Blog: Thoughts of Words
The great Indian society.
We speak in Hinglish or Benglish or a’thing else – whatever comes to your mind. We attire ourselves in Western outfit, we sing their songs as if they are sung by our artists, we dance to the hip-hop, Michael Jackson and all – Bharatnatyam is so old, so boring… Our favorite eating junctions are KFC, Subway, etcetera etcetera. We also like to talk in the Western colloquial – ‘yes man’ becomes ‘yoo maan’…
Where am I going with this babble and habble, eccentric talks? I’m going to talk about the treasured prejudice we hold as Indian. I’m going to talk about the ‘M’.
M = Menstruation
Shocked, I think…I can imagine…disgrace with me…I know…I know…you want to stop reading this, but first of all, you need to deny that Kamasutra had been written in India, by an Indian; you’ve to accept that you remain in antarmahal.
Those who’re with me still let’s talk.
Google says menstruation is –
the process in a woman of discharging blood and other material from the lining of the uterus at intervals of about one lunar month from puberty until the menopause, except during pregnancy.
It is famously known as periods.
I came to know of it when I was a fourteen or fifteen year old. I saw an ad, hidingly, ’cause my Ma or Didi doesn’t want to let me see the ad, of Whisper. Later I had asked one of my friends, who was a girl, of these sanitary napkins and what was the purpose of that? What is this period? She had rolled her eyes and said to me when I’ll grow up I’ll know that naturally.
Okay, I accept her words and wait till I got admission to college.
There’s, one day, one of the girls of the group which I used to belong to came from the washroom and said am on period. E’one was shocked listening to that. There were two girls in my group, they grew pink and curse the girl for saying that loudly. Later, I had asked her and she rolled her eyes at me and said, rather scold me, in a heavy voice and said being grown up I should know this.
Now the time I’m talking of was an era when the idea of Facebook was not conceived, Orkut was the king, Google was not so famous and cell phone had taken its first baby step in India.
I came to know of the period when my the-then girlfriend denied me to kiss her. After much persuasion, she said hesitantly am on period…it’s my second day…I was surprised because the word period had cause again period in my life.
After much cajoling, she took out the English to Bengali dictionary and let me read the meaning. After my reading when I look at her she said when I kissed her she felt a sexual feel–tingling one. Last time, she had let me kiss her during the cycle and afterward she felt an ache in her stomach. Lots of blood had oozed out–she had said.
Now, let me tell you we were up to the kissing not after that because to both of us, love means sharing each others thoughts and words.
After hearing her, my world was in the whirlpool. I was angry at her for concealing the news from me at the same time I sympathized for the reason.
She asked few more questions to judge me and fill me with info. She was, you know, my bestest friend. The most important question and her explanation to that question quench my thirst on another issue – the wrapped packet after under-the-breath order.
The question was – have you seen at medicine shops girl whispering words and the owner or in-charge move aside and wrapped s’thing in the newspaper. (I had nodded in affirmation). She replied it was the pack of sanitary napkins.
From a tender age of eleven, I do the bazaar for my family. Many a time I had seen the medicine shop Kaku (Bengali for uncle) to vanish inside the shop or going away to the corner and wrapping up s’thing in the old newspaper. The lady or girl who had ordered that special package used to whisper or used to push a cheat with scribbling on it.
Years later, I saw a girl ordering a pack of Stayfree in a high voice. The shopkeeper gave her a stern look before turning to me for looking at the girl – actually, I was praising the courage of the girl in a silent manner. The same look was also given by the girl when our eyes met and smiled at her.
Another incident just reverberated. It was Maha Shivratri, my aforementioned girlfriend wanted to pour water on the Shivalinga; she was so excited that she bought a new pair of salwar kameez for the occasion. But distress strike on the day – her menstruation cycle started that morn.
I pushed her to go, but, she was reluctant to go. I quarreled with her and stop talking with her–we hadn’t talked for 3 days. I went to the head Purohit of the temple near to my house. He was then in his early sixties. I’m an atheist and he used to honor that. But, he still used to talk of Gita, Krishna and all. I wished if I had listened to them I could know more.
So I asked him what the matter was. He smiled and said during this period, female sex is considered as unholy, dirty. I asked him the reason and he again smiles and replied it’s what the ancestors had dictated. The dharmagrantha had mentioned it, all say… but, it’s actually the ancestors, you know… one day when you’ll be a man and will have a wife you’ll know more of this… for the time being don’t stuff your mind on this topic–he had said putting a full stop to the conversation.
The reason to this not allowing women into temple or doing any household chore lies in the scientific fact which was shared by one of my blogger friends after I had written this essay. She said—
Truth is the scientific aspect was giving her time to rest (as the body is weak during this time), not letting her do hard work, etc. were converted into the lady should be isolated and not touch things so on and so forth. The concept of not entering temples, kitchen, etc. was not due to being impure but the lady of the house in ancient times mainly worked in these two domains. The idea was simply to let her rest; but half-read gyaanis over the ages associated it with impurity, etc. and even today the educated lot considers this a taboo.
Our society, I don’t get it, why should we consider this natural thing as taboo… as you-know-what… when we feel to pee don’t we say that…when we feel hungry, don’t we say that…the question takes me back to the thoughts that I had spoken in the first paragraph.
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Image Credits: Times of India