Dabhiya village, Madhya Pradesh: When Parvati Thakur started her periods, she felt less like a person, more like an animal.

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“Like a mad person, I used to just sit in a piece of cloth and bleed. I cried a lot," recalls Parvati, who grew up in the village of Rehetiya not far from here, and where the women folk, according to ancient rites, move to the stables to menstruate.

Married off before puberty, the mother of two daughters says she felt dreadfully alone each time, as she’d rummage for rags along village roads to squat on, until more experienced women taught her how to tie a cloth to protect herself.

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