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????