Isn’t it high time to change?


Last week was a superb one.

Most of the times, I get “just” enough time to sit with my family. But this time, I thought I will visit my family folks for a change.

It was such a nice feeling to see many of my relatives after years. Most of them showered me with hugs and kisses. Some of them have not seen me for 10 years. It was like a celebration.

But even during such a happy moment, something pricked me very badly.

I visited one of my uncle’s houses. They welcomed me with lots of love and smile. Though I was hugging everyone and distributing toys and sweets to the kids, I felt that somebody is missing.Yeah!!My aunt (She is one of my favorite relatives ).I asked for her and my uncle told that I can’t meet her now.

I thought she was sick. I rushed into the bedroom and saw that the door is locked from outside.

She is having her period now. Don’t go inside or touch her.” said her mother-in-law

So who cooked the lunch? “, I asked.

“It was bought from outside as she is not allowed to enter the kitchen.” She replied.

I was fuming. In this 21st century, why do people have to follow this untouchability? But my aunt opened the door; we talked as if we were talking at the India – Pakistan border. While snacks were served to me, her mother-in-law brought some snacks and threw the bowl on to her bed like how we feed a dog in the kennel. Once the old woman went off I asked my aunt that why don’t she talk about this to uncle.

Even he is the same. I sleep in a different room for 7 days. I should wake up early to finish my bath so that my husband and mother-in-law don’t see me. It is considered as very inauspicious. They will keep my food at the door step of my room with water. If I walk through the verandah, then I will have to clean the way I walked. Already I will be too tired during these days, so why to do an extra work? So I sit in the room for a week.

I didn’t know how to console her. She told that she got used to this custom.

She feels bad when she is really sick with stomach ache or back pain and her husband doesn’t care about it as he cannot touch her for those 7 days.

I couldn’t digest what I saw and what I heard. During the return drive, I was thinking about it again and again.

If the husband is not well, will we ever put him in a room? We will try stay next to him so that our physical and emotional presence will soothe the illness. May be some men (women too) are not comfortable having sex during these time. That is personal comfort. But what is the need for putting a woman in another room and treating her like a pet animal?

I rushed to my Mom to tell about this matter when I got back home.My Mom is one sensible woman who takes the effort to see a lot thing very light and practical. Upon hearing the incident, she was telling even in her childhood it was the same. But since her elder brother was very educated, these kind practices were not followed. The actual intention behind this custom was that during olden days, it was the woman who does all the household work. During the time of period, it is usual to feel very weak and tired. So they were asked to take rest for that week and the food was provided for those 7 days. But later people changed this custom according to their wish telling that it’s inauspicious.

In one sense, yes!!!It will give rest to the woman.But again, isn’t it high time to change these beliefs and customs????

 

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44 thoughts on “Isn’t it high time to change?

  1. Ideally, ppl who still insist on enforcing such ‘untouchability’ should be sent boiled off the face of the earth.. But unfortunately, there are just too many of them & boiling them off will need too much energy – fossil fuels depletion, global warming etc etc.

    So, ‘accept’ the ‘untouchability’ if they incorporate a twist. . Instead of locking the women in a small room at home, give them a 5-star hotel room for those seven days – with room service, in-house spa, sauna , and a 24×7 limo with driver. . to go anywhere & shop without any budget restrictions.

    Or. .if you are my kind (evil, not interested in shopping or saunas), keep running around the house & touching ppl every one hr. . Now, they have this rule that they should wash themselves if a menstruating woman touches them & wash the things which she touched before using them. ..

    1. 100 votes for you girl..
      I was searching for a solution..
      Whoa!!how nice it would have been if we were provided with thees kind luxuries..
      Second option is superb..ha ha ha..

      I prefer 2nd 🙂

  2. Wow – didn’t know that still happened. I guess it just takes time for all these attitudes to change. If not the adults in this age, then the children in the next, or their grandchildren…

    Changing the attitude of a nation takes decades and generations 😦

  3. Culture and religion definitely plays a big part in the perception of menstruation. Although Asian culture has much opened up, menstruation is still very taboo and not spoken about widely, particularly in the presence of men. I think it’s important for everyone to know about menstruation, whether they will undergo it or not. Particularly with this future generation, it’s necessary we begin to demystify menstruation because there’s just so much misinformation floating around.

    I know particularly with the older generation of men, menstruation is a very horrible thing – they don’t want to know, see or be in any contact near a woman who is menstruating or any of her “supplies.” While I can agree with that in terms of not having an open pad on the counter for hygienic and aesthetic reasons, there’s no need to shelter menstruation as if it doesn’t exist. When I started my blog, I had hoped that men would take some time to understand periods and that it is not as simple as it appears and that ignore is not ok.

    I have a Muslim friend who has VERY strict “rules” when it comes to menstruation and certain customs that she must take. Even a lot of the girls who I know, being Malaysian but under Islamic influence in their country are also accustomed to certain practices and avoidance while they’re menstruating. I’m not going to denounce as if their practices are wrong or not, but they simply are more conservative than the general North American populace.

    1. WoW!!!
      I was surprised when I went through your blog..Never knew that there are guys who put an effort in knowing it and trying to make awareness about menustration..Hats off my friend..

      Yeah,as far as religion and culture are concerned,they are always linked.I have always felt that religious people change the base of custmos according to their wish and make others follow it.
      When we are taught a custom or belief in the childhood,its difficult to change that mentality.
      A boy grown up seeing his Mom locked up for a week and his Dad being don’t care about it will mostly tend to follow the same.Very small percentage take an effort to think the other way round.

      1. Menstruation is a beautiful and wonderful thing. Where would we be without it? We would not be alive! There is so much to learn and appreciate about it, that it’s worth learning about because it comes in handy in so many ways. Just one benefit already is that if you’re a heterosexual male that one day you hope to have a female partner and unless she does not menstruate, you will have to deal with it in one way or another and it’s horribly ignorant not to know anything about her body. It’s nature and a natural way of life and what we’re born with – so we should love it.

        I had very little education on menstruation growing up with conservative parents – I had to go to the library and do research (internet wasn’t popular then). Although my Dad would not go to extremes as locking my mom up or anything, menstruation was an unspoken and mysterious topic (which made me want to know even more). Men and women both use period-related excuses and I don’t think it’s right. On the same note, women are still very silent about periods and it’s hard for us guys to understand when we will never undergo it. In order for this world to become more open to the subject, genders have to be educated and should not be “left out” – when women themselves don’t feel comfortable discussing it, how are men supposed to learn or feel comfortable?

  4. Its a part of bigger problem – the one of mindset. The pro-ritual , anti-woman mindset has led to beliefs that are illogical at best. Women too dont protest as they get used to it / risk social boycott in extreme cases. So, it goes on. I guess like dowry, the solution lies with us youngsters. Nowadays, many guys are themselves refusing dowry or “gifts” strictly and girls are also refusing marriages where dowry is an issue. Same feisty approach is needed for all archaic customs.

    I wrote a post on these customs and religion in particular sometime back … do check if you wanna 🙂 [ http://whatthefckisgoinon.blogspot.com/2010/05/nothing-is-as-stupid-as-religion-part-1.html ]

    1. Most of the women don’t protest because they have been brought up that way and they grow up seeing their Mom and other women treated like this.Its been planted in their brain that the custom that they are following is great and sacred.
      Thats one thing I don’t understand..How come this untouchability is related to being sacred??Thats terrible..
      Its a relief to see that our generation guys do make an attempt to change things..

      Thanks for sharing your article Mayank..will surely read it..

  5. Never knew that such superstitions are still so deep rooted in our Indian society. Its really a sorry state of affairs. If we need to emerge as a power power in the years to come, we must put an end to such gender bias. Great work Bhavia.

  6. Whoa! That was gripping! No offence, but that was unexpected, especially in an educated household like yours. Now I come to think of it, even I dont avoid lying on my bed (I lie on mat for 7 days). And I am not at all comfy people coming near to me during mensus. May be I am kinda paranoid of stench. I dont know where I got all this from, its been like that for years. I prefer to avoid people because I’d be in such foul mood. Its funny na some people choose isolation and sometimes its forced.
    Well, great post, keep up the crib-scribbles!:D

  7. I hate the function they have when girls attain puberty too…just think of the embarrassed girl when she is looked at like one would an exhibit!…at least now they allow girls to go to school during a period…small mercies!

    1. yeah even I..
      But lately I read an article in Vanitha,it said that those functions actually made the girls emotionally feel that they are grown up and there is nothing bad in reaching the puberty.This article was regarding the emotional problems that girls face when they reach puberty at the age of 8 or 9.

  8. didnt know something like this existed in this age. I knew this was there in olden days though.

    If I was in your place then I would have given that aunti a hug in front of other people and see what would have happened there..:)

    1. you are always welcome..
      I think the boys should be brought up by making them aware of these facts..When you guys see and know how it is from your Mom/Sister,it will be easy for you to handle and support your wife during that week.

  9. well u know wat bfre cmmenting on the comment .. i would frst like to express ma appreciation for the very vivid way u have brought out the topic…!!!…
    secondly… i have also been indeed touched by it a lot.. i cant undastnd one simple reason to put women under all these constraints… when GOD himself is the creator of it… whu are these ppl to tune us as if we are puppets…!!!!
    well done … nicely written.. my vote fr u …!!

  10. Sad state of affairs and hope the world changes now and adapts to the newer regime of the Kali. I know your mother said the right words and I feel she has more ken in her than others. God bless her and just hoping for the Kali to become more powerful and stronger now.

  11. You are absolutely right. The 7 day period was a time to give rest to a woman’s body who would otherwise be up and about all day doing household work. But over time, people tend to misconstrue things and the true essential meaning is lost in translation.
    I had a friend who had or maybe still has this custom in her house. She would miss college, class, work. It was ridiculous.
    If it were me, I would run away on a holiday every month! Now that would be fun!

    1. I think not just this custom..most of the existing customs do have a noble reason behind it..but it is the society that is screwing things up..Some nut head thinks crazy and make others follow it too..

      🙂 Refer to my friend Rajeswari’s comment :)It is great to have fun that way.. 😉 😉

  12. Bhavia interesting.

    ‘if you go to the interior parts of Kerala,these kind customs are pathetic there.’.

    So are you saying that this incident took place in Kerala. Honestly, I have never come across such a case there in the recent times, at lest in my family circle. That is when I go there on holidays. This used to be the case in the past.
    Even then that kind of inhuman treatment, I think it has a lot to do with the kind of relationship exists in that family, otherwise I do not think it can be generalized.

  13. Nice One Bhavia.

    As you and most of your friends have commented, our elders had a specific reason to each of the customs and practices that we (don’t) follow today. While the customs were passed down the generations, the reasons unfortunately were not. So, they either got lost or distorted. Our parents followed it out of fear but we as younger generation question.

    Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective. I must admit I was ignorant and had a totally different understanding of this until I got married. My wife helped me put things in perspective. I would hate to be boiled off the face of the earth for my ignorance :). So, sometimes all it takes are a few conversations / discussions with an open mind.

    1. Thank you and welcome to my blog Giridhar..
      Happy to know that your wife helped you to understand things and you received it with open mind..
      at times some men are so adament that they won’t let their ego and mind to see period as something normal..

  14. This practice is cruel and inhumane. It is going to take a few more generations to change these attitudes. Open discussions like these are good beginnings. Thank you.

    1. You are welcome Hari..
      After reading this post,my Mom was telling me that she is glad to see a change in the present generation..
      During her teens,she thought it will take centuries to have a slight change..

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