Hygiene is taught to us right from childhood, have a bath they said, wash your feet they said, wash your hands before meals they said and we have this imbibed in us for years together. I can recite it like a mantra now and my kids are doing the same.
Now, that I started talking about hygiene, let me take your attention to the feminine side of it. I remember when I started menstruating, my grandmother sat me down and explained to me in detail about the do’s and do not of those five days when my body goes through this -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 – a regular bodily function that is very vital and important to a women. she did not tell me about not touching the pickle, nor asked me to sit aside and away, nor did she stand 80 feet away from me. What she told me though is, it is crucial for me to rest and let my body do its job and to be ready for after.
She mentioned during her days, they did not have good sanitation and had to sit aside in order to make sure that they dignity was preserved and also this was the time when most women experienced mood swings, pain, and many such complications. She said they had a room, that was called the inner room and ladies of the house sat here for 5 days and read a lot and rested a lot.
However, that simple resting time was built up in bioscope mode and paved way to deep down myths about menstruation. for example – women cannot water plants, cause they will die(not us, but the plants) – she cannot touch pickle – she cannot enter a holy place – she cannot touch others – she cannot basically breath during those days! (my myth).
The same blood that bleeds during a birth of a child, that which is such an extraordinary moment is considered taboo when the same person menstruates. Don’t you all think it is high time we change this and bring in more awareness?!
Along with this awareness let us also join hands and start a movement, a mission is what I would like to call. Let’s pledge that not a single woman will die or a girl will be asked leave school and sit at home midway because she does not have access to proper care and proper hygienic cloth during the days that she bleeds. I was attending a seminar by Goonj the other day and I was appalled at the numbers that I saw and heard. Did you know that women use Ash, Grass, Rags and Cow dung to cover the blood? and Did you know that 10 women use the same cloth for their days?? The girl child is stopped from attending school, cause she cannot afford to cover herself up and has to stay put at home? Women have died, cause they have had centipedes crawl up and they got infected??? This has to stop!
Only 12% of us use sanitary napkins or menstrual cups and the other % just sits there thinking of ways to cover themselves up. What can you do? Please stay tuned to this page. A few friends of mine and I are going to join hands with Goonjand also as a collective group we are going to launch a #Missionclothpad trust and will start collecting cotton material and make pads that will be distributed to women and girls who need them yesterday! will keep you all posted and thank you for reading this.