#MondayMusings: Day 1 (whisper tales)

More than any day, today I’d like it to be off. Crampy all over, I’d love to be in bed sleeping, the rains and the chill it brings along does nothing to reduce the cramps or/and that irritating ache all thru the middle of my body since this morning. Many of my girls and I have had this conversation before. We know, since we all go thru these crampy feelings… they are like waves, you see, for a few of us, it is nauseaous, giddy, rolling in pain, for the rest, it seems like a mild headache. The point is, it varies.. We all have an understanding. When she says, it will start soon, it pretty much means get a hot water bag ready, and the bed cosy! But then we’ve also discussed how many of us can’t go and tell our bosses or people we report to about these monthly crampiness. The hospital does not even give a certificate for this breaking down of blood vessels we face, it is a bodyily function recurring every month until a ripe old age for every other woman. Even a common cold fetches a medical certificate.. Things change now with this idea of a period leave. Will it? I hope so. 

I’m ravenously hungry and sleepy in the days that lead to my cycle. Over this weekend when I called my brother and told him, I’m very hungry, he had a kettle boiling on the stove and a meal of some of my comfort food ready. We have grown up together, he knows how I feel during those days, so does the rest of my small family, and a few of my close friends. But then I’ve friends who have been extremely secretive about their cycle, esp to the men in their lives until… With this period leave, it is a secret that opens to the world. “We could even predict ovulation” like a friend and I joked the other day. Now what.. I wonder how many women born and brought in this secretive set up would actually come forth and take up a leave on the day 1. Days which they have been told are taboo, days which restrict them to enter and exit places & rooms, touch and not touch things, not even offer prayers because they have been deemed impure.. Is it a good, is it a revolution .. It may be. Will it open mind and mindsets.. Hope so, too. 

A Cycle of Thoughts & Rituals

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.

Source: Whisper Stayfree Carefree stories-woes 🙂