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Life, Competition And The Never-Ending “Race”

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By Srishti Chauhan:

Ask yourself one question – when was the last time you did something only because you wanted to and not because it would enhance your career or future prospects. When did you last disconnected from the rest of the world to do what you want instead of what is ‘required’?

In this world of severe competition, every day begins with a rat race and ends in another. No longer do we have time for what we want to do because we’re so busy pursuing what ‘benefits’ us. In fact, there are so many of us who have forgotten our hobbies and interests. Those seem to be left behind in another world. Who has the time to listen to music and read books for hours and hours if they are not going to help in getting a good college or a good job or a salary raise- as per the stage of life?

With the board exams coming to an end, the coaching centers would be vying to catch hold of students to prepare them for entrance exams. A famous tagline in one of the advertisements says, “In this world of severe competition, we help you stay ahead”.

Students are yet again caught up in another rat race. Most students join the centers because their peer group has joined them and doing nothing- or worse- pursuing a hobby would seem like a waste of precious time.

This race, however, does not end with the beginning of college. With the end of an academic year at various universities, students have to start looking for internships. The more significant thing here is that most students join internships not for learning but for earning a certificate that shows that they have worked. The lack of any real exposure and practical benefit is expediently overlooked. The moral emphasized upon in the movie “3 idiots” is conveniently disregarded.

Summer vacations are no longer about relaxed periods when you join belly dancing classes because you want to. They are about joining an NGO– not because you work towards a cause- but because you work towards a certificate.

The question that we must ask ourselves- before it’s too late- is whether all this is necessary? Do you really need to spend hours and hours doing something to earn those brownie points? Life certainly was not meant to be an ongoing competition. Most of us in this madly competitive world seem to have forgotten that life is a journey- and NOT a destination.

You are not running a race. You are a part of a journey where you grow, help others grow and make a difference in the world around you.

It has been a long time since I saw a person working because they believe in a cause and or learning a language because it fascinates them.

This ‘race’ does not end with getting a job. Constantly working on your skills and improving your resume to expedite your promotion- sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? In fact, the race has caught on to the extent that nowadays 4-year-olds are a part of it as well. Every year the newspapers are flooded about the articles about children as young as 4 years who have to give entrance exams and pass interviews to get selected to study in Nursery. Not surprising, is it?

With the start of school comes the inadvertent push towards joining innumerable classes- from singing, dancing, skating all the way to various sports. It does not matter whether your child likes it or not- it’s good for him. You know it already! He may not get to spend time with you but he’ll definitely value this extensive skill impartment in future, isn’t it? Or is it?

This ‘race’ has a more imperative psychological effect that is as harmful- if not more. The former term for the sudden lack of interest in work as well as life was termed as a mid-life crisis- which starts after a person crosses 40. However, the latest victims of this mid-life crisis are people who have barely crossed their 20s.

The boom of MBA graduates earning high salaries at early ages in their lives makes them question their purpose in life. Why would a person work so hard to get money that he has no time to spend? Working for 15 hours a day leaves little time for much else in life.

The ‘race’ cannot be avoided at any cost. It has become an inevitable part of life. However, what can and absolutely MUST be controlled is the pace at which you want to run. You may be left behind- but it is up to you to decide if it is worth the enjoyment you derive from life in exchange. As they say, “when did you last smell the roses in your garden?”


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  1. miss neeta

    great post , i just enjoyed reading

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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