In southern India, when you get your periods for the first time it is a 11 day celebration. Day 01 starts with throwing turmeric balls from your back towards the wall. For the next 11 days , daily you would need to eat the ball and dal rice mixed with til oil. (When I turned 24 I realized how important it was to eat that food). At the end of 11th day there is a function to tell the society that this girl has changed from a child to a woman.
Years ago, I was 11 then, I had got my first periods. Firstly, I was scared as to why is there a red colour liquid coming out of my body and secondly, I had understood from my cousins experiences that I would be entering the world of social stigma with it. I too underwent the same celebrations, I was dressed up and the married women from the neighborhood perform my aarti and sung songs. .
Now, coming to my monthly experience; my mother taught me how to use sanitary cloths ( pads were less known at that point of time in my area). And along with this, comes the stigma on the way to not touch utensils,to not enter certain rooms,to not enter the garden area etc, but this stigma helped me in number of ways such as giving me time to take rest, getting attention from my mother (which I loved to☺). Three years passed by, that’s when I came to know about Stayfree sanitary napkins when my friend told about them. These pads made my life so much easier. Unlike the cloth that used to get absorbed easily hence staining my skirts.
Years passed, and the social stigma during periods hasn’t changed however, the rebel in me understood that the stigma should no longer come in my way.