10 May 2010
By Binita Jaiswal
As for Malati Das (name changed), Pritam was a godsend. The 28–year–old was diagnosed with HIV in 2009, after which she arrived at Utkal Sevak Samaj, a social organization working for HIV+ persons here. Her husband had succumbed to AIDS a few years ago. Her son is fortunately not infected and lives with his grandparents. But Malati is not allowed to meet him.
Naturally, on meeting a sick Pritam at Utkal Sevak Samaj, her maternal instincts took over and she invested all her energy in nursing Pritam back to health. Their love and affection for each other moved Swapan Verma (name changed), Pritam’s father, who is also HIV+. “After seeing Malati’s affection towards my son, I realized that he needs a mother. And no one could make a better mother for my son than her. I proposed marriage and she agreed. It’s a complete family now. Though we are all HIV+, we are sending a strong message to society that even HIV patients can be a happy family,” said the 32–year–old.
Pritam was detected with AIDS in 2007, the same year he lost his mother. Ever since, he has been undergoing treatment at this centre. His condition was critical in the beginning. He had been HIV+ by birth, and by the time he was diagnosed, he was also suffering from Tuberculosis. There was no one to look after him as Swapan was busy earning their livelihood.
But with Malati’s arrival in 2009, the smile returned to Pritam’s face. During her stay at the centre, she took good care of him. Not only medicines and food, Malati made sure that his smallest wish gets fulfilled. After all, that’s what a mother does. Malati and Swapan have already applied for a court marriage.
“I like her very much. She loves me a lot and even plays with me. I am happy that she will become my mother,” Pritam said. Now, that’s what you call a perfectly positive Mother’s Day.