April 26: 6:30-8PM
Written By: Deena Habib
On the last Friday of the month, if you walk into T2F’s Faraar Gallery, the chairs will be arranged in a circle. In the middle, a bunch of darbookas and tambourines will be on the ground waiting to be chosen. Grab what calls you and take a seat. The person next to you will probably say hello.
Mohsin Kazi, a mindfulness teacher and long-time drummer will be walking around the room with a sweet smile and a cup of coffee. He will be introducing himself to newcomers and catching up with familiar faces.
When the clock strikes 6:30, Mohsin will grab his djembe, hang its strap over his shoulder, and step into the circle. He will strike a boom-boom-boom with his right hand. You will feel its energy in your entire body – especially in your heart. The rest of the circle will repeat after him. Your hand striking the drum and the collective sound will reverberate through your body. And repeat. Close your eyes and you will soon find yourself in a trance. Your hands will take a life of their own as they adapt to the repeated rhythm. Your heart will begin to soar. Sometimes Mohsin will sing and chant, and the group will sing with him. He will make it playful: slowing the rhythm down, changing it, speeding it up.
Drumming has been a practice for cultures across the globe for thousands of years. Not only is it used for music, but also as a ritual, form of expression, and even therapy for depression and anxiety. Its benefits are vast: a great deal of scientific evidence shows that drumming can decrease stress, set off chemicals to boost your mood, increase immunity, strengthen your brain, and induce deeper meditative states. When played collectively in a group, drumming strengthens communities and one’s sense of belonging.
Lucky for us Karachiites, The Second Floor (T2F) hosts a drum circle for meditation on the last Friday of every month, offering a space to experience these benefits first hand. Drums are provided and everyone is welcome – even if you have never touched a drum in your life. Even if you’re four years old.
This drum circle offers a space and time to escape Karachi’s hustle-bustle and meditate without the common pressure of silence. Drumming requires participants to listen carefully, thereby allowing them to remain in the present moment, letting go of anything else that may be on their minds. It is also an excellent way to pick up a new instrument, for free, and for the benefit of one’s physical and mental health! Those who attend the drum circle regularly each month find that with every session they improve their own drumming skills and sense of time. And, when you come regularly you may find yourself making friends and feeling even more at home. A variety of other standout evening events in the T2F may facilitate that integration, including a similar therapeutic group meditation with a panel of mindfulness experts.