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When The Pressure For Shaadi Became Too High, Our Family Panditji Came To My Rescue

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By Roli Mahajan:

Most Indian parents turn to their family panditjis when they want to get some auspicious advice on the career or marriage of their children. But something unusual happened with Himani, a 30-year-old corporate lawyer from Delhi, when her dad returned from a meeting with the panditji. What did he predict?

Haath peele kab karogi

At the age of 27, I decided to move from Delhi to do a Masters in Bangalore. My dad couldn’t understand why a girl at my age wanted to study when everyone else was getting married or having babies. And even though my father has been super supportive, this was a difficult one for him to swallow.

I had finished studying law a couple of years ago and had been working for more than four years. I was in a good position but I knew I would have to study further to get better jobs. And it wasn’t that I was averse to marrying but I just didn’t feel that I was at the right point in my life to even consider it. But my relatives, through their on and off commentary were driving my father up the wall.

Jijaji, ab toh humein Himani ke shaadi par bulayiye, ‘Bhai, ab jab Himani ke haath peele honge tab aapko pata chalega…’ etc. And my dad did exactly what all Indian parents do at the time of such a crisis. – he went to our family panditji.

Zamana badal gaya hai

After meeting the panditji, dad called me to his room. I was prepared with my arguments and another fight. But it seems that our panditji did what no one else could.

He had told my father, “You haven’t found a boy for your daughter. And you do want your daughter to like whosoever she gets married to, don’t you?  Then why don’t you allow her to go and study? After all, that is where she can find people her age and those she will like. Dekhiye zamana badal gaya hai!”

And guess what? It all made sense to dad in a way my million arguments wouldn’t have managed.

Shadi kab kar rahi ho beta

I went to Bangalore to pursue a masters and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I made many friends and fell in love a couple of times but did not like anyone enough to bring them home to meet my father. On the other hand, my father didn’t find anyone suitable either. And just like that two years passed without dad saying the standard ‘shaadi-kab-karni-hai-beta’ dialogue.

When dad tells you to date

I was back in Delhi and before I knew it, cousins younger than me were beginning to getting married, My poor father started getting hyper again. I know he feels that he should get me married as I am a relationship kind of person. I too feel ready for marriage but just haven’t found a guy yet. I have met many men but things haven’t just clicked yet.

So this January dad made another visit to the panditji and came back quite dazed.

He didn’t tell me what the conversation entailed but for at least two to three days the marriage topic didn’t come up, I really wanted to know what had happened. To top it all, my father actually said on a conference call with my brother, “You both should date more often. Meet more people, you are young, spend some time to find someone nice. Love takes time. Don’t marry in haste and repent in leisure.”

This was a bit too much for both of us to handle. I literally rolled my eyes. We got our maasi on our side and got her to find out what was happening.

Freedom and time to find love

We were told a week later that when my father had gone to meet panditji, he met an old couple. This couple had really wanted to get their daughter married. She married someone who was already in another relationship. So the couple had to get a divorce. Then over a period of time, the girl started showing signs of depression.

So, before my father could even speak about me and my marriage, panditji after finishing with the couple said, “Aapko isiliye kehta hoon, bachon ko freedom aur time dijiye love ke liye. Bitiya ko itna padhaya hai, kuch toh sochegi aur samjhegi shaadi karne se pehle. Who toh hai bhi itni pyari. Apni pasand se karegi toh aisi naubat nahi aayegi.”

It seems my father asked panditji no further question that day.

My panditji had saved the day again! I am happily unmarried as of now and I am also glad that my father is content to wait for the right person. Someone I would get along with and be happily married to, sooner or later.

This article first appeared on Love Matters India here

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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.

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.

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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.

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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