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Once in a while comes a movie comes which breaks through the clutter, dismisses regressive social practices and tells a story of guts and belief. One such, is Padman.
Padman is based on the real life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham who created a machine which manufactures low cost pads and became the saviour of women across rural areas who did not have access to sanitary napkins. He faced ridicule from his family and friends, all of whom berated him for even talking about a subject which is considered shameful and appalling.
Menstruation is a natural biological syndrome. If anything, it is a beautiful phenomenon which symbolizes the transition of a girl into a woman. Due to this change in her body, she can create the miracle of life. Yet, so many years and scientific discoveries later, blind superstition surrounds it, especially in India. It is a topic which is swept under the carpet and discussed in hushed tones. Girls from a very young age are taught to be ashamed of this bodily function and are embarrassed about it.
Ironically, the onset of periods is celebrated in some states with a traditional puja ceremony. However, later, women who are menstruating are not allowed to attend religious occasions. Infact it’s considered inauspicious for women to go into temples or near places of wordship during their monthly cycle.
In many places, they are regarded as untouchable and are forbidden to have any contact with the men of the house. Women are also not allowed to enter the kitchen or touch food during their downtime. The funniest period superstition has to be that a menstruating woman should not touch pickles, as she will spoil them. Probably because she has started emitting harmful chemical waste due to her periods!
The taboos and shame is not limited to rural areas only. Even in big cities, men are embarrassed to buy sanitary napkins for the women of their family. I have always found shopkeepers looking highly embarrassed when I ask them for my brand of pad. They fervently wrap it up in layers of newspaper so that no one can see even a sliver of the product inside.
If the origins of these superstitions are traced, one will find some logical reasoning as to why they were introduced. But the reasoning of those times is probably not relevant today, and yet the practices continue. It’s about time we stopped following traditions blindly and questioned them.
Let’s teach our sons and daughters to talk about what is a natural process and not be ashamed of it. Let’s teach them to talk about periods, and be comfortable with it.
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My first book - Second Chances has just released and is present on all online book stores. Do pick up a copy to read about the adventures of a novice ghost. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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I'll be 43 soon and yes, I almost gave in to my conditioning and asked myself- what did I do wrong? Did I lead him on? But not any more.
This wasn’t the first time something like this has happened, and I have a feeling that this won’t be the last either!
So on May 12th, I ran into this man. I was waiting for something and it was raining. He seemed decent and we got talking. About work.
I realised that his company could actually do some work for my NGO and we exchanged numbers. After that we talked about general stuff on WhatsApp sometimes, and he connected me to some others for the work I had in mind.
Instead of seeking vengeance after horrific crimes, the public should push for faster and better judicial resolutions. That is the best tribute we can pay to the victims.
Trigger Warning: This deals with rape, violence against women and police brutality, and may be triggering for survivors.
On the news yesterday we came to know that 10 police officers who had killed 4 young men arrested for the rape and murder of Hyderabad doctor in an “encounter” have been found “guilty of concocting their story, and were to be charged with murder.” The report of the commission doing this enquiry also says “The panel also found that police have deliberately attempted to suppress the fact that at least three of the deceased were minors – two of them 15 years old.”
December 29, 2019 was a Friday no different from any other. I was running late so had no time to read the newspaper. On the way to work, I logged onto to Twitter to catch up with the news. The first thing I saw was the breaking story on the horrific gang rape and murder of the 26 year old doctor on the outskirts of Hyderabad.