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

As We Deal With Covid-19, Mother Earth Is Rebooting

More from Saumya Srivastava

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.
WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

In moments like these, you realize how small you are in the big schemes of life. How a small particle got the whole world at a standstill – crashed global financial markets, made the business cut back, triggered panic, left a massive gap in demand-supply of commodities, and is leading to a worldwide recession. It’s a way of understanding how he rolls and you rock! How the ‘chalta hai’ (it’s okay, be chill) attitude doesn’t work, but these ‘choti-moti‘ (small) mistakes over a while, made us all come under a dramatic lockdown.

India goes silent as PM Modi announces a 21-day lockdown/Photo: Reuters

And we had this coming! A man may weigh lighter on Mars, but we have certainly taken our planet Earth very lightly. Coronavirus is just the wake-up call we needed, and with ‘we,’ I mean, we – the people, beyond religion, colour and geography! While isolation is the need of the hour, it’s the invention of repair that will be needed in the longer run.

You can’t outrun Corona. Tomorrow there will be something else that will stand our way. Because every time a human or a nation acts complacent – with technology, a booming economy, aim to reach for the stars, someone above tells them how small they are and how only he is the one who plans and mind you, he is the biggest scriptwriter of all!

Nature’s Way Of Restoring Balance?

I feel it’s nature’s way of restoring balance, saying, “I have had enough, I gave you all of this, and what did you humans do? Cut and slice me exhausting my resources. You didn’t think twice and kept living your selfish life in denial. You thought no one is retaining a track? I had enough. Now it’s my turn and think twice before you call me crude because your race has been far worse over the years.”

Who thought this is where we will land in 2020? So many centuries have gone by, yet humanity remains the biggest threat to humankind. What we are undergoing happens only in movies or fiction, but when he plays, reality becomes chilling than fiction. It’s real. It’s out there, and it puts everything under perspective – relationships, food, air, or even a toilet roll! “Aaj har uss cheez ki keemat pata chal rahi hai, jise aapne halke mein liya” (Everything you took lightly, today, you’re realizing its value).

Given my fascination for geography, more precisely Siberia, two weeks ago, I landed on this documentary of a woman named Agafia. She is a 75-year-old Russian Old Believers who still lives in up a remote mountainside in the Abakan Range, all by herself, 240 kms away from civilization. I was aghast as I could not comprehend how she chose to stay alone, without human interaction. She is at home arrest most of the day as temperature freezes out in the open. And look, where am I? Not in Serbia, but yes, under home arrest.

But you know the sad part of it? People will still not learn! Some will scoff with “Arre, abhi kuch dino ki baat hai, sab theek ho jaayega.” (It’s just a matter of a few days, everything will be fine). Some will get into jantar-mantar and some will keep blaming a country, an ethnicity or a nation. My concern is – when will we see the bigger picture? It’s the same as when people cry with rising heat in summers but close their eyes while installing five air-conditioners in their homes. The vicious cycle for the demand of air conditioner – need for power – emissions – hotter temperatures is a loop.

Back in Hyderabad, we had an air conditioner and a cooler. Trust me; I used to like the latter. It was more refreshing, consumed less energy, had no effect on Mother Nature, and bought back my childhood.  “Boond boond se saagar banta hai aur thoda thoda kar ke zeher bhi banta hai” (Just like an ocean is made of droplets of water, even poison is accumulated with many tiny droplets).

Now, you decide where you land.

The same goes for water. I don’t remember how many fights I had with the maids back home yelling on top of my lungs, “Pani band karo Amma. Sabse pehle tum-hi logo ko dikkat hogi. (Stop using so much water now, you’ll be in deep trouble in the future). But then humans have a problem learning solutions first hand. Chalta hai attitude has blocked their thinking capacities.

It’s Time To Get Our Priorities Right

Police brutality in Uttar Pradesh.

2020 has been harsh so far. Earlier this year, my country was fighting with a virus installed in their heads, colour coding every fellow citizen in saffron and green till some were soaked in red.

We may be able to find a vaccine for coronavirus, but I don’t know how to handle the earlier bit.

Sometimes the believer in me feels the current ordeal was a seething God’s way to intervene, to let humans know “Main hoon aur sabr bhi rakhta hoon, par mera imtehaan lene ki galti mat karna.” (I exist, I’m patient and kind, but don’t take it for granted).

Times like these also bring us to regain focus on things that matter. In our daily rat race, we often forget the importance of living and the reason for our life. And then comes a day you know what is what?

In April 2017, I stood outside the operation theatre as they took my two-and-a-half- year old daughter from my hands to lead to the operation theatre. Mysha had to get a procedure done to get her urine reflux fixed. Till today, that moment stays in my head because I remember closing my eyes and saying, “Nothing else matters but this.” I realised how we couldn’t take life for granted. The same goes for Mother Earth, and I think it’s rebooting, so while we isolate from the world by sitting at home, nature enjoys its much-deserved privacy and detox.

A pandemic should be enough for us to meditate, to change our lifestyle. To think – about our wrongdoings, our vulnerability, our fragile environment, our people, and civilization – in a holistic manner. Together we can, and we will make a difference, so let’s look out for each other in these testing times.

And on a lighter note, with every day a new story coming in, when all is changing, one thing remains constant. The way my five-year-old sleeps on me every night, sniffing my neck, thinking, “Mummy hai toh sab theek hai” (If I have Mom with me, all’s well). And looking in her eyes, I realize even though I am a small atom in this big galaxy, I may be a world for someone because, for her, it starts with me!

Like always, I am most sacred for future generations. This human drafted derelict planet is not the heritage I want to leave behind. They deserve a better world!

You must be to comment.

More from Saumya Srivastava

Similar Posts

By Sumbulkhan Khan

By Saloni Mamodiya

By Charkha Features

    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