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Five Things Irrfan Khan’s Death Taught Me About Life

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Irrfan Khan’s demise left all of us in deep grief. He died at the age of 53, after fighting with endocrine cancer for a long time. He died and joined the league of great personalities who died at an early age, like Steve Jobs (56),  David Goldberg (47), Princess Diana (36), Guru Dutt (39), Vincent Van Gogh (37), Chester Bennington (41), John Lennon (40), they all died due to cancer, heart attack, accident, depression, suicide, and murder respectively.

There were things common between all of them. They were self-made and their professional and personal struggles (rejections) were similar but also how they motivated and inspired others with their work in a significantly short time. But their untimely deaths reiterated the fact that – Our life is uncertain and we don’t really have time to crib and regret the incidents of life which can be resolved with simple attempts. 

This is a hard fact of the 21st century that deteriorating mental health, disturbed environment, and other unprecedented factors are taking the lives of people at an unexpectedly faster rate. Loneliness alone can reduce eight years of your life. The study revealed that loneliness has a ripple effect on your health, and due to psychosomatic attributions loneliness can develop other serious problems.

A Chicago University study showed that because of poor air quality, the life of the people in New Delhi can be further reduced by at least ten years. Such lifestyle and natural factors are making life decrepit. Therefore, I believe that we do not have time to regret, fight with others, think negatively, and sit idle.

Life is extremely unpredictable, and before we die, we should do the following things. As it’s always better to do something in your life when you have time rather than repent about it later. 


We should feel gratitude for whatever we have and continuously try to improvise our life. Pay respect to nature, your parents, teachers, and friends who contributed something in your life, who stood by you in tough times, and helped you to sail through it. 


At some point in life, we reach a position when we can return back something to society. An individual can bring positive changes in society by his/her simple actions. We can feed someone, sponsor the education of a child, and sometimes help a person in genuine financial trouble. There are several ways to contribute to society, we just have to choose a suitable style for us. 


Love is the most powerful medicine. A person who is loved can give love to someone else unconditionally and lives a healthy and happy life. But as per the present societal norms, we all live the life of super expectations. We always expect from others.

Sherly Sandberg in her masterclass on “Resilience” defined the platinum rule of friendship is to “Treat the others in a way, they want to be treated themselves”.

This not just positively impacts someone, but it will also give a great sense of satisfaction. So stop being egoistic and love those who love and care for you. Start being empathetic and forgiving with yourself and others. Selfdom is the first sign of self-destruction, and you will not be happy if you always think onlyabout yourself. 


Connect with yourself. Understand who you are, your weaknesses, fears, and strengths. Connect with yourself by your expressions, by your passions, by your hobbies. And most importantly connect with your mind and soul though meditation. Apparently, connecting with yourself is one of the most challenging things in present times because of our distracted mind, and lack of relaxation. If needed, follow the teachings of great saints

But it is essential to connect with yourself to be a better version of yourself. 


To have compassion for living creatures is not just our social but also our constitutional duty. Therefore, we must understand our responsibilities and be kind to other creatures too, feeding a dog or bird or any other animal, or caring for plants and trees are pious jobs and we must do it regularly. 

The choice is now ours, whether we want to live a quality life or live a life of pain and agony. Therefore, it is the time when we should introspect within ourselves and ask whether we are happy, if the answer is no, then there is a need to change something in ourselves, to make life happy and healthy. Stop being envious, ignorant, ruthless, and prideful. Understand the meaning of life and enjoy every moment. 

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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)’.

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.

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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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