The Crimson Tide

Written By

Ushasi Sen Basu

The Crimson Tide Loading

I’m so done NOT talking about this. It takes up 60 days of my year, if I’m lucky. The crimson tide, our monthly period. There, I said it. It starts with the feeling that I could gladly stick a fork in someone’s eye if he/she annoys me too much. Which could include anything really, even blinking too loudly, and at the wrong time.

Then start the cramps, the discomfort, and wondering if your trousers are still the colour they began the day as.

I don’t know about other women — but no matter how superior the product I am using, I am never remotely tempted to play jump rope in tight white pants; as the sanitary napkin companies would have us believe. Personally, through my quarter of a century of menstruation, I have usually stomped around in darkish clothes, giving the evil eye to anyone who gets in my way.

It’s bad enough despite having a sympathetic and solicitous husband, family and friends; standing by with hot water bottles and cushions. I cannot begin to imagine how horrible it is for those women who are treated like pariahs during their 5 days of bloody hell, being made to sit and sleep apart and eat later. I know a lot of people who are fond of giving ‘scientific’ reasons for superstitions like these; “oh she’s only made to sit on the floor and eat after everyone else is done so that she gets more rest, because we’re enlightened people and sympathetic to women.”

If you are of the religious bent of mind, it would surely be a comfort to have a tete-a-tete with God at such a trying time. But apparently God doesn’t want you in his house when you’re having your period.

And then the taboo surrounding it! Some young girls get the shock of their lives when they first get their period, because they think they’re bleeding to death of some horrible disease. And all this while the womenfolk of her family were watching and waiting and wondering. Would it have killed them to warn her when she looked likely to start her period? I’ve known grown men who know nothing about periods. In what way does this atmosphere of secrecy help?

If it’s such a disgustingly impure thing why don’t women just go in for mass hysterectomies? Just pick an auspicious date, stand in line and scoop the offending organ out? “That won’t do at all!” I hear voices yell out in panic. Why not? Since it’s such an abominable thing for a body to submit to?

Because there’s the little matter of the human race dying out, if women cease menstruating.

And with that all the descendants of all the people who screw their noses up in disgust at us, who don’t let us into kitchens, and temples and what have you. Who would segregate us, and shame us, and make it more of a trial than it already is.

And I’m not sure that wouldn’t be poetic justice.

Let’s change things. Sure, I don’t want male co-workers asking me about my flow or the products I prefer during that time of the month, because it’s private. But I don’t see why I have to lie and listen to a lecture about how pudin hara would take care of those incessant bouts of “indigestion” I seem to be getting every month. Let’s tell our daughters early and prepare them. Let’s be sympathetic and comforting rather than repressive. Let’s not make a big to-do about hiding it from our sons either. Let’s just be adults about having our period. Because really, isn’t that what it’s all about?




Ushasi Sen Basu, 37, lives in Bangalore and is the erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of She published her debut contemporary literary fiction novel, 'Kathputli’ in early 2017, in both Kindle and paperback formats. Ushasi has been a professional writer and editor for over a decade. She also has an unpopular blog called The Crib that pokes fun at everything, including herself. Ushasi (aka Shashi, "U" and 'You-Over-There') loves literature and music, and dances like nobody’s watching. She is the mother of a five-year-old girl, who is the joy of her life and grudging guinea pig for many of her parenting experiments.

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