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Why Bollywood Romance Is Never Like The Real Thing: A Married Woman’s Rant

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I remember the first time I watched “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”, I went crazy. I pranced around the house, rolling myself in a towel and irritating the hell out of my mother.

That was my first introduction to love. In those days, love simply meant meeting a guy who you hate at first, but then eventually falling in love with them. After millions of atrocities committed on you by the society, you marry and have sex with the guy.

Actually, the ‘sex part’ didn’t come till “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”. Sex meant kissing each other everywhere, except the mouth, while fully-clothed and getting wet from an unexpected shower of rain. The actual lesson, though, came much later – with Brazzers, and not a Bollywood movie.

Real Life Intruded

So, when I finally got engaged to my husband after meeting him just once, my dreams of love were shattered. Of course, no one forced me to marry a decent man who was responsible and caring, but love isn’t supposed to happen this way!

Worse, my now-husband-then-fiance never understood. He never called me up at work, so that I could prance around holding my mobile while my colleagues teased me playfully. He never followed me home or got jealous of my male friends. I mean, that, according to me, is the definition of love – you have to get jealous and follow me!

Although, to be honest, I was scared shitless when I was actually stalked by a guy who threatened to slash his veins if I didn’t say yes. It hardly matters now – the compass was blunt and he didn’t even know the location of veins in his hand in the first place.

I couldn’t ask him to elope, fearing he’d fear for my sanity – so I was unable to sing “Gazab Ka Hai Din. We never fought – so I could never sing “Ae Ajnabi Tu Bhi Kabhi. Our parents never fought – so I could never sing “Mera Yaar Mila De. My husband never friend-zoned me – so I could never sing “Kabira Re Kabira Maan Ja.

Neither of us (touch wood!) had an accident, so that the other person could sing “Mujhe Haq Hai. None of my boyfriends (a measly number anyway) were irritated enough to create a scene at my wedding and sing “Channa Mereya”.

Where Are The Wedding Dances?

The wedding ceremony was a disappointment anyway. The monstrosity everyone called my wedding lehenga didn’t have any flare like Alia Bhatt’s had, in “Student Of The Year”. My sister got cold feet at the last moment – and so, she wouldn’t perform to “Nagada Sang Dhol”. The maang-tika wouldn’t stay on my head and bobbed around like a pendulum with a mind of its own. I still can’t bear to watch my wedding video, with my tika going everywhere on my head except the front.

But the worst part is that the movies never explained what to do after the marriage. I mean, I knew what songs to sing for everything that happened before the marriage, but not after! “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” was educational – but I would recognise my husband anyhow, and anyway, he can’t dance. And since married people are not supposed to be in love according to the movies I had seen, I wasn’t sure how to take the feelings I had slowly begun to develop for my husband.

No Song For Every Scene

Why isn’t there a song for the times when your husband buys you the book-set you have been looking at, forever? Or a song for the times when your husband feeds you the dalia he cooked, while you are lying down with a 104-degree fever? Or a song for a teetotaller husband trying to clean his wife’s clothes, as she lies in her own puke from a bachelorette party full of booze?

This is perhaps because married couples or couples with no drama in their lives are not worthy of attention. It’s also perhaps because our love stories, too plain for our ears, are not enough to satisfy our restricted imaginations. We want to delve into a world of flamboyant proposals, slow-mo dashes on foreign beaches and flying hair that never seems to get tangled.

And of course, almost no one sings songs for a man and woman lying in a bed – spent, after having sex for the first time in months due to their busy schedules, and yet, feeling far happier with the post-coitus talk than with the things that happened before or during the intercourse.

But Real Wins Over Reel

When love came for me, it didn’t rain, neither did hundreds of skinny girls dance with their dupattas flying in the air, going all “Bahara Hua Dil Pehli Baar Ve”. Neither did everything around me coordinate itself to become red (which seems to be the colour of love, according to Karan Johar).

It’s like the breasts you thought you would never gain –  only to wake up one day and realise that A-sized cups won’t do anymore. You begin to admire what you have, even if it’s slightly lopsided. Because it’s what you have, it’s what you want – and no matter what Bollywood says, it’s what you’ve been waiting for.


This article was first written by Ruchika Thukral for Bonobology.com.

Featured image used for representative purposes only.

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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.

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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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