Much like any other regular Indian family, I was taught to be very much discreet about it; walk, sit and talk in a specific manner (that was when I got introduced to those period keywords). Well, yes! I got my period, and i am proud of it. There were things I wasn’t allowed to touch, places or I would instead say sacred places I was forbidden to visit during those five-six days. I was told, to keep it as a secret, primarily not to discuss with anyone but mom.
The more I grew up, the more I got used to behaving in that fashion only. After a time we all get used to it! The only person I’d mention it to was my mommy whenever I needed any advice, painkillers, help or that extra pad in case I leaked. It was the same until one day when things started to change for me around the house, and I did break free from this period taboo.
I remember it was a spring evening with my elder brother in the house and me. Our parents had taken a break and gone for a vacation. I knew that it was my period month and the dates were close by. I had returned home from my evening Zumba sessions and headed straight to get a nice hot water bath. As I was preparing my shower, I realized that I was leaking. Thankfully I had my cell phone with me, so I called up my mom asking her about the whereabouts of sanitary napkins in the bathroom. To my lousy fate, she informed me that they were over and she hasn’t been able to get a new set of pads.
When I disconnected the call, I got chills as there was nobody in the house except for my brother. And with the upbringing I had regarding this period stuff, I couldn’t make myself ask him for help just like that. I sat there on the toilet seat thinking about how to deal with it. Wondering should I or should I not ask my brother to get me a sanitary pad. The red was dripping, and that made me unfit to step out of the bathroom with those panty liners. So, confused and helpless, after about half an hour, I decided that there’s no other choice than to ask him to fetch a pad.
I called for him quite a few times before he listened. He asked me what I wanted. The words didn’t come out of my mouth the way they should have. I struggled for words. He asked me once more. Very faintly I replied, “I want that.” He was puzzled. So he enquired me “What do you mean by ‘that’? Can you be more specific?” I tried to tell him by the code words I was taught saying, “That bro, I am down. There’s ketchup all around. Can you bring me that?” My brother got even more amused as to what I was trying to ask him, wondering how did ketchup land up in the washroom!
After a few struggles, I finally forced myself to say it directly because there was no choice. I said, “Idiot, I’m asking you to please bring me a sanitary pad from the store. My periods have begun.” At this, my brother started laughing and told me that I could have said this directly to him at the beginning itself. It could have saved me from the efforts of explaining, and he could have brought the pads sooner.
The market is close by to our place so within a while he got me a pack of sanitary napkins and handed them over. I never felt so relieved. I took my shower peacefully now. After a while, when we sat watching T.V., he asked me why did I hesitate so much to ask him to fetch a pad. And yet again I sat that smitten. All pink with embarrassment, wondering what to say. He realized my expression and comforted me saying that he knows all about women periods.
He paid attention during those biology lessons. He told me that whenever mom used to say to him that I was suffering from stomach and back-aches, he always knew. He didn’t realize it, but his words made me realize that there’s no need to hesitate in asking your brother or any male to get you sanitary pads. Since then, my brother is my protector whenever I get moody, cranky or hit with cravings. He takes care of me even better than mom.
Break the rules. Periods are a regular thing! Don’t feel ashamed. Feel proud! #HappyPeriods