This menstrual hygiene day, can we talk about periods?

Yes, periods.

It starts young; with a young girl on the brink of puberty. Menses weren't ever discussed with her by her parents or guardians. She learned nuggets of information from discreet sex-ed classes or Chinese whispers among her friends. Once she attained womanhood, knowledge grew from experience. She figured out more about her flow and what she had to do when the going (read: cramps) got tough. Remember that these were times when the internet was limited to terribly slow speeds and Google wasn't constantly available with the answer to everything. Through it all, she couldn't fathom why periods were kept under a veil. Chemists packed sanitary pads in layers of paper so tight, not even a sliver of the packet was visible. Her friends gave theirs menses borderline ridiculous names, especially around the other gender; God forbid they hear that women have a natural bodily process. For the life of her, she couldn't understand why the words 'I've got my period' weren't ever uttered.

I'd like to think times have changed, maybe not by leaps and bounds. Periods exist for millions of women in India and across the world as part of their monthly cycle. Yet, they continue to keep it wrapped in secrecy. They pretend they actually want to wear the black skirt instead of the white jeans. They blame their cramps on bad Chinese food, not on their ongoing menstrual cycle. We can't fully blame them though. Decades of social conditioning taught them that they're impure, they should be ashamed of it and and it's unnatural.

When, in fact, it's none of that. Periods aren't just bouts of abdomen pain so terrible, they can bring you to your knees. It isn't only about the strange mood swings that go from joyous to sobbing in 10 seconds flat. Neither is it about the stray spotting of blood on the lining of a panty. It's a marvel. It's a fountain of fertility. It is the female body's ability to create something out of nothing but itself.

The aim of menstrual hygiene day is to increase awareness about menstruation and its process. Besides education on how to put in a menstrual cup, periods need to be normalised. So that women everywhere can enter any kitchen, cook whatever their heart desires and serve it to everyone around. So that she can talk about it to her friends without nicknames and no, not in hushed tones. So that she can stride through the grocery store, uncovered sanitary pad packet in hand. So that she and everyone around her knows that menstruation is a wondrous process of the female body and there's nothing unnatural about it. Period.

Trending on Style File