You can’t touch this [ sofa and other furniture with fabric on it]
You can’t touch this [ vessels apart from what I was served in]
You can’t touch this [ kitchen, puja room, or actually anywhere but my room & living room]
I told you,girl
You can’t touch this [all of the above]
Yeah, that’s how we livin’, and ya know
You can’t touch this…
Thats right… . I am untouchable..
For those three days [periods], I am untouchable…It is not for the entire duration when I bleed, but only those 3 days… I shall not touch anything with clothe around the house, I shall not enter the dining area or puja room or kitchen. I shall be offered beverages and food whenever their mood strikes /time permits. Heck, even the maids have been given instructions to not touch any of my stuff till they are done with the rest of the house. Whatte wow world I live in.
A message to all you girls out there, esp those who come from this kinda backward thinking family – Get out, get out as soon as you can. NO, I am not asking you to get married. Am only asking you to get out once you start earning few bucks. Get out and live on your own, or with friends, or with anyone, but your family.
When you get your 1st period, they celebrate it and want to throw a fuckass full-blown drama circus, invite people over for lunch etc etc and then when you do get your period on a regular you are treated like an untouchable.. ugh. When I started menstruating, relatives came visiting [we were in Tirunelveli, aunt uncle came from Chennai] bearing gifts – gramma & aunt even gifted me pattu pavadai [Silk top and skirt] and some jewellery… For what joy????
How is it that their mind just completely flips to the other side the minute I announce periods have arrived? In fact, there have been times when gramma’s face will get all twisted, like as if I announced a crime.. I just cannot wrap my head around this- what they call age-old custom. How is it they are able to adapt to other changes but not let go of this? Even better, they cringe every time you mention the word “period” or “pads” or any of the other aspects associated with it. Actually, at home gramma is chill, infact have shown her the menstrual cup, and explained how it works and so on. but with mom, its a big NO NO.. these are things you talk about in hushed tones ONLY.
I am expected to keep my plate elsewhere, same with coffee/tea mug, and wash bedsheets and everything else used during those 3 days. I understand back in the day women did not have pads or cups and used cloth, might be physically tired to do all duties around the house and so were given a break, but why today? Gramma has told me of days when she would be in a separate room and kids would be naked if they were gonna be crawling or playing around – what if they entered her room, and then went back to the main part of the house? I should be glad there is no mini room away from the main house where I am banished for the 3 days and allowed to stay along with the others *wipes happy tears*
While I have accepted this is never going to change at home, I hate it, I hate every minute of those days when I not only have to deal with my body behaving weirdly, but also the family going awol for hours. I hate having to go ask for some water, or coffee/tea.
Yesterday, for example, I was waiting to have lunch, it was around 1.30 pm when the uncle came, and we sat for lunch after that and then he got a call [was on it for 10mins or so]. I am holding my plate waiting to be served when a calendar alarm beeped on the phone, it was 1.45 pm and I had a call to get to. I literally just took my plate and went away. C’est la vie~
I try to be as accommodating as possible. There are days when I will tell gramma lets just order in dinner, cos otherwise she has to wheel herself to the kitchen, make dosa, and then bring everything to the table. I feel guilty and see her struggle as well. The distance from the kitchen to the dining table is more than a few yards, and for her to be going to and fro in her wheelchair is no easy feat. Or there are days when mom will send some dinner over /or land up here to take over. Those are times I take the opportunity to step out. When I have my periods, I make it a point to carry my laptop and head out to a cafe to work or spend a few hours. I don’t mind spending some money, I achieve peace of mind & can have whatever I feel like whenever hunger strikes.
Getting the period is part of a woman’s biology and everyone goes through it, which is why am baffled about this need for customs and rituals. Aren’t we all humans? Shouldn’t we be treated as always all the time? When am told of how we are unpure during our periods, if we touch pickles they will spoil etc, I wonder how is it that in homes where none of this followed, nothing has spoiled or gone awry… lol
The only blessing for me is I have no cramps or pain or craziness during the periods. Yes, I do sense a shift in the mood a few days before the period arrives, and some knee ache, but that disappears as soon as the flow begins… voila~ I feel for all those who curl up in pain or have to take medication to help them get through their periods. Oh well, our bodies are all differently wired, right?!
Is there anything you/your family do/does differently when you get your period? Do share..