Menstrual Restriction is Learned Fear Only!

Menstrual Restriction is Learned Fear Only!

by Radha Paudel
Bajaya from Bolding, Bajura 

It was quite shocking while a guy whispered himself, I wouldn’t eat anything, I might not walk tomorrow?’ I was following him and asked, what happened to you Bajaya (priest), why couldn’t eat dinner? We were just stopped at Netrasen, Humla. There was only one so called house (temporary shelter) on the way to Bhi village Mugu. The house was so tiny had three rooms; one for store, the other was shed for goats and the third one for the place for hiding while having alcohol by passer-by. The kitchen was outside and open. We all were so tired due to hot weather, sandy storm, dirt and hunger. I persuaded Bajaya, why hadn’t you cook yourself for all of us and why were you delayed for it?

From Bolding, Bajura, Bajya was with us as porter or assistance. I remembered the saying before leaving Bolding from owner of the family, Nani (sister) please didn’t do any hurt to him, he was the son of priest. Indeed, he was priest himself since last three generations. He took off his clothes (had have only one pairs whatever he wore but had had small towel encircled in his wrist as belt) and spread his towel from wrist and made bit longer to hide his private parts. He looked so happy and started to cook with proud and sounded that he wasn’t tired as we. He cooked the food; rice, bean’s soup and curry from potato where others; two young girls from USA, myself and other two Nepali man were lying on yard alongside road.

Took Care of  Nose bleeding at Netrasen, Humla

Suddenly, the sky changed and gave a signal for bad rain so we all decided to move in to hiding room. There was no bed indeed, just put two piece of flat wood look like skeleton of bed. No way so accepted well, fit all at same room. We three girls were slept in one and two men at the other skeleton. Bajaya went to the space in between us and slept over there. It was so dirty, dusty and full with insects and no door or anything. At middle of the night, the donkeys, goats and dogs were smelled our feet’s till we moved our legs or noise by me.

I was instructed girls and their parents about how to manage the blood in case of their period during trekking. They aware about cowshed practice in our route of trek. Fortunately for me and unfortunately for her, a girl had period that morning while we were on the way to Kabadi, Humla from Sakachaur, Bajura. There were no toilets, but found a broken walls of house. I counselled girls to hide over there and inserted tampons. She never squat and never have done in such open place but she had to accept the context. They returned back with laughs and jokes and saying, Radha didi (Radha sister) what could happen if these men recognized it, should we go cowshed or stop our trekking etc. I persuaded them don’t leak any words related to it as well as blood along with tampons. These three men never heard and saw the tampons at their life. Due to exposure with India and Kathmandu, they knew few English words so I often reminded girls to remain quite regards to period. To me, it was very normal because I never stop myself in my life due to menstruation. I just experienced tampons though never leak a single drop of blood in any difficult circumstances nor disclose my secret and sacred period.

Girls rode Horses where took care by men
Among three men, the second was from Bhi village, Mugu but following the menstrual restriction and second man from Kathmandu who is educated but very good follower of restriction. He was so religious, he recited various mantra while he encountered with river. They took care of girls while climbing up and down hills e.g. hold their hands. Unfortunately, next day, the other girl had very bad nose bleeding. The toilet paper, the shawl was not really working. Suddenly, she asked, ‘let’s insert tampons’. Excellent, I shouted with excitement.  She plugged the nose with tampon where hanging the string. Girls started to make jokes and laugh, Radha didi, what would happen if they know about the tampon? Due to having different language with them, I strictly warned girls not to disclose the story due to many reasons; we were in such place where we neither had porter as we wish nor any institutions for medical help in case of psychological shock or anything wrong.While we made stop for rest, tea, or night stop, I always asked a mandatory question, ‘where do you or your women sleep during period?’. There were few more questions and discussion followed by. The conclusion was, everyone was seriously practicing restriction or send their girls and women in to cowshed during period proudly.
Second Nose bleeding on the way to Bhi village, Mugu

Two weeks trip was over; Bajura, Humla,Mugu, Rara, Kalikot and Jumla,  where the at least three men always with us for assistance where we ate, sleep and took rest together. By the time, the days of period also over without following a single restriction; she ate rice, milk, watermelon, not went to cowshed or no single separation, touch with men, priest, children, river, books, entered in to kitchen, school, temple, lake, taking photo, making jokes, listening music, no bath, no change clothes as expected etc.

These all men were so happy and healthier than us while we were supposed to disperse at Mugu and airport of Kathmandu. Girls were asking me from the window of taxi, ‘didi don’t forget to share story of tampon that we used for plugged at vagina and nose for hiding blood with different physiology.

Often, women and men, girls and boys responded regards to menstrual restriction, they practices because they got sick, their god get angry, their grandparents started to shake, their cows climbed up tree, the vegetables started to spoiled and so on. It is all learned behaviours from generation to generation as tradition or part of culture of religion but there is no any scientific basis at all. Here, I am sharing this story beyond these three men in order to let globe know about human psychology and its impact on behaviour. This is not a single story in my life. I myself disguised during events such as funeral, death rituals, . I have done same in many circumstances such as funeral, death ritual, naming ceremony etc. The scholars of Hindu religion also said we need clean from conscientious not physical body (www.deepika.orc).
Had taken photo with Army chief at RARA

0 thoughts on “Menstrual Restriction is Learned Fear Only!

Borgny Ween, Norway June 30, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Great story! So exciting to read it. Thank you a lot for this posting!
So proud of all Your work, Radha. Big pleasure to met you in person, and learn from you.


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