Opening up the conversation

The way we tell and share our stories about menstruation, whether it be through fiction or essays, art or dance, are ways in which we open up the conversation.

I first came across Shashi Deshpande’s novels in the eighties when I was living in Kenya. When I read about the protagonist Saru menstruating in The Dark Holds No Terrors, I was shocked. It was my first time to see menstruation depicted in fiction. I never forgot the impression that discovery made on me.

Deshpande’s novels and short stories deal with the themes of female subjectivity, domestic space and personal freedom.

When I was compiling a list of authors who I wished to be in the book, Shashi Deshpande was one of the first names on it. She has always been ahead of her time in her writing, and tried through all her work to make the invisible, visible. I was so thrilled when she accepted to write an essay for Period Matters. I admire her writing immensely.

During the pandemic, she was one of the contributors who kept reassuring me the book would get published, and I should not lose hope. She fortified me and gave me courage.