HIV Tales from my diary
She was Goddess of wealth not only by name but in muscles bones and skin too. People called her” Laxmi”. Her surroundings were made of steel like strength of four well to do brothers in a family business of happiness. Happiness, I say, because they were selling goods needed for happy occasions in any Indian family. Happiness, I say, because health, wealth and fame surrounded them from all around. Happiness, I say, because the words like grief and sorrow were missing from their dictionary. The life took a heavenly turn further with her marriage in an equally affluent family. Affluence of other family was like a flower in the garden of her youth. The flower however has the fragrance mixed with thorns at base. The bridegroom brought gloom with his addiction. It took not much time for the Goddess of wealth, Laxmi, to face the wrath of God of health. She became a widow as well as a prey of HIV. Back to the walls made of steel, the brothers did not let her fall. Early nineties was not a time to save HIV lives with meager means. But means were never mean for this family.
Laxmi survived on paper but in spirits she started to die out bit by bit, day by day. Brothers were buying her life by way of costly medicines but the other family members especially sister in laws (wives of rich brothers – poor by heart) selling worries. They thought she should have separate utensils, toilets. They did not want their children to play with their aunt, living under same roof. The curfew on enjoyment of innocence was playing dangerous game with the mind of the sensitive adult. Laxmi started feeling the dichotomy, felt like crying all the time in private, lean on some shoulder. But, where was the shoulder to cry on. It was near, strong willed but weak in the eyes of society. One of her own brother’s employee was a close observant besides being their servant. The time and affection of a shoulder to cry on brought on a time change once again. Raju (fictitious name) fell in love with Laxmi and Laxmi too started liking his strength. Their urge to marry even at the risk of deadly virus being passed onto a ” LIFE” became stronger inch by inch, foot by foot, mile by mile. The distances and the gaps started closing in. The four letter word stared taking the shape of a new story. Love was in air. Multiple number of counseling sessions by the care giver, healer of Laxmi, the “me”, could not prevent the love flower to blossom.
Marriage resulted in the expected. How can owners of the house made of walls of steel see their walls crumbling with an attack of flowers. They showed their strength (Wiseman interpret as weakness) by putting all sorts of restraints , physical , economical and mental on newly weds.
Laxmi and Raju’s good days started on a rough turf.
Medicines by now were not an issue as ART ( Anti Retro Viral treatment , centers) of science was all over. The issue now was of survival only, in a world, where money only makes the mare go.
The tough however made the tough going. Laxmi n Raju worked their way of life through death. Laxmi always thought death through life was worse than life through death. It’s been two and a half decades today, when she faced widowhood and death for the first time. The time and science changed her life.
Today she is happy with a bundle of joy in her lap. Science helped them enjoy the fruits of having a progeny of their own. Today Laxmi may not be playing in the lap of Goddess of wealth but is happy in terms of internal satisfaction and happiness.
Like all fairy tales of past, her story also ends on the note ” and Raju and Laxmi , the new King and Queen , happily thereafter forever and ever. “.