It was a regular school day in my teenage life - got up early ,dressed for school grabbing my bag and lunch box hurrying towards the bus stop.I reached school merely minutes away from the assembly bell .The morning classes were hectic with homework, project submission and chatting with my 2 best friends .It was around the recess time when I started feeling nauseous and felt an uneasy pain in my stomach.Though the pain was sharp but my child mind quickly dismissed it aside blaming last nights binge on potato chips with my brother while watching a horror movie .
I was eagerly listening to my best friend tell us about her new dress for an upcoming birthday party and how she planned to wear an elaborate hair clip in the matching colour .
The class after the recess break was of Physical education ,one where we has relay race planned ahead but my uneasiness left me tired and I could barely walk due to increased spasms of stomach ache ,i chose to take a time out and sat under the shade watching my friends sprint .It was then that I felt discomfort and a strange wetness around my thighs ,I rushed to the washroom and saw my light grey skirt stained along with my inner wear.I felt scared and ashamed .
Sensing my long absence my best friend Indira came looking for me .She saw my tears and worriedly asked me what had happened ,i told her about the stains .
Indira was an old soul ,she was always more mature and ahead of her age.Her intelligence and maturity always gave me a cocoon of comfort and trust in our friendship.
Indira wiped my tears and hugged me saying “welcome to womanhood ,big girl “ ,She explained me in details about my physical changes and hormones.She made it sound all simple and easy .We asked the washroom caretaker for help arranging a sanitary napkin and an extra skirt from the store house .I changed and wrapped my stained garments in a bag.The rest of the day went in a blur .On reaching home ,i shared the days events with my mom ,my mother is a worldly wise woman from a very small town ,she said she had been expecting my menstruation cycle to start but didn’t know how to address the issue with me ,I was partly annoyed and partly sad at her state .Her family had limited resources and hence my mother was not well educated .She was married off early and in a very orthodox family .She still believed in dogmas and old traditions which made simple physical changes like adulthood and menstruation awkward topics of discussion with her own daughter.
In a day or 2 when my pain subsided and I realised what was happening to me physically and emotionally was a normal phase that every woman goes through .It cleared the blur in my mind and the clouds of self doubts and lower self esteemed vanished in thin air.The more I read and researched about menstrution the more ‘normal’ they looked .I took it upon myself to not only ensure that my younger sister would be better prepared when it was her time but also my mother knew and accepted the same as a normal phenomenon busting all the silly myths around women during their mentraution .I explained to her that her pickles are safe even when she or any woman touches them while on her periods ! For the coming weeks we spoke extensively about periods and even my father was given the duty of buying extra packets of sanitary packets each month going forward .With small steps and open conversation my periods not only became a milestone for my womanhood but also helped us evolve as a family.My mother ,is now very well versed and I notice her advising her friends on how to educate their daughters and prepare them better.