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Blog – STARE Magazine
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Editor Suhani Lotlikar spotlights Sukanya Biswas- founder of the Period Protection Project. 

The Period Protection Project is a youth organisation with a mission to end menstrual inequality. It was founded by Sukanya Biswas in 2020 who is studying economics at the University of Calcutta. Her own painful period experiences led her to dive deep into the unspoken topic of lack of menstrual products for women in India.



Miss Biswas organises regular drives and field walks along with her volunteers to carry out one to one conversations with menstruators about their daily lives and struggles. With more drives being added to their schedule, the team of volunteers of the project has come to realise the scope of this initiative. They have acknowledged the difficulty of carrying out this initiative by stating that “we realise how far we are from ending the shame and stigma associated with menstruation and that there is a long path ahead of us because changing a system that has prevailed ever since we started menstruating is quite an extraordinary challenge, even more for an issue which incites shame in people.”

In order to highlight on this, the project volunteers shared a couple experiences with STARE. During a drive organised for the homeless in Kolkata, a worried woman stated that her husband would not appreciate it if she took the ‘package’ home. Another said that pads were a privilege for her lifestyle where she could not even afford food on many days. 



On one other such drives, the team was yelled at by the mother of a 15 year old for giving her a package of pads stating how she and her daughter wanted nothing to do with it. These reactions from the common people clearly showcase the taboo around the topic of menstruation.

Initiatives such as The Period Protection Project are a ray of hope to make periods safer for menstruators and reducing shame around period conversations. They are helping educate and empower women stepping over the age-old social stigma around menstruation. 

All images provided by ‘The Period Protection Project’.
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TEXT Suhani Lotlikar

With all the jazz around youngsters creating trends on social media platforms, we were bound to see something interesting from the world’s largest young population. We came across Hypeitdesi a few months ago and have followed their journey from being a concept IG page to a registered LLP. To tell you a little bit about Hypeitdesi, it is a community of digital creators that represents Indian and Indo- Amercian South Asians. Along with representing 50 creators in their fours projects namely beats by desi, HXD, GLO’D and HIDxBizBoard; Founders Priyam and Muskan are here to tell us about what it is like to be a creator in 2021. 

 

STARE team: How did you come up with the idea of Hype It Desi?
Priyam Sharma: Hypeitdesi was born out of a revamp of my initial start-up idea called Mystory, my voice when the government banned TikTok. After testing its potential, we realized that there is a need for an original community where creators support each other, make content together and meet creators of similar niche as them. 

 

 

ST: How did you land on the name Hype It Desi for your brand?

PS: It was like a random phone call where I was speaking to a team member and said ‘the word “hype” is so trending what if we just add desi with it cause it makes it more relatable to our venture.’

 

 

ST: So Muskan, how were you introduced to HID?
Muskan Tyagi: Priyam introduced me to his idea of building a community where we are able to give a platform to the creators and where they can explore with others from the same field. I was so intrigued by the idea that I knew I wanted to be a part of it and contribute to it.


ST: How did GLO’D come to life?
MT: “GLO’D; Glow, Global and Desi” The name came to life when i was just thinking about the main characteristic I want my team to be remembered as, Glowing, Global and with a hint of Desi. GLO’D is a diverse community of enthusiastic fashion and beauty influencers not only national but international too. Keeping fashion and beauty our base, we experiment with different concepts and challenges every month.

 

 

ST: What are HID’s brand values?
PS: I would like to say these few words explain our values- Originality, Diversity, Well Rounded, and Cooperative.

 

 

ST: Why did you decide to work with content creators specifically?
PS: It was more like because they are trending, we want to work with them. We want to be original and by working with digital creators we are around a powerhouse of creativity and ideas.

 

 

ST: How has your journey been with HID?
MT: Getting up every day thinking that we have set up something that is meaningful and the responsibility that comes along with it does scare me sometimes but also at the same it challenges me to give my very best. 

 

 

ST: Where do you see GLO’D in a year from now? 
MT: Well as the name goes, glowing and global. Currently the base of national creators in GLO’D is very strong but we have only a few but talented creators from around the world. In a year from now I would like to see GLO’D set strong overseas too.

 

 

ST: How has your journey been from the day HID launched till now?
PS: Intense, challenging, anxious, overwhelming, fast, complex, screaming some days I want to  quit and take up on job offers. Someone who said ‘your business is like your baby,’ it really is and it is all I think about as if it is a part of me that I created

 

 

ST: How is your newest project- HXD shaping up?
PS: Baby steps, I am glad we represent some talented Indian and NRI South Asians. But personally I would like to thank Simran Kulkarni for being the face of the project and trusting us, and every other creator who is in with us for the project.

 

 

ST: What are HID’s future plans?
PS: Global reach of South Asian content creators.
MT: To help South Asian creators take over the world of digital content with their talent and originality. 

 

 

ST: Penny for your thoughts?
PS: You will have many burnouts but if you do, understanding you are doing it right. Distract yourself. Watch a movie, or listen to music. Don’t work 24/7. The most important thing I have learned is to understand and respect differences. Ask people what they want, communicate and confront as it is the key to resolving problems. Adapt to trends but make them your own— DO YOUR THING.

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TEXT: Kanika Joshi

EDITOR: Janhavi Khanna

 

People have been writing pronouns in their social media bios all over the world. From Kamala Harris- the vice president of USA to Onir- the film director, everybody is practicing this to showcase their support to the LGBTQIA+ community. So let’s get to know a bit more about this.



These are called Preferred Pronouns. They refer to the set of third-person pronouns (he/him, she/her, they/them, etc.) that a person prefers to be identified as. It allows everyone to self-identify instead of being allotted an identity. Including pronouns is important towards respecting people’s identity and creating a more welcoming space for people of all genders as gender should not be assumed based on expression (clothing, hairstyle or mannerism). By asking for people’s preferred pronouns, you create a safe and inclusive environment for all. It is important to respect and validate another person’s identity by using their preferred gender pronouns. Misgendering involves the use of a person’s incorrect pronouns, because many associate their pronouns with their gender identity, using the wrong pronouns intentionally or unintentionally is a form of misgendering, which can at times be disrespectful and hurtful for that person.



If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun when identifying someone, the right thing to do is to apologise and immediately use the right pronoun. Everyone makes mistakes but taking accountability for your mistake and continuing to use the correct pronoun is the right thing to do. However, providing space and opportunity for people to share their pronouns does not mean that everyone feels comfortable or needs to share their pronouns. Some people may choose not to share their pronouns for a variety of reasons. For example- if they are deliberating or using different pronouns, they don’t use any pronouns, they don’t feel comfortable sharing them at that moment or in that space, or they fear bullying or harassment after sharing them.

 

Putting your pronouns in your bio if you’re cisgender, helps to normalise it, so people who aren’t cisgender don’t feel like they’re different or targeted. It helps to protect them and overall it creates a more inclusive environment. This will help people unlearn homophobic attitudes that have been passed on for generations. It will thus create a progressive change in society.

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TEXT Kanika Joshi


Remember when you were a nervous teenager going through body changes that didn’t make sense? Your body doing a 180 degree on you? Facial hair, voice cracks, acne that left you confused? Well, I will not be surprised if you tell me you didn’t know what was happening or that no one around you talked about it. Just like that we know there’s a whole stigma around period talk and reproductive systems. And yes, we know there is so much information online these days, but it just isn’t enough. So, we are here with a little bit of information to keep the conversation going.



Menstruation/Period/Chumps:

Most girls start their period somewhere between 9 and 16 years, with each period’s length 2-8 days. Literally no one told me that I was just going to start bleeding one day and it did not come as a fun surprise on that rainy day at school. Your period has a lot to do with your diet, weight, and your percentage of body fat and vice versa. Your monthly cycles change throughout your life depending on stress, age, weight gain or loss, or having a baby. If you have any concerns regarding this, you should see a doctor, specifically a Gynaecologist as soon as possible.

What if my periods aren’t ‘normal’?

If there are any irregularities with your period, it’s essential to note your symptoms and consult a doctor. The most common menstrual problem faced by women is PCOS. Below is a short description on the same.


PCOS:-


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition which begins during a girl’s teen year. This problem might be more common than you think, with 1 in 5 Indian women suffering from PCOS, still few people are talking about it. People don’t talk a lot about PCOS because of the stigma around period talk and the unrecognised necessity to address issues around it unless the woman is unable to conceive.

The fear that a woman with PCOS cannot conceive at all leads people to ignoring the conversation as their families fear that it would cause hindrance in them getting married. We can say that this patriarchal system that sees childbearing as a woman’s ‘biological duty’ if awfully flawed. Thus, doctors too many a times focus more on ‘preservation’ of fertility which is makes it hard to find the right diagnosis and treatment. This patriarchal gender bias in healthcare and medical research can harm the woman’s well-being on the longer run. Also, the social stigma attached to having high levels of testosterone leading to facial hair, weight gain, acne associated with PCOS; challenges the expectation of an ‘ideal’ female body. It also leads to different body image and mental health issues.

As we step into the year 2021, it’s high time we stop viewing PCOS as a hindrance to fertility, childbearing and dwelling into the orthodox ideas of femininity. We need to focus on the emotional, physical and mental impact on the women affected, talk about issues, share in confidence and grow together.

Please do write to us for any help/resources at magazine.stare@gmail.com

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TEXT Isha Chincholkar

EDITOR Suhani Lotlikar

Have you recently come across any rural issue headlining the front page? Social media users are vaguely informed of the Hathras Case and Farmer’s Tractor Rally but has there been any exclusive print feature covering the same for traditional readers? In the Indian media, there is a clear lack of coverage of happenings in Rural India. According to the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), space given to rural stories that account for almost 69% of the population is about 0.07 percent. Most of the national dailies such as Times of India and Indian Express from the metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore are unable to cover rural India centric topics.

The coverage of rural India is limited to crimes taking place in rural villages and some typical agricultural announcements. Reporters only travel to villages at the time of a ‘crisis’. For instance, when the Hathras rape case got a lot of attention from the people living in ‘centres’, a lot of urban reporters travelled to the village to cover the scene. But the media did not cover the Lakhimpur rape case which took place in rural Uttar Pradesh. Neither did the newspapers included the story on their front page nor did they follow up on that case. Hathras came into the limelight firstly through social media platforms but Lakhimpur rape case was never dissected. In the month of November, the state of Bihar held their Legislative Assembly elections. Newspapers gave large prominence to the promises made by the parties, counter attacks of opposition but none of the national newspaper reporters reached rural Bihar to cover any news during this period. One of the current issues- The Farmer’s Protest too gained momentum on social media first. The feeders of our agricultural country had to travel to the capital city of Delhi as they were unable to gain any media coverage from their villages. Even when they got coverage, some news-channels like Zee News, Republic linked farmer’s protest with ‘Khalistan’ taking away the focus of the issue and failing to provide a platform to farmers.

A classic that is recommended to every journalism student to read is a book named Everybody Loves a Good Drought. It is a collection of reports on rural India, written by the renowned journalist P. Sainath. His reports point out the flaws in the healthcare system, education, rural poverty schemes, etc. The book consists of data that was available in the year 1966 but those sore numbers have still not changed in the year 2020. The representation given to rural issues is close to negligible. P. Sainath says the mainstream media is an institution that is defined by ‘excluding the mainstream.’ Sainath is also the founder and editor of PARI (People’s Archive Of Rural India) which is an online alternate media model which focuses on rural India. Other small portals such as CGNET, a voice-based online portal that allows people in the forests of Chhattisgarh to report local news in Gondi by making a phone call. They provide representation to people and communities who do not get any space in the mainstream media. By not giving enough representation to rural India, the practice of good journalism is fading away from the basic ethics of journalism.

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TEXT Suhani Lotlikar 

Founded on the island of Mallorca, Studio 666 is a collective curated in part by Pau Mateu Sáez and Piero Molina promoting young artists around the globe. They recently launched a one-of-a-kind virtual exhibition collaborating with 20 different artists. Having met on a fragile crossroad; art, music and publications lovers Pau and Piero put together their experiences and brought another relationship to life. They are here to share with STARE their take on relationships and masculinity in today’s world through their photo series called Réplica.

The artists explain their artwork as- “an exploration of the over-romanticized approach on loyalty and possessiveness, through a dramatized recreation of both artists’ broken relationships.” Through the medium of photography, they are capturing the wave of emotions that run through oneself after a relationship has met its end. Even as they set the tone to be ‘dramatized’ the series distinctly take one to a heartfelt space of relatability. It studies the effect of one individual on another in the space of vulnerability.


“The contact between the subjects spells out the narrative of their relationships with each other and themselves.”


It explored various themes of ‘sexuality, masculinity and fragility’ leaving behind a sense of existence. As the youth culture all over the world explores new definitions of togetherness, artists like Pau and Piero are providing them with platforms to create and showcase.
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Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) is one of India’s top rated design schools known for its industry focused curriculum. The university has been known for providing students with the best of resources during the period of the 4 year courses and exposure through collaborations with industry experts. So to know about how they have adapted to the lockdown, we spoke to 5 final year ISDI students about COVID-19 and here is what they had to say. This includes the infamous Instagram page anonymously run by a student. 


In context to not having free access to Adobe softwares being one of the most essential resources to work from home for design students- “This is controversial. ISDI being a design school should have helped students in some way. But nevertheless, we do have guest seminars.” @thats_so_isdi . When asked about the quality of tutorials and critic sessions one of the students mentioned that sometimes there are technical issues but the faculty has done their best to help every student. Two other student’s response suggested that the tone of critics has taken a casual turn during this period and demotivating comments have been received making it harder for them to keep their minds stable and focused. “We still are students, young professionals, still learning and figuring our way out. Such comments and extreme late response from faculty leaves a child in stress. This needs to be regulated. Feedback on time is important which is not followed.” We went on to ask about mental health support provided by the university to which one of the student said “we can just share our mental health with the counselor provided by the uni. In this special case of lockdown however, not much has been done. And I don’t think that because of online classes university counselor can be arranged.” Others were unaware of any such facilities provided by the institute. All students have chosen to stay anonymous.


-Voice of students
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And we are all in for the breathtaking, contemporary visuals.

TEXT Suhani Lotlikar 









“It seems three dimensional works are usually the less preferred art-form in comparison with other mediums such as painting and photography. Why is that?” Allia asks STARE while describing her process. 

We asked her how she would prefer to be titled and she chuckles while deciding between a photographer, sculptor or someone who makes things. Titled ‘Heavy glinting bronze, breathing flesh?‘ this piece brings together the intricacies of curves and creases on a sculpture and the capacity of photography to freeze a moment in time. Allia makes us question the importance of three-dimensional art in today’s digital world-

“Sculptures inhabit our reality as we do, occupying space; it makes us walk around it. Perhaps we are scared that an inanimate cold stone, heavy glinting bronze, under the sculptor’s touch, can hold as strong of an erotic power as breathing flesh.”


Using her lens to portray the meaning of sculpture as a form of art, she showcases her appreciation one art form through the medium of another. After studying sculpture applied to set design from Ens aama- one of France’s top craft and design school, Allia consistently portrays the importance of knowing the rules before breaking them in her work. She further adds, “if sensuality and attraction are a mechanism for initiating life, attraction to sculpture points to an impossibility, is an aberration; mirrors death. How do you wish for a body that has no capacity to wish for you? Here, I have composed what is perhaps how many people see or wish to see sculptures of human form – harsh, fragmented, cold.”

She leaves us with a taste of her humor saying, “As for me, I can only stop myself from running my hands over these bodies.”
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TEXT Suhani Lotlikar 

The journey of a 17-year-old entrepreneur has resulted into an everlasting archive of historic Indian monuments.



17-year-old Avantika is the developer and founder of a new trending app called India Story. She is set on a quest to inspire her generation and the ones after to rediscover India’s history through the walls of tourist locations.

Avantika shares the beautiful memory of her visit to the Fort of Edinburgh with her father thinking how well the monument was preserved. But in her own country- India, there is a lack of effort to preserve old, historic locations. Taking matters into her own hands, she decided to create an audio archive of the history of the magnificent locations of India. And thus, India Story was created. She explored various tools such as GPS services and audio-navigation to create a prototype of the app. She then brought together a team of 30 history lovers and students to play the various roles such as writers, marketing experts, photographers and programmers.

Free to download on iOS and Android, the app also collaborated with various organizations of cultural walks and certified tour guides who can be contacted through their website. It’s as simple as three steps- download the app, allow access to your location services and start exploring. However, the pathway to being a young entrepreneur was not easy. The absence of a mentor, lack of trust on young minds, difficulty in fund management have all been huge problems for Avantika. She finally received seed funding from the Indian Angel Network which was the result of her participation in an incubation program called Young Entrepreneurs Academy. She is now working on incorporating religious tourism incorporated into the app. Avantika hopes to expand the app to include more cities and states, and thereby help the world experience India’s rich and diverse history. We stand by her journey and appreciate the effort of all those involved in the project along with her too.

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