In a bid to simmer down the hullabaloo and address questions pertinent to sexual awareness among youngsters in the city through a fuss-free and open ended approach; Madhavi Jadhav, a proactive 30-year-old Bengalurean has started out with ThatMate – a free online platform, which aims to spread awareness about sexuality in India through an open forum as well as dedicated online and offline counseling sessions with experts. In a freewheeling interview, she shares the inside track with us...
“I was 13 when we were introduced to the functions of the reproductive system and the way it works in our Biology text books. Quite like most kids who grew up in the ‘90s, we were wide-eyed and knew little about sex education.
I remember impatiently waiting for our teacher to discuss the topic. I thought this was the right platform to get answers to all my ‘stupid’ questions. But much to the dismay of all of us, she daftly turned the pages and clearly told us that everything after that page was out of our syllabus. Irked about the indifference, I knew I’d do something about it when I could,” shares Madhavi about one of her earliest memories about the subject.
A decade and a couple of years later, she’s at it — through her first social venture, which aims to get adolescents and young adults to discuss and educate themselves by interacting with some experienced sexperts in town, free of cost.
“Though we’ve become a lot more open, it’s indeed baffling to know sex education is not conducted and even new-age parents avoid having conversations about the same with their grown ups. While I wouldn’t necessarily call it hypocrisy, it is indeed saddening to see people mask away from things that need attention.”
Barely three months since its inception and the concept is garnering visitors by the hordes. “A sizeable number of young Indians prefer to get a response to their queries through a discreet forum. Hence, the fact that the articles and self help posts explain a lot of common doubts and yet maintain the anonymity of the viewers makes it a viable option. We’ve so far had over 5000 views from people as young as 12,” states the petroleum engineer, who moonlights as one of the moderators on the forum.
While a 9-5 job and a blooming initiative keeps her on her toes all day long, Madhavi tells us how she’s quite a micro planner who makes enough and more time to indulge her other interests. “I like to read books, pen down my thoughts in a diary and play tennis. And yes, travelling too is something I’ve always been passionate about. I recently went on a solo trip to Europe and plan to travel across India in the coming months. I’m also quite a people’s person. So, I’m always interacting, mentoring and creating awareness about what I do.”
With a flurry of campaigns on the cards, Madhavi ethuses how she’s only looking at forming a stronger army of change makers. “I plan to quit my job and pursue with a larger team. I plan on visiting schools and conducting sessions with kids as young as eight. Our long term goals hope to reduce teenage pregnancy, reduce STDs and AIDS.”