In my family, I have a mother, father, an older sister (didi) and a younger brother (bhai). When I was a young girl, I saw for a few days every month my didi would be in a lot of pain and cry. I never knew that she was having her period. During this time, my mother would always yell at her and insult her.
When I was 13 years old, I got my period for the first time. I was in school and I started feeling something wet in my underwear, but didn’t think it was anything. Then the teacher called on me, so I stood up and my friend who was sitting behind me told me to sit back down. I then found out that I had a red stain on the back of my school uniform. I went to the bathroom and saw blood in my underwear and didn’t understand what was happening. Luckily, my friend had already gotten her period and told me that it will happen now every month. She gave me the scarf she was wearing in her hair, for me to tie around my waist.
I put two and two together and realized that my didi must be in pain and crying because of her period. I didn’t want my mother to yell and insult me, so I decided not to tell anyone in my family. There are many restrictions for girls on their periods. My mother taught my sister:
- She has to shower, every morning at 6am for seven days, before she can touch anything in the house
- She can not do puja (worship) to God
- She can not touch the food or cook, for others to eat
Since I decided to hide my period from my family, I continued to do puja on my period. I touched the food that I cooked for my family. I showered in the afternoon, not worrying about what I was touching in the house.
Eventually, my family found out. I was using cotton swab as a pad. I would throw it on top of our bathroom roof outside. If I threw it anywhere else someone would find it, so I continued to throw it over the roof. After two years of doing this, my father climbed a tree beside the bathroom roof and saw all of the soiled cotton swabs laying on top. He told my mother. My mother started yelling at me for not telling them and asked if I gave puja or cooked while I was on my period. I proudly said yes I did and I will continue to do so!