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Dad, My Guitar And Cricket Are Gone As I Didn’t Want You To Think Your Beta Is ‘Useless’

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Editor's note: This post is a part of #BHL, a campaign by BBC Media Action and Youth Ki Awaaz to redefine and own the label of what a 'bigda hua ladka or ladki' really is. If you believe in making your own choices and smashing this stereotype, share your story.

Dear mom and dad,

I know I’ll never be able to express my love for you and how much I respect you and care about you. I want to confess a few things today that I can never say face to face.

Dad, I especially want to tell you a few things that I can never speak in front of you and hopefully, this will reduce the differences between our hearts a little bit.

Mom, I know you can understand my feelings sometimes, but more often than not, you also treat me in the same way as everybody else.

I know I have always annoyed you both – sometimes by my careless behaviour, sometimes by my silly way of doing things or sometimes by being rude.

Dad, I never told you but I have always felt proud of what you have done for me and I know you’ll always keep doing it. Quietly, I always aim to be like you – you have carried the responsibility of the family so beautifully over the years, and without ever making us realise how hard you had to earn all that money.

Mom, I realise your struggles, the hardships you had to undergo with dad for our upbringing.

Mom and dad, please don’t ever think that your careless son doesn’t realise the hardships you’ve been through – I know how much you both had to struggle to give me the best possible education.

Both of you have always told me to respect elders, greet everybody, respect other genders and never hurt anybody’s feelings. Even when I a little disrespectful, believe me, I never intend to hurt others’ feelings but it happens in the heat of the moment. Otherwise, it’s just my conscience which won’t allow me to respect somebody I hate. But that doesn’t mean that I have forgotten all that you taught me.

I know you think that I feel jealous of the extra love that you shower on my sister. I know you think that I feel annoyed when you scold me for her mistakes.

But I’d like to clarify that I neither feel jealous nor annoyed – because I know your love for me is everlasting and your scoldings are just temporary.

I just want to tell you that sometimes I too require a little extra love from the both of you. A little extra care, a little more attention. Yes, I may not show it but sometimes I too need these things.

I know, you spent a lot on my education and that it hurts you when I don’t achieve the expected results. But that doesn’t mean I don’t try. I put in as much effort as I possibly can. But if I don’t achieve the desired results even then, it doesn’t mean I haven’t worked hard, dad. Believe me, I know the worth of hard-earned money and I know that I have to study not only for myself but for yours and mom’s futures too.

Mom and dad, I’ll work so hard that one day, you can finally say that this careless creature has made you proud. But keep believing in me, because right now, that is what I require most. I may be depressed but my dreams haven’t been shattered. I am working hard to achieve what you both have always dreamt of.

Dad, that day, when I had failed in my exams, I attempted suicide when you told me that I wasn’t good for anything. I felt shattered again. Not because it hurt me, but because you thought I was careless enough to think only of myself.

No, dad. I wasn’t being selfish but I didn’t want you and mom to feel ashamed of my failure.

Mom, do you remember when you woke up around midnight and found me writing something in my room? That was the time when I had proposed to a girl who I loved a lot. She told me no and said that I wasn’t worth her. I was feeling very lonely that day, but still, I didn’t let the emotions show up on my face. I didn’t want you and dad to know what was going on inside me.

Yes mom, I loved the girl I always kept talking to and you thought she was selfish and was talking to me only because she needed me for getting some work done. You thought she was hampering my studies.

Mom, I thought you would understand how happy your son was while talking to her. I don’t know if she was talking for selfish reasons or not but whenever I would talk to her, her smile would motivate me. Yes, I loved her but sadly she didn’t. I was heartbroken but I didn’t let my face express it, lest I be branded a coward.

Dad and mom, I know a time will come when you’ll feel that my peers have gotten settled and are earning well, while I may still be mediocre – please don’t feel disheartened – your son may earn an average amount, but will always work day and night to give you both the most comforting place in the world.

Dad, I left writing the day when you thought it was hampering my studies and career. Sometimes, I still quietly write but no, I’ll never show that all my writings are dedicated to my loneliness, failure and sour relations between you and me. Guitar, cricket bat, and that sketch pen are all lost now – because I never wanted you to say to mom, “Yeh ladka jindagi me kuch nahi kar payega. (This boy will never be able to do anything in his life.)

Dad, I hereby make a promise that I’ll marry the girl that you and mom choose for me. Whoever you feel is good for me will become my wife. But please don’t make a decision in hastiness. Please bring a girl who can make our family complete, not a girl who divides our family.

I have always loved how you said that we’ll never ask for dowry from during my marriage. It makes me feel even more proud when you say that my wife won’t just be your daughter-in-law, she’ll be your daughter.

Mom and dad, I love you for what you have given me. I respect you for what you have sacrificed for me. I have made many mistake. I confessed what a careless son like me keeps inside his heart.

This is something we are never supposed to say – because it is deemed that boys don’t care. But believe me, we do care – we care for our relationships, we care for parents, we care for their hard work and we care for each and everyone surrounding us. Sometimes, we just fail to express that we care.

Your careless-yet-caring son

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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.

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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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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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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.

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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.

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