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Godsend: A Flash Fiction Depicting the Taboo Surrounding Menstrual Periods

Godsend: A Flash Fiction Depicting the Taboo Surrounding Menstrual Periods

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  30 Dec 2018 9:55 AM GMT

By Rhituparna Chakraborty

She looked at her phone. It was 8:30 a.m. She wanted to get some sleep. However, today, despite being a Sunday , she couldn’t catch up with her sleep. She gave out a wide yawn and looked at the mirror of her car from the driver’s seat. Her round steel rimmed glasses had specks of dust. She felt too lazy to take out the microfibre cloth from her bag and clean her spectacles. She brushed her hair with the finger tips of her right hand. She had short curly strands of hair. She always preferred the pixie haircut style, the reason being, she hated wasting time on pampering her hair. With this hair style, all she had to do is brush her hair with the tips of her fingers. She looked at her skin. ‘All tanned’, she told herself. ‘I am dark skinned anyway, and on top of that this tan. Well, I sure look horrible. And then this tiny blunt nose of mine, pheww’, she said while smiling to herself. She then laughed out loudly and said, ‘God, couldn’t you have made me little beautiful?’ She found her own statement hilarious and giggled again. She was bored of the music in the radio of her car. She got out of her car and stretched her arms. It would have been wonderful if she could sleep for a while. Her parents had just stepped out. They would need some time to come back and she had to wait for them. She looked at the sky. It was getting brighter. With the winter season setting in, the place looked ravishing. She spotted the huge Banyan tree. She wanted to go and sit on the bench beneath it. But then, there were some elderly folks already sitting there. There was some space where she could go and sit, but then she remembered what her mom had said. ‘Never mind’, she said to herself. Let me sleep in my car itself. She looked at her phone. The battery was charged to 100 percent. She couldn’t afford to miss any calls. She checked if the volume of the ringtone of her phone was at the highest. Yes, it was. She opened the door of her car, sat on the driver’s seat, reclined it, so that she could sleep for a while. She was about to sleep, when she heard some people talking. They seemed worried. There was chaos. Suddenly her phone rang. It was from her mom. The moment she heard what her mom said, she picked up her bag, and rushed.

The elderly gentleman was on the floor writhing in pain. He clasped his left shoulder. She ransacked her bag and found the medicine. She gave it to the gentleman. It immediately dissolved in his mouth. The elderly gentleman then said ‘water’. She looked around for water. She found a small copper pot kept near the flowers. She got that and helped the gentleman have a sip. She then asked the people around her to help the gentleman board her car. Her parents sat with the gentleman at the rear seat of the car, while the elderly gentleman’s son sat in the front passenger seat. While driving, she called up Dr. Abhinab Sinha, the renowned cardiac surgeon and her senior in Woodridge Heart Hospital. She narrated the entire incident. Dr. Abhinab asked her to get the patient’s preliminary health tests done and based on that they will decide what needs to be done. He told her he will be in the hospital in another 15 minutes. Being a cardiothoracic surgeon was not easy. For Gauri it was not easy as well. She had performed surgeries consecutively for three days this week. The scenarios were pretty complicated. But then, she was a master in her field. While driving, she called up the hospital and arranged everything for the medical tests. When they reached the hospital, every stuff was ready. The patient was checked thoroughly. Dr.Abhinab and Dr. Gauri informed the patient’s son that surgery was necessary here. The earlier they do it, the better it will be. The son readily agreed. Next day the surgery was done. Gauri performed the surgery but Dr. Abhinab was there throughout along with the entire team in the operation theatre. The surgery lasted for 4 hours. The patient’s family was informed that everything was fine. The patient was in a stable condition now.

Gauri went home very late. This patient was very important for her. After all, he is her Chaturvedi Uncle. Next morning, she woke up early and rushed to the hospital to check on Chaturvedi Uncle. She went to his room. He was sleeping. His son was sleeping in the adjacent bed. Uncle opened his eyes when he heard footsteps. He saw Gauri and smiled at her. Gauri smiled at him and said, ‘How are you feeling now Uncle?’. Uncle spoke weakly, ‘ With you around, I know I am fine. Just some bit of weakness and body ache.’ Gauri came near him and said, ‘You had suffered a heart attack Uncle. The surgery was successful. The medicine on time helped. Now, you are perfectly fine. All you need to to do now is take care of yourself, eat well, sleep well, and walk regularly for 30 minutes or so. Based on the reports we will let you know when you can go home. I have instructed the dietician strictly to give you vegetarian food. After all you are my Chaturvedi Uncle.’ Chaturvedi uncle smiled and said, ‘I have been the family priest of your family for long. Your family trusts me and all my remedies. Still I am unable to get you married. Why didn’t you come for the ritual today at the temple? It was specifically to ensure that you get married this year.’ Gauri laughed out loudly, ‘ Uncle I wanted to come. But then mom told me not to come. It was the first day of my period. I could not have come to the temple. Unfortunately, I had to go inside the temple when you felt the pain. I am sorry I had to enter the temple premises and touch the water which was meant for the Goddess. But yes, although I was tempted to sit on the bench underneath the Banyan tree, I didn’t. All the people sitting on that bench were priests. I am sure there would be a procedure to purify the premises.’ Uncle tried to sit up straight. Gauri went near his bed and arranged the bed so that he could sit. Uncle said, ‘Can you help me drink some water? I am feeling thirsty?’ Gauri hesitated and thought of asking uncle’s son to help him here but uncle seemed to have read her mind. He said, ‘I know you are going through your monthly cycle. It’s not you or the things you touched need purification. It’s our psyche that needs purgation. You are a blessing my child. How can a life saver be impure. I cannot change the world. But, in my temple, every women will be welcomed henceforth no matter what. And my child, you don’t need to do any rituals to get a groom. You are as powerful and Goddess Gauri. It’s just that Gauri would need someone like Lord Shiva who would marry her for who she is.’ Gauri poured some water in the glass, and helped Mr. Chaturvedi drink water. He touched her head and said, ‘ My guardian angel sent you’. Gauri beamed with the very thought that henceforth her mom will not force her for rituals of getting married.

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