Period Tales Beyond the Panorama July 16, 2020

Period Tales

Layla had her first period when she was 12 years old. Her tuition teacher was sitting before her, teaching science when she first bled. 

Her mother called her inside the kitchen when the house-maid told her mother about the red stain on the underwear that was in the laundry. She was tensed, trying hard to make sense of what her mother was talking about. 

Both of them immediately rushed into the bathroom. Layla was fascinated by the cotton pads being pulled out of the secretive drawer by her mother. She had always wondered what her mother hid in this drawer but now she knows. 

Naisha would be very troubled almost every other day after her 13th birthday because all her friends except for her had got their period. 

She thought it would never happen to her. She wanted to complain about the bad cramps on these bad days; to be able to use periods as an excuse to not go to school. Just like others, she wanted to share the story of her first period with her friends.

Turns out she got the most interesting story to share once she was 14. On her 14th birthday, she wore an extravagant white dress for her birthday party. By the end of the party, the dress was covered in spots of red. She was embarrassed but proud to consider it as “I am a woman!” moment.

Kavya was 14 and too ashamed to tell her brother what happened with her the night before. She left a big blot of red stain on the bed linens that she and her brother used to sleep on. 

The next morning she woke up to an image completely contrary to the one she had in mind. Her brother brought her new packs of sanitary napkins and pantyliners and a hot water bag. He comforted her and told her she should only come to him if she needed anything.

He explained to her how it was a perfectly normal bodily function and nothing to feel shy about (picking up information about the internet and some from their mother). He asked her to embrace it with arms wide open. 

The first time Ananya got her period was the summer she and her family had gone to Sri Lanka. 

They were staying in this big fancy hotel which wasn’t usually the case. She was all pumped up to jump right into the enormous pool, as soon as they entered their hotel.

As she got into the bathroom to change into her swimsuit and sat on the toilet, she noticed the water in the pot turning blood red. She couldn’t help but let out a blood-curling scream. 

No, it was not because she freaked out at the sigh to bright red liquid dripping down a hole in her body but because it curbed her jubilation to go into the pool. Big deal, she compensated by enjoying the fancy hot tub squeezing her legs together. 

Ria and her mother had had a very elaborate conversation about periods when her mother sat with her to tell her about her first flow experience. 

She told Ria how her grandmother would get her chocolates, massage her body, and help her clean her underwear during the initial times.

Ria’s mother did the same for Ria when she turned 14 and had her first period. She bought her different types of sanitary products, tubs of chocolate ice cream, and a monthly subscription of Netflix. 

Gauri was 8when she was first introduced to the concept of periods by her father. On asking why was it called “getting down”, she seemed to be quite satisfied with the answer “because one feels low during those days”.

The next day she would go to her school and narrate this mesmerizing intellection to her close friends. All of them would refuse to believe her and try to convince her not to believe it either. 

Gauri was the first one to “get down” amongst her friends. She showed it off to her friends that she was right. She loved being on her period. She loved using stomach cramps as an excuse to not go for games. She loved the little extra attention from her father for those 5 days. She loved excusing herself in the middle of the class and taking a quick school tour in the name of using the washroom. She knew her father’s reasoning of periods being called “getting down” was not applicable in her case. 

Every first period story brings drama in a girl’s life (and in her undies, pyjamas, white pants, and bedsheets too). Do you remember yours?

Khushi Goyal
Khushi Goyal

Khushi, a student at SRCC, writes engrossing short stories, and her thoughts on culture and society.

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