Tag Archives: HIV/AIDS

The Fear That You Won’t Fall

13 Feb

To begin with, if it occurs to any of you that occasionally the titles of my posts are the oh-so-simple-yet-profound kinds, I must confess that they’re often titles of songs or films or the like. It just saves me the effort of using up my creative juice and coming up with a title like “I just saw a very depressing movie” so why not?

 

So that gave away the subject of the post. I finally saw “Longtime Companion“, a film that’s been lying on my hard drive for nearly 2 years, and which I’ve attempted watching two to three times before, but never succeeded in finishing. It’s a touching story that captures the lives of two groups of gay folks living in New York story over a period of almost a decade, beginning from the time that AIDS first surfaced in the world. As we watch, the groups shrink further and further till there aren’t but a few remaining, all the rest having fallen victim to the erstwhile “gay disease”.

Though one feels more secure in the fact that we’re in safer times now, where there is more awareness and less chances of infection, one still wonders why us gay men, already afflicted with so many challenges in life, must also be susceptible to yet another. That on any given day, our lives might be drastically changed for the worse (if not end abruptly as it did back in the days), and that all it takes is one rotten experience to ruin it all. That one must live each day on guard, treading carefully and exercising caution given the community that we live in, and the lifestyle of the people to whom we expose ourselves. (Yes, AIDS exists among straight people too, and spreads through infected syringes and yada yada but I’m going to look at the larger relevant picture on my blog, so there.)

Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful film and a must watch. The irony is that it begins on such a merry note, with a lovely rendition (probably the original) of “The Tide is High”, where all seems hunky dory and all the men aren’t so grossly muscular as they are nowadays. With each passing frame, it moves towards a total contrast.

But such is life, mes amies. We are born with no concerns, then the hurdles start attacking us along the way, and eventually we die.
C’est la vie.

 

On a different note, how much do you think the folks in this video were paid to dance the way they are doing? (Credit to an erstwhile blogger for discovering it and posting it on Facebook)

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Not far from home

4 Jul

So we were discussing Michael Jackson’s condition, which led to a discussion on cardiac arrest.

Dad brought up an incident of a neighbourhood friend who died early, due to what they believed was cardiac arrest. I recalled vague memories of the house that stood there, and curiosity arose to explore more behind that memory.

The death happened even before I was born. Late 1980’s. The man was a friend of the family, and known to dad since his younger days, probably owing to the fact that he was a neighbour. He was scholarly, studied in a top college, followed by a law degree. In college, he had been a fabulous orator and a top public speaker and debator.¬†He settled into professional life as a solicitor for a reputed European firm. His job involved a lot of travel, in India and abroad.

His death was sudden and unexplainable. The doctors were utterly confused. What people did know was that he became extremely paranoid about cleanliness, a few months before his passing. He’d wash his hands incessantly, and be utterly paranoid about his surroundings. All in order to avoid any possible illness. AIDS precations, anyone?

Naturally, that set of this thought at the back of my head. I began to probe further, as inconspicuoucly as I could.

Did he have a family? He did, a wife and two children. The second child was born a month before his death. Were they still alive? Very much. That implied that neither the wife nor the children were HIV positive, meaning he must’ve gotten it from outside.

I didn’t have to probe further; dad pretty much confirmed my suspicions. “He had a funny way about him. People often mentioned it… a gay-ish demeanour.”

The family made all attempts to conceal the reason for his death. Dad said that there was almost no awareness about HIV/AIDS back then, an unsurprising fact.
This was in the late 1980’s, before or around the time I was born. In a home 3 steps away from mine.

A wife widowed, children orphaned. A young, talented and loving man/husband/father, having led a life of fear, secrecy and occasional but short-lived liberation from his double identity, succumbed to a disease that he could’ve never known, never fathomed and never protected himself against.

Miraculously, the wife and children escaped and are still alive today. Alive and healthy. And hopefully not ashamed.