In this series I would explore, the practices followed in our society regarding menstruation/periods. These practices make me cringe but it is amazing how these continue to be followed by our society even today.
It is amazing how people think you are going to contaminate and spoil the entire bottle/batch of pickles/water just by touching them when you have periods.
Our neighbors used to make pickles and dry them in the sun daily. Once the girl who used to collect the pickles from the terrace got her periods and she had to come to me to help her bring them down to her house as she could not touch them ( after verifying that I did not have periods). I think it is plain ridiculous. I remember, she even called me downstairs to help her fill water in a jug, because touching the pot of water would contaminate the entire water. Seriously, I thought water borne diseases were due to bacteria, but if this could solve our water contamination problems, imagine free clean water forever if only men handled it.
I once, went to this girl’s house ( in a city, educated and with highly educated parents) and I asked for water to drink. She called her brother to serve me water as she was allowed to touch it. I was shocked and she commented that they are Brahmins and they follow all this “Acharams” (customs and rules). Her dad insists on these rules, rather than her mother, who is more liberal.
I have relatives ( again well educated and travel abroad a lot), who do not let you touch yogurt or milk or other things like when you have periods.
I know lot of other instances, where women are prevented from touching water/pickles during menses.
I can assure you, nothing happens when you touch water or pickles. They do not get spoilt. I have lived alone and touched and used all my pickles and milk and nothing has happened to them.
I wonder how we women let men dictate what we should do during periods, when they do not even menstruate? Why do we still follow all this? What if she just plain refused to do it? What is the worst that could happen? Why are women even perpetuating this to their families? If we were to accrue sin, if we did not follow these practises, why do we even have periods in the first place. Religion is okay but to let it restrict the most natural processes and demean them is wrong.
Read more articles in this series here.