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The Beautiful Chaos

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By Mayank Mohanti:

What would you do if it all came back to you? All the woes and worries that you had been wary of, the ebb and flow of waves crashing at your doorsteps—would you let it in? Would you listen to the call of wind, or still be living in a shadow? Well, the latter might seem a preferable choice given your tragic past experiences, but the question remains the same: do you have what it takes to go all the way?

A hundred such thoughts flashed by Maverick’s eyes as he lay seated on the terrace watching the beautiful sky. The magnanimity of the blue canvas interspersed with the thick white fluffy cotton smoke would often leave him in a daze. On days like these, his eyes would drift towards the picturesque hues of the setting sun and the varied V-shapes into which the birds flew back home. He would be stupefied by the mammoth concrete structures and the sheer distance that he could see. Never was he disturbed by the indistinct clatter down the street, for he always basked in the pleasures of gazing at people—the young and pretty, the sad and drowsy, the ones pedalling hard and the others, riding fast.

Every Thursday, he would pay the terrace a visit and would lose himself in the serene surrounding of silence and solitude. But today, it was different. As he climbed the stairs, he could see that the Earth was enveloped in darkness. He turned his gaze towards the heavily laden grey clouds hovering over the sky: perhaps, trying to find a resemblance to something symbolic to his imagination. It seemed to ask him something, something that no one else had bothered to care:

“What’s wrong Mav… Why do you tread on such horizon?”

That was it. The sheer timing and the categorical ambience of that question overwhelmed him to the point of shutting down. Maverick had buried those pain and pleasure moments far down his artery and left them untouched so that they could be forgotten with time; but sadly, that was not to be. We don’t really have total control over our thoughts, do we?

He was frozen into stillness. His heart pumped the blood deep, intermingling it with the emotions galore that laid a complete seize over his body and mind. Not wanting to fall weak at that moment, he made a feeble attempt to rise from his stupor, only to be disappointed. His eyes followed the dark clouds—they reminded him of the days she would excuse his silent affection and ignore the cry of his soul, no matter how loud they might be. Nonetheless, he carried on: hoping against hope that it would be different tomorrow. But then, our Mav had forgotten that his life was no romantic fiction that deserved a happy ending. It was only but obvious that the hammer would strike someday: the only question was, when?

It was March the 5th, the day when Maverick was fiddling with his phone and social media that he saw her donning an ethnic wear—she was walking hand-in-hand with someone down the stairs of a historical monument in India’s pink city. Fearing the worst, the immature little kid went on and on to browse numerous other uploaded photos: of her, that stranger, and every other mutual friend that might give some clue to the unnerving curious case. He had lost track of time but found out the thing that mattered him the most.

Though his heart was broken, he didn’t let his composure go downhill for he could bear a thousand needles pierce through his body, but he couldn’t stand her living a life full of guilt. ‘The burden would be too much for her little heart to carry’, he thought and then resolved to stay away from her forever.

Suddenly, there was a spark in the sky and for a moment, everything became visible to him. He could see the trees swaying in the wind, the empty clothesline above the adjacent building, and a couple of alien heads basking in the beauty offered by this unpredictable weather.

And then it rained. It came down hard and fast and heavy as if they were the last hanging up in the sky. It seemed as if these drops from heaven were in a hurry to kiss those moist eyes, to soothe his otherwise disturbed plight. He remained seated with his head over his knee and hands wrapped around his leg, letting the torrent wash away his worries—all those salt and sweet moments that he didn’t want to remember any longer.

When the downpour did finally come to halt, our Mav was a new man; or, perhaps that same smiling soul that he was in his childhood. That chill in his drenched body made him realise the essence of letting go. He understood that the feeling could choke himself if he were to hold on to something that was never meant to be his. “Life is not about confining yourself, but in traversing new horizons”, he told himself as he ruffled his wet hair into the towel.


Image courtesy: Thomas Hawk/Flickr
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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.

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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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        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
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