The traffic on the roads just started to increase as the evening had just begun.
A group of kids, who were studying fifth standard, have just returned from school, carrying school bags that are almost one fourth of their weight.
“We are already late. Come back soon”, told one of the kid to the others
“I really hate going to school. Why don’t the evening begin just after the morning, so that we would never be going to school”, an innocent kid added to the conversation.
“It’s all in the game. Let’s get ready and assemble again soon”, told the other kid
The kids were given a warm welcome in their home, as their mom opened the door and carried their bags into the house and told the kids to freshen up before eating the evening snacks.
“Eat one more dosa. You will get tired soon if you do not have strength”, told one of the moms keeping one more dosa to her kid.
“Mom, am already healthy enough. How much you expect me to eat?”, a kid in the neighbourhood told her mom, as the mom was trying her level best to make her kiddo eat.
As kids in each home got ready to go out, each of the mom warned their kids to not to join with Rahul while playing.
“Mom, Rahul has not done any mistake. Why do you always say so?”, was the reply
“Either you listen to me or stay back in home”, came the reply
“Please mom”, pleaded each of the kids in their respective home.
Their pleading fell in deaf ears, as they had to promise their moms that they would not play with Rahul. It was routine for the kids to come back from school and then spend the entire evening, playing in the ground located in their flat premises.
As the kids were playing, Rahul was looking sadly as usual watching the kids from the balcony of his house. As one of the kids noticed Rahul, he signalled his fellow mates and everyone looked at Rahul pitifully for not being able to include him in the games.
Rahul was studying in second standard, when their family moved to the neighbourhood, a year back. He slowly obtained the friendship of the kids in the neighbourhood. They used to study in the same school and move together all the time. The kids liked Rahul, as he is the youngest among them and very much entertaining too.
A month back, Rahul fell ill and was not able to join the kids in their routine.
Days rolled on, and one fateful day, Rahul went to join the kids in their routine. But, the parents in the neighbourhood did not allowed their kids to join with Rahul.
“Dad, what is wrong in playing with Rahul? He is our friend. Please allow us”, pleaded one of the kids.
“You are a small kid. You will not understand if I tell you. Just listen to what I say. Do not try to counter me”, the angry dad replied.
“Dad, we are also aware about AIDS. Our teachers have told us that it is a deadly disease during the awareness programme conducted in our school. But, this does not spread by touching or by playing with someone”, told one of the kid to his dad.
“How dare you speak against me?”, told one of the dad and slapped the kid for speaking so. This is not only the case in his home, but also in every other house in the colony, with whom Rahul used to play. Thereafter the kids were allowed to play if and only if they do not have Rahul in their group.
It was during a blood transfusion given to Rahul, during which time the blood given to him was not diagnosed properly and HIV infected blood was transfused to him. Once the neighbours came to know that Rahul has got AIDS, they were completely against him staying in the flat and even complained to the manager of the flat to vacate them from their premises.
It was very painful for Rahul to bear this, as he was just a small kid and was not able to understand what AIDS is? Or why the kids were not allowed to play with him? From then onwards, it has become a routine for Rahul to stand in the balcony and watch the kids playing in the ground.
"What mistake have I done?", Rahul used to ask himself daily.
Rahul is just another kid, in this world who has been deprived of happiness for no mistake of his.
Even the present generation kids are aware of the disease, but as a grown-up, how many of us have neglected them?
How many Rahul’s are there amongst us, who are still not able to understand the disparity being shown to them?
How many of us are aware about the details of this deadly disease?
How many of us are aware that Dec-1 is recognized as the World AIDS Day?
To know more about this deadly disease, visit WHO:
Key Facts (source-WHO):
· HIV is one of the world's leading infectious killers, claiming more than 25 million lives over the past three decades.
· There were approximately 34 million people living with HIV in 2010.
· A cure for HIV infection has not been found but with effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs, patients can control the virus and enjoy healthy and productive lives.
· In 2010, around 6.6 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries, but over 7 million others are waiting for access to treatment.http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs360/en/index.html