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Last First Date And Other Anxiety Issues

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“It’s a date. It definitely is a date,” I said to myself placing my phone on my chest, breathing heavily.

Last year in July, I visited Mumbai with no plans to move to the city whatsoever.  Six months later, I had my bags packed, I was standing at the airport waiting for my flight to Mumbai. Only this time I was moving to Mumbai.

Now, I don’t know if you’d call it fate or not, but I will.

During my last trip to Mumbai, I went to Habitat with a few of my friends to watch a stand-up comedy show. That was the first time when I saw Navin, he was one of the comedians performing that night. The moment I saw his face, my heart skipped a beat and I was out of breath. Somewhere during his performance that night, I concluded that he’s the guy I wanna wake up next to every day for the rest of my life. After the show, my friends and I went drinking and I forgot about him. The next day, I came back to Ahmedabad, by that time I had almost completely forgotten about him. The reason was that I got busy with life. But, the truth was, I always felt I was not good enough for him. It’s a part of my anxiety (can’t really help it). After coming back, I started following him on most of the social media platforms but, still never texted him.

Four months went by, the thought of waking up next to Navin every day faded but it never left my head. During that time, I decided to move to Mumbai for further studies. I applied for a degree in Film Arts at Mumbai University, I cleared the entrance and interview, and in two months I was standing at the airport. Bags packed, friends and family around. I WAS MOVING TO MUMBAI.

I suffer from Anxiety disorder, and moving to Mumbai was a challenge. Especially the part where I had to meet new people and have human interactions, I dreaded all that. But I was looking forward to meeting the gay crowd in Mumbai.

A few days went by, I was sitting in my room and scrolling through Grindr and I saw his account, on the screen of my phone, lighting up my face in the dark room like a halo. Now, I know I said the thoughts had faded but, here was my chance to get what I wanted and what I wanted was him. So, I texted him saying, “Hi, Great work. Huge fan.” He replied after five hours and a conversation started, we soon moved to Instagram and then to WhatsApp. The conversations we had were rather very uncanny, we liked the same type of music (which is very fucking rare to find), movies and other things too. It all felt like a sign to me. For the first time in my life, I kept my anxiety aside, and good things were happening. After two days of chatting, we decided to meet. I’m not gonna go into the details of the date but, it was a date. We planned to go out for coffee and ended up having dinner, breakfast, and lunch with each other. The four-hour date turned into a 21-hour date and both of us were still longing for each other. So, I got back home and five hours later, I was with him again. We spent 36 hours together in two days!

After those 36 hours, he had to resume his tour and go to another city, I told him how I felt. He kept it to himself.

I took a cab back home and, as I went further away from him, I cringed at the thought of having felt so emotional. The date had actually gone pretty well, and only when he had to leave for Pune did my anxiety hit me again like a big red firetruck, leaving me hollow. I was sad and vulnerable and nervous. We parted in Dadar, walking away from each other, almost certain that we would never meet again. And as I swayed and belched on the cab home, I felt regret. What if things did not go well? What if I had expressed myself too soon?

I’m currently sitting in my room writing this blog for no reason but to let these feelings out. I don’t know if he feels the same way or not but he made me the happiest I ever was an that’s somewhere enough for me.

I believe in letting things go if they’ve come to a natural conclusion. It didn’t feel like it was over yet. I’m glad I did not let my anxiety take over and I met him.

I’m gonna abruptly end this blog here because I don’t have anything else to say. But there are only two things now. Either he’ll read the blog and feel the same way or he’ll just cringe over everything and never meet me again.

In both cases, it was my last first date. I took a chance and left my comfort zone to do something, I probably might not do it again in the future with anyone else, but him.

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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.”

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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.

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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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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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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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