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5 Things That Should Excite You A Lot More Than Getting BBM On Your Phone

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By Soumya Raj:

Once upon a time, there was a smartphone called Blackberry, and its USP was the Blackberry Messenger. This instant messaging application was an exclusive of the Blackberry smartphone, and the charm of it was such that people specifically bought Blackberry phones to talk over Blackberry Messenger. Blackberry was one of the most expensive cell phones available in the market, and owning one was a thing of pride.

But really, is it that big a deal? With the ever growing social media market producing something nasty to ruin our privacy every other day, we don’t have time to pay attention to all the people whose lives revolve around punching texts feverishly day in and day out on their keypads, to gain a little boost to their egos every once in a while. What once was an indulgence for solely the owners of Blackberry smartphones has been made available to all. So what! It is just another app now. We still have our real lives placed well ahead of our virtual ones. Here are 5 things that should excite people more than getting a BBM pin to chat through right now. And trust me; these are pretty cool and more enriching than pinging your buddies all day.


Getting a voter’s ID. I know, your BBM pins are sort of your birth right to text, and the emoticons are super cute to look at (I have been a Blackberry user myself), but as much as getting a BBM pin right now seems important, so is acquiring a voter’s ID. To many the 2014 elections are going to be the first, and exercising your rights in order to shape up the government seems much better than shaping up your social media image at the moment.


Filing an RTI. And then cribbing about the information you gain, with dignity. We know. We know your BBM pin spells awesome and convenience. We also know that your display pictures portray you as nothing short of a star. And, surprise, we also know you use your BBM status to update qualms about every second thing in your life every single hour. But did you know that rather than using your BBM profile to voice your views, you can file an RTI and find out about the makings of the government, hence gain a fair chance and knowledge to study the loopholes in the functioning of your country, and then criticize every second thing in the country in a justified manner? Yes. Even on BBM.


Watching “Shahid”. So we have movies which cross the 100 crore benchmark. Geez, the money these people make — it’s almost an obscene amount. Granted there is a lot of entertainment going on in your contact list at the moment that absolutely, utterly cannot wait, but you should definitely watch a film that tears your hearts apart rather than your pockets. I suggest you put your phones away for a second and make an effort to watch this movie by Hansal Mehta and Anurag Kashyap, called “Shahid”. It will touch your heart without you touching the keypad. Even once.


Because getting out of the closet just went royal in India. We Indians don’t know how to do it without doing it large. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is the first India royal ever to come out of the closet. His journey and contribution for gay rights activism is sure to inspire you. What better a way to state an example? There. Here’s how we celebrate harmony. By accepting everyone with open arms, and not just by accepting their BBM requests.


Witnessing a rocket launch to Mars by ISRO. You don’t have to buy a Blackberry phone to use the Blackberry messenger. You are getting the indulgence, literally for free. As much as the ecstasy is driving you over the moon, you must feel even more thrilled for a rocket launch by the Indian Space Research Organization that is planning a rocket launch to Mars in the second half of 2013. Hello Martians! This will be out first mission to Mars. You see, science is not only limited to the beauty of instant messenger apps. It transcends to magical things called the universe and celestial bodies, too. Amazing, don’t you agree?

While we keep going gaga over what a miracle Blackberry Messenger is, there are many things left in the world we ought to be enjoying. I would rather behold a more actual world than be drowned within this quick sand of social media that doesn’t allow you to come up, once you step in. As much as the world has come within our reach, a basic sense of quest, qualitative lifestyle and humanity has gone out of our reach. It’s time we invest our resources into much more worthwhile examples, rather than turn into zombies who work only on the number of “pings” their phones make per day.

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  1. Vaishali Jain

    Oh, this is so good. Soumya, thank you for the mention of Shahid; this movie deserves all the attention it can get.

  2. Mugdha Tomar

    Soumya It’s just awesome.Thumbs Up to You 🙂

  3. Mugdha Tomar

    You also done a great job by mentioning about Manvendra Singh Gohil……about whom still very few know.

  4. zeabhishek

    Thank you so much for the awesome stereotype. Funny you talk about ‘coming out of the closet’ cite an example of a wonderful man “accepting everyone with open arms”. is what you say and then put us all in the same box. Contradicting yourself, much?

    So apparently people who might innocently ping their friends are doing it for an ego boost. Because downloading a *free* app is supposed to make us smug no?

    Funny you talk of social acceptance and doing productive things so as to widen our horizons yet your views are so extreme. I mean a free app has been downloaded, blasphemy right? How could we be like sheep and do it blindly?

    So me and some of my friends having been fighting for women rights for the past couple of years. No we do not have a NGO we associate ourselves with nor do we belong to a particular group on social media. Heck we do a lot of things but then I’d rather not be an idiot by listing out everything but let’s just say we do our bit for the society.

    We have BBM pins. But let’s just ignore our professional and social deeds, never mind we spent our new years eve at Jantar Mantar. We have so much to learn cause we downloaded BBM.

    We think our pictures on BB make us look like a star? I wouldn’t mind putting my best picture on a social platform. Why are people on Facebook updating profile pictures? I mean I’m sure you’re not on Facebook considering your take on people who use social media platforms do it because they need to vent out or look like a star.

    This is extremely narrow minded. The only thing that differentiates you from other people is the fact that you’re not speaking against what we consider ‘dangerous’ in society. Had this article been about women who like to dress up as stars or something to that effect, you would have been in trouble. Doesn’t take away the fact that your take on a segment is still narrow minded.

    A lot of people might have already done much more than the ‘to do’ list you’ve put up. For all you know some of them might be on BBM. What is your take on such people?

    If you want to ‘accept everyone with open arms’ cut the alternate, intellectual one-upmanship stand and accept people for what they are. If you’re mature enough to acknowledge those who’ve stepped out of the closet then let sense prevail and respect those who may make choices you do not agree with.

    The only problem with a society in which women, LGBT community and any other suppressed community suffers is the lack of tolerance for other people. I hope you understand what I’m getting at.

    Also, you did own a BB, didn’t you? Did you buy it for BBM? I didn’t. I’ve always had a Samsung but it feels good to own a app for free for which people would 10 grand and upwards for, more importantly, it gives me the freedom of choice to connect with who I want. I find it funny when people tell me what I ought to do instead.

    1. Soumya Raj

      No Sir, the point was not criticizing BBM in any way. I mentioned I am a user myself. The article was not focusing on how BBM is bad, but how only paying attention to it is bad, and not paying attention to much prettier and inspiring things in life.

      Also, by mentioning Manvendra Singh Gohil, I intended to bring across the point that we need to work more on rights activism for everyone, and accept them as they are naturally, because there is nothing unnatural or strange about being lesbian or gay or transgender.

      The title of the article is 5 things that should excite you more than BBM, not that BBM shouldn’t excite you at all. 🙂

  5. zeabhishek

    Talk about being ‘accepting’ you just deleted a very logical argument to your skewed narrow minded approach on the post above.

    1. zeabhishek

      My bad. Accept my apologies, Soumya. I could not see my comment for a while.

  6. Lata Jha

    Love this one, Soumya!

  7. Saurabh Gandhi

    Eye opening article for many of us!

  8. Sonakshi

    Also, watch ‘Gravity’.It is an amazing movie with enthralling visual effects. You’ll realize how lucky you are to be on earth, thereby you should care a lot more for it than you usually do.

  9. Yash

    Very well said. People are spreading their BBM pin like they just got a new cool name…

  10. Yeshu Aggarwal (@yeshu_a)

    One doesn’t easily get a Voter’s ID or information via RTI. Getting a BBM is much easier 😉 😛

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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.

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.

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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.

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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)’.

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.

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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.”

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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.

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.

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