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It is 2020 and menstruation still remains a huge taboo in India. People do not talk about it in public. It is such a taboo that adult men deny that they even know about it. In rural areas, women’s hygienic products are so inaccessible that women use sand, wood chips, soil, and ash to soak up the period blood. As a result, according to reports, around 60,000 women die of cervical cancer every year. Women are too shy to talk about it. They don’t even call it period. In the Bengal region (where I come from), people call it “Shorir kharap”, which means “sick”, where on the contrary it is a healthy bodily function. However, not too long ago, a schoolgirl committed suicide since she was publicly humiliated in her school for her period stain by her teachers and fellow students. I find it baffling that people believe that period is an extremely private thing, yet period shaming in public is totally acceptable.

The sanitary pads are usually available only at drugstores in India. Women can not just go and ask for them. They hesitate so much that they sometimes wait for other customers to leave and ask for the pads in an undertone as if they are buying some kind of illegal drugs. The drugstores always wrap them in black, non-transparent plastic bags.

In this piece, there are some Bengali and Hindi texts. One text says “shorir kharap noy”  (means It’s not sickness). One says “mohila shouchaloy” (means Ladies toilet). I inkjet transferred a digitally manipulated image on canvas Panel. I used real unopened sanitary pad boxes and wrapped them in black plastic bags. In an ideal gallery exhibition type circumstance, I would like to use more boxes to fill up the room.

I wanted to comment on the hypocrisy of Indian culture regarding menstruation and challenged the idea of public and private through this piece.

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