COMFORTABLY UNCOMFORTABLE!

Let me go back to some twenty five years.

I was in my eighth grade. I was always a bit close to Maa. We would spend hours together and that would make me feel good and upbeat. He had a perspective towards everything, and in her simple ways she would tell me what’s her ways and why she chose to be that.

However, in certain cases she was orthodox as other women around me. She was quite categorical about the fact that during periods one should not touch or visit temples. And also this is a topic that must not be discussed with men around.

I always had a reservation to this. I always tried reasoning with a ‘why’? But in vain. There was nothing that she could have told me other the fact that, this is how it should be.

Life went on.

I was in my 9th grade then, when a dear friend of mine (a boy), and I were cycling on the roads of our defence estate. Suddenly, out of the blue he asked me if we could go to the temple and sit there for some time. I refused. I was having my chums. He didn’t budge. I started giving excuses that were quite stupid and baseless. I actually made a fool of myself because there could have been no excuse as we were standing just few meters from the temple.

For the very first time in my life, in the spur of the moment, I decided to tell him the truth.

“I am on my periods” I said looking at him.

“Oh… that’s okay then..” he said with a smile.

I looked away.

“ Tu theek hai na, we cycled a lot…”

“ Ya ya… I am good… no issues…” I said, looking at him.

We went back home cycling slowly, talking about myriad things in life.

As I parked my cycle in the garage, I felt a strange sense of comfort. I felt comfortably uncomfortable, you can say. I felt liberated. It was good to talk to a guy about something that you were instructed with dire strictness not to. He was welcoming. Accepting. Accommodating. Then why?

In my own way, within the confines of my own beliefs, I knew that evening, that talking about periods to men is absolutely essential. You make a topic easy. You make relationships more close and endearing.

Even if you are uncomfortable initially, I can vouch, it will make you rather more comfortable when you speak. Such is the power of clean and clear thoughts.

After many years now, as I smile looking back at those days, I feel rather comfortable, and not otherwise. That guy is still a friend. And sometimes, now we laughing remembering that day. And, he tells me how he was surprised to hear me say that.

Life is all about those little changes, right?

MAITABI BANERJEE

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