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Sloppy Joe & Mayhem Maria: A Perfect Match?

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By S. Nivedya:

Oil and vinegar! They may not mix but they make a great combination on a sandwich.

What is a perfect match? Like the fit of a lock and key? Or the pieces of a puzzle? And what is it that makes a perfect match? Sweet music in the background, the eyes speaking and of course flowers, butterflies and slow motion! How beautiful! How wonderful!

The bride Maria, radiant in all her beauty walks along the aisle in her grand wedding gown, handpicked by experts keeping in mind every detail to accentuate her beauty. Her make up simply perfect, her flawless smile melting the onlooking audience. She is guided by her father and given away to Joe, the handsome groom, clad in a crisp tuxedo with a flower tucked in his chest pocket. He flashes his million dollar grin, leads the bride up the step where their vows are exchanged and the happily married couple ride away into the sunset to live happily ever after. The spectators watch with tears in their eyes and we sink into our couches and say: Isn’t that beautiful. That’s so perfect!

Well! Sorry to pop your bubble. That kind of perfect happens only in the movies. So if you ever get that sing-song tra-la-la-la butterfly-ish moment, you can be sure that would be followed by an ear-piercing bell or a painful pinch. That’s right! You’re dreaming my friend. Snap out of it! Open your eyes and say hello to reality!

That kind of scene I spoke about earlier cannot possibly happen here. Our reality Maria could have a wide gap between her teeth and Joe could be, well, sloppy Joe!

There is a man I saw. Everything about him seemed really positive. He was smart, he was an awesome communicator and he had a lot of credits to add to his name. I couldn’t help but fantasize what his perfect match would look like.

Two days later I saw a woman lunching with him…she had a big nose, horrible skin and irritatingly tangled hair. I was dejected to learn from a friend that, that woman was his wife. “Oh my god! I wonder what he saw in her, she is a terrible match for a man like that.”

This kept haunting me for a few days, I wondered why God was so unfair, to give a good man like him, a woman like that. It just didn’t fit.

A week later, I happened to pass by the pair while walking to my lab. I turned away by instinct but something made me take a second look. They were walking together laughing, perhaps sharing a good joke. I was speechless, caught in an amazing realization about this woman. Something about her was special to the man, she made him smile, she made an extraordinary difference in his super-ordinary life.

Many of us fail to see the obvious because we are too busy painting our own pretty picture. We say we are honest and love life as it comes, we fall in love and then write bestsellers about how it died away, overlooking the very reason for why we love them.

If you ask me, I think that’s why arranged marriages work in India. We are forced to lead the rest of our lives with someone and everyday getting to know that person is turning one more page of a book. Spending years doing that and growing old with that book could be a deep inexplicable feeling.

In love, we claim to have read that person, know them completely, not willing to turn any more of those pages assuming we are aware of everything there is to know. As funny as it may seem, it is true, or so I’ve learned from observation.

Sloppy Joe may not be a perfect man or Mayhem Maria may scare other men with her smile, but these two could be the two crooked pieces that just fit.

But is there a perfect couple? Is there a perfect match?

Science says nothing can be perfect, I don’t know what you have to say to it though. But then again, there is a definition for everything.

What is a perfect match?

A perfect match is a truckload of imperfections and being totally okay with it! 🙂
What is your definition?

You must be to comment.
  1. Rashmi

    True thing.
    Very well written!

  2. Nivedya

    thank you Rashmi. 🙂

  3. Kriti

    “Perfect for me is simply you and me” a very straight forward article. Me likey 🙂

  4. divya

    very nicely expressed! i agree completely 🙂

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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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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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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.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

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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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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