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Almost 30 And Happily Single

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I am on the brink of turning 29, a year closer to the dirty 30. Just when you think you’ve accomplished certain career goals in life and are looking forward to the next decade, the most dreaded question comes up, “When do you plan to settle down?”

If you belong to my generation, you know exactly what I’m speaking about. We may have become forward in the way we dress, speak or broadcast our lives on social media, but it all ends there. Ever since I turned 25, most people have been concerned about my ‘clicking biological clock’. What if I plan to freeze my eggs? You got a problem with that?

I do realise how awkward it gets when a nosy relative sets you up for an interrogation.

Here are certain situations you might have come across if you’ve been diagnosed with the almost-30 disorder, which I tackle with eye-rolling, a constipated expression, and sarcasm-loaded replies:

“If you don’t get married now, you will lose all the charm.”

A: Of course, Aunty. But I am sure if you stand here and annoy me any longer, I will certainly lose my mind.

“We’ve got a great match for you.”

A: Thanks for all the concern, but I’m not really interested in lighting up a fire. You see there’s a lot of global warming already!

Yes, I am almost 30 and single. Since most relationships these days are so cookie-cutter and snap within a few dates, I’d rather be dating myself. I am certainly not in the mood for a low-budget rom-com that features a weak script and will go off the theatres within a week of its release. Just because the world is chasing relationships does not mean you’ve got to impose timelines on yourself.

A few years ago, the idea of being ‘alone’ triggered many a panic attack. I couldn’t get myself to watch a movie or eat out by myself if a friend or a family member backed out. For some strange reason, it did matter what others thought of me. Today, the idea of marching into a hip restaurant and asking for a ‘table for one’ or giggling through a movie with a tub of popcorn in hand without a date in tow doesn’t depress me.

There exists a world beyond ‘being married’ or ‘single’. At 30, you begin living a life you’ve been waiting for. Your 20s are all about getting a hold over yourself and trying to smoothly transition from graduation to post-graduation and then struggling through your first few jobs.

When it comes to dating, you might have had a string of failed relationships in your 20s and learnt a lesson or two. At 30, getting into ‘serial dater’ mode for no reason seems pointless to me. It’s not always about seeking validation from another person. Don’t get me wrong here, I am certainly not anti-relationship. I’ve had my share of relationships, where I have loved intensely, but also realised it wasn’t the right match. Breakups do rip you apart, but they teach you some life lessons and for some, they even make you treasure singledom.

Time and again, there have been millions of words written about the wonders and pitfalls of single life, but there’s an apparent difference between being single and being lonely. When American singer and songwriter, Stevie Nicks, was asked about being on her own, she gave a great reply, “People say, ‘But you’re alone.’ But I don’t feel alone. I feel very un-alone. I feel very sparkly and excited about everything.” This is certainly something I go by.

Because it is when you are nearing 30 that you want to stop for a while and take a deep breath. You feel like you’ve finally arrived (or let’s just believe so!). You’ve moved past that age where you needlessly want to impress others. You’ve come past that age when other’s opinions matter more than they should. You’ve arrived at a point where you don’t mind discovering yourself and following what your heart says.

You can set out for that impromptu trip (there’s some money now!), you can get inked repeatedly, you can down a few glasses of wine and pass out without a care in the world. It’s all about what you want because finally, you’ve learnt to live for yourself.

As I wait at the neighbourhood café for my shot of caffeine, I know I am going to enjoy my cuppa without a bitter aftertaste of life. I am proud of being seated at this table for one. Maybe one day, it’ll be time to share this spot with someone else. Until then, I am happily single and looking forward to turning 30.

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  1. Awareness Intended

    As though my feelings were given words !

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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)’.

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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.

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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, 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.

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