My journey with menstruation is a very complex one. I started off unaware, like most boys my age, fascinated that women actually underwent something like this. I used to come across all sorts of things - from watching women being called impure, not given access to the kitchen, to places of worship, to articles striving for change, awareness campaigns and much more. And in the middle of it all, was one confused boy, who knew nothing about periods.
Recently, when I was teaching underprivileged kids at my neighborhood village however, I’d notice the girls wouldn’t come to class when they were on their periods. They’d sit in their room. Locked. Alone. Separated from the rest of the world.
And that is when it struck me. What I had thought was something normal, something women were born with, was a challenge for so many.
It shouldn’t be that way. It really shouldn’t.
This is a poem I wrote, depicting nothing but raw feelings.
Melancholic, to be born as a woman, I thought, for no fault of hers, she’d suffer
with blood oozing out, in a recurring cycle of pain, and agony -
“Periods”, they called it, and such a weird name it was, for nothing,
was constant about them, but their pain,
given to them not by the periods themselves,
but by society who
dictates where they can go, and where they cannot,
or what they can touch, and what they should wear,
these dicta made no sense to me,
and I wasn’t even a woman,
so one could only imagine,
the pain when they are called impure,
shunned by self proclaimed purists,
denied access, and rights, forced to become backward,
is the case for most women,
and it is something to be nothing but ashamed of,
because every moment, one girl menstruates,
and another, and another,
and every moment we stay silent,
is another they stay neglected.
Photo Credits: Annika Gordon
Written by: Prahalad Madhu