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Sunday, March 8, 2009

...

Mom, I'm on my Period...

Oh no! Ok, don't touch my madi sari (a sari she wears to pray in). Do NOT touch or use these utensils in the kitchen. When you're in the pooja (prayer) room, don't go near any of the idols or the praying items. MOST important thing, make sure that you take a head bath on your 4th AND the 5th day of your period before you pray in front of god. You're not allowed to pray on the 1-4th days. Only started to allow to pray on the 5th day.

Uhhm, ok mom.

Why are you giving me that look? You're having it much easier that me. When I was growing, no one was even supposed to touch us at home. If someone touched me when I was on my period, even accidentally, they would have to take a bath IMMEDIATELY! We would be in a corner in the house, NO ONE outside the house was allowed to touch us also ok? The whole gully (street) would know when a girl was on her period.

Sigh.

Don't sigh! Where are your traditions? You have to respect god. You can't go in front of him when you're not pure.

Being on my period doesn't mean I'm impure mom. God knows when I'm on my period, so why these rules that don't make sense?

You don't know anything! It is not respectful to go in front of god when you're not pure.

Why the taboo around a woman's period? It's as natural as breathing, sleeping, eating. It's something every girl/woman goes through. In this day and age, why should a woman be feared if she is on her period? Why should poojas be stopped? In many current cases, why can she not be touched in the house she is currently residing in? Why can't I pray if I choose to in a temple?

My grandparents happen to be very orthodox. My first experience of having a period in India was.., a learning experience... We had plans to go to Tirupathi (a holy mecca sort of a place for Hindus). But since I got my period, I wasn't allowed to go. On top of that, it meant that my parents were still going and I had to stay back with my grandparents. Grandma made me sit in a corner in the house and at times, I was asked to leave the house for a bit while grandpa was praying. Having a presence of a girl on her period was impure. No one was allowed to touch me.

Scenario mentioned above with my mom is one of the many arguments that run in the house that I currently live in. Every month I get my gift from "God", mom freaks out. Makes SURE I take a head bath on the 4th 5th whatever day. And mom's right. She had it a lot harder when she was growing up. I tell myself that I'll try not to be the same way like my mom if I have kids. Maybe I'll be all the more liberal.

But again, why the taboo? A part of me is god-fearing as well. Is it bad karma to disrespect my parents and ancestors' rules? Would god punish me for going to the temple on my 'off' days? Breaking the barrier of having the freedom to go to the temple when I'm on my period seems to be just as hard of an ordeal like many of the other racial, economic, environmental problems that are going on in the world lately. It's hard to urge my mom and dad to change. It's hard to explain the formula of "women on her period = just women, not impure women".

Time shall tell on whether I'll have the courage to break this barrier if and when it comes to my daughter's first period.

Period.

8 comments:

working class hero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shivangi Sinha said...

I agree, this happens. My mom used to tell me this too but she was flexible enough when I did not do it.

dur khaima said...

I tried going to temple none other than those particular days .. just to prove a point...perhaps it's disrespectful .. oh well

Eve* aka JB said...

Hmmm. haven't been struck dead by god(s) so far. I was very scared the first time i 'touched' god when having my period. i wanted to know what would happen and since no one would tell me..decided to take the risk. shrug. nothing happened. wonder exactly WHEN did the lies start? hmm. perhaps will write about this as well... and link to you.
nicely written; like the 'conversational' style...

RukmaniRam said...

why would you ever, ever do it to your kid? please, nobody ever do that to your kid.

P.s: I had the *same* conversation with my mum. and my aunt. and neighbour. and grandma. and cousin.

RukmaniRam said...

ooh. wait. i had more. "don't touch the plants on your periods. they will wilt."

Has anyone else heard that? I think this old aunty made it up to my mum to scare the wits out of her. and then it just passed on..

dur khaima said...

@RukmaniRam

plants? lol .. no way...

navneet said...

yes..it happens..but it depends on u ,whether u follow it or not.. not only indians but whole world is conservative...so enjoy ur indivisualim.