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Being Mediocre

We all have grown up listening to the assertion by our seniors that we are living in an imperfect world along with imperfect people, dealing with imperfect circumstances and striving to achieve perfection for a better tomorrow. The strange thing that I find here is that we are aiming to make this planet a better place to live for our future generation but considering the cut-throat competition in every field or domain in the current scenario, it can be easily predicted that situations would get even tougher for a person to survive in along with his collaborators. The parameter of a success of a person is not defined by his previous achievements but how much more he has achieved as compared to his companions. In this competitive world, no one should forget the basic thumb rule of success that there can be only one winner in a race. The winner would definitely be getting all the rewards and laurels for his achievement and his next step would be to sustain that tag. On the other hand, the person who came last might just realise that they should rather focus on something else as this might just not be their cup of tea. But has anybody wondered what path should a person follow who does not belong to any of the two categories? What about the one who is mediocre?

Taking into account the ever increasing population of this globe, competition will continue to be present everywhere and it is going to become tougher in the coming times. People from smaller towns continue to move to metropolitan cities to look for better opportunities and people in metropolitan areas would move abroad looking for even better opportunities. Millions of students appear for engineering and management entrance examinations every year, thousands of people appear for job interviews every day and don’t forget those who are applying for a foreign visa to work and settle abroad to lead a better life.  No one is denying the opportunities being available, but the harsh truth is that these are limited in number and not everyone can enjoy the fruits of the available opportunity. Those who miss out on the opportunity from a distance might rather come with a belief to try their hands on something else which they could be capable of. But this discussion is about those who may miss out because of certain points. They might feel about giving it another try and secure a comfortable position the next time. But what if even after repetitive efforts the goal which they are looking for appears to be a distant dream. There is a possibility that after gaining a certain experience the position of a person improves, but they still may be not good enough to be tagged as the winner. But the question is, what should be the future course of action for this person? Should he continue to make efforts hoping that things may get better the next time? Should he just quit and look for something where his true capability lies? Or should he be satisfied with what he has achieved so far and accept that he is nothing but a mediocre person who is probably not just good enough?

In our society, ‘mediocre’ is considered to be a negative word which everyone wants to run away from. But it is probably also a word which everyone wants to impose on every other person except themselves. Nobody wants to be or aims to be mediocre. Everyone wants to achieve a high level of perfection in the work that they perform, in their personality and in their attitude. Who doesn’t love to be on the winning side? But what if one is not destined to achieve success through the road map one has opted for themselves? What if somebody is not running on the ‘right track’. It could be personal disbelief or it could be the peer pressure that doesn’t let someone come out of the state of not being good enough. One may quote a million examples of business leaders, sports persons and achievers or witness hundreds of motivational videos regarding how to take inspiration from these people and follow their actions in our life. But I doubt if anyone would raise any objection to the point that the actual reason for their success could either be that they followed their own passion or they were simply good enough for their achievement. Being worthy is an important aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked as even after putting all your energies you might just fail to lift Thor’s hammer if you are not worth it.

But before everyone starts calling me negative, let me make the confession that the true purpose of writing this blog was to celebrate mediocrity. A winner might fight with the rest of the world to achieve the desired level of success but a mediocre person fights with himself to continue making efforts irrespective of the outcomes. He has to listen to the continuous criticism by his family members and the society for not being proactive. There have been a lot of stuff written about winners in the form of stories and poems but why can’t we try to appreciate ordinary people around us.

P.S. Even I am a mediocre writer?

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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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