Out of the Closet
I still remember my school days when we would talk in hushed tones about someone in our group attaining puberty. You see it was a co-education school. In my sixth grade one of our Hindi teachers’s gathered us girls in a room and was in loss of words as she didn’t know from where to start. Well the problem was simple girls had started to dispose the sanitary napkins into the toilet rather than the dustbin and this had led to clogging in the plumbing system. But she found it very awkward to discuss this issue with us. Somehow she managed to convey the message in broken sentences and close the topic.
In my tenth grade I vividly recollect my very good friend narrating an incident that happened at her home the previous day. Well her little sister had come home after playing when her mother noticed that her skirt had blood stains. When her mother asked her about it, the poor little one replied innocently “Ooh that might be a mosquito bite.” Her mother then took her to the washroom and explained the whole concept of menstruation which turned out to be a big dose for the little one to digest and she fainted. It seems my friend’s mother had requested my friend to discuss this topic with her little sibling, but my friend had found it weird to talk to her and her mother wasn’t comfortable either.
From all of the above three incidents there is one common element, elders finding it uncomfortable to talk to little ones on PUBERTY. They shun this topic and talk in hushed voices among themselves, I mean the fairer sex. But when it comes to celebrating Puberty it’s done with pomp …yes that’s right if you travel south you would find that it’s celebrated like a festival. The girl is dressed in a colorful Kanchivaram sari bathed in turmeric, rose petals water dressed up beautifully and the kith and kin gather to have a great feast. If it’s in a village the whole village is invited well obviously everyone gets to know that the girl has started menstruating. This practice is prevalent till date in Southern India.
- Sexual Anatomy
- Reproductive Health
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Basic Hygiene
- Birth Control
When discussed openly with the kids in the language that they understand the right message is passed. The mindset needs to be changed at the grass root level and this should first start within a family. Parents need to discuss such topics openly with their kids in the living room. Simple questions raised by the kids shouldn’t be ignored and should be dealt fairly, such that they aren’t left open ended. Half baked information is dangerous and could lead to calamities.