At 13, Radhika was in class VIII and on her ride home in the school bus. She had been uncomfortable all morning but now felt as if she’d peed in her seat.
She couldn’t wait to go home and change her clothes.
Her stop came and she rushed for the door. A bunch of other kids from the area did the same. They got down behind her. She heard them snickering at her.
Radhika’s skin prickled. She felt uncomfortably hot and her neck and ears turned red. The unpleasant feeling in her nether regions, combined with the sniggering behind her, embarrassed Radhika.
She started to walk fast.
Suddenly realised someone was walking beside her. An older boy; she recognised him; he went with her on the same bus and was a year older.
Radhika didn’t know his name.
He pulled her aside.
And gave her his sweater.
He said, “Tie it around your waist. It will hide the stain.”
Radhika thought…OH NO!!! Did I actually pee in my pants? And now the whole school will laugh at me!
“Hey! Its cool. Its only a period stain. After a wash your skirt will be as good as new,” he said.
Radhika was even more embarrassed. She couldn’t meet his eyes and looked down.
He said, “I know all about periods. You know, I got sisters at home.”
He promised he would explain his friends and they would stop mocking her.
‘No shame in periods’ is inspired from real-life events in 2018.
The story encourages youngsters to show kindness to each other and demonstrates how parents can help in creating a more and informed inclusive world.
Awareness about mensuration is lacking in India. Let alone men and teenaged boys, some of the myths that women in the mensuration age-group harbour are astonishing.
Parental intervention in explaining the mensuration cycle to teenagers (both boys and girls) can help them both deal better with their puberty.
By Rituparna B.