Tuesday, October 15, 2019


Every time I put henna on my hands I hum that song
Where I write your name on the palm of my hand,
Hidden in the intricate shapes, curves and designs
The story of the day we met or the day we spoke.

We have walked countless times around the fire
We have uttered so many different sacred chants
Of holding a bond so close just by keeping it safe
Deeply tied to the sense of our sacred silences.

We have celebrated in rhymes, absences felt,
The emotions that run wild and the colours
We have sang of the endless days we wandered
Listlessly, aimlessly and perfectly in silence.

Yet when I put mehndi on these hands of mine,
You smell them, as if it’s our first time together.

Menstrual pain and essential oil cure

Two of my earlier posts were about having an ecofriendly period and menstrual leave for employees. Recently, I came across the use of essential oils to cure menstrual pain and to reduce cramps and nausea. While most of the quick-relief medicines have side-effects, the use of these oils is relatively safe for the body. For curing periods pain, clove essential oil and eucalyptus oil are used. 

Have an ecofriendly period!

Have a happy period ☺ says the Whisper  advertisement. In the olden days, "those days" meant that you could hardly get out of your room or do what you want. Going out of the house was forbidden in the case of most women. But with changing times, there has been a sea-change in the general attitude to the monthlies. Sanitary pads and their focus on comfort have liberated women from much of the taboo associated with menstruation.

With studies that show that the disposal of sanitary pads can be hazardous to the environment, there is a need to shift to ecofriendly and healthier versions such as reusable cloth pads or menstrual cups. These are conscious choices that can be made part of the monthly schedule. Join hands to reduce your ecological footprint!

Wind of Change: Menstrual Leave for Women Employees

Happy to read that two companies Culture Machine in Mumbai and Mathrubhumi in Kerala have announced period leave for women. What I felt is that after hearing so much about the kind of inhibitions associated with pregnancy and periods, one is lucky to have a non-compartmentalised and holistic view regarding women's health concerns.

It was only recently that I did a write-up on ecofemme and my perspective was that of a surprised consumer who is happy to discover new ecofriendly options. However, a female colleague was of the opinion that one shouldn't post these in groups where there are men. My perspective was that it was a general post (more an armchair philosopher post too) about reducing your carbon footprint. Hope the ladies will also become broadminded to understand that there are men too among activists and that women are not to be bound up in cultural taboos any longer especially if you have no fear talking about your periods or pregnancy or desires.


Make Periods Normal Again

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad

When I was reading Twinkle Khanna's The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, what I found is that the writer shows an amazing perception of the character's needs without being so obvious about it. But googling about the work, what I saw is a kind of patronising attitude to a writer just because she is a celebrity daughter and wife apart from being an actress. However, the short stories are quite readable and the story that I loved tbe most in this collection is "The Sanitary Man from a Sacred Land".

The first among the four stories is "The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad" is about Lakshmi who wants ten jardalu trees planted for a girl child so that the child's future is secure right from her birth-"ten trees like the ten fingers which we women can hold our own destinies firmly in our hands". Thus begins the ritual of the jardalu, which is celebrated in her village with the birth of a girl child, when people from any caste, even those with no land of their own can plant trees for their daughters.

The second story "Salaam, Noni Appa" is about love that transcends all barriers. Noni Appa and Binny are two elderly women who live a life of seclusion. The elder sister Noni Appa is rather sweet on their yoga teacher Anandji. What starts as an eagerness to meet him, ends up as her sole reason to live. When Noni Appa is ill, Anandji leaves all his business aside, packs his luggage and comes to live with her. This story is very touching for one remembers the ambience of love that breaks all rules though the other stories are much more conventional.

"If the Weather Permits" begins in Kerala and is about Elisa Thomas, hailing from traditional Malayali Christian household. When forced to get narried, she marries a photographer friend of hers but is disappointed when the bridegroom turns suicidal. Divorced, she gets married to Chacko, from a wealthy Christian family and shocked into a sense of deja vu. All she wants to know is whether she has to return to her ancestral home that smells of fish moilee.

The fourth story, according to me, is the best story of the collection. Ms. Khanna has based this atory on Padma Shri Arunchalam Muruganantham who is a social worker who works hard to remove the taboos associated with menstruation. Bablu Kewat loves to bring surprises for his wife -"four bagles, a packet of orange bindis, a 5star chocolate". Saddened by the rag that she uses for her monthlies, he brings her pads and new kinds of experimental pads that are made of absorbent material. He questions the women of his acquaintance about their monthlies and this earns him the name pervert. His friends tease him that he should have been born a woman so that "it would have been so much easier to just test the pads yourself". But his determination wins and he becomes the inventor of the low-cost sanitray pad making machine.

The stories are varied in their themes but very endearing to the reader. What I feel is that the last among them is the most touching, of a man who wants to bring happiness to his wife and ends up being a hero to many Indian women from the nearby villages.


Every time I put henna on my hands I hum that song Where I write your name on the palm of my hand, Hidden in the intricate shape...