“A PHENOMENON WHICH IS AS NORMAL AS BREATHING”
I was returning home from my school and while trudging along the street, I realized that people were looking at me. My gut alarmed me, almost like I could feel impending danger coming my way. Two girls then passed by my side and while chuckling, said to me: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]“Shameless girl! Pad nahi tha kya?” [/inlinetweet]This made me become numb for a moment. The look in people’s eyes then made my blood run cold and I then looked around for a public washroom. Inspired by the previous knowledge that I had gained from Bollywood, I took my blazer out and tied it around my waist. I gathered a lot of courage after this and turned my face around; people were still staring. After hastily glancing around, I started running because I longed so much to go home at that very moment.
“Maaa!” I exclaimed, banging the main door of my house. My father opened the door and he was surprised to look at my plight. He gave me a flustered look and I knew that he was appalled. I was sobbing hysterically and so without questioning me further, my father embraced me in order to calm me down. Unfortunately, my mother was not at home. I had so much to say but I evaded most of my father’s questions. I was always told by my mother that females didn’t have to discuss menstruation in front of their fathers and brothers. I was feeling dizzy. My body and my legs in particular felt limp while blackness swept over my brain. I slid into oblivion and slept…
The next thing I remember was that my mother was sitting next to me with her hands on my forehead. I opened my eyes and started shrieking again. That sheer, stark terror seized me again – terror that no one who had not experienced this would understand. When she comforted me, embraced me and assured me that there was nothing to be scared of, I tried to control the tears that were clogging my throat. The very first question that I asked her after describing the whole incident was: [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]“Why are there so many restrictions when I am menstruating?” [/inlinetweet]However, when I saw that look in her eyes, it was enough said. With her flaxened face, she murmured, “Beta, I am helpless, this is something that is inextricable from our lives.” I was shattered. I was speechless, because I knew that arguing with her at that moment would have created bad blood between us. I knew that I could not impose my thinking or my opinion on my parents and their generation, because it was rooted in their mindsets and they probably would not accept such changes in their lifestyle/s. [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]But we people, at least our generation has to realize that menstruation is not a crime.[/inlinetweet] Women at home try to hide this from men as much as they can. As a result, even boys grow up thinking that menstruation is something that they should not discuss. It is important for people like us to talk about menstruation and puberty to our kids in the future. It is important even to educate our sons about menstruation.
I don’t understand why women are considered to be impure and are prohibited from participating in normal daily activities while they are menstruating. Don’t go to the kitchen. Don’t go to the pooja room. Don’t touch sour food like pickles. Oh what the hell! Why can’t I touch pickles? Is it that during menstruation, my body emits specific smell or vibes that would turn the preserved food bad? Why can’t I visit the temple? Is it that menstruating is a felony and I am a culprit so I can’t face the Almighty? Aww shucks! There seems to be no logical and scientific explanation to these myths. There are still some hypocritical orthodox families that follow such beliefs and practices.
Therefore, I just want to appeal to people out there that at least you should try to change your own thinking if you are still following such myths. Guys, we have to be very clear about this: menstruation is as normal as breathing.
Author: Soumya Sharma
Soumya is pursuing her graduation from Banaras Hindu University. A bit creative, she loves writing and listening music.
Editor: Divya Rosaline