DO you remember the first time you purchased a condom? Or, the first time you mustered courage to ask for the first packet of sanitary napkin? Almost 99 per cent of the readers, or may be all of them, would remember the feelings of embarrassment, mixed with shyness and a bit of coyness. Cut to 2017. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has opened three vending and three disposal machines for sanitary napkins outside three women bathrooms at its main office in the North Block. Each transaction will cost Rs 5 and the machines are equipped to accept coins of different nominations. Soon, more machines will be installed at DoPT’s other offices as part of the ongoing ‘Swachchata Hi Seva’ campaign. The six machines were inaugurated with much fanfare by two women joint secretaries in the department, K Kipgen and G Jayanthi, and attended by scores of other women bureaucrats and we hope the idea takes off. In our still-conservative society, the women are more likely to glance around, ensure that no one’s looking, and then quickly head towards the machines. Only a few are likely to approach them brazenly and confidently without a care in the world. The reason is simple: periods are believed to be ‘unclean’ and women are apprehensive and nervous to reveal it. We hope that the Swachchata Abhiyaan removes such unclean thoughts from the minds of both the men and women. More power to the women!