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HIV Positive Thanga Vettai

Discussion in 'TV' started by varalotti, May 14, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I have never sat through SUN TV’s Thanga Vettai programme. The affected tone of the hostess, the incredibly easy questions and the naiveté of the participants have always irritated me.

    Even in my wildest dreams I had never expected to shed tears watching this irritating programme. It happened today, <st1:date year="2006" day="14" month="5">14<sup>th</sup> May, 2006</st1:date>. I was about to switch off the TV when the hostess Ms.Ramya Krishnan announced that all the participants of the day were positive people. This perked my curiousity and I took my hands off the remote. I had the shock of my life when she continued “Yes all are HIV positive.”

    When the teams walked into the stage to the accompaniment of the usual lead music I was stunned. Ten people living in the shadow of death, dressed in their finest clothes and wearing a smile – appeared deathly to me – took their places and started introducing themselves.

    No society looks upon HIV and AIDS patients with sympathy. A cancer patient or a stroke patient is a different story. They win our hearts easily and when their picture appears in newspapers with an appeal for donation to cover their surgery or medical expenses, the response is quite good. But no HIV patient can hope to get a similar treatment.

    HIV patients are shunned first because there is an irrational fear that the dreaded disease might be contagious. And secondly because we all tend to think that these people somehow deserve this punishment because they were immoral, because they could not resist their temptation for sex.

    It is easy to take a high moral stand and condemn these people. But when you see a girl studying in 5<sup>th</sup> standard saying with a big smile on her face that she had been diagnosed as HIV positive 11 years back and that her father had succumbed to the disease a few years ago and her mother is also HIV positive, well if our hearts do not bleed for her, I doubt its very existence in us.

    A woman in her thirties says that she got that HIV as a gift from her truck driver husband who died several years ago due to AIDS. Never in my life was I in the grip of so much of impotent anger. But anger against whom? God? The Virus? Medical profession? The Government? Her husband who went astray and ruined the whole family? Or the society which gave an occupation to him that necessitated long periods of absence and eventually paved the way for the disease?

    OK, you will all sympathise with that girl and the woman who for no fault of theirs, got the deadly virus. But it is very hard to have any feelings for the truck driver who was the prime mover in transmitting the disease to his family.

    But let’s think. By God’s grace we all have comfortable lives. We are with the family most of the time. Even when we travel we do so in comfort and style. Barring some unfortunate exceptions amongst us, food and sex is available to us, as if on tap.

    But look at the truck driver’s life.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2006
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    HIV Positive Thanga Vettai!

    Several years ago I was auditing a truck company in Sivakasi. The monthly salaries of the drivers would lie unclaimed for a long time. As part of the internal control questionnaire I questioned the delay. They took me to some of the drivers. These people would get into their truck at Sivakasi (about 70 kms south of <st1:city><st1:place>Madurai</st1:place></st1:city>), let us say, on May 5<sup>th</sup>. They would drive up to the interior parts of North and <st1:place>East India</st1:place> and when they come back to Sivakasi, to their homes, to the comfort of their families, it will be June 15<sup>th</sup>. Driving an Indian truck on an Indian road is something one has to experience to believe. And these people would be harrassed by the police personnel everywhere they go. When they deliver a full load at some destinations they would be made to wait for two or three days in a god-forsaken place where there would not even be a decent place to stay or eat.

    Given these circumstances it quite human for these people to seek gratification on the way if it is available. ‘Even some minimal precaution could have saved them’ – you may argue. But all the awareness came only in the recent past. Given the educational background of the truck drivers it took many years for the Government and voluntary organisations to get across the message to them. But meanwhile disaster struck.

    In Namakkal, which is in the National Highway NH7 in the Bangalore Kanyakumari road, about an hour’s drive from <st1:city><st1:place>Salem</st1:place></st1:city>, there are not just families but colonies of HIV patients. Because many of the men in that place are truck drivers.

    There was another man who looked about 30. He said that he was diangnosed with HIV when he was working in the Gulf. He was immediately imprisoned. He was locked up in solitary confinement. The wardens virtually threw the food into his cell. He was forced to use the water in his cell’s toilet for drinking.

    Another man had been flourishing in textile business employing about 25 people. He had made good money and was comfortably settled in life when he wanted to taste some of the pleasures of life. That’s how he got the dreaded virus. Agreed it is hard to empathise with him. But when he told the audience that thanks to the disease all his savings dried up, his business failed and he was forced to send his teenage children to work so that the family had something to eat, well amongst the million eyes that were glued to the TV at that time, none were dry.

    Almost all of them were discriminated against even by the next of their kin. To be shunned by the family is far more deadly than the lethal virus.

    I am sure all of you will pray for them. I am sure none of us would be so irrational and unsympathetic as to fail to recognise them as fellow human beings inhabiting the same planet.

    But there’s a far more precious lesson to be learnt in this Thanga Vettai episode. We should not take our life our granted. To live with our husbands, wives, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters in a good home and with an abundance of food, clothing and other comforts and luxuries of life is a blessing God has bestowed on us. Let’s strive hard to deserve them. Let us express our gratitude to Him by not complaining about the size of our cars, the shape of our houses, the number of our dresses, the nature of our jobs, the model of our jewelry, the promotion we missed, the holidays we could not afford or the gadgets we could not buy.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2006
  3. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    moving

    Hi Sridhar,

    And yet another moving piece from you, and this time with a social message. What you say is very true- a little precaution would have gone a long way in saving the lives of many HIV+ patients. Equally true is that we crib about minor discomforts in life while we have so much to be grateful for- good health and family being the most important.

    regards
    VR
     
  4. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Will not miss this for anything!

    Hello Sridhar,

    You have written a verymoving piece. I will not miss this episode today ( it has not aired yet here in CA). I totally agree with you. It is so easy to get caught up in all comaplaints and keeping up with the Joneses. That we often forget the less privileged .

    I am sure I will need a whole box of tissues today while watching Thanga vettai.

    Rgds
    Vandhana
     
  5. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Good job...watched it too!

    Dear Sridhar,
    I just managed to click on and see the last scene, after i read your writeup......had started watching, when she said this episode was dedicated to them...but i think i was not paying attention when they announced that all these were HIV positive people. I did watch in between and they all seemed happy and joyful , also aware of many things....i am surprised that when we all get into depression at the slightest affect of any illness, that these people are not only fighting for their lives, but are putting up a brave front!
    But i have also seen that now and then this show brings in people who are from orphanages, or hit by tsunami etc...and many times i have seen the boundless enthusiasm these peole have had...Amazing!
    Good this is being discussed...i think we all need reminders now and then to be thankful for all the good things we are blessed with in life instead of always cribbing!Very thoughtful of you to write immediately in fact as you were watching gather from your posting time!
     
  6. Kamla

    Kamla Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Frustrating.

    Dear Sridhar,

    A very touching article. It is nice that you have put the misery of these people to pen as one has to be often reminded of what exists amidst us and how generally they are swept under the carpet in our daily hustle and bustle. It is a vicious circle and unless a thorough action is taken by the appropriate authorities, it cannot be curbed and suffering will continue.
    It is also true that we tend to forget our good fortunes and crib about lacking small pleasures in life. I say small because in comparison to God given health, all else is small. Health is wealth. I have learnt to see my cup half full than half empty.

    L, Kamla
     
  7. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Yet another sad reading, yesterday !

    Dear Sridhar,
    Yes, I watched the programme in patches - it makes you feel helpless. Just then I had finished reading an article " Survival Story" in the magazine section of The Hindu dated 14 th. It is about the life of Vaishali, a bargirl who was abused by her father, husband and her older son ! She worked in a bar where she writes " middle aged fathers of children come to see the daughters of other men" ! My heart was, to put it mildly, very heavy on reading this article, when this programme appeared.
    As you rightly put , it sets us thinking " Count your blessings, name them one by one - And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done".
    Thanks for posting a thought-provoking article.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  8. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    though i chanced upon this article......

    dear sridhar,
    like others i also did not notice the announcement of the HIV but was very frustrated for the child who could not remember even a few things but could tell abt nelson mandela from south africa .. but now looking at it from ur angle of hiv positive u can only say its ok after all a child who is snatched away from its own childhood.....but i should put in a few words here...u have pointed just the tip of an iceberg...men have all along only abused woman in whatever way possible if it is not sex then drinks ....gambling and the last but not the least is his ego....he has trampled all woman to prove himself right though he is wrong in many ways.....where r those men who understand the family needs....the child's dream the company of family rather than the outer interest....if they r alive then i think we should mark a day for them the grt man's day...this write up from u is very very appreciative.....regards sunkan
     
  9. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Another simliar incident Varalotti!

    A few months back, news was flooded in the papers- in the Mangalore-Udupi district, HIV Virus tests were suddenly conducted and the results were atrocious! Very many families, their kids were affected badly and the root cause? they were families of truck/bus drivers or drivers of travel agencies! The womenfolk were so shocked of such a diagnosis that a lot of them(along with their children) commited mass suicide? Isnt that tragic?

    A nice article by Varalotti. Since you a good exposure, please do keep sharing you valuable experiences with us!!!

    Regards,
    Purnima
     
  10. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Sundari,

    I think u got too emotional and pointed out where r these great men? well i dont think all men are like that.....but mostly the uneducated ones and the ones frustrated with life and its shortcomings are the ones who are into all these OTHER things, be it visiting bars or prostitutes....so why only blame them...
    well let's not jumpto conclusions.... after all it is one such GREAT MAN who brought this to our notice...
     

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