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She has been scared to death for the past two days. She thought she got badly hurt there. She used cotton at first, thinking that the wound will heal in a while. But it didn’t. Rather the bleeding got worse. She was devastated that what would be her mother’s reaction when she will find out that her daughter has hurt herself at such a private part of body. It will be so embarrassing to go to a doctor. So, she decided to keep quiet and bear that pain until the wound heals by itself.
“Ayesha come here”, her best friend called her to come outside the class.
She whispered, “There is a stain on your skirt”. Ayesha didn’t understand what that means. She was confused.
“Are you on periods?” asked her friend.
Having no clue about the word she was still confused and asked “what do you mean?”
“Are you down?”
Still a blank look on her face.
“Oh God, are you bleeding?”
Ayesha’s eyes opened full in surprise. She was shocked and scared. She understood that the blood is leaking from her panty and has now got on her skirt. Her eyes became red and she started crying in embarrassment in front of her friend.
“Yes, I am. I don’t know what happened. I swear I haven’t done anything wrong” she told her dear friend in a stammering tone.
“Since, when is this happening? Haven’t you told your mom?”
“It started day before yesterday night. I got stomach ache and then I saw blood in my panty. I have been going to toilet very frequently to pass it out”. “Please yaar don’t tell my mom”.
“Are you crazy, we have to tell aunty. Don’t worry I’ll talk to her.”
Ayesha was feeling very sticky and afraid what will be her mother’s reaction. She just wanted to run away to some place and hide herself, maybe under that corner desk where nobody used to sit. She was feeling wet below. She has been uncomfortable and has not slept for the past two nights. They finally reached her mother’s cabin who used to work at Ayesha’s school.
“Aunty, she’s down” Ayesha’s friend told her mother. Ayesha’s mother jumped from her chair. “Really!” she exclaimed. Ayesha didn’t understand what “down” exactly means. She was just trying to hide her face and was looking at the ground, expecting scolding or maybe a slap from her mother. She was waiting for a hand hitting hard her face making that part burn to red and which will embarrass her further more. Her mother thanked Ayesha’s friend and told her that she’ll now take care of it and asked her to go back to class. Ayesha’s friend went back leaving her alone. Ayesha felt bare and alone in front of her mother. She was sure now and was waiting for the scolding.
Her mother stood up from the chair and started walking outside holding her hand. Till now she has not said anything to Ayesha. The anxiety was building up in the mind of the little girl. After a few minutes of walking Ayesha finally gathered courage and asked her mother “where are we going?” In the shortest sentence her mother replied “to the medical room”. This left Ayesha very conscious. She was filled with guilt.
As they reached medical room her mother said something to the nurse and started crying. The nurse consoled her and said that was okay and happens with everybody. Ayesha was feeling guilt and confusion at the same time. However, she noticed the nurse smiling. Her confusion increasing more. Then the nurse took out a white and blue colored something and handed over to Ayesha “this is a pad. You have to put it from where you are bleeding. Go to the washroom and remove this tape and stick it on your panty.” The nurse said it very casually as if it was normal for her. There was no sign of bandage to cure her wound.
Ayesha’s mother came with her to the girl’s washroom. She was relieved that there was nobody there and saved her from other eyes. Her mother found that her panty has got very dirty and wet since morning but there was no other option and she helped Ayesha to wear the pad. After that her mother thanked the nurse and they came out of the medical room.
Her mother asked her to get her bag from the class and they will go home on a half day. Also if she is feeling any kind of pain anywhere. Ayesha told her that her stomach has been paining a little since yesterday. Her mother gave her a kiss. “But what is wrong, what is happening to me”. Her mother assured her that she’ll talk about it on their way back to home. Ayesha felt better, now that her mother is not angry with her and is supporting her.
Ayesha was dying with curiosity now. She was so confused to guess anything out of the whole situation. As they sat in the car she asked her mother about it. Her mother told her that “this happens to every girl, every woman. This is normal. It is called periods. They will come every month for 5-6 days. There might be some pain in abdomen or back.” Ayesha felt relaxed finally hearing that this is normal and happens to everyone. Her mother asked her further “When did it start?” Ayesha told her the truth to which she was surprised. “Why didn’t you told me earlier about it? How are you managing for the past two days” Ayesha had no answer and chose to keep quite. There was a strange silence till the time they reached home. Her mother asked her to rest and gave her jaggery with ghee to eat. Then she went to sleep.
In the evening her grandmother came to meet her. In her typical Punjabi accent she said “tujhe bhi hogai gadbad”. “So this is like a fault (gadbad) in females” Ayesha thought. She said nothing as this was a very new and uncomfortable feeling for her.
It took time for her to adjust with this change in life. She would ask a million questions to her mom about who all gets these periods, when will they end, are they always this painful, how she will manage in school with this white and blue thing.
Slowly as she grew up, she used to discuss about it within her group of girls and with her cousins. Which made her gain confidence and made her comfortable.
Ayesha is a grown up woman now. She often smiles to herself about that incidence. And often wishes if her mother had been more open to her and told her about periods, puberty, relations, boys, sex etc. it would have been a different world for her.