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Bindi Bottoms
Aayushi Sinha Student, Patna

"For a long time I was told that I needed to bleed every month to be a true woman; if I didn’t, there was something wrong with me. After all, motherhood is considered the essence of being a woman and in order to become a mother, I needed to bleed. No one would consider me marriageable if I couldn’t be a mother.

My girlfriends started bleeding one by one, while I stayed dry. These thoughts completely consumed my peace of mind. Was something wrong with me? Was my identity only about being a mother? Would failure at that mean that I was less of a woman? What I should have focused on at that time was whether there was a medical condition that was causing this syndrome. Maybe, my body and my health needed help. But my mind continued to revolve around questions that were ultimately irrelevant.

One of the reasons, I was told, for my periods to be delayed was that there was no boyfriend in my life and so I wasn’t having “dirty” thoughts. By this logic, a “perverted” mind would come with a uterus that bleeds early. However, the same people who gave me this gem of advice would also be quick to judge me characterless if I, in fact, did acquire a boyfriend at school. Go figure!

Eventually it was discovered that the reason for the delay in my menses was polycystic ovary disease or PCOD - not a major disease, just one where small cysts would develop around the ovaries because of pollution, heat, dust and so on.

Now, I have received treatment and started menstruating. Yet society is not satisfied. The society that told me that I was half-a-woman for not having started my period, today considers me unholy due to the same bleeding. It is now concerned that I keep to the rules all women need to follow. I’m not allowed to visit a temple during those five days. It is believed that not only will the goddesses become impure at my touch during those days, but pickle will rot too.

I don’t consider myself impure. After all, the greatest role society venerates - that of a mother - can only be achieved via this biological function. Yet my attitude is anathema to society. What astounds me is that the same people who told me to pray for my menses now tell me not to visit a temple during that time. "


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