9 months ago : We were at Mumbai's hotspot nightclub Rock Bottoms. Me and my close friend. Puffing on my "nth" cigerette that I have lost count of, I stared at her blankly while she screamed in exasperation, "Jo, I don't object to your smoking but are you even aware of HOW MUCH are you smoking? And look at you! You look so drained, tired, worn out, not the pretty Jo that I once know who defied her age. Now you look even more older than your age!" While she was hollering on and on, it had little effect on me. Taking my third peg of Bacardi White Rum, stubbing the cigg I told her, "Come, let's rock the night away!!!!" Back to PRESENT : My morning begins with the chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Bead by bead, count by count, round by round my chantings grow deeper, powerful, more intensified. I was quite lost, transported to the other world, oblivious to my present surroundings. 16 rounds of 108 chants (japs) which takes 2 hours to finish is not an easy thing to meditate on, fixing self's mind on Lord Krishna, trying hard not to divert it away from the centered being. Spirituality is a strong thing. It cleanses you inside out. Whatever the result of your past deeds paves way for your future destiny. In simple English "Whatever the result of your action, you have have the exact or the opposite reaction.". In more simpler terms "As you sow, so shall you reap". I have come to terms with my HIV. I have committed a grave crime by killing my unborn baby and thus I was punished for it. Having sex for pleasure, and then top of all, killing a foetus just coz u didnt use any contraceptive measures or precautions is a HEINOUS CRIME. We people have become so insensitive nowadays that we take things in life for granted. Love, Money, Sex : These three greed of life makes us so blind and fallen so low that we dont realise how much we are sinned until there is a time when God who loves you decides to put sense in your head by punishing. In fact, God does NOT want to punish you. There were other ways to get message thru. But did I listen or pay heed? No. In India, abortion is illegal unless a mother has some health complication. That I knew about it. Did I listen? No. Unwanted pregnancy can be prevented by condoms or other preventive measures. Did I observe it? No. Not only my ex-husband, but I too am EQUALLY blamed for the abortion. He didn't want to start a family yet, as he was not prepared for it. But at the same time, he hates wearing condoms. Thus I could have taken the initiative by buying women's contraceptives easily available at the chemist. The only thing that stopped me were the fear of the side-effects of oral pills and vaginal contraceptive were such that it forms too much of a lubricant that it leaves my husband unsatisfied. Whatever the case, I agree that am EQUALLY to be blamed. Therefore, my point here is: That I knew all this, but I didn't pay heed to it, neither I listened, nor I followed, so God thought that enough was enough. Therefore He took the matter in His own hands so as to save me from falling into a deeper hell-hole. So He struck. While undergoing my FOURTH forced abortion, I was being screened and the result came out "positive". (those who dont know my story, please refer to my FIRST blog "Living with HIV"). My world was shattered, my loved ones taken away from me, my family/relatives abandoned me. I thought of killing myself. Committing suicide. Went into emotional depression. Smoked heavily, drank as much as I could tolerate to be in senses, worked hard so as to party harder. I wanted to live whatever was left of my life. Without regrets. BUT God was kind. Even thou He had given the strict punishment, He was disciplining me. After all, He is God. He knew me inside-out. Ever so merciful. Conclusion : I consider the disease as my blessing in disguise. For everything that has happened to me, happened for a reason. Now when I sit back and look behind, I realised that I have come a long long way. And am really thankful for small things and count my blessings one by one. I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't eat non-veg, not even an egg, I refrain from any kind of intoxicants like even tea, coffee, colas and chocolates. Yes, that is labelled as intoxicant because it contains "caffeine". So out of boundary for me. And by not having these help keep my cravings in check, keep my body healthy by eating the right kind of food. Onion, Garlic, is avoidable as it generates heat. Less oil. Less spice. Less sugar. Everything in control. Thus, I have realised the PURPOSE of my life. Instead of wasting my precious time away on partying, drinking, mixing with wrong kind of people I bettered my life with association from devotees, showing love and compassion to the needy/helpless, devoting my time for people like me, people living with HIV/AIDS, people who are really worth my time. Thus began my campaign for HIV/AIDS, to erase its Stigma and Discrimination, HIV Activism, and bringing people close to understanding God and their purpose of life, by telling them my story the way I see it and understand it. Had it not been for the virus in my body, I would have never known God. Had it not been for the virus in my body, I would have been rotting elsewhere, smoking, my smell stenched with nicotine, and no one would have been there to claim my body except scavengers!!! Here, I enclose with a picture of my God who showed me my way and bought my life back in track. Krishna is His name and on his hand is the flute. He can be seen in any ISKCON temples worldwide.
The story automatically comes and feelings gets translated into words. And when I write, it is not very easy going back into the past. But in the end of the story, when I read it, a satisfaction light up my face knowing that there is an emotion to it. As my Budette buddy, you know how sensitive and emotional I am which is not a common trait on a Leo!! :D
Thaaaanks a lot, dear.
Thank you for sharing your story! It is so beautiful when one can turn their life around and transform a situation which may stir up feelings of guilt/pain/regret into a story of empowerment and strength! All the pain you endured gave you the compassion, understanding and willingness to transform your physical, mental and spiritual health; and in the process, to help make the world a better place! The fact that you are an amazing person had a little something to do with it, too. :-)
Geez Andrea, keep inspiring and encouraging me on. The Biography is little delayed and the date pushed ahead by few more years but when it is out, I will surely make a grand announcement at the Budettes. :) :) :)
hello, gal thanxs for the blog, u in deed write from the bottom of ur heart with so much intense feelings of the past, easy up and let the past be. I love that u are helping people in the same situation focus mostly on that and reserve your energy into saving life. keep on with the good work
My dear Mirriam,
The past will always haunt me as am yet to be freed from guilt. There are times when my conscience bothers me again and again. Thou past cant be UNDONE, at least one can make-up for it. And I made up by speaking out, looking for support or criticism come what may, and I will be answerable to the questions. In that way, when I speak out, I speak to the people so that my ex should never feel that I am only trying to generate pity or sympathy. NO. The main reason of my speaking out is to show that we do ADMIT to the wrongs, and I too share the EQUAL blame. Plus it requires all the courage and guts coz one may never know what people may think of you
Don't hold on to guilt it will way you down u r beautiful inside out the most precious gift God has given to your nation and the world so many have learned to be strong today by your precious gift of life. live today as if you have never had the past at all be strong baby. criticism and stigma will always be there we can not stop people from talking but we can let them know that HIV/AIDS is not our problem alone because its effect has gone a cross all social class, religion and race. One day they will join hands and fight this Nobel course with us all. be you, be strong, live your life and keep on the fight. You are worth more than silver and Gold.
I just read your blog. You write from your heart, that is a beautiful thing. I think that you have been soooo hard on yourself, but maybe you needed to that to reach the place you are in today. It is admirable that you are helping others by tellling your story, you are a true survivor!!
i wouldnt force her to join christianity,but could she please try saying the lords prayer thats found in the bible and just forget about the chants...its more clear that its GODs will which triumphs.
I was following Christianity (as my mom is a Christian) before I switched to worshipping of Krishna.Appreciate your suggestion. Lord's prayer that is found in the Bible and the chanting that Hindus follow is exactly one and the same : TALKING to God. :)
Why blaming yourself ? Why judging yourself ? No you don't need all these being positive is never a punishment.If truly it is a punishment why the innocent children having it? I know of a virgin lady who got married unknowingly to HIV positive man who was unaware of his status before the marriage and also of a woman who is childless for five years, only to conceived after five years of marriage and confirmed HIV positive at the antenatal clinic. While so many people out there were sex workers and some of them still tested negative to HIV.Thank God you are able to look back and realized your mistakes on time and made the necessary amendment what a WONDERFUL thing to do. Everybody has his or her own past either good or bad let past be past be strong live your life and let keep on the fight .Truly for everything that has happened to anybody in this life, happened for a reason. If everybody abandoned you God is always there for you. Ask for HIS forgiveness HE is there to forgive you HE is a MERCIFUL GOD.
Awwwww!!!! That was choooo chweet of u to cheer me up. And yes, God is ALWAYS there even when no one else is there for you. The only thing we need is "belief". And yes, I totally agree to your statement that "everything that has happened to anybody in this life, happened for a reason" and I knew that my mission is to uplift India and change its thinking regarding HIV/AIDS.
I have now found my TRUE CALLING........ There will be a day when I will plunge full-time into HIV Activism....Just waiting for the right moment...
And here's my hugs back to u too (((hugs)))..
Thank God u have come to what i was expecting you to be. Go on keep living positively. HIV is not a punishment stop blaming your self.
Agreed that HIV is NOT a punishment but there were times I hate being HIV Poz. Why? Well, for that, u have to read on my next blog :) You gave me an idea of something to write on!!!
And a big hug to you too my dear sister. just keep on going i will be more than happy to know that you are over coming all the odds of life.
God bless you and have a blessed day. I will be waiting for the next thing u r writing on.
Hi Mirriam....(Whenever I type ur name, I realise u have an extra "r" too there!!) :)
I will be sending the blog post every Thursdays so that it will be up and ready by Saturday 0000 Hrs so as not to disappoint my readers/fans/followers/friends/community over delays.. Right now its already out...
Have a nice reading, my dear.
My friend, I'm ready to move along with you. For in UNITED we stand..........!!!!
In UNITY we shall fight HIV/AIDS, STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION..............!!!!
With GOD on our side we shall win the battle.............................................!!!
Its gud u have reached a stage of self realisation , and truly its amazing that u take responsibility even when its not ur fault..well what god wants is a child like faith in god almighty..Have child like faith trust in God and you will definitely see lots of miracles .God loves u a lot ,God has assigned angels for u all u need to do is open the door when he knocks it .... Jesus christ cured a blind man of his blindness and gave him sight , people asked jesus what sins his ancestors had done that he was born blind... Jesus Answered he is not blind either cause of his ancestors sins nor his..he was born blind cause he could be a witness to the messiah ..:-) what we can learn form this incident is what we go through is a door towards our god we need to have full faith in his plans for us and let him be the Shepperd and I believe not only HIV or AIDS anything in this world can b cured by grace of GOD , though I am not HIV positive i can share the pain and understand what a HIV positive person goes through and yeah I am a living testimony of Grace and mercy of Lord Jesus Christ and God almighty my trials have been multiple .. health, finance ,peace of mind family etc but by faith and grace of Lord i could triumph so can u and all others ..
God Bless u dear friends .. m there with u
WHAT A MISSION!!! I pray that may almighty God grant you the COURAGE and STRENGTH to uplift India and change its thinking regarding HIV/AIDS. Thank God that you've discovered yourself at last .Through your writeup that I had read so far, I know that you have that spirit in you. If everybody living with HIV are ready to come out of HIV closet and make the same decision to be in the front line to fight STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION has you are planing to do, without any intermediary think this will HELP BETTER.
Keep on with the GOOD WORK................
Keep the BALL ROLLING..........................
Keep on MOVING.....................................
Wowwwiiiieee Khadijat, now thats something!!!!! Love the way u encourage me but then I would also want you all to move alongwith me. UNITED we stand......!!!! Lets all fight against HIV/AIDS. Internet is a strong medium, so is our cellphones (twitter tweets)......Even thou we are countries apart, remember "pen is mightier than sword". Pen as in this case, the World Wide Web!!!
Geogy, I like what u said. And u are absolutely right when we put faith in God and let Him handle it. I have surrendered to God 5 months ago and am still on the learning stage.....Spirituality do uplift me and teaches me so many things. Thou am emotionally weak, I get my strength the moment I read Bhagvat Gita. I hope u know what Bhagvat Gita is, right? It is a Science of Life. So whenever I am down and whren I need my answers, I find it in Gita. Yes, there are times when I am emotionally depressed and need people beside me and not having anyone to talk to makes me at time go insane, but there are other times also when I reach out to those Spiritual books written by Srila Prabhupada and it sure lighten the burden of my heavy spirited soul.......And when I read the scriptures, I very much would like to share those knowledge with people who want to know and experience....its like a food for the soul! At least to MY soul it is!