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The secrecy around periods and sanitary napkins can cause some shopping gaffes, as Sreeparna Sen discovered, rueing the fact that this still continues even today!
As the bus screeched to a stop at my designated stop, I realised that the gut wrenching feeling that was making me feel nauseated and the aching abdomen was not only due to the supersonic speed of the vehicle or the bumpy ride, but it was the announcement of her arrival. Aunt Flow.
Getting down from the bus I checked my watch. Already late. But, the stock of my sanitary napkins needed immediate replenishment. I usually buy them with my month’s grocery from supermarkets, but, this month we skipped the visit to Big Bazaar for a reason – we decided to help the local grocery shops. Well, that’s another story.
So I had to step inside the local medicine shop. It is a medium sized outlet. Three elderly gentlemen scattered around the not so brightly lit shop. With all the time in the world, checking the manufacturing and expiry date of each and every strip of medicine. I again checked the time. It was time for my maid to arrive. Since she has a super busy schedule, her waiting time usually ranges from five to ten minutes. Either you appear or she disappears. I tried to get the attention of the shopkeeper.
And my phone interrupted.
“Hello madam, I am from the pet shop. Your aquarium needed repair? I am waiting downstairs.”
Oh no. My poor fishes. Surviving with a broken air filter and a non functional motor for 5 days, and need immediate attention.
“Please wait bhaiya. I’ll just reach home.”
“I have two more houses to visit. I cannot wait for long. Please hurry up, madam.”
Phew! That was a close call. Why do I feel like I owe my life to everyone else except for mine? But it was no time to get philosophical.
“Dada, please give me a pack of whisper ultra choice.” I blurted out in a hurry.
The old man looked at me in a shock. Was I too loud? I could feel even the other pairs of eyes rotating towards me.
The man was looking baffled why I was asking him. Then, with much hesitation he walked up to a fragile, tiny woman figure behind the counter, who was beyond my range of vision till now.
Oh! So I needed to address this woman for my specific requirement. To my grace, the elder shopkeeper ‘whispered’ my requirement to the correct department. She looked at me in a pitiful manner and started searching something. The black polythene.
Then briskly climbed a ladder to bring down the precious gem secretly saved in the attic, covered completely with the black plastic. And handed it over to me as quietly as possible. But, I, the ever suspicious one needed to unwrap it to check.
And the inevitable. It wasn’t the one I asked for. I pulled it out of its hideout and put it on her hand, re-establishing my requirement. In the meantime a lady has also arrived with a little kid. She saw all this, and glared at me like why are you unearthing the black secret? Visibly irritated. What a bad effect on her kid, it seemed.
The ordeal unfolded for a few more minutes and I was rushing through the black tarmac, with my buy, to reach the finish line, just in time to save my day.
Looking back at my experience I was wondering – till when will this natural physical phenomenon remain such a taboo in our country?
Image source: a still from the movie Padman
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Sreeparna Sen is a Banker by profession. A Computer Engineer by education, she is a
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