Friday, April 24, 2015

The Runaway Girl

She didn't know where she was going. Hell, she didn't even recognise the street she was in, but somehow her feet kept walking ahead as if they had a mind of their own. Her 3 dollar overpriced iced tea was melting; spilling a trail of droplets on the footpath while the sun shone brightly, almost blinding her as she tried to shield the sun's rays from her eyes.
All she was sure of, was the fact that she wanted to get as far away as she could from her friends and family. She was tempted to check her phone, just to see how many voice message they would leave but decided against it as she strutted along. The sun's rays were too strong for her eyes to continue without blinding, so she decided to walk into a nearby cafe to eat a scone, just as her tummy grumbled as if purring in delight. She had forgotten in the chaos of events that she'd forgotten to eat her lunch. She purchased a sandwich, scone and a cold coffee and set out to sit down and eat, when she realised that the cafe was already filled up with people and not one seat was empty.
Feeling delirious of the things that have happened to her from morning, she decided spontaneously to ask the waiter if there was a garden nearby where she might take respite from the heat and have some piece of mind, when the waiter smiled and told her, '' I'm just about to take a break, and am going to the garden too, if you want I could take you there.'' She grinned broadly and said, ''Wonderful, please lead the way,''. Just to be clear- she was not an outside person.
As they walked, she ponder about the stranger and if it was a rash decision to just blindly follow a stranger in a part of a town she'd never ventured into. But then she saw in the distance the evident crooked gate of a public park and the sounds of children's gleeful laughter.
He looked about her age, if not older, she was so rapped about her head that she hadn't noticed that he had the most strange coloured eyes, a mix of lilac and orange. His eyes were so strange and yet so beautiful, she couldn't help but stare at this angular profile, when he turned to her suddenly she swiftly looked away, her cheeks turning a bright pink. But he just gave her a mysterious smile and with a far away look in his eyes, he said goodbye and took his leave.
Still not able to get his eyes out of her mind, she found the shade of an oak tree and ate her food suddenly wondering if she should call someone to pick her up from here. She definitely didn't know the way and she was starting to worry, an ache building in her head when she heard the rustling of bushes and a man's voice swearing loudly in words she knew her mom would make her clean her mouth with soap. She turned back and saw the boy who bought her here, holding out his toe as if he had stumbled it on the nearby park bench as he nursed his toe. She quickly ran to him to see if he was okay, when she saw he spread out his arms as if he was searching for something and soon enough he found the bench and pushed himself to the ground and sat on it. She wondered if it was maybe the sand had gotten into his eyes as he slid his hand into his pocket, and took out a small stick like thing which he unfolded and she realised it was a cane. He prodded around the bench when she found the parcel of food fallen on the ground, which he was probably looking for. Probably hearing her foot steps he turned to her as she picked up the parcel and gave it to him,  he said, ''I would have found the parcel myself, but thanks for the help." with a constrained smile. Then she saw him clearly for the first time, his eyes were glossy and a black pair of thick glasses hung from his front pocket which only a blind man is well versed with. She couldn't believe she had missed his calculated walk and his glassy eyes. Wordlessly she walked away.
As she walked back, she felt as if her problems were slowly drifting away and she thought of all the trails and tribulations that beautiful eyed boy goes through day and night. Her problems seemed almost childish and she had an sudden epiphany and wondered if she was always so over-calculating and rampant from running away when things were even a little difficult. Feeling as if this jigsaw puzzle in her mind had suddenly been completed, she strutted down that pathway, feeling a little less lost and perturbed from before, almost as if her mind had attained its inner tranquillity as she strutted again as if they had a mind of their own and for the first time she felt at one with herself. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Society's Blood

Most of you people must be aware of a recent post about this one woman's woe when she was blocked from uploading a photo on a popular social site, which showed a blood stain on her bed sheet caused by periods. Also most are aware that the word 'periods' or 'menstrual cycle' is almost an offensive word in society though its a natural cause that occurs in all young girls and we are taught about the how and whys in school. The society almost shuns the usage of this word and it is a taboo especially if used in front of the opposite sex. We as women are made to mystify this natural phenomenal in our bodies and are made to hide our sanitary napkins, pads and tampons in black plastic bags under multiple layers of newspapers.
You see that girl mysteriously speed walking to the office bathroom holding a parcel under her coat? No, its not drugs, or a cigar or even a gun. Yep, you know it, it's a sanitary napkin. 
What I've always wondered since the first time I got mine was why did I have to buy and use a sanitary pad in such secrecy? Even missile attacks wouldn't have been plotted with such secrecy which we girls are taught as children to hide from our fathers, brothers and other male counterparts scrutiny. It's not like they don't know about it. Its somehow okay to talk about it in a reproduction class in school in grade 8 but not okay to talk about or even mention the word period in front of my father or brothers at home or my friends. Schools give us the whys and hows but don't give us the consequences we need to face for starting our menstrual cycle. It's self-implied.
Dear Society, yes we girls bleed for 40 years of our life. Yes we know you're aware of this fact too. But why should I have to hide this from you? Why am I made to mystify this natural cycle every month for 4-5 days? Why can't I sleep on my bed? Why can't I go into the kitchen? Why can't I visit a temple? Why can't the elders in my house touch me?
My mother told me that in the olden days people didn't allow girls to do such activities because they felt that the girl was impure during those 4-5 days and it was best to steer clear from her as she was moody and hormonal. If I pestered more she would shoo me off because either my father was around or someone else. This is such a hushed topic that its difficult to have an open dialogue. 
I've studied in an all girls school so I didn't have that many difficulties as opposed to co-ed schooled girls but I still hid my pads in a black cover and under my sweater to go to the washroom. When I entered a co-ed college I asked my classmate if she had a pad. The way she gave it to me was; with the utmost secrecy that even the Germans would have been impressed with. She took her bag and went under the table keeping me on the lookout so that no boy could even remotely see her and took out a black bag and a notebook which she nicely concealed it under and stuffed this book into my back pocket and threw her jacket over my back and quickly ushered me into the restroom. I didn't even have words for the efforts she must take at home considering she had two older brothers!
It's time to demystify this. It's getting ridiculous  day by day. Young women don't even tell their own mother or family members the first time they get their period for the fear of rejection that this phenomenal is associated with, and the many restrictions regarded by the family from now on. I know girls who've gone months without informing their family, that they've got their period. Some girls have a grudge with Hinduism because they're told not to enter multiple temples or not to touch people who are going to the temple or cannot eat certain foods. I know some girls who are not allowed to go out apart from school or sometimes even not then during these days. Is this a new height or what? 
In villages girls are made to sleep in a separate out house and given absolutely plain food of dal and rice during those days. They sleep on the floor and don't enter their house till it's over. 
But I'm so glad that this social stigma, though slowly, is being lifted. Women are getting more liberated to have an open debate about the restrictions with their family and friends and Unions are being set up by female and male advocates. What people don't understand is that this secrecy and mystifying is causing a division among the sexes and hampering the confidence and degrading this natural cycle that happens to every female organism in this world. It's time we speak up and re-think our ideas and values about this. Let's not make the future generations suffer like this. These are liberal times to live it and its damn well about time to start talking about this too. 

Here's a link to a campaign stared by Delhi University students about this topic.

Until next time readers