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Will You Sacrifice Your Dreams For The Sake Of Society’s Expectations?

Will we always live in the LKK syndrome? Okay, don’t get confused! It’s neither a psychological term nor a scientific one! LKK stands for “Log Kya Kahenge” syndrome, meaning “What will people say?

If you want to be happy, you must always try and ensure that you live your life in such a way that your happiness is dependent upon things in your control. If it is dependent upon things beyond your control, you will be a puppet in the hands of other people, a slave to external circumstances, and you will have to dance to the tune of outside entities. Similarly, if you are obsessed with seeking approval from others, always worried about pleasing others, and your actions are guided by what other people would think or say, if you are overwhelmed by the LKK syndrome, it looks like you may have then fallen prey to the Disease to Please.

Now, this LKK syndrome has killed more dreams than anything else in this world! It has stopped many people from pursuing their dreams. For most of my life, the fear of what other people thought of me had kept me trapped, preventing me from reaching my full potential and from enjoying life to its fullest. I couldn’t bring myself to dance in public for fear that people would point and laugh. At school, I was unable to voice my opinions, fearing someone would think they were stupid. In college, even making a presentation in front of my friends became a struggle as my mind ran wild with images of people talking about and laughing at me as I walked by them. I lived a half-life. I knew I was missing out. I also knew I had so much more to contribute to this world. But I was paralysed by the fear of putting myself out there and being rejected and ridiculed. And so the ‘real me’ remained cocooned. I knew he was there, I knew who he was, but fear kept him trapped. But two months ago, things began to shift. Filled with an increasing sense that I wasn’t living my purpose, and a vast emptiness from the lack of meaning my life seemed to have, I quit my comfort zone in search of answers, determined to live a more fulfilling life. I made a commitment to myself to face each and every one of my fears and to find a way to reconnect with the ‘real me’ and let him out into the world. These last two months of my life have been challenging, as I commit every day to living a little further outside my comfort zone. But being in that space of discomfort and crossing the threshold from fear to courage has led to the fulfillment I craved. I realise just how much I’m capable of. Me writing this post is the best example!

This post is specially dedicated to young girls who are ambitious, but are held back by the fear of LKK. To all those girls out there, I know it’s not easy to break free, but you have to fight for what you want in life. I know you are burdened with huge responsibilities. I completely understand that you keep in mind your parents’ dignity. I know you want to keep their flag of respect and dignity flying high. But in this orthodox society, you sacrifice your dreams! For what? How does what people think concerns you? Girl, why do you even pay heed to them? They will think whatever they want about you. So why the devil do you lose your peace over such a petty thing? Let them say and think whatever they want to. Follow your dreams and fulfill them, think big, dream big and fight for what you want in life. With an indomitable will, you will be able to rise against all odds. Be different, be unique, just follow the crowd! It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living, said Eckhart Tolle.

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Now this is for you to think about. Everything in this society has a weighing system. People weigh how much they love and care. They even weigh what other people will say about them! Many times you have wanted to do something in your life that is not normally accepted in India. For example, choosing a career in the Arts does not make your life pointless. People say “Humara beta engineer ya doctor banega”, because they don’t realise that creativity and creating art is a science in itself. So go make a career in dance, painting, photography or anything else that makes your heart sing! Break the chain! Go back to college to get another degree if you wish to! Or change your job or field if you are unhappy with it. Run, scream, laugh, cry with joy. Get tattoos or piercings, they do not make you a bad person. How does it matter whether you wear tight or baggy clothes, or too much makeup or all you want to do is travel the world alone when the people around you are gasping at the thought of you dropping out of med school?

Politicians will say “Men make mistakes. Ladkon se galti ho jaati hai.” Such nice people, right? But have one tattoo declaring your beliefs on your arm, and the pathway to hell has already started burning up below your feet.

So, dear reader, the next time you are hit by the Disease to Please, just remember:
Will we always live constrained and the restricted life surrounding our responsibilities​ and society?
Will we always sacrifice our dreams to maintain our relationships?
Will we change our style just to fit in, even if we find it appalling?
Will we quit our morals and values for the sake of a fad?
Will you regret your choices on your death bed or pass through life contentedly and happily?

The choice is yours. Be bold. Be beautiful. Remember the lyrics of that meaningful song from the movie “Amar Prem”.

Kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna…

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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.

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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.

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, 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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