BENGALURU: Menstruation is rarely a subject for poetry. In fact, in India, if periods is talked about at all, it is whispers. Myths surrounding menstruation refer to it as a ‘sickness’ or a ‘contamination’, and menstruating women are kept out of sight.
A group of PhD students and Post-doctoral Fellows at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) Bengaluru want to change all that. So, in collaboration with a city-based NGO Sukhibhava, which works in the menstrual health space, the students participated in the three-month-long campaign #ThatTimeOfTheMonth.
The campaign is to raise funds for menstrual hygiene products for 15,000 young girls from low-income groups. It also hopes to break pointless taboos associated with menstruation.
As a part of this, this group of students have come up with a classical dance extravaganza ‘Anamika - The Nameless With Many Face(t)s’.
Four Dances in One
This dance recital – a confluence of Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Manipuri and Odissi – has been written and directed by Nrityangan (a group of students of NCBS) and will be performed at Seva Sadan in Malleshwaram on May 18.
Nitya Kishore, member of Nrityangan, says, “We will highlight different aspects of a woman’s life and the emotions she experiences such as fear and transcendental love.”
You could expect to see a range of famous poems blended with dance to form a single narrative, which will have annecdotes from literary and mythological texts. Nithya says, “It also gives us a chance to introduce the audience to lesser-known stories of strong female characters from literature and Indian mythology.”
Anamika looks to find answers to questions such as how does the woman of the house, who does all the family chores dutifully, suddenly become ‘polluted’ only because she is on her cycle which is a normal and healthy bodily function? Why do temples in India put up boards stopping menstruating women from entering the premises?
Nrityangan was formed by a group of PhD scholars and Post Doctoral Fellows of NCBS, who had dance in common, over a ‘chaai’ session. All have had extensive training, few for about two decades, in the art form and have given performances even from their childhood.