Chumming On My Skirt

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-05 at 10.45.26 AM

Okay, before I begin, let me just warn you of what I am going to talk today.

If you’re uncomfortable talking about Periods, Menstruation or as we girls colloquially call it, Chumming, it is all the more reason for you to stick around.

If you’re uncomfortable at the onset of another rant by a hormonally-driven feminist, you should definitely stay with me – Cause, really, we all are feminists, aren’t we?

And I ain’t hormonally charged today, to be honest, but that is not going to stop me from charging at this subject like an aggravated bull looking to attack.

Because, this is something we all should be talking about.

So – I will tell you everything I feel about it, as you all nod your heads in agreement or smile wryly at the shit-storm of an outburst that you may decide to disagree with.

There is also free cake at the end of this blog, because, I will be sharing one personal incident, which may very well go down in history, as the most embarrassing moment of my life.

Open conversations about Periods have already started in families, over social media, amongst friends, but you’d not be surprised to know, how hush-hush it still is, to this very day.

I grew up watching Indian Television in the 90s, just like most girls and had heavenly expectations from my oncoming periods. I had high expectations of excreting a fragrant, bluish liquid that would make me feel exuberant about my life and would not be deterrent towards my ambitions of a high-jump sporting career or wearing crisp white skirts at movie theatres.

I was a happy soul.

Until the day when I actually got my periods. I was in the fifth grade.

We lived in a small town at the time, and the extra-large, extra-long and extra-comfortable sanitary napkins had not made way into our homes. That bubble of a high-jump career burst quickly, because let alone jumping, I found it difficult walking wearing this thick, unruly adult-diaper.

And where was the blue fluid?

And why did it hurt so much?

Arghh.

Life wasn’t the same anymore.

You couldn’t tell your father that you had your periods – The information was passed to him by a series of uncanny Chinese Whispers, and at the end of the day, you would see him walking into the house with a package eerily wrapped in black plastic.

Because it was a sin to carry sanitary napkins in transparent plastic – Everyone would get to know that girls in your house use mechanisms to deal with blood.

Although my family was relatively progressive, I was told by my Grandma not to go to the temple or even participate in my favorite festival that happened only once a year, if my periods happened to coincide with the same.

My friend from another community stopped coming to school altogether for five days every month, which included her staying out of the kitchen, staying out of anyone’s away, pretending not to exist and impose her unholy self on the self-proclaimed holy.

Even today, talking about periods is such a taboo.

It shocks me to no extent, that people still deny something that is so-present since times of yore, as normal as eating your food and digesting it.

Where is the taboo in something that is a biological body process?

Is it just because, the so called process happens in a woman’s body, and the woman in question turns into a blood-ejecting machine and her vagina turns into an impure outlet for the same?

Is it because, we consider the whole idea of blood dirty and gory?

If that is the case, everyone that has ever bled from their hands or legs or heads, should also not be going to temples, kitchens, bedrooms and schools.

Why do men automatically assume that it’s That Time of The Month, when their partners are emotional or moody? – That’s no mean assumption to make – They never assume that they could be inconsiderate morons at times to induce mood swings in their partners.

Just like all things rebellious that I have done in my life, I defied all society-created-laws pertaining to periods too, pretty early on.

From buying sanitary napkins to tampons to getting my sheets stained and remaining unapologetic about it – From chanting mantras in my impure state and to telling off anyone who protested – From talking about periods with guy friends to other older male family members – I have done it all, and why not?

Now coming to the story.

While new to period management and amateur at life in general, I once stained my school uniform. I was in fifth grade and studied in a Co-Ed school in a small town in India. I was happily solving Math problems sitting on my bench, when the bell rang and it was time to go home.

We all stood up for the end-of-day prayers, and just as I stood up, a couple of my friends alerted me. It wasn’t a small stain – My entire sky-blue skirt had turned red!

And so had my face! – And I didn’t know what to do. There were boys standing behind me too.

But here’s the best part – None of these boys judged me, or looked at me like an outcast – And that is exactly what happens to children when their minds are not adulterated with the garbage of what society teaches them. One of my best friends at the time removed her sweater and I tied it around my waist. There was no taboo, no hush-hush, no exchange of glances, because as children, our minds are not morphed with distorted versions of what is acceptable and what’s not.

Period blood is not impure.

It is in our minds that the impurity lies.

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