This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by The Guy In Mumbai. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why I Write On Youth Ki Awaaz: Because Everyone Needs Support

More from The Guy In Mumbai

Editor's note: Youth Ki Awaaz has turned 12, and this post is a part of #WhyIWrite, a campaign to celebrate Youth Ki Awaaz users who have spoken up about issues that matter to them. If you'd like to share what motivates you to write, publish your story here!

When I first saw the hashtag #WhyIWrite here, the answer chuckled in my mind, “Because I am paid to.”  But I understand that I am one of the lucky few in this country who are and I also know that there are thousands of people who would love to write, provided their written material reaches the right audience. But jokes apart, if you’d ever ask me why I write, I’ll tell you this, “Because I know it makes a difference.”

I am an outsider in the Bollywood reporter industry. I suspect I was hired here as a stop-gap arrangement (by a production company in Aram Nagar Part II, famous for more than 150 production houses that run out of bungalows), that worked well enough, without any hitches, to take me to the office of the channel that I finally ended up working for. I worked there for around a year and a half and I quit before my contract expired. This happened around the same time the channel was in talks of a takeover/buyout and in the midst of two elaborate firing processes. That takeover has now happened and is present in all its glory on my Facebook timelines. I came in with no Godfather, no past experience and no friend-of-friend. So, people were surprised when I stayed and more surprised when I left.

That doesn’t mean it was a cakewalk. My boss couldn’t tolerate me, my colleagues couldn’t believe me, and my department colleague didn’t really know what to do with me. But because life is a journey and we all know we have our destinations, we got along as nicely as let’s say, Thor and Loki, Captain America and Iron Man. When I quit, I had no other job and in hand and was actually jobless for around 2 months.

Cut to 2007.

Because that was also the time when I was jobless. I had quit because of an illness and I didn’t know what to do with my time. As anyone else would, I started watching films. One such film, Up in the Air, moved me so much that I knew I had to write about it. I struck upon the idea of starting a blog. I quickly set up a blog and even as I started using it, I knew it wasn’t going to satisfy me. Those were cheap times, so I could book a domain name and buy hosting for cheap (I will, forever, thank Hostgator for their monthly plans). I then got a hanging knowledge of WordPress, spent 36 hours to find a good theme and ran with it.

For the technically uninformed, I basically launched a website into the world within 3 days and 2000 rupees, even if for 90 days.

It was a roll. I started reviewing films, sharing those links on my website and on Orkut. I quickly understood how to economically spend money – I went for the morning shows, I didn’t go for the popcorn, I came home quickly and I wrote that review out. I learnt what SMO was – I didn’t have money for SEO – and somehow, somewhere, miraculously, my website started gaining traction.

I first began getting calls from my friends asking me whether they should watch a film. Later, people on the other end would get irritated when they found out that I had n’t seen a film. I understood why. Watching films in Mumbai is still a couple or a family affair. So, my friend was actually wanting to know whether they should pay 2500 rupees (tickets+dinner+travel) for a film. I had it cheaper, I could take that decision at 110 rupees. Yes, it got overwhelming after a while and yes, I started ignoring calls later.

The upticks happened faster after that. Dia Mirza was launching her film and surprisingly, from ‘outta nowhere’, I was invited to one of their events. This was before ‘influencers’ and ‘Instagrammers’ and ‘Twitter Celebrities’. While the idea of being a ‘blogger’ who was rubbing shoulders with the camera crew of the biggest names in media journalism was great, that was also where I understood what I was.

I was just a guy with a blog.

To put it literally, I was just a guy with a digicam surrounded by multiple crews. I was again, overwhelmed. That event was proof for me that while ‘one guy with a blog’ can do big things, even that guy requires a push and support sometime around. I came home, decided that I couldn’t run this site on my own and quietly waited for it to die down.

Two things stopped me from continuing. One, I didn’t have the time for social media marketing and two, I didn’t actually have the wherewithal to handle the security of a blog.  It’s been seven years since I closed down my first website and today, we are in a scenario where I wouldn’t even need a website to put my point across. There’s the YKA platform, and I am sure there are others too. People with an opinion live in great times, they have a platform today that looks after all the mundane stuff, like security and marketing and all that – and they just have to write.

It’d be criminal not to write in such times.

You must be to comment.

More from The Guy In Mumbai

Similar Posts

By Poonam Singh

By Archana Pandey

By Kamna vyas

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        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.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        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.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        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.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’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.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below