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HIV, Empowerment Of Women And Mina's Story

HIV, Empowerment Of Women And Mina's Story


By Kamala Sarup

Mina was an intelligent, brave, feminine, and emotional individual. Last night, she called me on the phone and said, "Have you heard? I have now learnt to live with HIV". She has declared herself HIV positive and I cried all night.

I remember she told me last year. "Kam, I like an ideal husband, not necessarily too much educated or leading but the one who makes good husband, don't mind doing domestic help or do job and earn for family, quiet and loyal". As far as a beautiful face is concerned, she was a very beautiful woman. Therefore, the person she should marry is either supposed to be a leading personality that can absolutely take command in her life.

I told her" I am not trying to be a matchmaker but I want you to become happy and successful and if there is anything that I could do, I would be happy. Anyway, your trust considering me capable enough of giving suggestions in your personal decisions, this truly means a lot to me - thanks indeed". And then we became very good friends.

Last year, I had celebrated Mina's birth day by eating dinner and told her "I understand what you meant by family pressure, especially regarding the wedding issue and they have their rights to pressurize you. However, life is all your and decision you make today will have consequences tomorrow and that too you will be solely responsible for your decision - nobody else. Therefore, its you who should know what kind of person you would want to be your husband for the rest of your life".

I further added "I suggest that you find someone who is willing to accept the way you are, respects your profession with humility and takes pride in your achievements, inspire you to produce more. I know these are all great things to consider, but finding a package of all this is equally challenging. I am sure you will agree that the men and women are just two different genders but has no differences in terms of success, career, contribution, social and family responsibility and so on". In speaking with her, I was able to better gave my suggestions to her on her marriage.

I know finding a love marriage is hard for female in Nepal, once again I know it shouldn't be, but we grew up with this taboo.

She told me that she wants to see me. I mean after all I know I was her good friend. Mina tested positive for HIV in 2006. She did not receive medical help, and I really want to help her. Her husband gave her HIV. Prior to marriage, he has not even told her what he has.

I went out the house. I put on my shoes and hurriedly reached the street. I even didn't inform my mother about my departure. Today I went out hurriedly when my mother was busy to prepare tea and breakfast in the kitchen .

I have to meet Mina , a lady who was born in my village, and reached Kathmandu with a Nepali young husband. She really seems like the moon. He imagined Mina's beautiful face which attracted him. Her big, almond eyes stroked his heart like an arrow . A real beautiful lady whom there is no need of money to get . Thinking of her, I was lured to lust on the way . She really looked beautiful. The betel nut inside her small mouth and the red flower on her plait defeated every beauty in front of her. I am proud of Mina. While enjoying friendship with Mina, I do not wish even to imagine my other friends. Scented oil on her hair and expensive scent on her dress always make her look like a bride .

When I was pushing myself through a busy street of Ranipokari, Mahendranath , an office co-worker , disturbed me . 'I have urgent office work.' Saying so, I escaped.

I told myself my life would be incomplete in the absence of Mina's friendship . I was about to weep. I was eager to meet Mina. I have forgotten my family at this time. I wished to pass the whole day with Mina. I kept my way to Mina . I had drawn my salary the day before. I had some money to buy sugar and kerosene oil . I decided to buy scent for Mina. I would like to buy her a lot of things at a time but my income does not allow me to do so. If I had a lot of money , I would take out Mina from the rented house and build a beautiful house of her own . ' I would buy a small motor bike for her pleasure. I would buy all the up to date and fashionable clothes for her.' My heart filled with the love and tears for Mina . I was fully sunk into the depth of Mina's life . I had some money to purchase sugar and kerosene oil for the month. I went to market and bought a bottle of scent for Mina. I wanted to keep her happy. The people on the way seemed to disturb me. The way to Mina was quite long today . I was eager to meet her .

When I neared to the room of Mina , I fixed my hair style and dress unconsciously . After a while, the door was opened . It was her husband standing at the door. Her husband welcomed me. My eyes were searching for Mina . 'Where is Mina ?', I asked .

He said, 'she has disappeared since last night . Either she died or returned back to her village. I informed the police. I searched for her everywhere but she is nowhere.' I couldn't decide what to do. I remained standing with scent bottle, looking at her husband.

*************

Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup is an editor of peacejournalism.com, She is specialising in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace, Anti War, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, and Development. Some of her publications are: Women's Empowerment, Nepal (Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women through media,(Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (Media research). Two Stories collections. Her interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication,philosophy,feminism, political, socio-economic and literature. Her current plans are to move on to humanitarian work in conflict areas in the near future. She also is experienced in organizational and community development.


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