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To My Best Friend – With Whom I Can Travel Worlds Of Fantasy And Reality

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To the girl with whom I can travel the whole world of fantasy and reality – Niveydita Trivedi.

July 24 or 25, 2017

At 11:30 am, I came back from my classes and the first thing I saw was a suitcase kept on the stairs. It made me upset because I knew another new girl will be staying in my hostel and the thing is that I hate having too many people around me.

I just moved upstairs towards my room and there stood a new stranger in front of me. I was familiar with her name and some of her characteristics through what I’d heard from different people. She was in a black three-fourth sleeve top. She had charming eyes, a cute smile and a carefree tone of voice.

I just had a formal conversation with her and then proceeded towards my room. Later, we cracked many jokes on the same day and the connection between our senses of humour worked for us and we became close. But it was too early to call us best friends.

Then, the next day at 5:30 am, she came to my room. She asked me about the classes, we talked about her riding a bullet motorcycle and many other things. But I knew she came for a different reason. She wanted to open her heart and yet, she didn’t. Trust issues could have been the reason she was holding back.

Later, she waited for me at breakfast which really made me happy. I experienced a different feeling with someone whom I had thought was a stranger – but was she now?

It would be honest to say that neither were we strangers nor besties. It was something between that. Then, we went from breakfast to lunch, from lunch to evening tea, from tea to having snacks, then from starting to understand each other a little to dinner, and then straight to the heart. I didn’t even realise how this happened in such a short span of time. She wanted to show the scars which had made their place in her heart and which she had hidden behind her echoing laughter. I just needed to recognise it.

She held some pieces of broken dreams and sealed emotions in her beauty and her smile. Actually, she wanted to tell all those things to me, but she also wanted to know how broken I was. She wanted to know the beauty of my pain. This was her way to connect to me and yes, I was also giving her time. Because I wanted her to bare her soul and the scars it contained. It was important because I wanted to understand her heart so that I could see what her real smile looked like.

I was successful. I was successful in comforting her and helping her free her thoughts. She spoke about her pain, her suffering, her love, her sacrifices but she stopped at a point. Why did she stop?

She stopped because she thought she couldn’t cry. And there was again that smile which covered everything.

I recognised it to be a fake smile.

She had divided her whole past into several parts and had kept those parts at different levels. She picked a part and matched it with mine. If she came to know we had similar parts, she would then tell her part of the story..

She is a girl with a butterfly heart and her soul is like the Mona Lisa portrait. She is selfless in her actions and charming in her looks. Her chubby cheeks and duckly shaped boat pattern lips are quite sexy. Her dreamy eyes and thin cleavage, her silky straight and thin hair, her curvy back, puffy thighs and sleeve covered hands are just awesome.

I have shared every inch of my life with her and she is my co-traveller. She is my shadow. She has made me believe in the theory of soul sisters. I have started laughing more often. Now I understand the theory of the collision of similar emotions – a chemical locha. And most importantly, I get to have someone with whom I can cover the journey of togetherness and friendship in the real world where even fantasies can be fulfilled. I feel as if I can go beyond my limits if I walk with her.

She is sometimes like a kid to me but she also happens to be one of the most mature girls I’ve known, with whom I can see the world from different perspectives.

Author’s note: Life is very short. In general, getting a soul sister or a girlfriend who is selfless to you is next to impossible. And I think if you are lucky enough to have her, then remind her how much you love her.

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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.

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.

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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.

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 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)’.

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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 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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