circus. After about five hours of clowning, we could not stop smiling. The moments with patients and their families, nurses, and doctors, gave us a hangover- Smile Hangover, which lasted till the next clowning. This is how @Clownselors was born- a volunteer-based group engaged in medical clowning.
Clownselors now visit many hospitals, for children as well as adults, in Delhi and other parts of India. We also visit old age homes, orphanages, mental homes, special schools, slums, shelter homes, and refugee camps and organize ‘Free Hugs’ events to spread love and positivity.
I also conduct clowning workshops for schools and Team Building and stress management sessions, using clowning as a technique for corporate. Clowning helps us to laugh at our selves and see the world from a different point of view, that of empathy, compassion, and humor. It helps us understand the power of failure and not giving up.
Each place we visit gives us memories to cherish forever. We aim to make people happy and realize the importance of a small smile. One Saturday when I was clowning, a granny gave me a ten-rupee note for making her granddaughter smile. I was speechless and overwhelmed. This is the most precious gift I have received. Clowning has changed my life completely. From an introvert to becoming an extrovert, from asocial to a social, from being a non-dancer to dancing with no inhibitions. The journey has been exhilarating!
You can check out the Clownselors’ superb work on their Instagram handle.
Have a learning experience to share? Send it at firstname.lastname@example.org with a related photograph.