‘Bani can you hold Ravi for a minute? I really need to finish cooking now, otherwise, we did not get anything from the Ration shop.’- Reena shouted at Bani, as she saw her still read the book.
Bani closed the book and take her younger brother Ravi on her lap. She pattered him slowly; try to make him back to sleep. It was only a few minutes ago Bani sits for reading after picking up the water from the roadside tap. But she knew if she cannot help her mother they will not get anything to eat.
Bani Mishra, a 19-year-old girl lives with her mother and 2 younger brothers in slums of South 24 pgs. District of WestBengal. Last year Bani’s father died. Bani knows that her father died because he refused to take ARV medicine. He refused to agree his HIV positive status to everyone. Even from her mother. When Bani’s mother realized the factor that without ART medicine they cannot survive she pushed a lot to her husband. But the arrogant male never listens to her. Bani follows her mother and she takes her medicine regularly as she is also a bearer of HIV.
Sitting in a small kachha house, with asbestos shed on top Bani tried to revised what the teacher told her in school but the only thing get into her mind is the smell of Khichri which her mother cooked after receiving the ration from positive network people. Bani horrified to think about the matter when the immediate start of lockdown her mother lose the job of a house servant and her along with her 2 younger brothers cried all day and night for a meal.
Finally, the HIV positive network people track them and give them a full bag of dried ration. She is thankful to her rescuers as they also supply ART medicines to their doorsteps. In her own words, ‘‘we faced difficulty in getting the medicine on time because there was no transportation to go to the hospital. Also, we do not have any money. God will send a messenger for us with foods and medicine. Because he knows even though the government is distributing ration we do not get sufficient quantity and if we do not eat food properly as our health is affected and we are prone to get infected with COVID.’’
On the occasion of Women’s Day, she wants to convey the message to everyone to accept the real situation whatever it is. Do not stigmatize because you are HIV positive or maybe a bearer of some other infectious disease. But be careful about prevention. She expects no one remains without food. There should be somewhere food is waiting -we just need one messenger from god to convey that right way.