This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Arpita Nayak. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Take It From Me, It’s Okay If He Isn’t The Raj To Your Simran!

More from Arpita Nayak

Whether it’s Salman’s Prem targeting Nisha’s bum with a marigold flower or Shahrukh’s Raj pulling out Anjali’s saree ka pallu (the end of a saree that hangs loose from the shoulder) – boys are never creepy. They are perfect.

They would make their girl laugh, motivate her to get over her insecurities and fears, would work hard and earn money for her, would shower her with romantic gestures and expensive gifts, would not only tolerate her tantrums but also fall in love with her every time she would get angry. They are better all-rounders than the latest heart-throb Shardul Thakur. At least this is what one Yash and the son of another Yash made us believe in.

And then came a particular Ali who showed us how love means picking up your broken pieces with the help of someone else; finding your lost self in someone else’s existence. And then there were some very cute stories about best friends who couldn’t realise their ishq wala love for the other until there was a third angle in the story. And that’s pretty much all the romantic movie models Bollywood has tried on us for the past several decades.

GIF: Tenor.

Honestly, I would be lying if I tell you that I didn’t fall for it too. Although like other girls, I didn’t develop crushes. I never asked any of my friends to pass a love letter for me. I never sneaked out of my house to meet someone special in the park. But secretly, I always believed, his entry would be like a miracle.

It would rain, birds would sing, my hair would fall on my face and time would stop. And there would be serendipity (loved that movie too)! And it happened. Like Rahul and Pooja, I could hear Ek Duje Ke Vaaste playing in the background. Like Subhanallah in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, he taught me how baseless my insecurities were. Like Tara, I felt special with my Ved. Everything seemed to have been taken from a movie script. There was only one thing missing – the reciprocation of love.

I was so busy extrapolating a few coincidences into a romantic saga of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, that I missed out on a major part. There was only me, my problems, my anxieties, my needs – that was all I could see. I realised that even though he was the centre of my existence, I wasn’t his go-to person. I was special, like a beautiful broken vase that needed his craftsmanship to be repaired, like a project!

GIF: Tenor.

It broke me. I lost my faith in love. It made me believe love is just a formula that movie makers apply to their films to play with people’s emotions. I was upset, I ate a lot, I developed serious lifestyle ailments like obesity and I stayed indoors, packed in a cocoon.

And then a miracle happened, in the form of the arrival of a companion – no drama, no music, no mollycoddling, no pretence, no butterflies in the stomach. He was as flawed as I was and we both needed each other desperately. We were equal. It was just as calm and serene as any other day.

It felt like home, the one I left years ago for. We never exchanged gifts, didn’t plan big days, gave each other space – very boring from the Bollywood point of view but I am glad, I was able to recognise and keep it.

And that’s how I realised what true love is – something that can never be defined by any larger than life gestures, divine intervention or serendipity. It can never fit into any definition. It’s defined by only one thing – your feelings and your acceptance of them. The rest is just a way to conform to societal norms – making a woman feel dependent on a man to know her worth, to be happy and the need for a man to be the tough one, to fight with all the hardships alone.

GIF: Tenor.

So, dear Simran, get on that train and jaa jee le apni zindagi (go live your life) but leave your unrealistic expectations here because zindagi (life) is not a month-long luxurious Eurorail trip but a life-long expedition. BTW, did I mention I’m a huge Bollywood fan?

Featured image for representation purpose only.
You must be to comment.

More from Arpita Nayak

Similar Posts

By Ria Das Mukherjee

By Jyoti Sharma

By The Bleed Eco Project

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