-Pradeksha Sethupathi, III Year B.A. Economics
Narrator: It was night time. As the gentle breeze blew waking up the moon, the world settled… okay, who am I kidding? No way are we finding women outside after 6pm. At least, good moral women. So let’s set our narrative in bright daylight at noon. Let me also take this opportunity to make the disclaimer that no one, I mean no woman, was wearing “questionable” clothes like jeans, leggings and as such throughout this write up (sketch, story, whatever you want to call this) although this disclaimer has absolutely nothing to do with what is going to happen.
Our heroine is a girl (just stating – this is a modern, women centric subject that seems a great “hit” these days ) who as per her usual Friday routine has gone to watch the latest flick playing at the overpriced theatres near her. Now, we wouldn’t exactly stereotype her as a movie buff, but rather a connoisseur of some good popcorn because that sounds fancier. Unfortunately for her, today, the lining of her uterus decides to shed. Unprepared, she approaches the first girl she sees in the lobby, the PadGirl.
Our heroine (whispers in a low voice): Hey! Er… Do you….Can I borrow a pad?
The PadGirl opens her mouth to reply: ..
Guy from behind: Oh, you use a pad? That’s good. We need to create more awareness and ask women to use pads.
(Both the girls turn to look at him)
Guy: Don’t be scandalised. We need to remove the taboo surrounding this and talk about it openly. Haven’t you heard about the Padman Challenge? I did it too. I got 340 likes on Facebook and 120 hearts on Instagram. I would have had more on Instagram but some people just don’t follow you back when you send a request. I mean, it’s common courtesy.
Lady in her 60s standing nearby eavesdropping: The Padman Challenge?
Guy: Yes, see Akshay Kumar has made this amazing movie that is the need of the hour. He challenged everyone on his Instagram to post a photo with a sanitary napkin to show the world that it isn’t bad to talk about this. He was even generous enough to postpone his movie release date so that they could release Padmavat.
The Patronus charm uttered, Karni Sena and Gang enter: How dare they disrespect the Rajput valour?
His aid rushing forward: Sir, this is the Padman movie. It’s a biography of a man who revolutionised women’s sanitation by making low cost sanitary pads.
Karni Sena: Oh! Then how dare do they disrespect this great Rajput man and his valour?
Aid: Sir, the real life social activist is Arunachalam Muruganantham from Tamil Nadu.
Karni Sena: Oh Madrasi?
(leaves littering the floor with their flags)
A girl rushes in screaming: Who dares litter this place? (Starts picking up the litter)
PadGirl turns back to guy: Likes aren’t the point of the Padman Challenge.
Guy, offended: Of course. Do you think I’m dumb? I know women have their menstrual cycle. They bleed once a month from, you know, down there.
PadGirl: Yes we know, we are women.
Guy: But see, it is natural. God has made you this way. You can’t help it. You must accept it. We need to educate every woman to use a pad. I was the first boy in my friends gang who took up the challenge. Other boys mercilessly teased me, but did I stop? No! Girls who wouldn’t talk to me in real life got to know that I was a decent boy and accepted my friend request.
Grandma: Look dear, in those days, we had only cloth napkins to wash by hand every time we changed. Now, you girls have sanitary napkins that gives you the freedom to go wherever you want and do whatever you want, just like how they show it in the ads: singing, dancing, horse riding etc. However, child, listen to me. Don’t use these new age things like tampons. I read about this girl who forgot about her tampon and died. My brother in law posted about this on the family WhatsApp group so that our granddaughters will especially read it. I keep telling this to my granddaughter who uses this thing called a menstrual cup. Now, what is this horror?
Girl picking up the litter stops and screams: Everybody should use menstrual cups. As women, we need to take control of our lives and not let the corporates decide for us.
PadGirl: I’m sorry but you can’t mandate people to use something they aren’t comfortable with.
Screamer: Well, then every woman should get comfortable with it. Listen, all of you, menstrual cups are eco-friendly. Haven’t we polluted the environment enough without having to dump your waste in it too? Just because you are in pain doesn’t mean you have to make other innocent lives suffer with the plastic in your precious sanitary pads.
Padgirl: I’m sorry but we, women, can’t be made to bear the onus of environmental protection on top of everything else. What we need to be working on is to develop a platform to voice our opinions and make the corporates, the developed countries and all those responsible except the women own up for the degradation they caused and take on the burden of cleaning it up.
Guy to Grandma: Do you know about the hashtag Me Too campaign, that was started by the women in hollywood?
Screamer: So you think women should, again, be begging the men to do something? How dare you voice such anti-feminist thoughts? Women must be treated equal to men. Why should we wait for men to do it when we can do it? As another woman, I’m ashamed of your existence.
Padgirl: Oh My God! You are a feminazi.
Narrator: The Screamer’s eyes bulge red. She sees the blood of all the men who dared to oppress women, the blood and soul of patriarchy, coursing through the PadGirl’s veins. With one last cry of “Hail Woman”, she springs herself on the PadGirl.
(Grandma backs away.)
Guy leaves chuckling: It’s all the Premenstrual Syndrome. I know about it too. Women can’t help it. We must create awareness about it.
Our heroine left stranded: umm… Does someone have a pad? Anyone?
Narrator: No wonder they say – Pad, pad everywhere, not a single one when you need it.
(Youtube Video Ad pops up)
(Sorry, no production budget for an after credit scene)