Does anybody ever have one? what with the pms, the hormones going crazy , the pain and all.. and to top it the crazy stupid Indian traditions and customs that start when you get your period for the first time and continue life long, unless of course you are blessed into a liberated family.
There is this crazy tradition in the south when a girl gets her period for the first time, matures into womanhood. Matures?? getting periods is maturing!!??? I thought maturity is a state of mind regardless of the age. Maybe something I missed here.
Getting back to the tradition, I’m not sure how many follow this, but in school quite a few of my friends had to undergo this crazy nonsense. there was major ritual, and a procession taken out on the streets, complete with band baja..like a wedding barat..and then a scrumptious meal for all the relatives. So basically what is a very private matter suddenly the whole town, your family and strangers included know. ” Oh.. this girl can produce babies now!”
As if this humiliation wasn’t enough for those 7 days every month, she has to endure worse. Treated like a leper, stealing in and out of the house only adds fuel to fire. The reason this was followed in the olden days was simply because, there was no such thing as sanitary pads, there was only cloth. And coupled with the pain, emotional heavels and not to mention the staining it made sense to be by your self. And plus you got the much needed rest from house work.
Following the same thing in the name of tradition and custom is sheer stupidity. We need to let go of certain customs like this as they do not make sense. This is the reason why women were kept secluded and not because its unpure and dirty.
When I got my period for the first time, it was the holidays and mum was so chilled out. Thank god no crazy customs and traditions. A head bath and I was done. Of course my maid servant would have non of it and was preparing to seclude me and what not. But my mum would have none of it and bit her head off. So I got to eat my lunch in peace and sleep in the afternoon, a luxury which was not allowed. I was thrilled. But not when I got to know about my friends and the humiliation they had to face. Their mothers had no choice either as the elders of the family demanded it and tradition was tradition. My mum had only one condition, do not enter the puja room for the first 3 days, and 4th day after a head bath. Yea I was also not allowed to exercise and told to rest a lot.
Looking at my friends all from the south suffered this humiliation, but my north Indian friends had the same experience as mine. I really don’t know if such a custom exists as I never came across it.
You cherish a woman. It is the woman who is responsible of bringing a new life. Menses/Periods is just another cleansing of our bodies. If men also had menses, do you think they would be treated as impure as a leper that a woman is made to undergo? I think not.
We as women must stop this practice. Raise a voice against it. It has to start somewhere. The only reason women are still treated this way is because they take it lying down, accept that since this has been happening for ever it should and will continue to do so. I only wish that the coming generations do not follow and raise their voice against it.
With my daughter, she will have the liberty to walk into the puja room if she wishes to. I am not going to stop her. Having periods is not impurity, its natural cleansing of your body. And God made us this way. Be Proud cause this is what gives us the power to give birth. Calling it impure is calling the whole process of reproduction impure!
We as women should be real proud of ourselves, and not sell ourselves short, or demean ourselves and be demeaned in the name of religion. Only then would we have a happy period.
Its very matter of fact to me. Just a part of life and I think it is so because of my mum and the way she handled the whole thing at the onset. That makes such a huge difference.
Of course I use it to my advantage. Get that leave when you so desperately want it. Works best if your boss happens to be a man. No man worth his salt wants to talk to a woman about periods. They get so damn squeamish. Its hilarious. And a lot of women do use it to their advantage. In one of my brief stint at a BPO, the women used it all the time. And their Team Leaders could do nothing but grumble about it. This one instance really stands out. Attrition is very high, plus its the holiday season so most don’t turn up to work. And we fall short of staff. So all of us log in to pitch in. Didn’t matter if you are sick, if you are a TL you got too report to work. This one lady wanted a break, a loo break, kept asking for 15 min but the TL on the floor wouldn’t give her one, till her turn came. so she did the next best thing. Paused in the middle of her call, stood up and announced that since she has her period, she would like to change her pad. So can she take a break after this call is over. Asked very sweetly,to the embarrassment of the TL, who never said no to another woman again.
edited to add: reading MM’s post reminded me of this one incident which happened in school. Every year we would go on a 5-7 day excursion. Usually most girls esp the seniors would take tablets to postpone their periods as they did not want them during the trip. But for this one girl, the tablets failed to work. Now I studied in a co-ed school and boys were very much part of this trip. So there all these students were resting on the marble stone slabs in their white uniforms. When they get up to go these is this huge stain on her skirt and the stones are bloody. Embarrassed she begins to cry. This guy takes charge: sends one of the other guys with a few girls to get her pads and a change of clothes, gets the girls to form a circle around her and gets down to clean the place up. Not every man is squeamish.
Periods, pain when you get them and even bigger cause for worry if you don’t get them!
Read what Thought Room has to say on the same here
Edited again to add: Just when I had thought that every woman hated these stupid traditions and will not allow it to continue with her daughter, this lady made me sit up. Here is the proof that an educated modern woman enjoys and find no wrong with the isolation.