Saturday, 26 November 2011

Lionel - part 1

"You really must write a book about your experiences"

The young pastor I was talking to yesterday leaned forward to me.  "I will translate it into Kannada"

We were sitting in his living room.  His paintings adorned the walls - Jesus sitting on the floor with his disciples - a rangoli infront of him as he divided the chappatis.  The pastor's wife sat next to him on their couch and was beaming as they had just told me that they were expecting their first child.

"I do write" I replied.  "I write some of  them on the blog"

"We have so many stories that unless we write them down - we forget them"

We have many stories because the lives of the people we meet at Jeevan Sahara are all so completely different. And so intense.  And they just keep coming.  The people - and with them their stories. Our hard drives quickly fill up.  This blog is one way of trying to remember.  

I realise - however - that when I write the words so often barely do justice to the experiences of our HIV positive friends.  Each life is so layered and varied - and many a time I write something only to realise that I didn't fully get the picture (its always good when Sheba read blog and corrects me).  But at the same time - I marvel at the miracle of language - of how a few words are able to capture significant - if not exhaustive - parts of our friends lives.


Here is a story.

Lionel is a man in his mid 30s.

His parents are wealthy land owners in the South.  They had a daughter.  Then another.  Then a third.

The prayed for a son.

They got one in Lionel.

Lionel was not a good son.

After some time he left home and struck out for Mumbai.  He trained as an X-ray technician and married a nurse - his state is famous for nurses - and the moved to Thane.

Lionel had another mistress though - the bottle.

Lionel wanted to go abroad (his state is famous fr the number of people who migrate for work).  As part of the medical he had an HIV test done.  He ended up HIV positive.  It was a terrible shock. After some time his wife could not handle it anymore - and took their son away.  Leaving Lionel to his bottle.

Homeless Lionel managed to persuade the owner of the nursing home he worked at to let him have a small corner to live in - in return for doing odd jobs and working as the care-taker.

This arrangement went on for some time.

Then one day Lionel climbed up to check on the water tank.  It seemed to be overflowing - so Lionel climbed up - and then slipped and fell down.  Lionel broke his upper femur.  The nursing home director told him not to worry - that they would take care of eveything.

They did not.

After 10 days, the director said that he could not do anything  anymore since Lionel had HIV and that Lionel will have to go to a govt. hospital for treatment.  A form was given to Lonel to sign - and then Lionel was taken to a large municipal hospital in Mumbai.

This is where the real drama began for Lionel....

(gentle reader - there will be more tomorrow about Lionel's next steps)

No comments:

Post a Comment