Kanjak: A Tale Of The Road Not Taken

The second road was the one not taken, the one which I wanted to take.

1st April 2020 was the end of navaratri, the day of kanjak, where girls are treated like devis. I got up early, washed and bathed myself (which is a whole difficult work for a teen). It was all in all my happy day. After all I was a kanjak. I’d get pampered and treated like a princess. But something happened. Something so emotionally straining for me which pushed me to write an article about this. I was in the shower, rinsing myself, then mother shouted, wash your hair, I’d already done that a day before. I didn’t want to. I said no. This time a bit violently, mother shouted, don’t sit for the kanjak then. I forgot to mention, I  was menstruating.

Corona epidemic was ever increasing. No other girl was present except me and my sister. In the shower, early morning, I stood there, remembering Frost’s poem, staring at the two roads diverged. The first one was obvious, I’d wash my hair and then sit as a kanjak. The second road was the one not taken, the one which I wanted to take. In simple words, I shall refuse to wash my hair, emphasising that I am just as pure with menstruation. It would be a great fight in the morning, lots of screaming and crying, maybe my parents would refuse to talk to me for a while, but ultimately, I would be successful in breaking a heinous tradition.

I took the road which all Hindu women had been taking for generations. I poured water onto my hair and let the feeling of something breaking inside fade away. From far away, I watched me go numb while my folks were worshipping the goddess and praying for the Kanjak’s Ashirvad.

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