Maya is the sister of Vijay who died of AIDS in 1997. Her sister-in-law Sunita, 24 is HIV positive, but would not speak to us. She said she would rather let Maya tell the story.
I was a nurse, and was very familiar with AIDS. But l had no idea my brother had been infected. We were shocked when we found out, and could not accept it for a whole month. We thought it was a blood bank mix up.
Bhabhi was negative in those days. She did have jaundice once, but we didn't think much of it then. It was only when my brother's health worsened that we found out that bhabhi was also infected. She was seven months pregnant, and the doctor had discouraged her from having an abortion; instead he prescribed some medicines for the unborn child. Now we need to see whether the child's report is negative or not. We're waiting for an auspicious day to pick up the report.
It was l who collected their reports. His second report was positive. I had asked my brother if he'd 'gone out' anywhere, but he would swear on his children and say he hadn't. We knew that he'd drink alcohol and go to parties, but neither our parents, nor l, paid any real attention to these activities then.
It was very difficult for him to accept that he was positive. He was a big social worker - he'd help anyone who had a problem. He once took a bruised and bleeding worker to the hospital. Perhaps his blood infected him then?
We know that bhabhi's life has been ruined because of my brother. People are advising her to remarry. Bhabhi has studied up to her 10th, and has done a Montessori course. She makes very nice dresses. We support her. We keep thinking that it's because of us that she's going through this - humara bhai gaya to gaya, lekin dukh is baat ki hai ki who bhi phas gayi(my brother is dead, but we are sad that this poor girl is trapped). Her parents probably felt that we were a good family to marry into….had they known the truth, maybe they wouldn't have got her married to him.
She does not leave the house much. When my brother was sick, nobody called to inquire about him, and when he died, nobody wanted to even apply choona on his body…