M for May I? #AtoZChallenge

May I?

Life can’t stop during those days..

‘May I go get a glass of water?’

‘May I cook something for you?’

‘No’, mother said you can take rest and come out of the room when you are pure. 

There was no way she could have known this before her marriage. Things seemed to be okay after the wedding and then the bomb was dropped. She was told she can’t step out of her room, carry on usual household chores or anything else. For all practical purposes, she was confined to her room for those days of the month.

Her husband tried to stand up for her but living in a huge joint family, his was the only voice that was crushed before it could even make a difference. Some drama and then the saga of how wives change sons. This is not a work of fiction. This is 2017 and normal for this household.

What choice has she got? The other women in the house have accepted the norms and are even propagating the same behavior to the new daughters-in-law of the house. She is educated and is yet to find a job for herself. While her husband is out, she is the one dealing everything on her own among strangers. Things that include rules like these.

We talk of gender equality, respect, pay parity and all those big things. What about the basic usual stuff? Why does menstruation have to be such a big deal? Why can’t some people separate out the religious or custom from a normal body function? Women can’t go about asking ‘May I’ in the 21st century?


I am participating in the A To Z Challenge for the third time this year and I am penning Stories from everyday life.

16 Responses

  1. Shalini says:

    It made me cringe to read we still do this. Man on the moon is also old now, we are talking of colonising Mars…. And menstruration is still treated with such indignity.

    Mother India Temple in Benares

  2. I remember you from one of the other A to Z years Parul. Interesting reading about a different culture. Do you think some of those customs are left over from times when there weren’t sanitary ways of managing menstruation?

  3. While it would be nice to be able to relax with a heating pad on my worst days, I can’t afford to lose a full week–or more–every month. I’m so looking forward to menopause and being done with it!

    Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, Science Fiction/Fantasy Author

  4. Soumya says:

    Aaarggh, I been through hell and back because of this. This is one thing I would never forgive my MIL for. Being a woman, she tormented the hell outta me.
    Soumya recently posted…M: Mrs Funnybones #AToZChallengeMy Profile

  5. Natasha says:

    Link ti my post today:

    Blog: natashamusing
    Theme: Travel Epiphanies
    Mighty Cerulean Sea
    Natasha recently posted…{M} is for Mighty Cerulean Sea: #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  6. Natasha says:

    Gosh Parul I had no clue that such archaic practises still prevail in modern India. What a shame!

    Blog: natashamusing
    Theme: Travel Epiphanies
    Mighty Cerulean Sea

  7. I have never heard of this custom. What a lot of archaic nonsense! For me, that would have put me out of action for a full week. Happy Easter! M is for Marketing Methods as you Build a Better Blog. #AtoZchallenge.

  8. I have never understood this…as you rightly said, it’s appalling it still happens in this day and age. It’s a normal bodily function and religion makes it something horrible.
    Sanch @ Sanch Writes recently posted…#Monchielle: Strong Woman #atozchallengeMy Profile

  9. I have friends in whose houses this ‘problem’ still exists. However they enjoy it, seeing it as a complete holiday from work, they go out and do what they want in ‘those 4 days’ 🙂

  10. Suzy says:

    I’ve always wondered if there was some other reason behind these outrageous customs. My daughter cramps up so much that she would just rather be in bed curled up. I’m sure she would love to be left alone and rest. But she has no such luck here – the household chores and work must be done! Trying to look at this from another side. But I do take offence to the purity side of things.
    Suzy recently posted…Music is … #atozchallenge letter M @AprilA2ZMy Profile

  11. Geets says:

    Yah! I too know lot of households where this thing still exists! A family where there are three daughters and a mothers and if any chance, all 4 of them are due together, the man of the house brings food from outside or eats at his friends place… all 5 days!! Can you imagine!

    I don’t know how many centuries is it going to take for such practices to be shunned?!

  12. divsi says:

    The harsh reality of our ‘evolving’ society. What use is profession if still the basic roots are soaked in regressive practices! sigh.
    I am a little late in reading your A-z posts. Doing a marathon read today. Hope you don’t mind the spam!

  13. Bellybytes says:

    Oh dear! What a fiddle….lots of women face discrimination everywhere…. even in the most advanced countries. At least we in India had the guts to accept a WOMAN as head of state and PM ! Parul so many countries in the world still cannot accept a woman leader.
    Bellybytes recently posted…Bleeding Madras Check & the sari from Maheshwar #AtoZChallenge 2017My Profile

  14. Denise says:

    I live in a community where many women still feel ‘unclean’ at their time of month because of religious beliefs. It’s as if their brains have been put on standby. I can’t even get started on this.

  15. Are these men not aware that without menstruation they and their sons would not exist? These things drive me crazy and I am not even subjected to them. Meeting so many women bloggers from around the world and especially India has made me think more often about these inequalities and illogical social rules that minimize women. I am so grateful to have been born into a society which, in spite of its problems and some of its present vast unfairnesses, still at least for the most part gives women equal rights. This might be changing under the present administration. The threat of a woman in power was just too much for even my enlightened and modern country, I fear. Thanks for your post.

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