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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Durga Puja Made Happy For HIV Patients

Imagine you waking up to the rhythmic beatings of dhak on a hospital bed. Imagine the smell of delicacies and hit numbers from Bollywood flicks filling the air when you're surviving on IV drops. And imagine screams of "aschhe bochhor abar hobe" from the immersion procession making you think whether you can endure the pain for another year.

What makes you shudder even in your imagination is the life of a group of patients undergoing treatment at the School of Tropical Medicine, which primarily treats HIV cases. Most of them don't hope to do what everyone does on Puja days any more as they're fighting a losing battle against the killer disease.

"So what they cannot step out, we can always step in," thought D Ashis, general secretary of Medical Bank. Thus began a unique initiative in which the organization started carrying the spirit of Durga Puja on the hospital campus. On the occasion of Panchami on Friday, doctors, attendants and members of the group shared some light moments with the patients to lessen their burden of pain. Sarees, dhotis and sweets were also distributed to bring a feeling of newness to their otherwise agonizing lives.

"With so many people caring for us, I feel like living again. Otherwise, the way we - the HIV patients - have been stigmatized makes me feel like a burden on the society," said Asmina Begumwith pain creased all over her face.
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