Harish died on the night of the 10th of October.
End of life.
We met Harish 10 months ago. He had been sick for the past 2 years and at home. He knew that he was HIV positive since 2004. His wife is also infected. So is one of his two sons.
Its been hard. Hard for Harish as we tried to coax health back into him.
He tried. His wife worked hard to help him. His parents were tired out. He was bitter and angry at why he was this way.
And yet there were times of hope.
Through the 10 months we knew him, Harish had some rays of sunlight.
There were days when things were looking up. His wife continued to lovingly care for him. We met him on days where the tide had withdrawn abit - when the clouds were a bit less forboding.
The tide has come in fully for Harish.
Harish appreciated the visits by the JSK staff - even though their listening ears often left his little shack ringing with the bitterness of the life he was living.
A bitter-sweet memory:
Sheba had told Harish about eating fruit. "Choose whatever is cheapest. Buy guava if that is what is in season..."
Harish replied that he did not like to buy fruit. In his village no one bought fruit. You plucked and ate.
His family had a guava tree which gave the most sweetly succulent guavas around. It was a joy to all.
Then one day his mother told him to cut it down. His cousin sister was getting married - and they needed the wood to cook the marriage feast.
The tree was cut. The food was cooked. No tree left. Sweet guavas only a memory.
Sheba asked Harish: "Couldn't you get wood from somewhere? From the forest?"
"No" there was none near them - people brought wood from far away to sell - and they did not have enough money to buy wood. They had to cut the tree.
A tear glistened in the corner of Sheba's eye as she told this story this afternoon. A tear glistens in mine as I write these words.
We cry for another young life cut so very short.
We cry for our country where so many have so little. And the little, the precious few drops of goodness around are further cut away.
Another star will be pasted up on the ceiling of the Jeevan Sahara Kendra. Over 100 now.
We hope to meet Harish in glory. Until then we have his wife and children to love. May our lives flow together to finish the story.