What beautiful start of a morning, the birds chirping. Fresh crisp air blowing against the skin.
This is what heaven must feel like. Only until a sound banged from the kitchen.
“Dipti ! Come, have your food.” Aarti shouted from the kitchen, this is the fourth time Aarti came out of the kitchen. She saw Dipti standing quietly. But her face had many things to say. As if it was her last day. When she saw Aarti, she cried aloud, “Mumma! I am going to die!”
“What!?” Aarti came and hugged her.
“What happened Dipti? Tell me! What happened. And don’t cry.”
She wiped the tears and consoled her.
“Mumma .. Mumma …”
I am in pain. Something has happened. I have seen blood. Something has burst inside my body.”
“Ma …” She cried aloud and squeezed her eyes. My pants are wet again. Oh, Ma! What has happened? Am I going to die?”
Aarti held her. “Dipti! First, stop crying! Nothing has happened. Don’t panic. It is normal. We all bleed. You have become a woman now. We all women, has been blessed by God. We are nurturers. We give birth to a new child. We are blessed with the power to bring a new life. We all came in this world enveloped in blood. Bleeding – it is part of every woman’s life. There is no harm, no shame. Be strong. Accept it Dipti. As we all are part of it. It is a blissful feeling – an inexpressible feeling.”
Dipti was listening patiently. She had never seen Aarti like this. Aarti hugged her. Her heart was pounding aloud. “My girl, don’t worry! I am with you.”
Aarti took out a sanitary pad. She explained to Dipti – how to use it. “Mumma! I will not wear this one.” I will manage these four to five days” Dipti ran to another room and sobbed under her pillow.
“Aah! Dipti, you can have profuse bleeding. Listen to me. This is new for you and you are not getting my point. Gradually things will be out of control. You will have to use the pads, Darling.”
“But Mumma, for how many days?”
“Five. Maybe.” Aarti said slowly.
“It is natural.” Aarti pulled out the pad and gave instructions to Dipti on using it.
“Maintain hygiene and yes, these are biodegradable pads, which are sustainable and hygienic. You can manage your periods very well and after 28 days it will recur.” Aarti took out a book, titled, “Now you are a woman!”
“Read this. You will be able to handle everything effortlessly.”
“I have to wear pads! Oh, Mumma, I am not going to wear them. You are making it so awkward for me.”
For Dipti, the day had not been good. She was uncomfortable. “Oh God! Give me a boon that only it is for this month. From next month I will not be having this. Why this?” In school, she sat silently watching her friends. She imagined, “did they all have periods? Why they never uttered a single word about it?”
“Hey, Dips! What happened? Why are you so sad today?” Smriti cam and patted on her back.
“Nothing” Dipti put her hand on Smriti.
“Come on Dips! Tell me!” Smriti insisted.
“I got my first periods” Dipti was in tears. “But why?” Smriti held her.
“Oh yaar! We all bleed. My mom told me. I had to learn to deal with it, and I have. Don’t panic, Dipti. You know, my Mom explained – It is a bridge from adolescence to womanhood. It is vital to all girls growing up. Earlier I used pads until I felt comfortable to use tampons or else you can use menstrual cups.”
“Tampons? Cups?What is that? It sounds as if its some mafia gang!” Both started giggling.
Once I had a dance rehearsal and couldn’t wear underwear. I had to try tampons. I tried many times and then finally got it in. But something was not right. I felt like asking my elder sister. I asked her if I was supposed to keep the entire tampon inside. She told me to keep only the cotton part. The other part was the applicator – used for insertion. She helped me out. I tried again. Now I have got the hang of it. We are matured now, babe. I am sure you too can handle this.”
Dipti was listening patiently. After Smriti’s talk, she felt more confident. She was running away from her Mom. But she now felt that her Mom was right. She opened the book her Mom had given her. It was all there. “Thanks, Mom!” She closed her eyes and opened herself into a new world with a new vision.
A vision of womanhood. She can know the growth of body parts now. She was initially mortified but then she realized that she had to accept this phase of growing up. Embrace womanhood gracefully as her Mom had told her.
When she came back home, her Mom handed her a kit that she could take it wherever she went.
Aarti sat with her and spoke to her “Dipti when I was young periods were a torture. The beginning three days we were not allowed to enter the kitchen or the puja room, sleeping on a straw mat and not allowed to do many things. My grandma gave me my special cup and plate to eat and I was served last from a distance, as the same food was served to male members of our family. No, it was something quite different, much worse. A kind of shame that engulfed me.Later , my mother fought a lot with the prevailing situation and gradually because of my mom we got freedom from such baseless superstitions.
When I got my period all the realtives and friends were invited and an occasion was celebrated although it was very awful,but I couldn’t utter a single word.No one was there to listen .Dipti gave a strange look…as she was surprised after listening her mother’s journey when compared to her …
Now my girl with time we have accepted good things, it’s a beginning .. first step into womanhood. A girl inside you should understand everything to accept this change for goodness.Sweetheart as parents we both are with you whenever you need us”.
Dipti listened patiently and went to her room her inner voice was speaking now…
So finally, “I am a woman”. Now I can bear menstrual cramps. I can deal with periods. I know my body. It is not an embarrassing thing anymore. It is the miracle of being a woman. I now proudly embrace this. The journey of womanhood in the womb of the universe.