This piece talks about the pressures of being with someone, that Valentine’s Day imposes and how to be kind to yourself during this time.

It is ‘that time of the year’ when couples are running to buy gifts, or planning something special to do. Restaurants and cafes, like Diggin, are decorated with cutesy hearts, danglers, polaroid pictures, sweet notes and balloons. Zomato, Swiggy and others will start offering themed one-plus-one discounts for couples. That one couple who has been together for almost a decade will post hashtag couple goals stories.

But it’s incorrect to reduce the idea of Valentine’s Day to just these things. Many of us are single, separated, divorced. Many of us have different choices and identity preferences. The ‘sadness’ attached to not being with someone is what we have been conditioned to feel. Valentine’s Day can often make us nostalgic for our previous relationship and remind us of our breakup. This one day is less dedicated to couples but, is more of a dread to those who are not with someone.

Differing from those who show pity, I will talk about breakups and how to not succumb to the nostalgia. Fluffy red pillows all over malls, almost as if these were red alerts, raising an alarming reaction about how you do not have someone to buy one for you. You do not really want someone to buy this for you, but, the pressure of not having someone.. feels incomplete. Feeling lonely, unloved, low and how you are missing out on something so important- your other half. The rom-coms flooding Netflix, during this time, will only remind you of how ‘everyone’ at this age has someone. Flashbacks of your sweet moments will return at random moments.

Moving on is hard and very often people use one of the two ways to do so. The first is full of unhealthy, temporarily satisfying and regressive ways. This includes calling or hooking up with your ex, sober or drunk. Entering several relationships successively to avoid feeling lonely. Making attempts to get back together with your ex, despite sufficient red flags asking you to walk the other way. The second is rare and slow, but healthy and helpful in the long run. It involves taking some time off to heal, accept, learn and grow. Due to the compulsions of being with
‘someone’, we make the mistake of viewing things with a biased lens.

Firstly, on how everyone in a relationship is necessarily happy. We only focus on what we see, and people only post the best, filtered, and happiest moments. The fights and struggles of being with someone are hidden behind. Secondly, the idea that the only way to feel loved, is to have a romantic partner should be challenged. Many forms of love exist, you’ll find some qualities in a friend, some in your parent or sibling. Thirdly, after someone is gone, there is a void that exists. But now you get to invest that time in things you want to do. Fourthly, you learn many things from the experience of any relationship. You see what your likes and expectations are, you do not depend on external sources of validation, you learn to spot the red flags and, you know what your worth is.

Lastly, you’ll learn to build your own support system. Your priority often centers around the person you’re in a relationship with. This comes at a cost, where you lose out on older connections. This is your chance to reconnect with those. But also, to spend that time with your friends and family.

But if not any of this, make this day about yourself. Maybe you have been working too hard lately, maybe you haven’t taken a holiday in a while, and maybe you have not stopped for a second to look back at your efforts and achievements. If not with someone else, you deserve one good day to yourself feel special. Once in a while, it’s good to be reminded of your intelligence, strength and efforts, and who better to do all these things than you and your loved ones?

In the end, one thing you should know is that it is okay to be single. Spend this day with someone special, just define your own idea of who is special. Reconnect with a school friend, go out with your parents, watch a movie alone, or even make dinner plans with a classmate. As Christina had said to Meredith, “you are the sun” and its time that you redefine aspects of your life according to your own terms. And to those who do, more strength to you.

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Shivani Dadhwal
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“If you’re here to save me, then I’m not interested to work with you. But, if you understand that your freedom is intricately connected to mine, then let’s work together.”

On 20th February 2019, an article titled “Why we decided to leave Pinjra Tod” was published on the website Roundtable India. This was a detailed statement chronicling the experiences of nine former members of the collective who belonged to historically marginalized communities (SC/ST/OBC/Islamic) and provided a deep insight into their decision to leave Pinjra Tod.

Only four years into its existence, Pinjra Tod has already been extremely successful in fighting oppressive forms of patriarchal protectionism that have been intricately sewn into the rulebooks of Universities. Their success in Jamia Milla Islamia and the persistent nature of their questioning and protests have been a source of inspiration to Universities across the country leading to a mushrooming of similar units in places such as Banaras Hindu University, Punjab University and smaller towns like Thrissur, Cuttack and Raipur. This collective now holds a very important position in the feminist discourse within University spaces, being one of a kind; it has immense bargaining power as compared to smaller student groups.

For fear of weakening this very position, the signatories of the statement were extremely hesitant to publicly express their concerns. “In anxiety that future generations from our backgrounds need not go through what we did”, they decided to publish their experiences. This group of women belong to marginalized ethnic, religious and caste groups and have been active members of the organization. Their decision to quit as evidenced by the statement is fuelled by the superficial intersectionality that Pinjra Tod credits itself with. They have allegedly experienced a lack of concern for their issues and a systematic marginalization of their voices in the decision making process.

The primary concern reveals itself as a fundamental difference between what calls for protest for the privileged upper caste Hindu women and the rest. This was on display during the LSR protests last year wherein the collective pushed harder for the abolition of curfews whereas the OBC reservation was not prioritized by the movement. Many women felt that the reservation should have been their primary agenda as they represented a movement that fought for social justice and equality.

The statement points to the unsuccessful creation of a space where voices of other women hold equal prominence as that of upper caste women. In meetings, because of the dominance of upper caste voices, they expressed ” we have felt anxious, nervous to raise our concerns which were different from theirs and thus most of us have hardly spoken in any of these meetings.” The control of the social media handles also lay with the upper caste women and other women were only consulted when religion or caste specific statements were to be made (Hadiya, Delta, Jisha etc). They felt that these activities revealed a very tokenistic approach in dealing with their voices.
The collective’s position on religion is also a dominant theme explored in the statement.

A Kashmiri member of the movement says that she often felt like the predominantly held idea was that “religion was something that needed to be shrug off in order to attain ‘freedom’”. However, for women from the marginalized groups’ “religion has been an emancipatory force, a means of survival and a source of strength as well.” In one such instance, a few core members agitated against the fact that some posters included quotes by Prophet Mohammed and called these posters ‘regressive.’ This collective rejection of faith served to alienate and isolate women who value religion.

The statement also speaks of the confused politics of Pinjra Tod which often feels opposed only to Hindutva but not to those tenets of Hinduism which privileges one group of people over the other. This statement not only brings to the fore many issues in the functioning of the movement but also shines a light on the importance of intersectionality in thought and action.
The current leadership of Pinjra Tod is yet to formally address these allegations.

Featured Image Credits- Arshdeep Kaur

Pragati Thapa
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In 2013, Dmitry Golubnichy started a personal challenge called the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge. To increase chances that he will actually finish this personal challenge, he made posts public over the social network with #100happydays hashtag. It soon became a Twitter trend that went viral. It requires a person to find one thing each day that makes them happy, for 100 days straight, and to post a picture of the same on their social media. He even created a website for the same (http://100happydays.com).

At the moment, the challenge has been taken by more than 8 000 000 people from 160 countries and territories around the world, and he has quit his job to inspire more people to choose happier living.

He has also given a Ted Talk for the same! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4UtPDaR3cA)

The website claims the following benefits of the challenge:

– Start noticing what makes you happy every day;

– Be in a better mood every day;

– Start receiving more compliments from other people;

– Realize how lucky you are to have the life you have;

– Become more optimistic;

– Fall in love during the challenge.

However, there has been some strong criticism of the movement as well. Major ones include:

  1. Being too materialistic in the process, since a picture would mostly require something tangible
  2. Boring friends on social media
  3. Forcing happiness since it is impossible to be happy for 100 days straight
  4. Feeling a constant pressure and actually feeling ‘unhappy’ if they forgot to post for one day and broke the streak
  5. Making the exercise public, couldn’t let them share the personal, happy moments

It is essential to learn where the challenge emerged from, why was it public and why it helped Dmitry. It is advisable to rather just pick what one likes from the challenge, maybe mold it to one’s convenience as long as the essence of it remains unchanged, which is finding something to be grateful for on your not-so-good days.


 Feature Image Credits: Unsplash

 Khyati Sanger
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