Where to find abortion clinics in North East? Kohima!

What do you expect when you’re about to visit a Family Planning Association of India clinic for the first time. You don’t know what to expect. I was at home, visiting one of cities of North East, trying to figure out if I could  find a good health clinic.

I took a bus from BOC point and headed to main town. From there, I got out of the bus and started walking as the traffic jam was massive. It wasn’t much of a challenge finding the clinic as I was initially given the address from which I clearly remember the name of the colony it stood in- Daklane. And as I reached the colony, the first person I met, I asked where Reproductive Health and Family Planning clinic is and he directed me perfectly and I didn’t need to ask anyone again on my way.

 

The moment I reached the clinic, I stretched my neck as it stood at a peak, and realized just how normal the clinic was and how though I’ve been to the colony many times I never really saw this yellow structure with huge billboards on Reproductive Health and Family Planning.

As I climbed up the stairs and entered, I was greeted by the head, who then took me to his office and after a brief conversation, introduced me to his team who will tell me about the clinic and answer my queries. It didn’t feel like I was in an alien place and though it was my first time I felt familiar with it.

The team took me through the process of the clinic right;

Registration,
Immunization (for children),
Counselling,
OPD and so on.

I was told they get about 250 patients coming in every month from all age groups. The number however used to be higher but because of the change in the consulting doctor who was liked by many and with whom many found comfort, had to take leave for further studies. He had a great rapport with the patients and was always the preferred one. Two doctors are currently in chair, one a male and the other a female. They take turns and are available through Monday to Friday. They have also through time have gained trust of patients and the number of visiting patients are increasing.

The clinic follows a No Refusal Policy.

Where though most treatments are FREE, for the few where fees are imposed is also not considered mandatory and if a patient is unable to pay, he or she is relieved from having to pay at all. The fee for MVA which is for safe abortion is two thousand rupees, covering all expenses like meds, procedure, full doses required. Again, even if the patient is unable to pay they will still treat her without payment.

They provide free contraceptives, and also conduct other long term procedures like coppertine, sterilization (both female and male).

The clinic not only receives patient from Kohima but all over Nagaland. Doctors from other districts and villages refer them to the clinic. Even government hospitals like Naga Hospital, Kohima refers patients to the clinic. Apart from these, they also provide Hepatitis B and C services. The clinic also have a good amount of HIV and IDU patients. Apart from such in house treatments, they also cater to an adolescents program called Adolescents Education Program, where they visit government schools and less privileged private schools, and hold comprehensive sexuality program. They conduct events and programs in order to share information on the same and create awareness. They also hold monthly musical program called Top Acts on every 4th Saturday in order to create a positive space for the same. The day I visited the clinic, an abortion was underway. It was the first time in my life that I stood next to a room where an abortion was underway. And rather than feeling anything else, I only worried if the patient is doing okay. And hoped she’d be fit both physically and mentally soon.

 

As I took my leave and was on my way out a young girl working there offered me tea, and as I came out of the clinic, it was just a normal day again. The clinic has two exits and entrances making it easier for patients to take whichever is best directed to their house or bus/taxi station. Just a couple of minutes of walk away is the bus stop and taxi station.

 

Writer : Sekulu Nyekha

Hornbill Festival: Land of Festivals

A Glimpse of the Hornbill Festival celebrated in the ‘Land of festivals’.

  • Hornbill is the biggest festival celebrated in Nagaland and also in the Northeast region of India.

 

The Hornbill Festival is an annual festival which started in the year 2000 with a vision to showcase the tradition and culture of the Nagas as a form of preserving and celebrating it.

 

It is celebrated in the first week of December commencing from the 1St of December and is celebrated till December 10th.

Each day has it’s own set of competitions, contests, cultural shows etc. Such as, Photography contest, Miss Nagaland Beauty Pageant, WW2 Vintage Motor Rally and other competitions such as The Naga King Chili eating competition, Pork Belly Fat eating competition etc. which are greatly enjoyed by the crowd.

 

There are also stalls which sells arts and crafts, which includes paintings, wood crafts, doll making, traditional ornaments etc. Giving a platform for the Naga artists to promote themselves.

 

 

  • Handicrafts sold at Hornbill Fest

Hornbill International Rock Contest is also held during the festival which has the biggest prize money in the country. The contest is joined by competitors all over the country competing against each other for the prize money. This attracts audiences from all over the country, young and old. Bringing music lovers from all over the state and country together.

  • Pictures of the International Hornbill Rock Contest.

The Hornbill festival brings along with it, the celebration of the varied traditions of the Naga culture. It helps as a means of bringing unity among the varied tribes of the Nagas. This celebration of the festival showcases the richness of the Naga culture by letting other people from different cultures experience the culture of the Nagas by going back to their roots.

 

Image Courtesy : Menule Chirhah

Cosplay: Gender Bending in Nagaland through Anime

“If you don’t like your destiny, don’t accept it. Instead, have the courage to change it the way you want it to be.“ – Naruto

The term ‘Cosplay’ was coined in Japan in 1984. Cosplay is a contradiction of the words costume and play. It is an art of performance where the cosplayers dress up in costumes and accessorize themselves to look like various characters from anime, manga, video game, t.v. series etc.

Since the 1990’s there has been a rapid growth of interest in in Cosplay and since then it has grown into a massive culture where people of all ages come together and share their love and interest in manga, anime, video games and so on. Cosplay is mostly popular in countries like Japan where Anime was first created. Japan is the birthplace of Japanese animation which is known as anime. It has now spread to other countries such as France, Germany, India and many others as well.

 

Anime is special to many people because it is not only about an animation series or movie playing on the screen but it teaches a lot also about certain morals in life like for example friendships, on family, hardships, love, loyalty etc.

Dressing up in costumes, getting the hair and makeup done,  helps the cosplayers or just anyone to feel like someone else for once. They get into character and that helps them to enable themselves to act more like the character itself and helps them in their cosplay.

In India, Cosplay is mostly popular in the North-eastern states. Nagaland is one such state where people have great love for it! NAJ Cosfest is one particular event where people of all ages dress up as their favorite characters from  anime, manga, comic etc. Some of the famous characters which cosplayers display as are Naruto, Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul, Luffy from One Piece and also characters from Attack on Titans. This became an annual event with more people joining the event each year. This event is hosted by the Nagaland Anime Junkies which is short for NAJ. NAJ consists of a community of anime lovers which started off as a Facebook page in 2011. They wanted to expand it and make it bigger and which led to the organization of this event called NAJ Cosfest in 2013. Since then it has been a huge success, every year it keeps getting bigger and bigger. NAJ Cosfest welcomes people of all ages. People enjoy performances by local artists,  there are stalls where people sell merchandises from outside the country and also local works as well. Inside the event various competitions are also held where cosplayers compete with each other to win the desired titles. The winners go home with merchandises from Japan and also with cash.

People of all ages come and enjoy this event. It is a way of bringing Otakus (anime fans), gamers, comic fans together and to share their love for their interest in them with each other. This love for Cosfest helps in bringing people of all ages together from an 8 year old boy to a grown up man, sharing the same love for anime. This creates a bond which breaks the age barriers within a society. There is also cross dressing in the Cosfest where guys dress up as girls and girls dress up as boys,  breaking the gender barriers as well. This makes this event more special and a place where misfits can also fit in.

This love for the Japanese culture is taking over many countries. The love for Cosplay is also growing at a fast rate. People cosplay for the connection it gives to other people who share the same passion as theirs. Cosplay is not just dressing up in elaborate costumes and trying to look like a specific character from a comic or a manga. It is about sharing your love for a character and expressing a story.

About the Writer : Menule Chirhah

Menule Chirhah is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in Patkai Christian College and she has a great passion in writing.

Cosplay : Nagaland Anime Junkies

Nagaland Anime Junkies brings a whole new level for the anime lovers in their annual event NAJ Cosfest in Kohima.

Cosplay is a combination of the words costume’ and ‘play’. NAJ Cosplay is one such event where young boys and girls as well as kids of all ages dress up as their favorite characters from anime, manga, comics and video games. It is one of the events which can be considered as the pleasure pockets one finds in Kohima. Nagaland Anime Junkies which consisted of a small group of anime lovers first hosted the annual NAJ Cosplay in Kohima, 2013 and fast forward to 2017 it has turned into a massive culture where people of similar interests come together  embodies and represents their favourite characters. It inspires to bring and unite all manga, anime, comic and video game lovers.

Here is a photo essay the Cosplay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Courtesy : Menule Chirhah

#PleasurePockets: Women in Public Places in Kohima

Women in Public Places in Kohima.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Courtesy :Sekulu Nyekha

Sekulu Nyekha is currently pursuing Bachelor of Vocation in Visual Communication, Performing Arts and Psychology at Jyoti Nivas College, Autonomous. This photo essay is part of her summer internship.

Where is the complaint call in Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act, 2013 ?

With the TVF controversy of alleged sexual harassment at work going viral, it seemed pertinent to check if the organisation had a sexual harassment cell. As usual the startup does not have an anti sexual harrasment cell. The sad part is that it has been 4 years since Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013 was passed and still most of the organisations either don’t have a cell or don’t feel the need for a cell to function.

So what can we do in a such a scenario?

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 allows the women to file complaints of sexual harassment to a Local Complaints Committee (LCC).

Now what is a Local Complaints Committee?

Local Complaints Committee (LCC) is for every district for receiving complaints of sexual harassment from establishments where the ICC has not been formed due to having less than 10 workers or if the complaint is against the employer himself. Sadly, most of Local Complaints Cell are not functioning or have not been allotted with enough funds to function.

This is where the news of West Khasi Hills becoming the one of districts in the Nagaland to set up complaints cell under the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act, 2013 plays such an important role.Why is that even after 4 years of the Act been passed, we still don’t have LCC in districts of our states. Where are these LCCs that were promised as part of the Act? What is the point of another law that has not been implemented well? Where is the accountability?

Here’s more on this law for you.

Image credit: http://www.thealternative.in/lifestyle/is-inkaar-what-sexual-harassment-at-workplace-is-like/

Pleasure Pockets: 5 must-see places on your trip to Kohima

If the five little known facts about Kohima got you curious about the city, here’s something more for you. Here are five places to visit while in Kohima, though I wouldn’t recommend planning for a just-Kohima-trip:

  1. Kohima War Cemetery: Located at the heart of Kohima, on a well managed hill is the Kohima War Cemetery. Maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the grave of 1,420 allied war heroes from ‘The Battle of Kohima’ lies here, and is the main tourist attraction in the city. A war tank from the war is also preserved and kept at Officers Hill, a few hundred metres west of the Cemetery.
  2. Mary Help of Christians Cathedral: The Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the region, and is home to the biggest wooden cross in the country. The construction of the cathedral was initially funded by the families of the fallen Japanese soldiers, in memory of the soldiers who died in ‘The Battle of Kohima’. It is situated at Aradura Hills, also offering a breathtaking view of Kohima.
  3. Kohima Village: The village prides itself as the second largest village in Asia, and is located adjacent to the city on the North Eastern part of the city. Should you wish for a rural experience but don’t have the time to travel deeper into Nagaland, this is the indubitable choice. The village gates, traditional Morungs are its unique features, among many others.

    Street Art
    ©Balie Photography
  4. Kisama: Hornbill Festival (the biggest festival of the Nagas) is held here, and is often termed as the ‘Hornbill Festival Village’. Located about 10kms away, on the Southern part of the city, one can find traditional housing structures (Morungs) of various tribes. It also provides a quiet and a lovely potluck picnic spot, where one can indulge in, and enjoy the indigenous architecture of the indigenous Nagas, any time of the year.
  5. Trekking: There lies a number of hotspots around Kohima for nature lovers, where one can enjoy a pleasant nature walk. Pulie Badze, Japfu Peak, Dzukou Valley, to name a few.

Unless you really love mud and rain, the best me to visit the city is from October to May. Monsoon disturbs smooth travels during June-September. So, pack your bags and begin making plans, will ya?

Author profile: Nokho Nyekha is a coffee addict, a nature lover and independent researcher of indigenous traditions.

Pleasure Pockets: Discover the ‘Land of Warriors’ – Kohima

On the far North Eastern Region of India, at 1,444m above sea level, lies Kohima – a small hill station, blanketing a bunch of hillocks. Often referred to as the ‘Land of Warriors’, Kohima is also the capital city of Nagaland. The city is inhabited by a pot pourri of Naga tribes, and welcomes any travellers looking for adventure, solitude in the arms of nature, to immerse in rich indigenous culture, or all, may be even more.

Kohima offers a safe, pleasant, and a hospitable environment for travellers, including women travelling solo. Yeah!! Nagaland recently topped the list of the safest states for women in India (2015).

Interested to learn more? Here are five little known facts about Kohima:

  1. The Battle of Kohima: Fought during the WWII (1944), this battle is considered as one of the most important battle ever fought during the war. The battle was fought between the British and the Japanese forces, and is referred to as the turning point of the Japanese U Go offensive into India.
  2. Fashion and Music: The two permanent glue, assimilated in the life of the youths, fashion and music trends high in the city. Street fashion would captivate your eyes, while the sound of music would keep you hum as you walk the streets. Music remains the main highlight of the numerous events held here.

    kohimapeople
    Photo credit: Hopong Chang
  3. Socially Conscious Youths: Though the state is poisoned by corruption, groups of socially conscious youths are setting an example in taking responsibility towards addressing various issues by way of voluntary cleaning of the city, street art, fitness, eco-friendly mode of transports (cycling), ‘Clean Election Campaigns’ etc., very often mobilized through social media forums.
  4. Land of Festivals: Nagaland is called the ‘Land of Festivals’, and being the capital city, Kohima keeps witnessing a number of events (small gigs, to big festivals). In fact, the city hosts:
    • The annual ‘Hornbill Festival’ (December 1-10),
    • The biggest Cosfest in the region (second weekend of July),
    • International Hornbill Rock Contest (during the Hornbill Festival),
    • Tribal festivals, sports tournaments, among numerous others.

      kohima-cosplay
      Photo credit: Hopong Chang
  5. Protected Area: As with most areas of Nagaland, Kohima comes under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) Regulation Act – an Act passed by the GOI to safeguard the identity of the indigenous people from exploitation. The restriction has been lifted for foreign tourists in recent years to promote tourism. Foreign tourists are only required to register themselves at any Foreign Registration Office (FRO) within 24 hours of their arrival. Nonetheless, domestic tourists need a special permit to visit the city, which can be applied online and submitted to the local Deputy Commissioner (DC), or at either of the Nagaland House at Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, or Shillong.

More coming up in my next piece about the places to visit in Kohima! Watch out!

About the writer:

Nokho Nyekha is a coffee addict, a nature lover and independent researcher of indigenous traditions.

Featured image photo credit: Betoka  Swu