Deputy regional transport officer Anil Valiv has taken the road less travelled. Owing to his resourcefulness, the city will witness a special matrimonial meet on December 22. The one-day programme – organised by the website positivesaathi.com -- will help persons living with HIV find helpmeets.
“This is a unique website that assists HIV-positive people, who are searching for their life partners. Till now we have conducted such matrimonial meets in various parts of Maharashtra, and now, for the first time, Pune will be the venue. The idea behind it is very simple: persons living with HIV, who are in search of their better halves, can meet, interact and, in the end, perhaps tie the knot,” Valiv told MiD DAY.
“Till now, we have enlisted more than 100 candidates for this upcoming meet from across the state – Solapur, Nashik, Sangali, Kolhapur, Mumbai, Nanded, etc. The registration is absolutely free, and we expect many more to come for this programme.”
The event, which will begin at 9.30 am and continue till 6 pm, will involve many sessions. It would begin individual participants introducing themselves.
In the next stint, interested candidates will meet each other and try to figure out compatibility. Afterwards, there will be sessions with doctors over positive thinking and fighting the condition.
Also, there would be a meeting with an advocate, who will helpparticipants who’re involved in divorce cases and want to remarry. Organisers have decided to provide full reimbursement of travel fare to all female candidates coming for this programme.
Speaking on this, Valiv told MiD DAY, “In our previous editions,we have seen very little participation by women, and we want to encourage them to come forward and live a life with dignity.
Women living with HIV have to face far more problems – getting remarried is not easy for them compared to men, both mentally and economically. Most of the women are dependent on their husbands or family members, so they cannot come for such programmes. We want to assist such vulnerable women in building their lives ‘positively’. Traditionally, at our matrimonial meets, only about 20 per cent of the participants are women.”
Narrating his experience, 42-year-old Harish Jadhav (name changed), who got hitched through this website, and now has a perfectly healthy three year-old daughter, told MiD DAY, “In 2003,I came to know that I was HIV-positive while getting treatment for an ear infection. It was a big shock for me, and I almost gave up on life. My elder brother and mother were also shocked, but they started giving me support mentally, and encouraged me to live the rest of my life positively. Initially, I was unable to connect with people, and always felt at fault for being in this society. But, when I got a job in the central government, it was a turning point. I decided to forget everything and start to live for my family. My mother repeatedly asked me to get married, I also wanted to, but the problem was I could not tie the knot with a healthy woman. So, I consulted my doctor and he told me to search for a HIV-positive woman, who also wanted to get married. It was not easy to find ‘such’ a woman; I had no luck for more than two years. My search ended with positivesaathi.com and Valiv sir, who helped me find a perfect partner. I attended many matrimonial meets and interacted with various woman candidates. Finally, in 2009, I found my wife, who was a divorcee and was also looking for a second chance at life. After getting married, we thought of having a child. Again we consulted a doctor, and he asked us to go ahead. Now we have baby girl, who is completely normal and HICV-negative. All of us are very happy.”
Percentage of female participants in the matrimonial meets