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At 11, I Learnt To Hide ‘The Packet’ In Black, Away From Men’s Eyes!

The shopkeeper takes a packet out and diligently wraps it in a black bag. Now I know it is a packet meant to be hidden from the men's eyes!

The shopkeeper takes a packet out and diligently wraps it in a black bag. Now I know it is a packet meant to be hidden from the men’s eyes!

I am eleven, and I don’t know
So I ask mom, what is wrong?
She affirms that something’s wrong
Then she says, lower your voice
Lest dad and brother hear it

She hastens me to the medical store
Waits for the crowd to fade
Furtively she asks for a “packet”
Shopkeeper giggles and takes one out
Maybe the packet is something funny,
Diligently he veils it in an endless black
Now I’m sure – it’s something to laugh at.

Mom tells me how to use and dispose it off
She tells me to keep the remaining concealed
This time I don’t ask anything
For I know why she is obscure
And I didn’t overlook the chuckles
As we walk with the funny packet in black

On the fourth day, I don’t bleed
I am ecstatic it ends
Without dad and brother espying the funny packet
I am sly enough
I enshroud it with all my clothes.

As I am watching TV,
Mom swiftly pulls me aside
“Have you gone blind, you stained your dress”
She reprimands in a hushed tone
Tears gush down my face
As I tiptoe into the washroom

I return to the TV, beside my brother
And I am horrified to see it
Why are they showing funny packet on the TV?
Don’t they know my brother watches?

Will he rebuke me like mom?
Or titter like the people outside?
I am vexed with either
So I grab the remote in a jiffy
And change the channel.

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Conclusion: The subtle art of social conditioning

Picture credits: Still from Stayfree’s #KeepGirlsInSchool campaign on YouTube

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