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A girl covers her head with her shawl and crosses the busy street to the nearest shop. She whispers to the keeper what she’s there for, and he passes her wish in hush tones to a younger boy who runs all the way to the end of the store and beyond the back door. The girl patiently waits for a few minutes until the boy returns with a black plastic bag. She pays and leaves.

Once home, she begins to unravel her purchase. Out of the black bag comes a brown paper bag, containing package wrapped in old newspapers, slathered with tape. Once past that layer, she makes her way through the company packaging, ripping it apart until she reaches the individually sliced items. She unwraps one, and she is finally holding what she needs. A pad.

As young girls, we are taught to hide our period. A monthly secret, we hide our pads in our pockets as we go to the bathroom in school. We wrap our jackets around our waist to hide a possible stain on our unfortunate white skirts. We complain of a stomach bug to hide our cramps. Luckily we don’t have to hide our mood, because no matter what we do and no matter the time of the month, our period is held accountable.

We think girls in villages don’t have access to pads, but the girls in our very own homes, our help we rely on so much are running to shops buying pads for us, but using cloth themselves. The same cloth each month, capturing more than just their drops of blood, is the enemy of hygiene. We are allowed to express our pain to our mothers, only in front of whom this period is no secret, but who do they turn to? They continue to sweep the house, cook the meals, wash the clothes and run the errands, all while not letting the best kept secret slip.

There should be no shame in biology, in nature’s careful work. Let us help each other, spread awareness, stop being ashamed and reveal the best kept secret; a taboo can only be overturned if everyone takes a stand.

-Ananya Johri
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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