In our village, the mere mention of menstruation was met with a deep sense of dread, and women going through it were treated as if they were untouchable, burdened by an ancient curse. It is disheartening to see that this antiquated belief persists even in some modern places!
The shocking truth is that the pervasive stigma surrounding periods, fuelled by ignorance and misunderstanding, causes harm not only to women but also to men, who are left unaware of this completely natural and vital process.
Men in my village, including myself, were unaware of the concept of periods. I learned about menstruation from my wife.
Feeling the weight of this outdated perspective, I couldn't help but think, "Why should something so ordinary and natural be wrapped in judgment and disgust?" It was time for a change—a small revolution if you will.
And so, I decided to take matters into my own hands and throw a little party—a simple one—to get people talking about periods without feeling all weird about it.
The aim was simple: to challenge the taboo and encourage open conversations. My heart swelled with pride as I celebrated my daughter's first period, eager to educate and empower her with knowledge.
But, as expected, not everyone was on board with my idea, especially some of my relatives.
Even though my relatives didn't show up to the party, I refused to let their narrow-mindedness dampen my spirits. I knew that change wouldn't come easy, but I was determined to keep pushing forward because every little step counts towards breaking down the walls of shame and stigma surrounding periods.
I got a 'red velvet cake' to symbolise the occasion and asked my students to bring sanitary pads as gifts for my daughter, Ragini.
During the party, Ragini was a bit shy and nervous at first, but gradually, she started to enjoy it. It was like a small victory for us. It was a way of saying, "Let's make talking about periods normal."
To inspire people, I uploaded this momentous celebration on social media. Sure, there were some hurtful and downright vulgar comments on our video, but there were also individuals who supported and encouraged us.
The overwhelming amount of positivity we received far outweighed the negativity. I decided to brush off the hateful remarks and focus on my mission to bring people of all ages together and foster an environment where discussing such a natural topic felt safe and comfortable for everyone involved.
So, the main idea is that altering our perspective doesn't have to be a monumental task. It's about taking small strides, such as hosting a casual gathering, to normalise conversations about periods and eliminate any discomfort.
We can create a more positive environment by breaking down barriers, educating others, and promoting awareness cheerfully and pleasantly. This will reassure our children that they can always count on us and that there is no need to make a big deal out of things.
My heartfelt advice to all parents is that they should openly and compassionately communicate with their children about periods, treating them as a normal part of life. It is crucial to educate them about hygiene and health concerns related to menstrual cycles, instilling a sense of understanding and empathy.
I urge the Indian government to include a dedicated chapter on periods in school curricula, fostering knowledge and acceptance. Let us unite to ensure that every woman embraces her period with pride, celebrating this natural phenomenon.