#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. 

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Hunger & Sleep Pangs #PeriodPride

I am hungry most of the time during the two days that lead to the monthly cycle. Hungry, and mostly sleepy. I take it as my quota of tiredness of the entire month getting pooled in those few days of aching legs, a runny tummy, and the uncontrollable irritation in the lower back, that lead to and the days of the menstruation proper.

However, my folks would be thankful for the monthly cycle, for this is the only time my family and friends get a little respite from my chatter and non stop buzzing. Because all I can think of during these days is sleep, sleep and more sleep. The moment I am found sleeping all day long, or somebody finds me hunting for food at odd hours, they realize I am bleeding. Midnight snacks become the norm, there is extra food kept away if I wake up and feel hungry, oh I am teased for this everytime ;). And at times if we are all up for some odd reason, which is almost always the case, we get together for some coffee and pancakes. What joy! I enjoy my much needed monthly rest to the T, so do they, their ears, and their minds 😛

PS: Has it occured to that the discipline of Mathematics has a chapter on Menstruation in class 8/7. Then I realized the word was missing a few letters, and it spelled mensuration 😛

Linking this post to Write Tribe and #PeriodPride

Write Tribe

Whisper Stayfree Carefree stories-woes :)

The very first thought that came across while attending the meet was, it would be sacrilegious to utter Whisper 😛 😛 Jokes apart, one thought that stayed through the meet and after, the Stayfree Indiblogger Meet at Mumbai was begin the change with yourself…

I find it very difficult to digest 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 the she bleeds monthly! Not to touch anything and if they do, it goes bad/impure/unclean (the English language has neutralized the effects, “ashudh”, the word, gives the impact which bad does not).

A few years ago, I was shocked when my roommate asked me to pick up a Carefree for her on my way back from the market! Carefree in this day and age! I couldn’t pick it up because Carefree was not available in the two-three medical shops I looked up… even the shopkeepers said, who in this day and age! and mind you this in not Health & Glow kind of shop I visited, but the local medical stores where you get everything from the sundry tic tacs to capsules of higher grades!

When I asked the girl, she said, she was comfortable using these rather than any other, a reverse phenomena to mine and many stories I can say from memory or if you ask around!

On a personal account, I remember using Carefree only the first time, when I had my first flow! But the belt was so uncomfortable to wear, it itched! and the pad never stayed in place, I remember asking my dad to fix it once when mom was not around… MJ still muses about the scene and says, “I can never imagine my father helping me out in this!” So we changed to Whisper and others like it… My brother was all of 5 or 6 when it started for me. It was this little fellow who came home every month with a new variety of a sanitary napkins, every month for us, mother and daughter and explain the special features of the wings or the double lining or the package colour. May be I should ask him now whether he understood the difference and comfort the new features made to us…. and whisper became the synonym for sanitary napkins. It could be any of it, but we still refer to it as whisper

And there were the whisper girls, whisper seemed to rule, wherever I went from school to college to university … all I knew were comfortable using it. My maiden workplace had bottles of different kinds of pads for different kinds of flows in the ladies restrooms…. the importance of which we understood when as a team we went into a restaurant restroom in an emergency and did not find any at all. In our naivety and routine, we even when to find the hospitality manager to tell him that the sanitary napkin bottles are not there, could you replace them asap! to which he said they did not have any such practice in that hotel.

Came here a year back and then came to know people who couldn’t use Whisper or Stayfree or anything with that plastic/synthetic lining, it caused skin allergies, it caused itching. Younger girls who started with the whisper types…  and changed over to cloth ones or paper ones or some other itchingless material…

When I came back after the meet and discussed around in the hostel, many of them said, they were used to it, “so what, 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 was, “you will not understand 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 with religion it seems… education does nothing to core internalized thoughts is it!!!! Or do they not think! I do respect their views but there is an itching to pounce on 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!

Reminds me of a story MJ once said,  A cat created a helluva lot of trouble in a gurukul when the guru taught his students. Therefore, one day the guru decided to tie the cat to the pillar near his throne or peetam. The guru died, the cat still made nuisance and was tied next to the throne, years passed, the cat died. The gurus changed, a new cat was brought in to be tied to the pillar to resume studies…  Years and years passed, and cat became an inseparable part of the guru’s throne while he taught. And they wrote treatises on the cat’s presence and its affect on the studies in the gurukul 😀 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 😛 😛 More on the Guru’s cat 🙂 http://www.firstparishnorwell.org/sermons/cat.html

I leave you with these writings from blogs and posts …. to continue the thought, discussion and change 🙂