Shannon Gable

Abstract Others

4  

Shannon Gable

Abstract Others

21st Century & the Famous Taboo

21st Century & the Famous Taboo

8 mins
314


Samaira, a regular 13 years old happy go, lucky girl. Who spread positivity and happiness everywhere she'd go. Samaira belonged to a very conservative Indian family and lived with her parents. She loved watching Rom-Com movies, was a totally hopeless romantic, and always dreamed of happy fantasy land. Not only films but Samaira loved listening to music. She would find a safe haven in the lyrics and beats. One day something happened, something that would eventually happen, and it changed everything for her. It was a Monday morning, her regular school day, for which she had woken up and went on to do her morning routine. That's when she noticed blood. At first, she couldn't understand what was happening and freaked out. After a while, she remembered the Sex Ed class in school and realized that it was absolutely normal and that she had begun menstruation. Unfortunately for Samaira, who came from a conservative family, they never spoke openly about menstruation or how to use sanitary napkins. She paced around in her bathroom, scared of how to go out and tell her mother. She had heard her mom speak to her grandmother on the phone of how worried she was for me, knowing this situation would occur. Of how superstitious her father was, and the beliefs he followed. That conversation shook her, she couldn't believe her ears. But now somehow she had to get out of her bathroom and go to school, and so she did. Not speaking anything much, she quickly got ready and headed to school.

That day in school, during their break, the girls gathered around in the hallway, with their lunch box. Laughing, sharing silly stories, teen gossips, but Samaira was awfully quiet. She has never been this and lost in her own thoughts, Shreya, her best friend, noticed and thought to herself. After a while, Shreya asked Samaira – "Are you okay? You seem off today, what happened?" Samaira looked at Shreya and just burst into tears, she hugged her but didn't know how and what to say. Samaira somehow got the courage and told Shreya everything. She began, "earlier this morning, as I was getting ready for school, I noticed blood and panicked. But after a while, I realized I had started on my periods. And that's not what I'm freaked out about. I am scared to go home today. We live in the 21st century, and knowing my dad is still so superstitious scares me. He says girls are not allowed to enter the kitchen during these days. They should be confined to their rooms unless for school. All because we are impure!" On hearing all that Samaira said, Shreya was in shock. As much as she wanted to help her friend out of this situation, there was nothing much she could do, and so offered to accompany her when she would tell her mom about it after school today.

The school was over for the day, Samaira walked back home scared and nervous. As promised, Shreya accompanied her too. As they reached Samaira's house, the nerves hit her even more. But she knew this had to do this sooner or later. She wasn't going to adhere to these superstitious beliefs. It was about time that her father was accustomed to the new age and mindfulness of the 21st century. As her mother walked towards the door, Samaira built up all her nerve and confidence. Shreya stood there equally nervous for her friend, hoping and praying everything would go well. As the door opened, they walked in and sat on the couch, "Mom come here, I need to talk to you,"

Samaira said in a trembling voice, "Mom, I started on my Menstruation today." As she said these words, there was a sudden dead silence. After a few minutes with tears in her eyes and a calm voice, her mother said, "Samaira, my dear girl. This is Huge! Why didn't you tell me earlier? And why are you so nervous and terrified?" In a hesitant and trembling voice, Samaira began, "Mom, I am terrified, not because of my periods, but because of dad's beliefs and restrictions that he so firmly implies on you during these days. I am scared of how he would react and that I would be forced to follow and obey these superstitious beliefs too. I am a girl of this generation, with topics like these are quite out there on social media. It is no more a Taboo, as it used to be. But dad is still stuck in his old school thoughts. How do I tell him about this?" Samaira's mom, on hearing all that her daughter had to say, was immensely proud of her and yet scared for her. But as a mother, she had to remain strong and said to her, "Don't worry samai, we will face your father together. I promise you." Shreya was overjoyed and proud of her best friend, for standing up for herself. She hugged her, wished her luck, and headed home.

Soon it was evening, time for Samaira's father to return home from work. As the clock ticked and time neared, she began to frantically pace around. (doorbell rings).. Samaira is even more anxious now, so she heads to her room and sits there trying to gain up the courage and talk to her father. Just as dinner was over, Samaira looked over at her father, who was busy reading the news on his phone. Her mother sat beside her holding her hand tight. She somehow grasped the courage and spat it out, "Dad, I began my menstruation today!" She looked at him, and he had no expression on his face, she couldn't tell what he was thinking. So they sat in silence for about 10 minutes. The longest 10 minutes that seemed like an hour. Samaira's father kept his phone, folded his arms, looked at her, and said, "Alright, so you know the rules, right? No entering the kitchen, or attending social events, or even roaming around with friends. You go to school and come straight home. Your mother will bring food to your room." On hearing all this at first, Samaira was shaken. Although she was prepared and knew what his reaction would be, on hearing him say it, she couldn't believe her ears and sat there silently as her father got up and went to his room.

The next morning Samaira was in the kitchen talking to her mom and having a quick breakfast before school when her father came by. She dropped her spoon and stood there looking down anxiously. He began yelling at her, "Samaira, didn't I make it very clear last night that you are not allowed in here while you're on your periods? Now look, we have to clean the whole kitchen thoroughly. Why don't you obey me?" Samaira was scared and in tears. She just took her bag and quickly walked out of the house to school. The whole day went by, and Samaira didn't speak a word to anyone. The girl who was always filled with energy and happiness, was the saddest and quietest that day. In a distant, faint voice, Shreya came screaming, "Samai, Samai, what is wrong with you again today? It 'ss your dad, isn't it?" Samaira didn't have the energy or will to discuss much, and so she just nodded and sat quietly. While walking home from school that evening, Samaira thought to herself, it was time she stood up to her father and his beliefs. She charged herself up, gathered all the courage she could. Read articles on Taboos and all the false superstitions. Paced up and down in a room, scripting words in her head to tell her father. She knew it was not going to be easy, but she had to do it. She had to break free from living this caged life from now on.

That evening as her father sat at the table, going through the usual news on his phone, she walked up to him. Nervous and trembling, she built up her courage and said, "Dad, we need to talk." He didn't say anything, but kept away his phone and looked at her. She then took deep breaths and began, "Dad, I know how you believe in all these old superstitions regarding menstruation. How you grew up in a house that adhered to these thoughts. In time they sank into your head too. Mom obeys them because she doesn't want to go against you and cause unnecessary arguments. But dad, I won’t let you do the same to me. Menstruation is beautiful. It’s not impure, as you say. It’s the beginning of a new journey. All these old thoughts about it are not normal anymore. We live in the 21st century, where we are faced with so many advancements in various aspects. And you need to accept this and change your perspectives according to the generation. I am not going to avoid going to the kitchen or sit all day in my room.” On hearing his daughter so confidently stand up for herself, he did not say anything much but walked off. Samaira stood there trembling, as her mother came and hugged her. She had tears of joy and pride in her eyes, seeing her daughter stand for what is right.

The next morning Samai and her mom were in the kitchen making breakfast when her dad comes by. He looks at her and says, “Samai, I’m sorry. I know times have changed, and it is hard for me to adapt to it because of the years of beliefs. But I promise you from now on, I won’t force them upon you and your mom. The world has moved beyond all these superstitions, and so will I. I am proud of you standing up to me. I am proud I raised a confident daughter who knows what’s right and needs to be spoken.” Samaira and her mom couldn’t believe this, but they were overjoyed on their victory. Samaira was no more anxious or nervous. She was again the enthusiastic and positive girl she used to be. She believed that she was right and the change was necessary. She broke the barrier of taboos in her house and was even more confident.


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