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How A Biker Broke My Lifelong Dream Of Wanting A Girl Child

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A dream. When in the midst of chaos, you crave for something that seems improbable, it becomes a dream. My dream came in the form of a Sunday.

After a hectic week of cooking, cleaning utensils, attending lectures and sitting through senior school, aka college, comes this one day – when you wake up with no expectations at all. When you don’t have to plan anything. It’s just you rolling around in your bed, under the comfort of your blanket, even though it’s not cold at all, with the curtains playing kabaddi with you, teasing you with every little gust of wind. When the traffic takes a nap longer than usual and you can feel the calm in every breath. And your life isn’t running according to your pre-planned timetable.

Today was that dream come true. I ate to my heart’s content, took an afternoon nap, feeling like a grandpa as I took it, but weirdly feeling younger when I woke up. At seven in the evening, I went out for dinner with a few women friends. A nice dinner, laughs – the usual. But after such a nice day, even the usual felt abnormally good. I dropped two of the three women back, and the last woman and I took a walk. A nice two-hour conversation, some strawberry ice-cream, and then I dropped her off at her hostel.

But this is perfect, right? Why would I write a blog if everything was okay and had a happy ending? After all, I started this article by calling it a dream – and dreams aren’t reality.

As I walked back, passing through the streets of the student area, there came the line between the dream and reality. The line was being drawn by a biker, who had a friend behind him. He rode in all directions except the one he was supposed to be on, and took a sharp turn, slapped a girl on the butt, who was walking with her friend on the footpath, and then zoomed off.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Take a moment, read the line again, because I had to see and accept what I had just seen.

Now, have you ever watched a movie where there’s a chauvinistic man who throws his authority over the woman and treats her like she’s an object of sex? You’re just watching this and thinking “If I was there, I’d teach the guy a lesson. I’d push him through the glass and beat him up in front of society and publicly shame him.”

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Not one bit.

I watched this, and I stood there. Time stood alongside me. The music somehow muted itself and the ice cream had left my throat dry. And I felt everything and nothing at the same time. Nothing at all. Empty. Not angry, not hopeless, not sad, not disappointed. Just empty. Reality dawned, and I started walking, slowly, but steadily towards my place and I felt panic take over me, and I didn’t have the courage to look back at what I had seen, to see if the girl was okay or crying, because panic brought every negative and demeaning emotion with it. I did eventually look back, but the girl just kept walking, like nothing had happened.

And I thought to myself, in a city like Bangalore, where modern culture and thoughts are at its peak, we have this. If I had faced this personally, I’d be one step closer to killing myself. I’d panic trying to do anything. Maybe even to walk to the supermarket across the road, just with the fear that someone will hurt me. I would stereotype, and say the harshest things about the sex that did that to me, and any morality would seem irrelevant.

But that’s not the thing that hurt me the most. What hit me, was this. Looking at this from a father’s perspective. It’s my dream to have a daughter. A cute, chubby little girl, who’d grow into a fine, mature woman fighting to leave a mark, a lasting impression. Where I’d love her like no parent has ever before and I’d innately protect her from the tiniest miseries.

And then comes this biker. What if my daughter had to face this?

How will she leave a mark on the world, when a random, shallow, useless, filthy and sick man, has left an irremovable scar on her? Because he managed to destroy my dream by being in it for 10 seconds.

And I don’t have a solution here, maybe not even a point, but this happened and the next thing I did was write about this, because a part of me still doesn’t know how to feel.

And this. This is how, a biker broke my life long dream, and this why I don’t want a girl child anymore.

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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.

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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.

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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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