Mangu Bika, 14.
“I was in Gujarat in India working during my first year of menstruation. I didn’t observe chaupadi there. Things are different here.”
« The first time I went into a chaupadi I was scared of snakes. But now, more than snakes, I am scared of men; I am scared of getting kidnapped. I am really worried about what will happen to me after marriage. I want to grow up and be a teacher because I like going to school. Because when we go to school, we all sit together and their are no rules there or any discrimnation against the menstruating woman. »
Chandra Tiruva, 34, and her child, Madan, 2, share the chaupadi with Mangu.
« It is the traditional belief that our ‘kul devtaa’ [house god] will be angered, so I was sent to chaupadi. I don’t like being here but there is a lot of force. My mother in law forces me, but what can I do. She looks after my other three children during this period. But my mother in law even makes my two year old child observe chaupadi just because he sleeps with me. »