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This Tragic Tale Of Love Reminds You Why You Shouldn’t Take Your Loved Ones For Granted

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By Aakash Joshi:

love marriage specialist
For representation only. Image source: Google

I met Anant when I was in 6th grade. A very smart person with decent looks, Anant made for a talkative, naughty and charming classmate. He had a smile which impressed many and helped him make quite a few friends. With each passing grade, we became the best of buddies.

However, when college started, I moved to a different city and phone became the only way to stay connected with my childhood friend. During his college days, he met a girl named Tia – his good looking and charming classmate. Their relationship started with a close friendship and progressed to love. And within the second year of their course, the two of them were in a committed relationship. Whenever I visited my hometown, I would make it a point to meet the two of them. Somehow, I always felt that Anant’s smile was what kept them glued together.

Time passed, and we had reached what you could call the marriageable age. Anant and Tia now had 6 years of togetherness to fall back on. In a generation which has the power to end relations by simply sending a message; where people change with the blink of an eye, here I was witnessing two amateurs who were still dedicatedly in love. They knew each other inside out. Whether it was the happy side or the miserable one, their understanding of each other was what made their bond so extraordinary.

They spoke to their parents about getting married – argued and fought but stayed adamant in not letting go of each other. Somehow they knew that love is something which can be and should be fought for. Before I knew it, I was preparing the invitation cards for the guests. A day I wanted to witness since so long had finally arrived.

In the midst of happiness what we forget is the temporality of our emotions. Nothing lasts longer than it is destined to. We are animals of hope, and that’s what keeps us going. One and a half years after Anant and Tia’s wedding, I got a call. Waking me up from an afternoon nap, I picked up Anant’s call only to have an unknown voice speak to me – “Hi Brother. This is Raj. Our sister in law Tia is no more. Her rituals are to be performed at 11:30 today.”

The phone left me in the state of shock. I was not sure what and how to react. Sitting isolated in my dorm in a different city so far away, I felt incapable of doing anything that would make things better. I called my parents and friends and asked them to reach Anant’s place at the earliest.

And then I was crying. Only to try and hold back my tears and be strong the next moment. All those 6 years of knowing Tia were running through my mind. All the short and sweet memories I had with her and, moreover, with them will now be permanently stained with the sorrow of death.

It took me hours to realise what Anant might be going through. People asked me to talk to him, but it was just not possible for me to do so. Maybe I was scared of witnessing the pain and harsh reality in his voice. I never understood why people often try to console and stop others from crying during such situations. One must shed their share of tears before the wound heals. I didn’t call him for many days. I couldn’t.

My parents told me that Tia had been suffering from lung infection. And as fate would have it, Anant had to move to a different city for his work at around the same time. He would return to the city only on weekends to meet Tia. During the last week when things got worse and she was admitted to the hospital, he could only return by the time she had permanently made peace with his absence.

My parents said they found it overwhelmingly difficult to face Anant at his home. His eyes were swollen with the constant crying. He was not able to carry himself without the support of others. My mother also cried seeing his plight; pitying his loss at such an early age.

I was not able to imagine what Anant might have felt seeing his companion lying lifeless on the hospital bed, not opening her eyes one last time. I blamed fate, destiny and life. I never understood what mistake that 25-year-old girl could have committed?

And what about Anant? Wasn’t this when he was supposed to enjoy life with his love instead of losing everything like this? I cried for days, feeling sorry for all that had happened. I felt sorry that Anant had lost the love which had held him together in times of sorrow and pain; the love which cheered him in his success. The one who was the reason for him to grow and achieve more was now no more. These past 7 years, Anant and Tia had created memories and lived a life of dreams that suddenly all ended in ashes.

3 weeks later, I returned to the city deciding to meet Anant that very night. We sat facing each other, barely talking; not once daring to mention Tia. We exchanged an awkward smile aware more than ever of the huge void she had left behind her. A void that was now filled rather oddly by an inanimate garlanded photo frame, propped in-between our sofas. One that froze her in a single moment complete with her bridal suit and smiling face. We glanced at her photo, looked at each other and could only fall silent again.

Maybe it was still the smile playing charmingly on their faces that was keeping them together even now.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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