I wore a sanitary pad for a day.
Now under normal circumstances I wouldn’t wear a sanitary pad, not to imply that I do under any circumstances. But it was a Sunday and I felt like experimenting. How bad can it be?
So I went to my neighborhood medical shop and simply asked for it. The guy asked me for the size. I wasn’t aware of my size. I had to make a decision. “XL” based on my underwear size. “Ah high flow sir”, he remarked. It made no sense to me. What had my size got to do with my flow? I would later google the relation, and be amazed — at my ignorance. Turns out — it is about the flow. As all state secrets , my sanitary pad got wrapped in a newspaper, then inside a black Plastic bag. 6 pieces of pad cost me around 40 rupees. which seemed reasonable until I found out that I’d purchased the cheaper ones, and if I were a woman I’d need at least 5 packets, that’s 30 pads, 200 rupees, and a lot of paper and plastic for 50 odd years. So, I am shedding blood and money, and destroying the planet. Not accounting for the PMS and cramps and ice cream. I know all to well about these. Simply put — Menstruation is a costly affair.
I heard about government subsidized pads, but never heard about its implementation. A debate spoke about making sanitary pads free for everyone, that fizzled out too.
Nevertheless, I returned. Now, there’s a very elaborate procedure given at the back of the pack about how to put it on. I followed it step by step. To put it in simple words — it felt like you are trying to put on a helmet when you already have a huge turban on.
It requires you to position everything meticulously. You cannot simply zip and walk. I tried to walk normally but it really is impossible. I ended up walking like the 5 year old me who pooped in his pants at school. This is just an example, not far from reality though.
Talking about toilet business, peeing is suddenly a task. Zip down, pull out, aim, fire away were no longer the rules. If you’re in public, you’ve got to find a commode. Why? because you simply have to. Do the math; run your imagination.
Needless to say I went in Public and realized that people have realized something is wrong with me. The solution was simple — No eye contact.
Walking with the pad for more that 5 hours now, I became slightly accustomed to it. But I there was suddenly a new situation developing in my pants. The pad had moved. It had slipped out of my undies and now lay on my upper thing. It made a weird shape on my jeans. It was weirdly bulged. I took the walk of shame to toilet to get it right. Middle aged women were disgusted while the older ones broke into a short laugh. The men were not interested in laughing or staring at me, they busy ogling on other women. That was a relief.
A day of funny walk and unknown feelings later it was time to call an end to the challenge. It was a wonderful experience I would never wish for anyone except one. While at the medical shop, I asked the cashier about the reason for the black plastic and the paper cover. An elderly man next to me butted in — “It is not decent to show this openly in the society son”, although he said it with all innocence I felt like he was not the problem, no one counseled him earlier and now it’s too late to talk him into changing his mind, so I left the matter there because he was beyond correction, but mostly because he was also my landlord, and I know how hard it is get a flat around here, especially for bachelors.
All in all it was a day of action, especially taking into account the lack of ‘action’ Covid has bought with it. The two things I realized are a)Menstruation is costly b)Buzzfeed would have paid me for doing this, I should have recorded it.