askamma

Something sensational to read on the train

In Why on 13 May 2015 at 1:18 pm

191vgo8sulvv5jpg“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

Even before my daughter could write I suggested that she keep a diary.  I was her amanuensis.  I remember on the first day when she asked me what she should say for me to write in her diary, I replied, “anything you did, or said, or thought, or wished.”  Since then for several years I wrote as she spoke.   Eventually she took over the writing herself but still sometimes asked me to take dictation so that she was not slowed down by her own hand.

It has been eight years now since that first day and we love to read passages from over the years.  Though many people now remember their younger days through photographs, the diary will capture what a thousand pictures cannot.  Especially if those thousand pictures remain in memory cards in serial numbered folders.  The diary on the other hand is ready and welcoming anytime, and will not oblige you to smile.

Reusable menstrual hygiene products: pros and cons

In What on 13 May 2015 at 12:46 pm

It was just after noon in Mumbai.  Our book club was just winding up and people were chatting in the cafe.  A woman called me aside and said, “is it really such a drawback to forget the date of your periods?”  She was referring to an article that appeared in the newspaper, where I called the “worst thing about the menstrual cup” the fact that wearing it made the days of one’s period feel so normal, that one could forget about it altogether.   “I meant it ironically,” I explained.  It’s like saying, “my worst fault is that I am too generous.”  “Oh!”  she smiled.

So when Bindu Mohanty of the #PeriodofChange Campaign asked me for a frank opinion on the pros and cons of reusable menstrual hygiene products, I almost began to reply in the same tenor.  Because, after all, are there in fact any cons?

Silhouette-of-ten-women

Disposable Pads: The Medium and the Message

In What on 11 May 2015 at 8:00 pm

What, in your opinion, are the pros and cons of disposable pads?  (If there are no pros you can list only cons.) 

 –   A blogger in Chandigarh

women talking shadowWhen asked to write about the pros and cons of disposable menstrual products, I remembered what a friend told me when she decided to give cloth pads a try.  Her mother was aghast.  Why do you want to do all that washing every month? she asked.  I was so glad when disposable sanitary napkins appeared in the market, I thought at last my daughter won’t go through all the same toil I went through during those bloody periods.

Why indeed?  Her daughter, my friend, proceeded to list the various negative health and environmental impacts of disposable pads and said that she didn’t want them next to her skin, she didn’t want to generate so much trash, and she wanted to practice a solution that would be affordable on a modest income.  That it would provide livelihood locally pleased her as well.

Her mother relented.  If disposable pads had so many cons maybe the time spent washing cloth was not wasted after all.

But was that, in fact, the only pro?

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