Oscars brought a reason for cheer as little documentary from India made it big. The UP-based documentary film Period. End of Sentence emerged winner in the Best Documentary short category. It’s a reason to cheer on many levels. The fact that it’s a crowd funded project, or that it is produced and directed by women and above all it talks about menstruation…. In India… where its not just the taboos but the squeamishness surrounding it that makes it a hush hush affair. To bring this subject out in the open is a great step towards initiating discussion. It gives hope that we may just might mature.
When I published my little piece on the topic of menstruation , at the back of my mind I worried about how my own parents might react. They fared way better than expected though they did receive quite some feedback about how some matters better be left private. I chose to stand by my words that unless we do away with discomfiture, things aren’t going to change. In my own way, silently I feel vindicated with this win. Vindicated and validated.
Coming back to the feature, I watched it a while ago when I wasn’t aware it was our country’s official entry to the Oscars. It left me amazed at how unapologetically, the stark realities were brought out. I felt so privileged and guilty when I saw how lack of hygiene and basic infrastructure prevented girls from going to school. Difficult to imagine, right?
But this documentary is about hope, about how a small machine empowers the women of a small-town A man named Muruganantham, popularly known as Pad-Man created a machine that manufactures affordable pads from locally available raw material. The installation of the machine gave women a certain confidence that’s so evident in their changing body language through the feature. The hunched shoulders and the helpless looks gave way to self-assured beaming faces.
I was so blown away by it that I wanted my daughter to see it especially because she’s having sessions on puberty in school. She’s blessed to be in an environment where she’s being made aware of the changes in an extremely sensitive and responsible manner. So, when she saw the documentary, you can imagine the shock she had. The urban disconnect was even more evident. I am just cataloguing a few of her reactions here, from shock to bewilderment to amazement, as she watched it, blinking hardly.
“We are so chilled out about discussing it with our teachers and this school girl is almost embarrassed to talk about it.”
“Why is she calling it’s a girl problem? It ain’t a problem.”
“These boys are so grown up, they still don’t know what periods are! OMG!”
“Using cloth must be so tough!”
“Amma, we are quite lucky.”
She was appalled by the prospect of having to leave school on account of a natural phenomenon that is bound to happen in every girl’s life. For both of us it was a lesson in empathy and gratitude.
As I wrote this, I wanted to name it ‘Why we should watch it with our daughters’ but on second thoughts I felt, better still watch it with your children!
PS: If this documentary moves you, do consider supporting this little revolution. A small contribution will lend a hand to the bigger picture. Visit the Pad project website for details and let me add a disclaimer for those who might doubt, that I have absolutely no affiliation with the documentary or the project. I am just expressing my heart felt emotions in the way I know best.