Is he still smiling...


Went to what at best could be called a funding fantasy.

The cause AIDS children in the north eastern states of India; the venue: an up market club; the sponsors: jewellery tycoons; the guest list: Delhi's very own page almost 3; the chief guest: a minister.. food and drinks; the mandatory fashion show that went on and on; an auction that never happened because there was always an anonymous bidder that bid more than the bidder (seems fishy) and a quiz that did not ask questions about AIDs but about how many diamonds were in the bustier the lady wore in the picture on the screen..! and the finale: a cheap rendering of the actual charbuster where a poor woman gyrated amidst cat calls..

This is not fantasy or an imaginary event, I attended it myself though I had to keep pinching my arm to believe it was real..

rewind to 12 years back
My thoughts went back to a charity event organised in France some years back, where the main message the organisers and the VIP invitees wanted to put across was the need to show people that HIV +ve people could be touched and hugged and this was done with dignity and grace.. I almost felt like going to the mike and telling people that there were some HIV positive people among the guests.. wonder what would have happened..

rewind to 10 years back
I cannot forget the time I spent at Micahel's care, a haven where people with AID could die with dignity, and the words of a young north easterm mother who was close to death: just sit by me and hold my hand didi.. I did..

rewind to 10 weeks back
In the ward where nanhe was admitted, was a child with high fever. he had lost his parents and was there with his aunt.. all was well till the tests results came back.. he was HIV +ve. The nursing staff's behaviour changed with immediate effect and as the buzz started attitudes changed.. needless to say he was gone the next time I visited. I felt sorry as I had come with information about the new free tri-therapy.. and in spite of my bst efforts , I could notfind the family.I just have his picture and his smile and keep wondering: is he still smiling...

This is the India we live... And notwithstanding how much the charity made that evening, I wish they had used the evening to spread a little awareness about AIDs.