Being Women


That struck hard on Laalima. She couldn’t decipher her state of mind. The confusion between real-life setbacks and something which is waiting to happen.

She was born after a long wait of six years. 

For her father, that was the moment. All the wait, over the years, was worthwhile for the father, who looked affectionately at the little angel with those chubby red cheeks and rosy lips. The moment he held her in his sturdy arms, the baby stole his heart. Bijon Barua (name changed) knew that his life now revolves around this little girl- his daughter, Laalima.  

Laalima was the loving daughter of her doting parents. Their pain, pride and happiness were entwined, leaving practically no room for anyone else. They were happy and, in many cases, were the envy of the neighbours. 

With time Laalima turned out to be a beautiful teenager. Her enchanting eyes and long lustrous hair were talked about. She shone like a bright piece of gold, that made everything around her look beautiful.

“Gauri, get ready to throw a grand party. I think Laalima will soon attain womanhood.” 

“She was looking so pretty at her best friend’s Tuloni Biya (The Menstrual customs of Assam). We are eagerly waiting for Laalima’s one now.” Laalima’s father exclaimed with a lot of excitement. “I want to make it special Gauri,” he added, putting the betel leaves and nuts together. 

Laalima’s mother Gauri had already prepared her mind and began preparations for the occasion. She had ordered a beautiful Paat silk Chadar Mekhela set from Sualkuchi. A set of gold earrings with a matching beautiful gold chain had been already kept aside for her. The plans for the festivities were laid out. 

Only Laalima had to bleed. Yeah, as simple as that. 

Till that time, she had already attended three Tuloni Biyas in the last month and knew the customs. Most of her friends had attained puberty, but Laalima showed no signs. 

The villages in Assam have rules for the menstruating woman, which everyone was supposed to follow diligently. From day one of the onset of the first menstrual cycle, the girl would be confined to a specific room of her home till the seventh day. She would sleep on the floor or a temporary bed made out of hay straws. No man or the sun can see her face during this period and she would survive on fruits, sprouted chickpeas, grams and milk. On the fourth day, she would be allowed to take a bath but the fasting would continue till the seventh day. On the last day, the neighbouring ladies and relatives would gather to make her bathe and bless her like a bride. And many more things will be followed by traditional rituals and then a grand feast to be enjoyed by all. 

People shower gifts and blessings, wishing her a fertile and fruitful future ahead.

But Laalima… 

She would often check her underwear for any traces of red spots. Laalima was already fifteen. But the much-awaited spotting never happened. Worried parents took her to a gynaecologist and after a few tests and ultrasounds their worst fears came true. 

The doctor confirmed that Laalima’s uterus was underdeveloped and she could never attain puberty in her life. Her breasts were to remain like that of a twelve-year-old girl forever.

That diagnosis shocked the entire village and Laalima’s parents were inconsolable.  At that time the modest farmer family could not understand how to handle the situation. For them, marrying off their daughter to a good family was the ultimate goal of their life and they knew it was never going to happen ever.

Laalima went into a cocoon after the diagnosis. She had stopped going out to play with her friends as they began treating her like a stranger. Laalima who was once the favourite child of the village now became a hot topic for gossip and harsh comments. She would cry the whole day experiencing the cold treatment from her parents. 

“What is my fault,” she would often ask herself more than others. 

Then one day, her science teacher visited her home to hand over the admit card for upcoming board exams. Laalima was still reeling under the trauma with no ray of hope.

“You are more than those red stains, Laalima. If bleeding once a month defines the essence of a woman even now, then this society is as primitive as it was hundreds of years ago. So, break that shell of insecurity, guilt-feeling and focus on your goal. Do you think the sole purpose of your life is only to bear a child?” The teacher asked her.

Laalima looked at the teacher with welled eyes. For the first time ever, someone came and treated her with love. But more with a certain acceptance, which she hoped for, needed and longed for. 

“No, Ma’am.” She said with a quivering voice. 

“Then stand up and create your own path towards a successful life.” The teacher left with an everlasting effect on Laalima’s mind. 


Her teacher’s words struck hard on Laalima. She couldn’t decipher her state of mind. The confusion between real-life setbacks and something which was waiting to happen. Laalima’s determination and constant efforts began showing results. She became strong and kept aside the societal harshness and went on to complete her graduation in Sociology. Along with her preparations for the State Civil Service, Laalima had joined N.G.O, which was closely associated with the education and upliftment of the kids born in the brothels. She could sense the poor health conditions and the fear of inclusiveness with mainstream society. And she knew these two issues had to be addressed with compassion and empathy. 

Later, Laalima cracked the APSC examination and got selected in the administrative service. This gave her the opportunity to work for the underprivileged section of society in the best possible ways.

The absence of a biological red stain had completely wiped off all the possibilities for the social red vermillion on Laalima’s forehead but she never allowed anyone to question her dignity. She had never considered herself as an incomplete woman failing miserably on social parameters. Laalima felt proud of herself as to how she had covered the whole journey independently, which was full of thorns and challenges. 

Life was smooth and then one blessed day, Laalima had to venture out to rescue a 3-month-old baby girl from a brothel whose mother died of Dengue. The baby’s smile made Laalima emotional. She just knew what she had to do. 

Laalima became a mother!

“So, this is the story of my incredible mother.” I, Dhyanika Laalima, proudly conclude my essay on ‘Your Loving Mother’ on the note that a mother can be anyone who has loved, protected, and cared for you. No matter what. My mother didn’t give me birth the normal way, but she gave me an extraordinary life with her values and upbringing.”

The whole school auditorium gave a standing ovation to that 10th standard girl. Laalima embraced her daughter with a proud and pounding heart. They were looking stunning in the matching red outfits they had planned to wear on that special day. Red being the colour of Power, the colour of Love and the colour of the Shakti within; Laalima is indeed the best name her father could choose for her.

By Anuja Lopamudra

Hailing from a small town, Nagaon in Assam, Anuja’s love for writing bloomed mostly during her college days. With two super energetic kids and a busy household by her side, she follows her passion for writing and singing without fail and it keeps her going with full zeal. Blogging, cooking, and lots of reading are her besties and she promises herself not to part ways with them ever, no matter what. She can be contacted at

Facebook Comments


One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Veda's Exclusive

Get Ready to Turn Heads with Our Stunning Sarees!