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Women are kept away from religious celebrations when they bleed because they are considered impure. It’s a regressive practice that needs to be questioned!
It all happened a couple of years ago. My friend’s family always wanted to buy and set up a “cool” house like every other middle class family. The long-time wish of his mother was granted when they purchased a new flat.
His mother wanted to design the flat according to her taste. She made all the selections, from wardrobe to washroom tiles. My friend works in a bank, and stays in a different city. So, he wasn’t involved in the work. He didn’t arrange anything for the house warming ceremony.
His sister took care of everything. Everyday, she drove her mother wherever needed. They went to the carpenters, plumbers, painters, interior designers, hardware stores in the scorching heat. Hunger, thirst or tanning didn’t bother them.
They didn’t compromise on anything to make their dream house look the way they fantasized it to be. The girl helped her mother fulfil every wish and desire.
Finally, the day arrived and everything was set. People started coming in from the previous night. My friend also arrived the night before. He had dinner, and went to bed early as he had to participate in the ceremony in the morning.
But, where’s the daughter? The girl, who poured in all her sweat to set up the flat, was not present anywhere!
Upon enquiring, my friend said, ‘My sister got her periods last night. So, she went off to stay at my aunt’s place. As the housewarming ceremony has the Pooja-Paath, she cannot attend it. Dejected, she left for our aunt’s place. Anyhow, we’ve convinced her to come here, and stay for the ceremony. She should be here in a few minutes.’
I was disturbed by such revelation. However, I was also happy that the family had urged her to be here. But, when she arrived, she was asked to sit at a distance in the opposite flat. She wasn’t allowed into her own house!
My mind stormed with questions. How could they enter their dream house without the person who made it happen? All this stupidity, simply because she was menstruating!? How can they not respect the efforts she put in even if period was more important than their daughter? Can anyone recreate this moment for her? Is this not once in a lifetime moment? How can she be impure?
Meanwhile, the son who has done absolutely nothing, royally stepped into the new house early in the morning with his parents. .
They said that they didn’t want her to miss the ceremony. They wanted her presence. But what kind of presence is it, when she is alienated from the joy and frolic within the house?
My friend added, ‘We were rather sad about her absence. My mother felt broken the whole day.’ So the question then arises, Why did you do nothing about it?
You could have very well ‘allowed’ the girl into the house. After all, what is a housewarming ceremony more than stepping into the house together!? If you feel you don’t want to enter the new place when your daughter or sister is in pain, then why did you not postpone it? Are the invitations and catering payments more important?
The ceremony could have been planned for a later date. Unlike menstruation, it is something that is in your control. Were you not ashamed to see your girl sit with a breakfast plate that was given to her as a token of your considerate ‘soft heart’?
Education doesn’t take away regressive practices!
The father is a graduate who works for a private firm. The mother is a graduate who worked as a teacher for many years. The brother is a banker. And, the girl herself is a graduate working for a reputed MNC. In the name of culture and tradition, if you are not considering your own people, then all your education has taught you nothing.
People come up with an all-time super hit explanation: Girls are made to sit aside so that their bodies get the much needed rest during periods. Okay!
Rest, you say? She sleeps on the floor bearing the back pain. She does her own dishes, and washed her clothes, while in pain.
Your notion might have been true for centuries gone by, but not anymore. A girl on her periods goes to school, college, or work. She travels, and does everything else that’s needed. She runs behind her husband and kids to get them ready for work and school, respectively.
Did you ask her to stay back home and take rest when she had to attend a college seminar or an office meeting? No, you did not. Because you know that they are mandatory! Yet, during the ceremony her presence is disposable.
My friend and I had a long argument. In the end, he said, ‘I cannot hurt my parents at this age by telling them that they are wrong. Everyone doesn’t believe or follow such practices. There must be some valid reason behind these that people keep following them.
Though I don’t like all these, I cannot stop my parents from practicing their beliefs. You stop questioning me. Your arguments don’t find place here. When my sister herself is ok with it, why are you so bothered?”
Was it a slap on my face or a slap to every woman questioning out there? Until girls and women are ‘ok’ with such practices, nothing will change. Women need to understand this!
If you are impure because of your “Shh, Secret wala three days”, then your motherhood is impure too! You know what I mean. It’s your duty to let your children understand that it’s biology, not sanctity.
Don’t forget that you are born just because she bled every month. You don’t have to call her the “Lakshmi” of the house, just treat her like a human. That’s all.
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