Like every Indian household ever, the concept of menstruation and everything that came with it - proper care, vaginal examinations, visits to the gynaecologist - were discussed in knowing whispers. Even though in our family the gender ratio was skewed at 3:2 in favour of the girls, my mum was very secretive about “girl things” and told me “boys don’t talk about these things”.
One lazy afternoon that my mother was working and my father was enjoying his day off, I was doing homework in my room when I felt the urge to pee, but it was unusually damp down there already. Mortified that I had peed my pants at the age of 13, I rushed to the washroom to find a small but significantly dark drop of blood in my underwear.
My first thought was that I had probably cut myself somewhere and that the pain will follow. But even after thorough scrubbing and washing, the blood persisted, and I was perplexed because I couldn’t feel any pain.
I finally mustered up the courage to call my dad and mumbled a very low ‘I think I got my period’ to him from the crack of the washroom door and burst out crying because I was confused, ashamed, and felt immensely ‘dirty’ for having blood come from my vagina. My dad, being the superstar that he is, asked me to hold tight and dialled my mother on his phone.
Still afraid to come out of the washroom, he handed over the phone to me and I sobbed relentlessly for 2 minutes while my mother tried to calm me down. All she asked me to do was: listen to everything that dad has to say.
My dad then asked me to follow him to my mum’s cupboard, took out a bright pink sanitary pad and asked, “Do you know how to use these?”
When I said that I didn’t, he asked me to get a fresh pair of underwear from my closet so that he could show me how to use it. Like a total pro, my dad unwrapped and fit the pad to my underwear, carefully tucking the wings beneath the fabric and asked me to go and change into them.
Once my dilemma was taken care of, he sat me down and explained what had just happened. From explaining how this is going to be a monthly affair, how my body is going to change, to unexpected hair growth that’s going to have to be taken care of, and all my ‘what, when, where, and why’ questions. I was in awe of my dad’s knowledge and in my eyes, he was a real hero.
I didn’t realise that my dad teaching me about menstrual health was a big deal until I went to school and narrated the anecdote to my close friends, who were shocked and made me feel like a monster for telling my father about my period. “You can’t tell these things to your father!”, they said. “It’s wrong. You should talk ONLY to your mom.”
I was very confused and told this to dad who calmly said, “Yes, your mom knows more because she is a woman, like you. But she taught me these things, so I taught you! I am your dad and I was only teaching you, like all parents should do.”
It’s been 14 years since the incident and it still makes me feel warm to realise that my mother’s absence that day was a wonderful occurrence, as it gave a little girl some new perspective on her dad. I couldn’t be more proud of him for standing up to the responsibility of teaching his daughter the importance of menstrual health. Thanks so much, dad!
Proper care of your vagina is important, ladies, so get yourself this Inlife Vaginal Wash for Rs 299.
For for an economical alternative to sanitary pads, especially for your busy schedule, buy the Wow Freedom Reusable Menstrual Cup for Rs 599.
Remind your dad why he means the world to you and buy him this adorable YaYa Cafe Dad World Leather Wallet for Rs 999.
Celebrate precious moments with your dad and show him how much you care by gifting him this stunning Casio Enticer Black Dial Watch for Rs 4,225.
Let’s not forget our super moms who have literally had our backs since the day we were born! Gift your mum this funky Indibni ‘Mummy da Dhaba’ Kitchen Wall Hanging for Rs 699.