I share my story because I am convinced that happiness is a personal choice and I have found it despite what has come my way. Without a pinch of additional drama, my life has been a perfect blend of loss, betrayal, oppression, sorrow and has been far from an average person’s life should be.
I came from a broken family and had a typical ‘Cinderellaesque’ life, courtesy my stepmother. She would lock me up in a room and starve me. Lunch was a luxury for me. Second helpings did not exist in my world. Seeing my half-sister treated with love and kindness compounded my own feelings of worthlessness. I was the first-born of my father, an Air Force Officer. Not only did I understand his feelings for me without he expressing it, I also inherited the love for fighter planes. At the Air Force Camp, the drone of fighter planes used to send goose bumps down my spine.
But that was too much of a dream as I was rejected due to the bilateral sensorineural hearing loss I suffer from since I was 3 years old. I can hear sounds with decibels of 80 and above. That is equivalent to the hoot of a railway engine. I follow conversations face to face – through lip reading. Otherwise, I strongly rely on the written word for communication. I suffer from certain speech defects too. I cannot pronounce letters like C, X and S. What’s worse is that doctors say that a damage as severe as this could have happened due to physical abuse. My family offers a contrary explanation – that I fell down from my father’s bike after a tyre burst, though I have no memory of the accident.
Today, I believe that my handicap is a blessing in disguise.
Destiny had it that a dream itself seemed like a lie. My biological mother made a reappearance in my life. By no means, was it a happy reunion. I was in class nine then and this shattered me quite a bit taking a hit on my academic performance – so much so that I had to repeat the class. I somehow finished my high school education from the National Institute of Open Schooling, New Delhi, but could not make my way to college.
By now, you must have realized that I was running a massive deficit of love in general. So falling for a gentleman, seemed natural. It felt as if my life would steer towards normal. Well it did for a while, until I missed the first period in my life. Oh, the joy of being a first-time-mother! The joy lasted only until I rushed to share it with my, then husband. He did not want babies and got me to abort thrice in 2 years. I was wholly dependent on him, financially and emotionally. I was naïve and submissive. I didn’t even know of the existence of the Domestic Violence Act back then. It was only after I was beaten, abused and left for dead that I realized the importance of self-esteem and self-respect.
That and his dislike towards taking any protection during intercourse! I was on vaginal contraceptives, the failure rate of which is very high, especially if correct procedures aren’t followed. It requires 10-15 minutes of waiting period. Imagine a person wanting to have sex in the middle of the night, and you aren’t prepared. And when you want to insert the pill and request your husband to wait, you are forced upon! Isn’t sex without consent within or outside marriage called rape? I am more upset with the laws of the land that there is no provision to report marital rape.
And this was the beginning of my next ordeal. One of these abortions brought HIV along with it due to medical negligence at the hospital. I was transfused with infected blood. When I received the news of being HIV positive, I was three months pregnant again. This time, I refused to abort and carried my baby. Thankfully, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy who was HIV negative. Humanity struck rock bottom when my ex-husband demanded divorce soon after the child’s birth and took away our son with him. This was the very son, who he asked to be terminated when he was in the womb.
There I was, dealing with the shock of having learnt that I was HIV positive and postpartum depression simultaneously. Amidst this, my son's father informed me that he had been having an extra marital affair and would be leaving me for her. In order to become financially independent, I went out on a job hunt. I was not yet ready to give up on my marriage until my maid, informed me that he had been bringing his girlfriend to our home in my absence. That marked the end of that relationship.
With such a potboiler that life had to offer me, I have no regrets. My deepest pain is that my son is having to grow up with a step mother (my ex-husband married his girlfriend), something that I had been a victim of. Even in my worst of nightmares, I couldn’t have imagined it happen! Sadly, whatever was written in the divorce agreement was NOT mutual. As per the court, it was the duty of a judge to call the husband and wife and hear both sides of the story – which in my case has never happened. I was never produced in court, never produced before any judge. A forceful signature marked the end of it.
I am still working towards getting my son back legally!
Around 5 years ago, faith knocked at my door again and I married Vivek Surve, who has taught me compassion and forgiveness.
Today, I have found purpose in life by spreading awareness about HIV and busting myths around it. I work as a HIV Activist, writer and blogger and also work as the ambassador for many organizations worldwide and with many NGOs supporting the cause. My biggest strength, I feel, is the fact that I am happy to extend a helping hand, exchange a warm smile or hug to whosoever needs it. Having been deprived of love and care, I understand the pain that isolated people suffer.
Therefore, I know that I can be happy if I want to be and not because of someone or something else.
I may not hear much. But I hear the angels sing. Stay Loved! Stay Blessed! Be happy... :-)#realmomstory