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Pradipkumar was like any other teenager of his age in 2000. He dreamt of a successful life, a plum job, fast cars, beautiful wife and many kids but his rosy dream came crashing down when he was diagnosed with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) when he was admitted at the Regional Institute of Medical Science, Imphal, suffering from bouts of shivering fever that refused to go away.

Recalled Pradipkumar what he thought when he was told he is HIV positive. However what was more shocking is when he realized that he was being stigmatized. None of his friends came to see him at the hospital.

Pradip was a drug addict who fell prey to heroine in the late 90s. At that time, doing heroine was a happening thing to do for the youths in Manipur as No.4 (heroine is popular as No. 4 in Manipur) was found in abundance as the state border was being used as a transit route for drugs emitting from the Myanmar, which is the base of the infamous ‘gold crescent’.

To satisfy his youthful curiosity, Pradipkumar tried it and got honked to it. At those times, sharing syringe was considered a communal ritual among the users that bonded them hard not realizing that reusing syringe would eventually do them in.

Pradip was inconsolable in the hospital as well as in his home where he was shifted with doctors’ advice to his family to make his last days comfortable. He was weak and feeble with his weight dropping to mere 22 kg. During his antagonizing days, he took solace in tendering to the flowers. In fact, it was from the flowers that he got with zeal to live.

Sunzu Bachaspatimayum

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