Pragya Bhagat wins Orange Flower Award for Skin Stories essay

Pragya Bhagat, a poet and writer, has won the Orange Flower 2018 Jury Choice Award for her Skin Stories essay on living with misophonia.

As Bhagat says in her essay, misophonia is ‘a neurological disorder in which certain sounds trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response.’ Of her own experience, Bhagat writes:

Imagine sitting down for breakfast with your parents. Your mother mutters a prayer under her breath, a barely audible chant she’s whispered for decades. Her mouth performs a choreographed dance, and you look away. The television buzzes in the background, utensils clink on ceramic, and yet you hear her prayer with startling clarity. Any other ear would find her whisper quickly fading into the background static of a family breakfast, but you find your mother’s prayer unbearable.
You want to scream, to run, to take your fork and stab your eardrums.

The Orange Flower Awards are organised by Women’s Web, a digital platform, to celebrate women writers who tell their own stories.

Earlier this year, Skin Stories won the South Asia Laadli Award for the Best E-Magazine, 2017, and the Social Media for Empowerment Award, 2018, under the Citizen Media and Journalism category.

The South Asia Laadli Award is organised by Population First and UNFPA, while the Social Media for Empowerment Award is given by the Digital Empowerment Foundation.