And the ‘Most Thoughtful Restaurant of the Year’ award goes to…

Door No.1, a retro bar in Bandra Reclamation, Mumbai, has taken a simple yet meaningful initiative of keeping sanitary pads for women in its toilets and shaken one’s grey cells to wonder why restaurants, in general, don’t find it imperative to make avail such a basic need.

Mihir Bijur & Vishesh Khanna, Co-Founders, Door No.1

“My partner and co-founder Vishesh Khanna had noticed how this is an inconvenience to women we’ve gone out with, be it family or friends.  There is a serious lack of hygienic convenience because of the fact that menstruation is such a taboo even in modern India. That’s when we decided that we won’t let this become a taboo in our restaurant”, shares, Mihir Bijur, Co-Founder, Door No.1

Sanitary pads and India have a history. The infamous black plastic bags and newspaper wraps at a general store are not alien to any Indian girl. What is that makes the topic of sanitary pads so secretive when India is the second largest populated country? Such hypocrisy doesn’t leave one with any better choice than to be dumbstruck.

Bijur echoes, “India on one hand is progressing in industrial and technologic prospect, but a large section of society still considers something as natural as menstruation a taboo. We sadly live in a blue ink advertising society that is okay with all bloodshed in movies, but not a drop of it in an advertisement that’s about something so natural.”

“Menstruation is a part of the cycle that involves procreation and deserves logical acceptance. At Door No.1 we decided to take it up to do exactly that with breaking the taboo”, he adds.

The restaurant has received appreciation for its initiative. However, it has also miffed some. “Although most people who have come here and aware of this appreciate what we are trying to do, there have been a few who were not pleasantly surprised that this access existed.”

The recent hue & cry over 12% GST (Goods and Services Tax) on sanitary pads could probably made sense if the same noise was ever created for insensitive and illogical decisions to not have pads at public places. Higher price post GST or not, it doesn’t change anything for women who bear the lifelong expense of a necessity.

And when establishments or restaurants like Door No.1 take such a small yet significant step to make a difference, it is worth a mention.

“Why just stop at restaurants? Every establishment that has women working with them should imbibe this practice. It is not a big investment but it does show women that you care and accept the fact that menstruation is a natural phenomenon. A 1000 such establishments and we will have women and men not treating this unnatural. It’s the need of the hour. Let the true progress of the mindset happen”, Bijur opines.

Dispensing machines for sanitary pads (and condoms) would be a great idea too. It’d not only be a practical help for the citizens but also, in a way, break the stereotypical discomfort through its ease of availability.

Know of a soul initiative like that of Door No.1? Mail: stories@gorgeouswanderer.com

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