The Menses Diaries: End of an Era

A young girl eagerly awaits the moment of 'becoming a woman' - even as she approaches the end of the teenage years.

A young girl eagerly awaits the moment of ‘becoming a woman’ – even as she approaches the end of the teenage years. Madhu Arora on this month’s writing theme, ‘Endings.’

Madhu Arora works as a content specialist with a leading multinational IT firm. She is an advocate of gender equality in both her personal and professional life, and currently walks the tightrope between full time motherhood, the idiosyncrasies of family life in India, and a demanding career. She blogs at Madhu Arora and her twitter handle is @aroramadhu.

There it was. A definitive red spot. No doubt this time, of the color or its location.

About time, I remember thinking. There are only so many times you can fake knowing what the hell your friends are talking about, after all.

And I was late, so late; at 15 probably the last in my class of 30+ girls to get it. Add to that a body that was slow to “develop” in the “right” places, and I had been the butt of jokes for a while now. Teenage girls can be mean, really mean.

Oh, I could have faked having the period just as easily as I stuffed cotton in my sports bra. But on the inside, I would have still felt less of a “woman”, still a girl. And that too, if my classmates were to be believed, was questionable. Doubting your woman/girlhood is not a great place to be during the as it is turbulent teen years. It raises far too many existential questions, that at your age, your mind is not equipped to answer.

So, I could have yelled in ecstasy when I saw the spot. Never before and never again have I been so happy at the sight of blood.

I did a celebratory jig right there, sitting on the toilet seat. And then cracked open the door a bit and called out to the attendant. “Anupam mam ko jaldi se bula do, tabiyat theek nahin hai.” Ms. Anupam Saxena, besides being a great Hindi teacher, was our school-time go-to-person for all things girly. And me being the underdog in this arena, she had a special soft corner for me.

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Ms. Saxena must have done this fairly regularly for she came equipped with a sanitary pad, and looked pleased with her sixth sense, when I confirmed her hunch. As I held the door slightly ajar, she quickly explained to me what to do with a pad. “You get it?” she asked. “Of course, I do,” my gloating inside voice said, “I have been practicing with my mom’s unused ones for a while now”.

I happily put the pad in place, and walked out, with what I am sure would have looked like a triumphant smile to my teacher.

“Here, sit. Have a cup of tea. Do you have any questions?,”  she asked in a concerned, elder sister fashion. I toned my smile down and said “No”.

“Well, your class was supposed to start their exam about 15 minutes ago. But I have asked them to delay another 15 minutes; you finish your tea. Then, we will start.”

And just like that, the day became even better. As if finally getting your period wasn’t enough, all those mean, know-it-all girls, were waiting to write their exam, so that I COULD FINISH MY TEA…

I could have balle balle-d my way back to the class. But I took the high road, instead just adopting a superior, lady-like demeanor as I walked into the room, with everyone gawking at me. “What happened?,” nudged my desk partner.

And in what I remember as an over-the-top dramatic moment, I answered, “An era has ended. This girl has finally become a woman.”

Pic credit: College Degrees (Used under a Creative Commons license)


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