In south India there is tradition of hosting a function when a girl attains her puberty. The girl is not allowed to touch anything which are washable, is made to sit idle with her own set of plates, tumbler, bed sheets etc and treated like untouchable. On the fifth day of her periods, she is called back home, rather can be normal herself after a grand celebration.
In olden days this was done to announce the world that there is a marriageable girl at their homes. No-touching was there for hygiene purpose and also was rest for the girl, as she would do major chunk of household work.
There were instances when somebody visiting my house would ask if I attained my puberty or not?? I never knew here to hide my face at that point.
But now a day’s people don’t understanding it, but just simply follow it. In fact my mom too tried to impose few such rules on me.
- She announced it to the world that this happened. Yes, it was embarrassing for me, as my neighbors were my classmates, felt bad facing the boys group for sometime later.
- I was not allowed to enter the kitchen or touch many things in the house. Considered UN-touchable. In fact felt embarrassed when some guest came home, I can’t offer water to them, and had to tell them that I was having my periods, so help yourself and get me also water from my kitchen.
- I was asked wash my hair every day, ( I had long hair) and then dry it up and then got o school, which means getting up an hour early.
- Even when I rolled in stomach pain, my mom wouldn’t touch me or sooth me.
I kept quiet for some time, but more than that I couldn’t tolerate this. But I couldn’t convince my mother on it either. So, I had to use my weapon dad. And then stopped this practice. Then I realized that this means I am fighting only for myself but not changing the system. I took it on me to change at least my close circle who followed it. Didn’t know how. I met my pediatrician, asked her to speak about it in school as a guest lecture. I also asked the doctor to talk about the misconceptions about it and orthodox systems followed. She was ready to help me out.
The doctor delivered the lecture such a way that, every girl thought about the UN-touchabilty. They indirectly went and spoke to their parents about it. I am happy that after that, 3 families stopped following this system. My mom didn’t host this celebration for my sister and is keen in not doing it for her granddaughter. Now my mom tells her friends not follow this system.
Yes I stood up, for me, my family and other girls who couldn’t speak up at that particular time. But now days, almost every girl has her freedom to choose what she wants (for the function held).
This is my entry for “I Stood Up” contest of Women’s web I stood up Blogathon.
Note: now my mom explains thinks biologically and scientifically when she talks about puberty. She doesn’t embarrass others by asking whether your daughter has attained puberty or not??
note2: u can see the proper fights which can happen during in the function and the torture the girl faces by having fancy dress with costumes depicted in movie kadhal . will upload the video when i get it. 🙂