This blog post is part of a special campaign dedicated to the ‘Men Take Lead’ ride series. The aim is to involve more and more men in the conversations about menstruation.
It’s about time we step out of this taboo space for periods isn’t it? About time we recognise it just for what it is and do what we can to ensure we have hygienic practices around menstruation. The numbers are mind boggling. The stories are scary.
This normal biological process has been met with enough fear and the stigma around it has led to enough unhygienic practices and myths that are illogical yet are practiced to this day. Dropping out of school, health risks, urogenital ailments are all areas of long-term impact that lead to multiple issues in the lives of women in India.
The sanitation scene in our country is still a long way off from being anywhere near acceptable standards and the toilets built to make the lives of these women easier go unused due to lack of awareness. There’s still untouchability practiced in India and 50 out of 100 menstruating women aren’t allowed to stay within the homes and aren’t touched in the course of the period. They are made to sleep away on mats and are given specific utensils and cutlery to eat out of during their period as they are considered impure.
Sanitary hygiene awareness is low even in urban women and conversations around the period can go a long way in sensitizing all genders to this natural process.
Getting men to be a part of this conversation is crucial and the Men Take Lead ride initiative is a great step in that direction. To have biker communities engaged in this conversation and riding 40 kms to signify the 40 years of the menstruating life of a woman is a compelling, poignant narrative.
Congratulations to Breaking the Silence Foundation and Urmila Chanam for pioneering this ride and starting a movement. Thank you to India Bull Riders, Radio Active, Lead Now and all the organisations involved in making this happen as this is a testament to the fact that communities have the power to build life changing narratives. 28th being World Menstrual Hygiene Day lets aim to build awareness and spread the word.
It was an honour and pleasure to be a part of the event and flag off the ride. Let’s vow to make a change however small it maybe and be the change we want to see…
Sharing a poem that I had written a long time ago which I thought is a good fit in this context.
I’m bleeding today,
Like I have been for every month,
For almost two decades,
It’s like breathing,
As much a part of me,
As was my pregnancy,
My baby, her birth,
Some more bleeding…
My eggs seem to be doing their job,
Of churning out a cycle,
My body seems to run,
It’s cleansing ritual,
Someday it will stop,
Leading to hot flushes,
Mood swings and an after midlife crisis,
But until then every month,
A week of slight discomfort,
Some pain even,
All part of being a woman,
All part of being me…
I am not a taboo,
I am not any lesser today,
I am just bleeding,
I am just being any other woman,
On this planet who bleeds…