Hello everyone, Sara here. Today’s essay by 12 year old Vidya from Kolkata is extra special because it talks about something even grown ups need courage to discuss openly- Periods. I am so happy that she chose to share this excellent piece with me.
#SaraReads: Essay-Wake up, Grow up!
I write this to share my thoughts with everyone especially boys and men and uncles and dads and grandfathers.
Two years ago, I started chumming. Some people call it periods too. My mom had told me at the beginning it’s normal and natural just like breathing and we should be thankful to God for this process as it is a natural part of our bodies. My dad had taken me to see the Bollywood movie Padman without mom, so I thought it is a very normal thing to happen to all girls sooner or later.
In October that year I went to Bhutan with my family for a holiday. And one day I was very irritable and annoyed because my stomach was paining and my brothers were pulling my leg which made me grumpier and angrier. So my dad told them not to irritate me because I was having my periods.
To that my cousin asked, “What is periods?”
So my dad told him to ask his father. Then my granny said, “No no he is very small to be explained.”
I was shocked and startled as to what on earth were they thinking and then there was pin drop silence in the restaurant. Nobody spoke at all.
I thought, is it something bad? If not, why wasn’t my cousin explained like me and my brother?
Why was he considered small although he is older to me?
Later on that evening I asked my mom the same questions and she told me simply, “As long as you and your brother know, I’m good.”
I wasn’t very happy with that answer so I thought about it again and again and today I want to share a little bit about periods otherwise how will these 10, 12, 14 year old boys grow up ? Because when they would ask their parents – they would be told, “You are too small.”
So, listen carefully.
Firstly, it’s absolutely natural and normal. Secondly, it happens every month for 4-5 days wherein girls bleed and they become very grumpy and angry. This is also very normal. Thirdly, it happens to all females, your friends, sisters, cousins, aunts, moms, grannys so there’s no big deal about it. We all will learn about it in our science books someday or the other.
So If you have a question please find out the answer – we are not too young for anything, if we are old enough to choose our own shopping, we can also find out about our own bodies. If we can hear all English songs with so many slangs we can at the same time also talk interactively about health topics. Right ?
Now, in 2020, two years after I first encountered the above, I feel nothing has changed. We have graduated in terms of our educational classes, like I have gone from class V to VII; but I feel people around me still remain the same.
I would like to share a funny incident. A couple of months back I started my periods and my brother and me went to the chemist close by to get sanitary napkins. So while giving the packet the chemist started to wrap it in another black plastic bag. Why? So that nobody could see what was inside it. So I told him “NO” not to give it to me in a black plastic bag. He was very shocked and must have thought in his mind this kid is so dumb and doesn’t know the period etiquettes.
In my mind I was thinking, in Pacific Ocean they have an island full of plastic garbage, don’t people read about news or happenings around the world or National Geographic? Anyways then he said he didn’t have any newspaper to wrap it. So I simply picked up the pad pack and walked out of the store. The entire way, 500 steps, people must have seen me carrying that ‘not to be seen’ pad.
Funny, isn’t it? Think about this. In India cigarettes are taken as something so natural when they are just spoiling our lungs and life but periods which are a part of our reproductive system are treated as Voldemont in Harry Potter.
I conclude by saying I am not embarrassed or don’t care if people come to know in a chemist shop or in a shopping mall that I am chumming. It’s absolutely ok. I will hope that someday most girls will start thinking like this and be very very proud of their bodies.