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For All Those Who’re Quiet And Like Being Alone, This Is For You

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By Syed Akrama:

In a big MNC, there are different teams present working for some project. Obviously, there are numerous kind of people with different behavioral traits and habits. Every Friday or some other day, HR organises ‘fun’ activities as stress busters. During the 10-12 hours of working each day, the floor is rarely quiet as someone will always be shouting either to get things done or to inquire about something. People also mingle at each other’s desk until the manager arrives to break their bonding.

When colleagues go out for snacks, some are found sitting at their desk, doing their work. When others are having lunch in groups, these people are still at their desk or probably at some silent place quietly eating something, most probably they’ll gulp their food at their desk. When the HR insists everyone to participate in activities, they pretend to look extremely busy and refuse to leave their desk. When everyone is rushing here and there, they are calmly performing their tasks and when everyone is looking at the clock ticking at 6 pm while the manager is asking them to work for two more hours, these people are packing their stuff to leave for their home. They are done with their work at time and without wasting a single second they’ll vanish from everyone’s view. They can’t wait to get out of that place and be in their comfort zones again.

Similarly, in a college or school classroom, students are shouting, singing, fighting and the noise is at its peak. Few students will be sitting quietly at a corner either reading something or listening to music at the loudest possible volume through their headphones. When everyone is roaming in groups, they are either sitting in the library or some quiet place. They prefer to stay away from meaningless conversations and merely blabbering random stuff. They hate small talk so they prefer to avoid any chance of it. As soon as school or college gets over, they disappear quickly.

They reach their place, get into the most comfortable oversized outfit they can find, switch on the TV or get a book with a plate full of food and they relax. Some of them can’t wait to get back with their partner so they reach home and spend the rest of their time doing something they’d actually enjoy. It’s hard for these people to carry on conversations with their relatives for more than a minute and answering all those questions.

The ‘normal’ people of the outer world consider them as sad, depressed, shy, lonely, awkward or simply, weirdos. It’s hard for some people to understand how someone can actually enjoy being with themselves and how they can stay silent for so long.

On the other hand, these people are not sad, shy or weird, they are not at all what they look like in front of the crowd. Their actual personality is covered with different layers which you can only understand if you interact with them for real. They enjoy all those little things which other people also do, some of them can be found singing like crazy in loud voices an some of them might be brilliant dancers, actors or artists. The point is that these people are what they want to be. They do enjoy their lives but not in front of others because they can’t connect with those who doesn’t understand them & hence they put up a wall in between. Solitude is their friend & peace is their love.

When you are enjoying with your friends during vacations, they might be on a solo trip to some place or just with their partner. When you are crazily dancing at a disco, they might be walking at a beach or sitting at a hill top surrounded by the beauty of nature. When you are taking selfies with tons of your friends, they might be clicking birds or simply the view in front of their eyes. When you are telling each and every detail of your life to anyone who pops in front of you, they might be discussing their life with the person they trust. They might turn into philosophers given a chance. When you are having your birthday party, they might be celebrating theirs by having a cup of coffee alongside a novel.

These people also do crazy stuff with their friends, they also do things which you might never guess they’d do but they don’t showcase it and they don’t put it all out for the world.

These people are known as introverts and a huge chunk of our population is introverted. Not every quiet person is introvert and not every introvert is quiet. People look at introverts with a sense of negativity which should not be the case. “Why don’t you speak much?” When introverts are asked this question (which is a lot) they mentally bang their head against the wall with a thought. “I never asked you: why are you so loud?” Some people are introverts by default while others acquire this trait as they move ahead.

Why are we so judgmental and why do we degrade those who do not fit into our criteria of being normal or cool? Why do we assume things on our own when we know nothing about the person? And why do we even think or talk about others? Being alone and being lonely are two extremely different things. We should not judge someone and we should refrain ourselves from creating our own versions of people because we don’t know them at all.

To all those silent people out there, I want to say that you are not at all weird or different from those who claim otherwise. Each and every individual is unique and so are you. It doesn’t matter if you speak too much or not, what matters is only what you feel and what you want to do. It’s okay if you have limited number of friends because you know that these friends will be with you in every situation and you can trust them completely. It’s also okay if someone doesn’t understand you because it’s not an easy task after all. You should not feel guilty saying no to things you don’t like. You should not feel sad when you turn someone down because you can’t feel the connection. It’s okay to be silent and it’s okay to love solitude, it’s okay to be introverted and it’s okay to be yourself. Be genuine, be real, be happy and keep maintaining the balance between loud and quiet in this universe.

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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.

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.

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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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