Every year, during Bijoya Doshomi (the last day of Durga Puja), all the Bengali married women in my apartment complex smear each other with sindoor. My mother happily participates in this activity and the more red her face and neck is, the happier she is. I’ve always found this ritual quite bizarre.
I also never understood why it’s only women who are expected to put a vermillion streak on their forehead to establish their marital status. A taxi driver once overheard my mom and me when we were having this discussion and commented, “Nowadays married women don’t like to wear sindoor because they want men to think they’re available.”
At that point, I wanted to punch his face. But now I’ve realised how wrong I was.
The GOI has given me a rude awakening.
The government exempted bindis, glass bangles, and sindoor from the GST, while levying a tax on sanitary napkins.
It’s not important that only 12% of Indian women can afford sanitary napkins while the remaining 88% use materials like unsanitized cloth, ashes, and dried leaves. What’s important is making sure that Indian wives can afford to dress in their sanskaari best!
What do women even want? God. We should just focus more on solah shringar.
Gender-based injustice? What’s that?
— The Timeliners (@the_timeliners) April 19, 2017
Last month, some harebrained people, including me, joined a campaign called #LahuKaLagaan on Twitter. Everyone involved asked Arun Jaitley to make sanitary napkins tax-free so that more women could afford them. But, obviously, this meaningless request fell on deaf ears.
Which is super fair, guys.
I mean, how does it matter that using unhygienic and toxic materials may give women Reproductive Tract Infections (RTI), right? It’s not the government’s fault. How dare we bleed every month?
You know, earlier this week, I read an argument that explained in detail why taxing sanitary pads is unconstitutional but I think it’s all bullshit.
I mean, only half the population needs sanitary napkins.
The other half isn’t being whiny, asking for affordable prices for absorbent stuff to soak up the organ bits their bodies expel once a month. It could be because their bodies don’t do that, but hey, what is logic anymore?
And who asked evolution to make women so high maintenance anyway? Probably those fucking feminists.
I’ve realised the keemat of ek chutki sindoor.
So what if we’re forced to use fewer tampons than we actually need, and put ourselves in danger of Toxic Shock Syndrome? We can buy plenty of bindis to make up for it!
Of course, the government should treat my basic necessity as a luxury item.
Why should they take any steps to reduce the price of sanitary napkins, even after thousands of women appealed to them? Arun Jaitley and his entourage are just doing what they’ve gotta do.
Meanwhile, I’ll go and buy some sindoor like a good Indian woman. I’m single now so there’s no point putting it on my forehead. But maybe I can layer my underwear with it till I get a cushiony layer that can soak up some blood.
P.S.: And if anyone brings this topic up with you, don't forget to yell, "BUT SINDOOR IS A COTTAGE INDUSTRY PRODUCT." and "MEN'S RAZORS ARE TAXED OKAY!" Because that's the whole point. Who needs open discourse?