This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

These Were The “Only” Things Ravi Wanted On Republic Day

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Tanaya Singh: 

It was just 9:00 A.M. and school was over, already. As most of the students joined a cricket match organised on the school grounds, Ravi headed back home. It was chilly in his hometown. 26th January was here, but no sign of relief from the nose reddening winds. Topi wale Chacha stopped him at the gate, pinched his cheek painted in tricolour and presented a small cloth flag in a tiny stick. He smiled and that pink skinned cheek reddened even more.

238749679_7b7de436a5

They had been practicing since a month at school. The whole day, all participating kids were made to sit in the ground, and wait for their turn to practice for a 60 minute act that each class had to present before the principle and the chief guest on Republic Day. Nobody asked the 10-year-old Ravi if he wanted to be on that ground, dressed as the Indian flag while many girls wearing red and white saris danced around him. He just had to be there, no questions asked, no answers given. A saffron coloured cap, a white kurta, green pants, and the “cutest boy in school” was ready with a smile. But all his teachers forgot the wind. It was a day to be celebrated, but it was still cold, wasn’t it?

They said something important happened today. A big book called the “cons-ti-tution” was completed which has all the rules to run India. “Like the rules of traffic lights maybe”, thought Ravi, “but then, why did Lathi Chacha let those large cars drive past him even when the light was red?” 

This day was special to him for two reasons. There was a song named “Vande Mataram” which was played on TV repeatedly last year on this day. What did they sing after and before “Vande Mataram“, Ravi was not sure. But he still loved the song.  And then, there was a tricolour kite his father bought a week ago, and told him to play with it on Republic Day. That was why he had been waiting for 26th January.

Last evening, every ounce of patience, which had allowed the mighty kite to remain on the top most shelf of Amma’s cupboard, was lost. The old teak box was taken out from under the bed, kept on a chair and mounted on with tiny feet. And just like that, in a minute or two, Ravi was out with his most prized possession, in the backyard, by the Gulmohar, flying the tricolour as high as the wind would take it. His heart flew with that sharp string and the flutter made the most amazing sound. The wind was no more that chilly monster but a friend to spend the evening with, until it decided that it was tired and made the kite turn around suddenly and left Ravi alone as he watched the tricolour jerk and settle on the dry Gulmohar branches.

“I had told you not today, now it’s dark, bring it back tomorrow”, Amma had said. Nobody would help him dismount his kite. Even guard chacha was busy with a small fire in his cottage. So tomorrow it is.

But “that” tomorrow turned out to be busier for everyone. He was woken up at six. Are we supposed to go to school in the dark on the Big book’s birthday? Ravi was sleepy in the ground at eight. He had been the Indian flag and had seen the girls’ dance around him almost a hundred times. It was over soon. He wanted to be home quickly, wear something to warm him up and go back to the Gulmohar. No, he did not want the orange laddoo, nor that apple, he just wanted his kite back. Baba was already in the car when he reached and Amma said she has his jacket, and made him sit on the backseat. No questions asked, no answers given.

Soon they reached Baba’s office grounds. It was crowded, and people were standing and singing “Jan Gann Mann” by the time they reached. Here, he saw other kids becoming flags and other girls dancing. Many uncles said many things, Ravi kept watching the tricolour balloons in the far corner of the field. If only he had his kite, it would have been lot more fun flying it in this open space. Once more, he did not want the orange laddoo, or the white sweet Amma was stuffing his mouth with. He only wanted his kite.

At 5:00 pm Ravi saw his kite suddenly jerk and settle on the dry Gulmohar branches. He woke up with a jerk too. And there, from his window, Ravi saw the tricolour still perched on top of his favourite tree. It was dark. The day was over. The television was no longer playing “Vande Mataram”, Amma was watching some movie and it was too dark to fly his kite.

He liked only two things about the day, and if those were the only things he didn’t get, what was there to celebrate?

Happy Republic Day

[box bg=”#fdf78c” color=”#000″]If you really want to celebrate Republic Day today, find a reason for it. Find something that you really want. Something that really makes the day special for you. After all, its a holiday.Something that makes you feel connected to the land will work. Even if its a song, its worth a celebration. I leave up to the reader to learn something, anything or nothing from Ravi[/box]

Photo Credit: artstanderâ„¢ via Compfight cc

You must be to comment.
  1. Priyanka Peeramsetty

    Well depicted version of – “Celebration is what matters to you, not to the rest of the planet”. Let that wanting be pure and chaste 🙂 Kudos !

  2. Harinie Thiagarajan

    Wow! Excellent narration of the reality.. Keep it up!

  3. Karmanye Thadani

    Interesting.

  4. Astha

    It is a beautiful article. I like the combination of innocence and thoughful-ness. Very Nice. 🙂

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Shashi Sinha

By Vineet Ranga

By Ronak Aazad

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below