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Books – The Undivorceable Companion

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People my age are busy finding their soul mates; I thought why I should be out of the league, suppressing my libido thus being unfair to my hormones. Animates were falling for opposite animates, but in course of me being fair, my hormones camouflaged and got me trapped with an inanimate object. In simple words, this summer break, I fell in love with bundles of well-arranged paper. The love of books is a love which requires neither justification, nor apology, nor defence. So it is quite easy.

Life is short, why live just one? While lingering with books I found many lives, in the same very object to which I called inanimate. So reading books is not a dull or boring stuff perhaps reading is the most happening thing. A silent reader found in the corner with his book is not lost in solitude, instead is a traveller, observer and a man of erudition.

Honestly, when I started reading, it was not out of any curiosity but fancy. I was the same reader as we often see in the college stairway with books more than their weight probably and in the world class library (Digital Refreshment Park) of our so called branded college, lying on an exquisite lounge sofa reliving their back and unnecessarily aching to their eyes with a book. But in due course, I got involved and was lost in between the lines, the lines which told many untold stories, the lines which divulged many veiled truths. So I got fascinated to explore the world and manoeuvre many lives in one allotted.

Reading enhances the horizon of imagination. Unlike on television or theatre, the visual narrates the story, but one doesn’t live the character; whereas while reading, the protagonist and antagonist, both being the reader, relive the story. What would be more enthralling for a teen imagining himself as Spiderman, and folks our age getting into the character of Edward Cullen and romancing Bella Swan in the “Twilight”. Ever heard of the Game of Thrones? The most followed TV series, yeah; we love it and are crazy about it. Be it Ned Stark the powerful wise man, Robb Stark the young energetic fresh blood, and Bran Stark the kid who can foresee the future, nonetheless Jon Snow the fierce bastard, the Lord in the North. Never ever have disappointed or less-enthralled a viewer, but a reader always boasts of a never ending anxiety and thrills.

Readers are travellers; they wander around the world through the eye of pages. They experience different cultures, encounters different people from different walks of life; sometimes the happiest or saddest of them all. Khaled Hosseini, the famous bestseller, boards his reader in the flight which travels from Afghanistan to Pakistan and then to America and India. Amidst the travel, the reader gets to meet the people in absolute plight, the country in turmoil and the country going through industrialization.

Reading makes you observant. While in my case, going through “The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness” Though half read, I met India in its minutest detail. After a moment of navel-gazing, my mind hovered over the Vinod-stall at gate number three of my college. The area predominantly famous for cigarette and weed smokers, where I discovered, this is how Delhiite addresses each-other with profound love in one breath without pause.

Readers are people of erudition. I firmly believe everyone knows everything, but one thing that sets them apart from readers, they are not well-organized, but when one reads a writer like Paulo Coelho in “The Alchemist” He brings the synchronization of cluttered thoughts and ideas in jittery conscious and subconscious brain. This makes a good reader a good speaker: a speaker whose words contain weight and the world listens to him with half open mouth and unblinking eyes.

At the end why did I use the word Undivorceable though it doesn’t exist in English Dictionary? Well, we are always surrounded by many good folks, but all of them are there for some purpose, and their goodness departs with their purpose, then it will be called priority. Books will always be there steering your path ahead, it will make you aware before you totter. It has a magic wand of all mysteries. As wisely said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies”.

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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.

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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 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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