Have you met the millennial Padman, yet? Image: Facebook/ Sobhan Mukherjee
While you've been busy streaming Twinkle Khanna's Oxford speech, or debating period leave on Twitter, a 21-year-old from Kolkata has not only envisioned a better world, but has taken major strides in its direction. Sobhan Mukherjee, a Geography grad, has installed low-cost sanitary napkin boxes in local washrooms of his city. And he started it all with his pocket money.
"A female writer in my college magazine was coming to join our monthly meeting but got her periods. She wasn’t carrying a sanitary pad and had to look for a chemist. I found this incident very disturbing," said Sobhan, whose Bandhan Sanitary Boxes have found an overwhelming response.
"In an emergency situation, she had to rush to a chemist. It was then that I thought if some sanitary napkins could be stocked in public toilets, it would definitely come in handy," the millennial trailblazer tells T2 Online. "I have been meeting local councillors and talking to them about Bandhan. I have requested them to install Bandhan boxes in their area. We will be meeting the mayor soon, and that will definitely speed up the process," adds Sobhan.
Bandhan boxes are basically cardboard cartons, which act like a practical sanitary pad vending machine, and dispense pads at Rs 2. Sobhan says he often visits people who use Bandhan, and they give him relevant feedback. Sobhan also says he wants to take Bandhan boxes to rural areas, where sanitary pads are not very popular.
Sobhan has also made a very significant move in favour of trans rights. As Trump's America grapples with the issue of transgender public bathrooms, the Kolkata boy met his local councillors to convince them to have separate washrooms for trans people — cuz, that's just how he rolls. They are called Tridhara toilets, and are already raising awareness.
"I think Padman would lead to terrific awareness... and whatever changes it brings would be incredible," Sobhan aka the City of Joy's real-life Padman tells T2 Online.