Once upon a time, there was a cat which created a helluva lot of trouble in a Gurukul when the guru taught his students. One day the guru decided to tie the cat to the pillar near his throne/table. Years later when the guru died, the cat still made nuisance and was still tied next to the throne. Years passed by, the cat died. The gurus changed, a new cat was brought in its place to be tied to the pillar to resume studies… Years and years passed, and the cat became an inseparable part of the guru’s throne while he taught at the gurukul. And they wrote treatises on the cat’s presence and its effect on the studies in education😀 To the why the cat was there, the new gurus, the managers of the gurukul and the new students replied, it is auspicious, a practice from time immemorial! (Farce of the first order😛😛)
This story which MJ told me long time ago comes to mind every time I come across thought shares on menstruation. I find it very difficult to digest the fact that a little daughter in a lot of pain is asked to wash her own clothes, bed sheets, beds and the rest she uses when she bleeds monthly! She is asked not to touch anything and if she does in turn it goes bad/impure/unclean (the English language has neutralized the effects, “ashudh”, the word, gives the impact which bad does not).
These days, the moment my mood swings from the cheerful to that of irritation, the immediate question from the other end if it is male friend is “PMS?” and I would be chuckling here thinking “oh” is that the only reason.. 😀 😀 On one account I’m glad men know 😀 or are trying to know, and are freer to ask their female friends. On the other, I am still a little irritated about rigid practices still being followed as they have been internalized from a very young age. Beginning with talking about it in public. The answer to such a question is almost always, “so what is there about this practice, that’s how it is” “it is only 5-6 days every month,” asked if they felt bad initially during their younger days, they said, “they did,” asked if they will follow the ritual with their children, “many said yes… ! What will society say” some said “no”. Though small in number, the voices were forceful. They reason out with religion, rituals and society and bring in the change, the future hope😀😀
“Where to break the cycle, where to bring in change…” the snappy answer I received more than once was, “you will not understand because your religious practices are different! ours demands it!” with a kind of force, a defensive stance when the R word was spoken and all the chatter was directed to that one line! Nobody can touch anything when religion becomes the dominant maker of rules. Education, I fear does nothing to core internalized thoughts! I do respect their views but there is an itching to pounce on with an inseparable why along with it!!! (Mind you, these are girls of all ages, ranging from 17-60 pursuing their higher education, post graduation to Doctoral degrees in one of the premier institutes of the country in an Indian metro which prides about its modern ways, and cosmopolitan nature!)
Personally for me, getting into college was a pluck card which said “Welcome to the real world” MJ still muses at an incident from my growing up years when I had asked my Dad to help me out to fix the pad because it was not sticking in place. She walked into this father-daughter scene, and says she was on the one hand absolutely thrilled at the sight, and on the other wondered she could never imagine such with her father. But that is how it always has been. DJ would be the first person I would call when I am outside somewhere and I need a lift home, or for an emergency pad pick up. A few of my classmates initially were upset that I was sharing my monthly cycle with my dad! He doesn’t know they used to say. 😀 😉 I mean seriously! It sounded so absolutely strange to me during the time. But as I grew up, and went from hostel to hostel, and met more people, well.. the more people believed that men knew nothing about it. Until that day, I ran into my sports coach and told him, “Sir, I can’t run today, I’m chumming, first day” I think he stopped short of hugging me saying, “why don’t you girls tell us about it, instead of hiding it and creating problems for your own selves.” Yes, coaches do know about the monthly cycle, the others girls on the team realized when he exempted me from field exercises that day.
This is a post that is always top when it comes to stats on my blog. Sharing it yet again since the content remains relevant even today.