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SENSITIVITY is not dead amongst us HUMANS yet

April 5, 2012

There is a Facebook friend of mine who is a tattoo artist and hugely popular because of his high-profile clients. Out of the blue, I wanted to tattoo Lord Krishna on my arm and the emblem at the back of my neck. So I decided to text him:

“Hi there. Thinking of getting inked. But there is one thing I must confess that am HIV Positive and am saying this because not only its my duty but also for the safety of others and your parlour’s reputation. Rest up on you”

I waited with bated breath wondering how will he react and what kind of response would I get, or would I really get any response at all…..seconds ticked by……then…cling-a-ding-ding-ding…..cling-a-ding-ding-ding

My cellphone beeped! He replied!!

“See, there is nothing like a HIV+ cannot get a tattoo done. But just one question I would like to ask you : Do your wounds heal fast? Like if you fall and scrape your knee or anything, does it heal ok?”

WoW!!! That was the best most comforting text I ever head. I suddenly felt at ease with that guy. I texted back :

“To be frank, since 2006, I have been taking great care not to injure myself so I really don’t know. But wait. Let me plan with my friends to make me fall down without my knowledge and get hurt so that I can answer your question accurately”

“Haha. No need to fall. Just ask your doctor and we will shall go about it”

This guy really intrigued me I decided to ask him how come he is so comfortable doing a tattoo with a positive person when others are so fearful to be even near them.

“Hey, you know what? You really impress me. How come you are so cool with it?”

“I know not many tattoo artists will agree to be at their service and would even rudely show you the door once you confess to them. But I use all the necessary precautions needed so I hardly care!”

Man, he was something!! He made my heart soar. And he was the FIRST ever person who made me feel the sense of belonging. Accepting me the way I am. Never asking me a lot of questions. Making me feel as if am his most “special” client.

I texted, “You are truly a blessed soul”

He replied “We all should learn something from you. You teach us courage…..I don’t know on how I should live with myself if I knew something like this. Thank you for teaching me the power to live life” (I HAVE PRESERVED THIS TEXT IN MY CELL AS MY MOST BEAUTIFUL WORDS EVER EXPRESSED BY ANY INDIAN)

I felt a trickle of tear fall from my eye. Furiously jabbing the keypads I texted “awwwwww”

His SMS was “No seriously. It has been a great pleasure too talking with you. Sounds like a plan. Should I come to Mumbai on behest of a client, I will let you know so that at the same time I would get you inked!”

This incident has taught me one thing. You cannot judge the world. You cannot live in assumption that people will hate you once you reveal your status to them. You cannot presume anything you like coz no one person is the same. Out of a billion population you may never know how many of them will support you, how many of them will accept you the way you are, never making you feel being left-out in the corner. Humanity and Sensitivity still exist. But that does not even mean you paint the town red proclaiming your status. It only means approaching the right people at the right time. Even when you have approached the wrong person, no regrets. Tomorrow, they will be the ones in awe of your boldness and will recall you one day how fearlessly you had declared being a positive just coz u had cared. Just coz you don’t want them to remain in ignorance and cause them any harm. Just coz you were selfless. They would be heartless in the beginning but their conscience will bother them in the later end. I will share with you another story that had happened in my workplace.

“Jo, you are taking so many leaves, planned or unplanned. This is seriously affecting your productivity. And unplanned leave is something we don’t approve as it could result in termination”, my manager said.

“I understand, Sir, but sickness don’t give u any advance notice. So how will I come to know that this is the day I wouldn’t be feeling well and report unfit for duty,” I replied very innocently

“Its ok, but viral fever the first day, then anemia after some other days, and then what is with the series of blood tests every month? You look perfectly healthy and fine to me. Is doctor your friend”?

I tried to suppress my giggle but failed. “Honestly Sir, if u doubt the authenticity of the medical certificate, then you can call up the doctor and check”

“Yea yea,” he said, “If the doctor is your friend then he will agree to everything I ask him. I need to take the case to the HR and I am doing this for you so as to help you not get terminated by the company. Unplanned leaves are not in my hands. The HR sees to it and if they notice it, you will be handed the slip. So I have to speak to them and you can explain your case”, saying this my manager left his desk .

I really adore my manager. He is strict but cute. He goes all his way to see that his staffs are comfortable but also sees to it that the results are delivered on time. My productivity level had been falling. My score card had been dipping. I was in danger of being terminated should I fail to make a progress in the last financial quarter. Company was firing staffs and many of them are being told to resign. Due to recession in the US, my company was hell bent on cost-cutting.

After few minutes HR called for a closed-door meeting.

“What is it, Jyoti? Can you tell me the reason of why your absenteeism is becoming a habit so that we can understand you? And don’t worry, we will try to make adjustment to your needs should there be any.”

I sighed! Its about a time I have to stop playing the round-about game and come to the point. The medical certificate that I showed wasn’t a lie, but it didn’t tell the “exact” truth. And I had to tell the HR, the truth. Even if I have to risk my job! All depends on how understanding she (the HR) will be. I felt sweats on my brow, even though we were sitting in the air conditioned cabin with the temperature that could have kept dolphins happy. I requested for a private talk so my manager had to excuse himself. Not because I don’t trust him. Not because I was afraid of revealing it to him. It is all because he don’t have to know. My job lies in the hands of the HR, so they are the best people I can share my issue with.

Once we were left alone, I could hear my own breathing. The HR was looking at me, waiting patiently and here I was, hesitating but knowing that I had to tell. And I did. What happened after, made my head held high. The burden has been eased. The HR has taken the entire responsibility should anything happen to me in the workplace and in Emergency Contact Number (which was blank for 2 years as I had no one whom I could list to call in case of emergency) was the HR’s name. She even requested that I send in the doctor’s paper saying what should be done should there be a delay in taking me to the hospital. And the medicines that I am in so that the doctors are prepared.

I will share with you another story but I will make it very brief. I had a dear friend and we were like two peas in a pod. He use to share everything with me, even told me the secret that he is bisexual. I respected him for what he is. We use to go for a long late night rides, make a midway stop in the highway for a grab of bite and some drinks (I don’t drink now, the story was pre-Nov 2011 days) and there was a time we even planned to go outstation (Leh-Ladakh) for a week-long holiday together. He was my best friend, my ex colleague. The day I went public by blogging on A Girl Like Me, I knew I had to tell him my deepest darkest secret before he could hear it from somewhere else. So I told him, knowing that since he is my best friend and since we had shared so many things, so many secrets, he will accept me the way I am and nothing will change. But imagine my surprise when it happened exactly the OPPOSITE. The news had hit him like a lightening. And he was so angry on me and decided to even call off the friendship. That’s when I knew where I stand. If he was really a true friend, he would have accepted me in whatever the condition. But he had ditched me then and there. I was hurt but I didn’t let that effect me. We were not in a relationship, neither a couple thus his way of reacting such did not make any sense. He was just simply my best friend so when I told him about my status, what was wrong? Maybe his ignorance? Whatever! I am what I am.

So here’s my message to everybody :

  •  Don’t let your past dictate who you are; let it be a part of who you will become. The past flows into the present & manifests as the future. Clear the past as you move in life
  • In life, you get what you hate and you also get what you love. The first step towards creating a better life is to develop the ability to envision it. God works miracles every day. We just have to train our minds to be aware of them. Don’t go the way life takes you but take life the way you wish to go.
  • Never give up hope; maybe it is all you have but it will definitely lead you to all that you want. The first step towards creating a better life is to develop the ability to envision it.
  • We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. Many things in the world might catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart; pursue those.


Mumbaiyya Gal

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Dona Lackey permalink
    April 5, 2012 8:04 pm

    Girlfriend!!! You have come a long way!!! Awesome blog!!!

    • mumbaiyyagal permalink
      April 7, 2012 4:44 pm

      @Dona…..Scroll down…Down…DOWN !!!
      (winks!!!….not done on purpose. Realised the slip later :p )

  2. mirriam permalink
    April 6, 2012 3:37 am

    Hello Gal,
    how r u today, I am happy that you are getting there to were I am at this time, As I shared with you the other day. you will always meet beautiful people and i mean very beautiful people who will accept you just as you are.

    Two weeks back my boyfriend was very sick and he got admitted at Mulago Hospital, all his family was there, mum, father, sisters, brothers and other relations i went there too to be with him after work, i have never met any of his relatives. they were very happy seeing me but the heavy load came when my Morris declared that he love me and would love to marry me. His mother suggested we get tested for HIV since we are at the hospital i accepted very faster and he was socked too. then he told every body that there was no need for a test. he said “Mum, Dad and all who are here we know our HIV STATUS, I am HIV- and My darling here is HIV+ its my decision to be with her for the rest of my life, if u feel you can not accommodate her you can take your leave now”.

    The whole ward was silent with mixed emotions filling from different faces as i looked on to every one for a respond he held me tied to his chest and told me honey we will be make it alone me and you for ever. river of tears rolled down my face as all the sister and brothers walked a way leaving their parents to either take the same or stand by their son and I. his father after a few mins also walked a way. But the Poor mother hug me and said ” If its you that he loves to be with I have nothing to say but will help were i can take good care of him, I will talk to Dad Morris I know he is just confused he will get back to his rightful mine”.

    They all left us though after two days they came and said the talked about it as a family and they can be there for us when we call on them. this was not news to me or Morris we had made friends with other people who are more than a family to us and we are happy.

    My point here is not all people will accept you just as you are but there are beautiful angles that the God as signed to be with us. till then have a beautiful day. God bless you Gal. Mirriam

  3. mumbaiyyagal permalink
    April 7, 2012 4:10 pm

    Dona Lackey……My sister in arms!!!! Thanks sweetheart. Even u had come a long long way with that oh-so-positive SPIRITS of urs! I love ur attitude. Stay that way. ALWAYS.

  4. mumbaiyyagal permalink
    April 7, 2012 4:41 pm

    My dearest Mirriam,
    It was nice reading your comment. I am truly overwhelmed. It takes a lot of courage to agree for HIV Test even when you know the answer yourself, but it takes EVEN THE MORE COURAGE for ur boyfriend to declare that his girlfriend is postive (despite him being negative) and wanted to marry her. Wow!!!!! This is REAL love, and like I use to believe love sees/knows no caste, age, barriers, religion, blah blah blah…!!!! U are really very very lucky and blessed, Mirriam sweetheart. As I write this, I have tears in my eyes, thanking a sweet soul (i.e ur bf) who really loves u from the bottom of his heart and will take care of u the rest of ur life. You are now protected and safe in his arms.
    Even I salute his mother, who accepted you the way you are, despite EVERYBODY walking off the room. She is a real braveheart. And she knows/understand what love is, and I bet she is God-loving too coz one never know how to love the other WITHOUT loving any kind of people first in any given condition. She is truly a blessed soul.
    Be happy, my friend. Am so very happy for u that I feel like hugging you.
    If U have a facebook account, search for me by the id and keep in touch.
    God bless ur guy!

  5. Dona Lackey permalink
    April 7, 2012 11:29 pm

    Love ya, Jo!!! 😉

  6. April 14, 2012 1:29 am

    Dear friend the Truth is true human nature can be understood at the time of adversities be it of an individual , family , nation or this world .When adversity strikes more or less true human nature is revealed ..Not all in this world r blessed to have a pure heart .. Thank god heaven is filled with meek and pure hearted… Friend whatever has happened has happened for good and what will happen is in your mind.. , u tell the universe and God what u want and tune urself in ull b surprised at how soon u get what u want..Just as u said about miracles , we see miracles every day of our life but we note it only when we are in trouble ..Be rest assured and b the way u r , u will surely get a some true frnds who will love u for what u r no matter what 🙂 , BTW count me in as one of ur frnd

    • mumbaiyyagal permalink
      April 20, 2012 6:19 am

      You know what I want Geogy Jacob? I want to help people like me. More than for myself, I want to SAVE them. I want to wipe their tears away, I want to give them all the love that I have got, I want to expand myself into so many forms to be with them in many ways that they should never feel or undergo what I had felt or undergone. I want them to be happy despite their sickness. I want them to have a life. No9rmal life. I dont cry only for myself, I cry more for them and I know that sitting here wont make me help them. iIneed to reach out. And reach out, I WILL.
      And yeaaaaah, counting on u as my friend Geogy….I need it…… Thaaaaanks 🙂

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