It is the first day. The package arrives covered in several layers of newspaper, like the contents of it are something to be ashamed of, something to keep concealed. Your cheeks burn when you accept the package from the delivery boy, and you pay him and shut the door in his face immediately to be rid of his insolent stare.
The second day, a classmate pelts you in the back of your head with an eraser, and sneers when you sharply protest. “Aiy, you are on your period, kya? Itna bad mood.” Your palm itches, but you hold your silence and let the bait float past you. You have been brought up on the adage that boys will be boys.
On day three, you remember the stories your mother tells you about the quiet indignities she suffered at your age, and you fume at the very idea of such treatment. “Don’t touch the pickle jar, it will go bad. No need to go to the mandir today.” Your anger boils over when you see her docile acceptance of it, when she says,“Beta, sometimes you have to accept the way the world is, or else you cannot be a part of society.”
Day four dawns, and with it come the advertisements that sell sex with deodorants and lingerie; and then pour blue liquid on pure white winged micro-fibred un-nameables. You wonder why it’s acceptable to use the gyrating hips of a woman to sell an aerosol, but not show the true nature of what lies beneath that skin with deep, deoxygenated red instead of clinical blue.
And finally, day five, a girl you rarely speak to suddenly becomes your bosom friend for a few tense minutes. She mouths the word “Pad?” at you, and glances around furtively like she’s committing a crime, which she isn’t, of course, periods are natural and normal and all girls have them- and yet, when you pass her the pad, it is hidden within the pages of a notebook. Just in case the boys spot it.
By Pallavi Dwivedi
Pallavi Dwivedi is a highly opinionated jack of all trades and master of none: she writes poetry, paints and attempts comedy, but excels at nothing except drinking near-illegal amounts of tea. You can reach her on Twitter @phipallavi, on Instagram @palluphi and on WordPress at thelabyrinthinmyhead.wordpress.com.
Artwork by Unknown.