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Major Sunil Shetty
Major Sunil Shetty, SM as a veteran of the INDIAN Military. After his release from the Army, he worked as a conflict reporter In Afghanistan. His entrepreneurial journey took him to Iraq, South Sudan, Haiti. He founded My Startup TV, India's first and only TV channel for Startups and MSMEs. He is also a decorated soldier who was awarded Sena Medal, for bravery during counter-insurgency operations.

In Telangana, a south Indian state, families celebrate when their daughters reach puberty or menarche (first menstruation). “Though locals refer to the event in many names- the ancient name is Ritusuddhi, also called Ritu Kala Samskara, which is the coming of age ceremony for girls, after menarche or first menstruation.”

Celebrations marking the first menstruation are common across south India states. This milestone in a young women’s life is “observed by her family and friends, with gifts” and her “wearing a sari for the ritual.”

Annual events such as Ambubachi Mela, an annual fertility festival held in June at Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam, and Raja Parba, Odisha’s 3-day festival, are associated with Earth’s menstrual celebrations and are celebrated with great fervor.

Fast forward into the modern era; our society has adopted a myopic view of such rich traditions and created an unnecessary stigma and shame around it.

I was born in the 70s and grew up in a traditional yet modern family. I saw my father and mother share domestic chores. My three sisters were brought up in an equal environment and grew into independent women.

While growing up, I knew – my sisters and my mother behaved differently on certain days and never knew why. Like most young men of my era, I was exposed to jokes around periods during college days.

I got a first-hand understanding of the challenges a woman undergoes during the period after I got married.

Marring a medical professional was handy as my wife was comfortable sharing many of the challenges women face during menstruation.  I became aware of mood swings, rashes, cramps, and the uncertainty of timing and how it kind of builds tension just before the D-day and the crisis when it hit at unexpected time and place.

During the first year of marriage, Anita asked me to pick a pack of sanitary pads from the nearest medical store; those days, there were no supermarkets. I remember – the salesman at the counter sheepishly rolled the pack in a newspaper and handed over as if I was buying weed.  Even today, If I am in a supermarket- in the sanitary section; the women shopping in that section become uncomfortable.

The stigma and shame associated with periods are deeply ingrained into the conscience of our society. And, women, in particular, have to live and work around it all through their lives.

Period Hub is a start-up that is working towards removing the stigma and shame around menstruation. Its co-founder Chirantana Kar, says, no one feels embarrassed when blood oozes from an injury or wound, but the same is not true when it comes to periods; there is awkwardness.

My teenage son is in 9th grade, and soon, some of his female classmates will hit puberty. It will take a while before the young women and their parents settle down to the new reality. But, I am thinking of my son. Like other young boys his age, he would know nothing about menstruation, and the worst he might get the twisted information about periods.

All this because society is not ready to talk about something that “is considered to be a natural God-given holiday to women once a month.”

Two things that society should do to support women

  1. Feel empowered instead of stigma & shame: The society should come together to remove the shame and stigma and make it celebrative for the young adults. When young women hit puberty, they should feel empowered to take discussions and have a voice within the family and across society.
  2. Make Youngmen aware: Youngmen should be sensitized about the challenges women face during periods. If boys learn about it at school and home, they will grow up appreciating and respecting women.

 *It is society’s responsibility to de-stigmatize periods and makes young women feel empowered when they reach puberty. *

In ancient times, ours was an open society that acknowledged and celebrated “the Seven Essential Human Needs” that covers all aspects of human life.

It is high time we go back to our roots and find answers in them to current dilemmas.

Source

To know more about The Period Hub’s Perspective, visit their interview with My Startup TV –

Dr Vijaya Krishnan is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), and the Co-Founder and Director of Healthy Mother Sanctum, Natural Birth Centre. She is the leading official Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) in India and teaches the Healthy Mother Lamaze Accredited Childbirth Educator Program.

At her Natural Birth Centre, The Sanctum, she has pioneered a unique Collaborative Model of Care – Women receive Independent Midwife Led Care, through pre-conception, pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum, with back-up support and emergency infrastructure on site

Dr Nidhi Agarwal is a connoisseur of the Holistic approach to propagate medicine free lifestyle for the last 12 years! She is a Homeopathic physician, Lifestyle & Wellness Coach, Relationship Counsellor, a holistic healer and the Director of Prakash Holistic Health Care Centre (PHCC).

Dr Nidhi, a harbinger of holistically healing any individual body, mind and soul.  Her motto is to successfully guide her patients towards a lifestyle where they can cure their body from within by understanding the requirement of the body and nutrifying it by embracing home remedies and using ingredients from your kitchen, with the minimal or no medicinal intervention.

Period Hub is proud to have Dr Nidhi on the Advisory Board. We share the same value system and advocate the Natural way of living. Period Hub hopes to benefit from her rich experience and utilise her insights to enrich our workshop modules. We also hope we shall be able to extend her expert advise to our customers and bring them out of their Period Woes.

Hema Balakrishnan is a social entrepreneur and founder of The Conscious Storey – A Unit of Color D Earth – A Handmade Collective. Hema is an alumnus of the prestigious 10000 Women program, a Goldman Sachs funded Initiative for Women Entrepreneurs in 2009. In March 2012, she was chosen by the U.S Department of State to attend the coveted International Visitors Leadership Program on Women and Entrepreneurship by the U.S. Department of State.

An ardent believer of conscious living and sustainable lifestyle Hema mentors The Period Hub in its outreach programmes and activities at the grassroots level.

Kanupriya is a seasoned marketing leader with more than 16 years of rich hands-on experience in various facets of marketing. She has spearheaded the creation of multiple brands and digital properties in start-ups like Canvera and Seventymm, as well as managed the brand portfolio of large conglomerates like Godrej and Infosys.