How I got my Periods

No one can tell how I reached the shelter home; they just know that I was here from the very beginning. Everything I have and everything I know is because of my experiences and opportunities that I got from the home, even my name was given by the staff who picked me on her lap first. I grew up having a lot of fun. Since I had known no other life, I have lived my best life here at the shelter and the friends that I made here are like my sisters.

A few years back, I was having a tough time at the home. We were a group of four best friends and three of them had already started their periods. I hated that I was the only odd one out and was almost desperate to start my periods and be exactly like them again! There was a point when I actively prayed to god for my periods. One day I overheard a group of girls creating stories about a piece of cloth in the dustbin that was stained with blood. They were talking about how a ghost must have sucked some girl’s blood at night and wiped its face with that cloth, therefore leaving it stained. I shut them up for being silly and shared how that was a cloth used by someone to manage their periods. I laughed at how silly these girls were, only to be picked on by another senior girl who scolded me for talking about periods, and after that asked if I had stepped over the cloth too. I was taken aback and shared how I had not personally seen the cloth but was only clarifying to the other girls, she replied with “Thank god you did not step over it! Otherwise, it is believed that if a young girl steps over the period blood of another girl, then the first one starts her periods!” While all the other girls got scared with this, I had a bulb switch on in my head!

I was the naughtiest of my lot, and I got hold of the only other friend in my group who was close to being as naughty as me. I made an evil plan with her to trouble the staff by relieving ourselves on the cemented floor in the washing area and stink up the place. She immediately agreed. As soon as we both finished peeing, I immediately jumped up and stepped over her pee.

That night, I felt a lot of pain in my abdomen. I knew that this was a different kind of pain and immediately told my friends that I will be on periods. They asked me how and I said that my body is telling me. They had a good laugh at me and went off to sleep. The next day when I actually got my periods, I was the happiest. In the changing area, I saw that someone had kept a nicely folded piece of cloth, which looked like was meant to be used for periods. I picked it up without asking and took it in my underwear. I went back to let my friends know how I was one among them again as now even I had started my periods. They were happy for me when I started to show off how I made my periods happen by stepping over my friend’s pee and then topping it by stealing her period cloth too! All three of them burst out laughing again and I wondered what had happened!

Turns out that my friend whom I had tricked into peeing in the open was actually not on her periods and therefore the cloth I used was also not hers! So, it seems like I got my periods because my body had decided to start my periods and some poor girl must be fuming at seeing her carefully folded period cloth gone!

“…as I turned 18, continued to perform better, became more confident in leading my sessions and giving feedback constructively to my colleagues, most of who are older than me, I was offered to join as a full-time team member while continuing my studies in a long-distance format. I am now being given newer responsibilities, am learning about all the hard work that goes into planning a session, beginning from pre-planning for sessions, time management within a session and more importantly I am learning to be responsible for myself and become a professional. At Project KHEL, everyone is considered an equal without any discrimination. I feel free to try and learn new things and bhaiya and didi are there to correct me. Currently, I am learning to use Photoshop and all of Microsoft Office tools, while studying in class 12 and also doing sessions and the additional work given to me at work. In the near future, I want to establish my own business and I am hopeful that all my learning from Project KHEL, before, during and after sessions will help me thrive.”

- Santosh, Youth Leader (2017 – till date)