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Anu Mhatre: A life cut short


india Updated: Nov 29, 2005 20:50 IST

My name is Nirmala andI live in Mumbai. My 48 years have largely been one of pain and constant battle for survival. My husband abandoned me when I was young and I have since lived my life by myself. In my years of struggle my daughter, Anu, was my most precious gift. She was my only source of sustenance, my only joy. But in August this year, I lost her to AIDS.

As I write this piece I hope and pray that no mother sees her child the way I saw my Anu wither away.

My husband left me for another woman. That was long back. Since then Anu was my only hope and did everything within my means so that she would not face a life that I lived. I worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to educate Anu. It was my life's happiest moment the day I got her married.

By two years after her marriage, Anu's husband, Rohan, started falling sick frequently.

He was always secretive about his medical records, raising suspicion. Though I am not well educated to understand these things. I had a feeling that the disease, I thought he had, came from some bad doing. Rohan would always avoid getting checked up. When Anu's health began to fail in May 2001, I took her for a blood test and received the horrifying news that she was HIV positive!

Rohan died in February 2002. Sickly Anu agreed to let her brother-in-law raise her son, Arvind, two and a half years old.

First Published: Dec 04, 2003 18:02 IST