“Tumhari chahat kya hai? Tum kya chahti ho?” (What do you desire?)
When was the last time we asked an adolescent what they think about their desires? How can we see their lives from their perspective?
Like you, we didn’t know either. So, we decided to meet them online to listen to them with their starry, triangle and heart-shaped Chashma (glasses) on. When we started our zoom call with Muskan, Shomya, Sahiba and Shubhangani with this question, we knew we were venturing into a gully of their thoughts and feelings.
‘Mera Chashma, Mere Rules’, a three-episode podcast produced by The Third Eye in collaboration with Partners for Law in Development (PLD), brought 4 girls—between the ages of 18–20, hailing from different religions, states (Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh), social and familial setups—to discuss the range of adolescent experiences which seldom become the subject of policy discussion.
What was envisioned as a discussion on education, mobility, or opportunity, transformed into an almost cathartic space of intimacy and solidarity as the girls opened up about their struggles with mental health, the fractures in their parental relationships, and the generational structural inequalities that crush their backs. Few minutes into the call, Muskan was showing us the community library in her village in Samastipur, Bihar; Shomya had her friends laughing around her as she joined in from Kshamata Shelter Home in Thane, Maharashtra; Sahiba from Noida, Delhi read her letters and poems that she wrote during her time in a Mental Health Institution and Shubhangani walked us into her room in Kekri, Rajasthan where she lives with her sister to pursue her education.
Are you ready to witness their rooms with them? There’s only one rule: you have to enter wearing their Chashma. Meet them in this limited series, through a new episode, out every Monday.
Note: In May 2022, through a contest “Mera Sapna” (My Dreams) the National Coalition Advocating for Adolescent Concerns (NCAAC) (May 2022) with PLD as Convenor invited essays from girls aged 15–25 to be addressed to either the family/ community/ state, to gain insights into the institution they think can help fulfil their aspirations. Muskan, Shomya, Sahiba and Shubhangani were participants in the contest.
The 40 most unique essays by prize-winners were developed into a wonderfully illustrated digest—3D Sapne: Ladkiyon Ki Zubaani, released by PLD in December 2022. Free digital copies of the digest can be read here. To order physical copies, write to [email protected]. It was these essays that led us to ask some deeper questions around adolescent experiences that are often assumed by an adult eye. This podcast aims to bolster NCAAC’s efforts to create a space and a platform for a diverse and inclusive adolescent rights campaign.
Collaborators: Partners for Law in Development (PLD) and The Third Eye
Script and Production: Madhuri Adwani
Voices: Muskan, Sahiba, Shomya and Shubhangini
Facilitation: Kanika and Madhuri
Cover Image editing: Sadia Saeed
The grant for the project has been supported by UNFPA India. For more information see https://pldindia.org/ and https://pldindia.org/advocating-for-adolescent-concerns/