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When my mother explained the theory of menstruation to me, around 25 years ago, my first question to her was “If the blood which comes out of the vagina is red, then why do they show a blue color on the TV?” I am sure her face also must have turned blue.
The fact is every mother who has a daughter in early puberty has to answer a lot of curious questions thrown her way. And these mostly happen at the wrong time and in front of the wrong people. The mother, already overwhelmed and worried, has to turn into a really good English and biology teacher together. From the pads, locked in the corner of the wardrobe to the TV commercials showing all sorts of twisted details, the woman often goes through a (self-imposed) trauma when it comes to anything remotely related to menstruation, periods, pads, etc etc etc.
The first question that gets thrown at the unassuming mother most of the times is “what is it (the pad)”. Mostly, the answer to this question depends upon the age of the child and of course, the place where it is thrown.
Imagine the entire family is watching a daily soap and here comes the standard “geelepan se chutkara” types advertisement and the “laadla” son of the house asks his mother “mummy ye kya hai?”. This might look humorous, but the mother feels herself caught in a real tragic situation.
Now imagine when women from three generations of the house are gossiping together and this time the “Laadli beti” of the house unexpectedly takes out the pad from cupboard and asks her mom “mummy, aapka chaddi kaha rakhu ?? (mom, where do I put your chaddi)”, I can just sympathize with the poor little mother.
Most of the women these days are frank with their children and make sure that they explain the basic anatomy and cycles of life to their children. Yet, these kind of discussions require a specific situation and mind frame which unfortunately is not possible during the evening soap opera with the entire family sitting together. So what does the mother do?
Feign ignorance, laugh it out and leave it there or the most probable but impossible response – cover her face and RUN !!
I have a friend with a teenage daughter and a younger son. During her periods, when the girl uses the sanitary pads, her curious little brother asks her nonchalantly “Why do you use the diaper didi?”
The first time he asked it, both mother and daughter were about to faint. But later the mother tried to explain him, didi gets “ShuShu” at night. Bang comes the next question “So why doesn’t she do her “shu-shu” before going to bed?” Any reasonable answer to that ?? Anyone ??? .
One of my five years old nephew, when saw the pad for the first time, asked his mother what is it. His mother told him “that’s my band-aid. Because I have hurt my stomach.” Next time, when the boy got a scratch on the knee while playing, he came home straight and took out the pad and started wrapping it around his knee. His mother who was shocked to see him like that, asked him what he is doing. He said “Its my band-aid, see my knee is hurt.
I have even made certain observations about the pads recently. These absolutely functional products are now coming up with all sorts of designs and flowers and patterns drawn on them. For god’s sake !! Why do they make it so designer ?? Who looks at them ?? Does that change their absorption capacity??
There was one brand which literally had a money back policy. Brilliant !! So what do they expect ?? During the period, just give them back their used pad as a proof “Bhaiyya its not working, see here. Now give me my money back”
And men say women are complicated ?? Either this way or that, women all over have to deal with not just the cramps, the PMS, the inconvenience of it but all the embarrassing, funny yet sometimes serious questions as well.