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The deadly disease which not only slowly pushes a person towards his end but also makes him ‘untouchable’ socially, is AIDS. Even after so much preaching and teaching, any HIV positive patient is treated as a social outcast and sometimes, a sinner. We fail to comprehend the simple fact that mere touching or treating an AIDS patient doesn’t make one infected with the disease. Also, indiscriminate and unprotected sex is not the only way for the transmission of the disease, it can also be spread through needle sharing, blood transfusion and from a pregnant mother to the child.
To break these myths about AIDS and to make people aware of the facts Santosh Avvannavar this time has joined hands with Santosh I. Biradar to come up with the book, Black, Grey & White. The title of the book is quite significant as it conveys the fact that nobody is spared from the fatality of AIDS, be it young, middle-aged or old. There are five simple yet fascinating stories which bring forth different issues related with AIDS.
The first story is about an aspiring journalist who finds himself in a vicious circle of human trafficking while investigating for an assignment. That myths about AIDS are how deeply instilled in some people’s mind and affecting the society dangerously, have been revealed in this story.
The second story of Chintu speaks about discrimination among those children who are found to be HIV positive. They’re getting punished for something which they’ve not done. All they need is a positive touch of love to ameliorate their pain and agony.
The third story deals not only with AIDS but also another burning issue, casting-couch. The fourth one shows how innocent people become victims of AIDS unknowingly, they pay for their ignorance with their life. The last one deals with parenting and other related issues.
Of the five stories, I like the second one most, the story of Chintu (The Earth is Round). All the stories will make you think, of the society and the fatal disease. The AIDS victims, do they really deserve the opprobrium which they usually receive from us? It’s time we should consider the facts and begin to think rationally. Only then the society will change its attitude towards AIDS. The book Black, Grey & White has been launched on 1st December 2014, on the occasion of World AIDS Day.
The language is simple and the writing style is quite appreciable. The cover page and illustrations by Mohit Goel also deserve special mention. Santosh Avvannavar always writes for social causes and to generate mass awareness about different issues. You can look out for my reviews of his other works here, here and here.
Fear is one of our worst enemies. Everyone gets afraid at some point of life and perhaps the most primal fear is the fear of darkness. I remember my childhood days when I was terribly afraid of the dark. My mother invented an unique way to drive off my fear of darkness. She used to put my favourite doll at the darkest corner of the house and the only way to collect it was to go there myself getting over my fear. I used to throw tantrums and sometimes even cried but maa was determined. Slowly, I learnt to gather courage in order to recover my doll from the dark. I also learnt that darkness is nothing but absence of light and no shadowy creature would pounce upon me from behind. That was my first lesson to enslave fear.
Life teaches us new things every now and then…..including new fear. Few years ago, I went with my friends to Gangtok. We were sure to enjoy our stay in the picturesque town and what made us more excited, that there was a place nearby from where we could do paragliding. All of us got thrilled and the very next day we reached at Baliman Dara, the take-off point for paragliding. My enthusiasm just washed out as soon as we reached there. The very sight of para-gliders rising high above the ground churned my intestine. Though there were certified pilots to accompany every inexperienced yet adventurous tourist but that was not enough inspiration for me. “What if the harness suddenly fails to hold the pressure and the weight? What will happen if wind begins to blow roughly?” I asked one of my friends who was trying to encourage me. He nodded his head in frustration saying,”you’re missing experience of a lifetime”.
I watched as my friends, one by one, flew like birds and everyone was overwhelmed with the breathtakingly beautiful aerial view. They were overjoyed and even were planning to come back next day. While hearing their conversation, something jolted me from inside. What am I doing? I’m becoming a slave to my fear …..the figment of fright is misleading me and if I fail to overcome, my cowardice will mock me for the rest of my life. I must face my fear to win over it.
I decided to take the challenge, I wanted to face the fear with all my strength. I chose to consort with courage and as I announced my decision, my friends cheered me up.
Numbness and trepidation paralyzed my other emotions as soon as my paragliding pilot helped me to sit in harness which was attached to the paraglider. The take-off moment took my breath away and I tightly closed my eyes. I could feel strong wind blowing by my side and we were no longer on ground. Slowly I opened my eyes to witness the most beautiful sight of my lifetime! The view of snow clad mountains, small villages which looked like miniature paintings, serpentine roads…all made me speechless! The feeling was like that of a bird. I forgot all about my fear, I felt blessed to witness such beauty of nature. We were up there for hardly 7/8 minutes, but those are the most memorable moments of my lifetime. Not only for the exotic view but also for the reason that I succeeded to rise above my fear. It was my victory over intimidation and insecurity…over my fear. I still cherish those wonderful moments of my life.
The latest advertisement of Mountain Dew says the same. #RiseAboveFear to take control of your life and to claim victory. Do watch the advertisement for it’s entertainment as well as inspirational value. To know more view their Facebook page as well.
soft, snowy whisper
adorned bony branches like stars
Shared with and inspired by Carpe Diem’s prompt ‘snow’