(This letter is in response to queries and comments like-
• Should kids watch Padman?
• A must watch for women!)
I write to you on the platform of social media even though I know you are not here. But I believe the letter will still reach you, directly or indirectly, through your parents.
I want you all to watch the movie Padman. I believe your parents have talked to you about periods and hygiene. This assumption is coming from the fact that they made an effort to read this letter and have also shared with you. So they, I believe, belong to a bracket that is aware and is keen to learn. They also, I am again assuming, have the resources to provide you with a supply of sanitary napkins and clean washrooms. So all in all you are at a good place. I hope you know that this is a privilege. Not just the unlimited availability of pads but this kind of support from the parents in the form of education and awareness about your body. It is not available to all, both the facility and the education. You will understand more once you watch the movie.
Sorry I digressed a bit. The primary reason for asking you to watch the movie is not knowledge about menstruation even though the movie is based on this subject. I want you to go through the journey of the life of the Padman- Arunachalam Muruganantham.
It is a story of how a person fights all odds to create something he believes will benefit millions. Once he has the clarity that lack of hygiene during periods can cause diseases and even death in women, there is no stopping him. He doesn’t wonder how will he get the money, how will he make it possible, he simply aims to create a cheap pad and sets out on the journey of exploration.
On this path, he faces many hurdles. The biggest of all being rejection from the society and his own family. You know one can manage lack of money with bank loans but when those around you out rightly reject you, it can break your spirit.
So when the whole world is up against you, how do you day after day reassure yourself that you are right? When your own mother, sisters, and wife think you are ‘mad’, how do you continue to believe in your thoughts?
Interestingly, Arunachalam is not a rebel. He doesn’t hate his family even when they don’t understand his thought and idea. In fact, it is care for the women in his life that drives him ‘crazy’ enough to create a pad. To create something you need to love and care. Creation doesn’t happen out of bitterness.
Now Arunachalam is not only poor, is rejected by the family and society but also belongs to a small town and has studied only till eighth grade. So how come Arunachalam, knowing very well about his limited education and capability, believed he could still make it happen?
Now here lies the whole difference.
If Arunachalam would have looked at himself as an uneducated small-town man, he would have never dared to create something being produced by big companies. All he saw was the need for creation of an alternative of an expensive pad. He wasn’t stuck in comparison but immersed himself in research. He didn’t allow his education to limit him but let his belief lead him.
When the scene where Padman is invited to speak at the forum of United Nations, please sit up and listen carefully. Stop munching popcorns those three minutes. In broken English, Padman communicates his message to the English speaking audience of America. So what is more important? The thought or the language? You will find your answer.
Does the whole story sound far-fetched and far away like one of those fairy tales? Well, it is. The only difference is it is real and not a fantasy. And you can be the prince or the princess of your own fairy tale who comes riding on the horse and solves the entire problem of the world. So look what bothers you- inside you and around you. What do you care for so much that you can do anything to ensure its well being. And whenever a voice in your head questions how will you do it, remember the story Padman.