A Mother Daughter Conversation

- Niva Maharjan

“Menstruation is a natural process, one should embrace it,” my mom said to me while
discussing the current status of menstruating women.
“In the past, we did not have access to sanitary pads like today. Many of us had a common
kitchen and living rooms, so we were not allowed in the kitchen. Myths were created so people
would strictly follow it. However, these myths slowly became tradition.” said my mom.
I agree with my mom. There are certain customs in our tradition that don’t make much sense.
Many menstruating girls, especially in rural areas, are restricted from taking baths, going to
school, consuming any dairy products, and touching books.

"Nowadays, we have knowledge about menstruation; however people still follow it as tradition.
People fear the myths; consequently supporting it. Even though we don't want to, we are
forced to.” my mom said feeling deeply sorry for what happened three years ago. “I know you
wanted to take part in your grandfather's funeral but we failed to convince others. I still regret
it". Like my parents, many parents face same dilemma. People are forced to obey the rituals
and belief, even though they don't want too as they fear exclusion from the society.
I felt broken that day. It was 13th day after my grandfather’s death. I wanted to join the puja
and pay tributes to my grandfather, but I wasn't allowed inside the house as I was on my
periods. I had to wait at my neighbor's house till the puja ended. It was disheartening. “I know
you tired. I also know that the society cannot digest big changes in short span of time.” I replied
to my mother.
“Slowly changes are taking place. The young generation is trying to make some changes in the
old rules. Many of my friends don't have to isolate themselves from the kitchen or their family
members. Gradually we will all get rid of these beliefs that are standing against the path of
women empowerment.” She ended her conversation with these words, and went on with her
daily routine.

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