Today, scrolling through Facebook I came across this link that said – “How did you manage your periods in school?”. This brings back a lot of fun memories of my childhood and friends.
My school had two sets of uniforms – summer and winter uniforms. Luckily winter ones were dark grey with woolly texture. Winters were a breeze when it came to periods. We could jump, dance and play to our hearts content without a single worry. Except for the cramps we couldn’t care less about periods in winter.
Not so in summer. Summer uniforms, to mine and all my friend’s woes comprised white skirts and shirts. And along with it came some serious strategizing. We tried very hard to keep our white skirts safe. It began with simple requests to fellow girl students during breaks to please check the white skirts for stains. Requests for if anyone has an extra pad if a cycle started unexpectedly. Bag packing ritual now included pad along with the books for the lessons the following day. Also a dread that none of the boys open that particular chain of the school bag and discover our secretly stored pads. We took every precaution we could think of. Sometimes we sat just on the edge of the chair.
We were not perfect, being mere humans sometimes our white skirts got soiled. For small stains we tried to rectify this with white chalk and whitener. For the not so subtle stains, luckily for us the school kept an extra skirt in the nurse’s room. Then there was this protocol where the friend who spotted the stain would walk behind the person till the washroom. Both hoping the entire time that boys remain oblivious to whats happening. While the victim waited in the washroom the other person would run to the nurse’s office and get the alternate skirt for changing.
Once we got a good scolding from our English teacher for having the misfortune of a stained skirt. Like we did that on purpose. Its sad that a fellow woman could not find more empathy.
When we realized stains were a repeating occurrence, we started packing an extra skirt in the bag along with the pads. I remember one day when two skirts got stained. Remembering that I am laughing today. But that day I was close to tears, when I came home to find a relative visiting and rushed to my room feeling ashamed. My mom came to my room curious about my odd behavior and consoled me that its not something to be ashamed about.
We had each other’s back when it came to dealing with our periods. Looking back, I cant help but smile at the friendships and solidarity in these cherished memories.