Sunday, December 21, 2008


Being what it is, it is the basis of our lives in a very elemental way, really. Ask the parents of a thalassaemic kid.

So anyway, there's a blood donation camp being held in the neighbourhood and we've been getting an earful from their mikes since before 8 a.m. What one man said just now though made some sense. He said that as we arrange for our children's marriages, much depends on the match of gotra. Centuries ago, when tribal lines were more clearly drawn and the chances of people staying within their castes and tribes higher, it made sense to match bloodlines to ensure that the children of that marriage had a better chance of being born healthy and surviving. Now that these distinctions have blurred, he said, one needed to have blood tests matched before the gotra, because it came down to the same thing and indeed the blood tests are merely a clearer indication of what the gotra was supposed to show (your blood type).

It is not commonly known but Vicky and I got ourselves tested for HIV before our marriage. I had no reason to think I had that or any other STD and I was his first partner so he had even less reason to do this, but I wanted the tests done on principle. A call from a concerned uncle served as a reminder and we went ahead and got the ELISA done*. It should have been easy, just letting them draw a little blood, but needles and I don't really get along and then, there were the inevitable stares at our unmarried status and the subtle signs of disapproval that we should need such a test and of course, the crazy wait for the results when I was convinced that I was not only HIV positive but had AIDS as well and was trying to remember the phone numbers of the people I'd slept with to warn them that they would shortly die a painful death, and...

The tests came out negative and I started breathing once more -- and if you've been laughing I suggest you get yourself tested. Actually, do get yourself tested. If you are contemplating marriage it's only fair and it's a routine procedure, easier now than it was when we did it three years ago (the test, not marriage) and really, you should. Not because it shows a suspicious bent of mind but because it shows that you are aware of the social problems around you and are doing your bit.

A friend is getting married and his finacee asked him to get himself tested. I told him, this one little thing told me pretty much all I needed to know that he had found himself the right sort of girl. Everything else I could find out later. Because to me, when a person asks for a blood test match, he or she is showing a commitment and concern for a shared future that augurs well for the marriage in question.

*We should have tested for thalassaemia too and nearly did but each test cost Rs. 1000 and we felt that was too much for a whim. I would have been glad to have had done it when I found myself pregnant six months later.


D said...

Sensible indeed.

I know a guy who refused to get himself tested for HIV even though it was mandatory to take certain examination/apply for a job (I'm confused what it was really). He was so scared for testing positive that he never said yes for a blood test and instead procured a negative test report by some bribing at a govt medical centre.
Pathetic, I say.

Sparx said...

We got tested, seems only sensible really.

dipali said...


Anonymous said...

In my mom's side of the family, almost everyone has thalassaemia minor. When my mom and mausis got married, no one had any idea but by God's grace the partners were okay.

We came to know during my mausi's pregnancy and all of us got tested. Turns out, my mom and I have it too. The first thing I asked my husband when he proposed was to get tested! We were both in college then. The poor guy didn't know what hit him but to his credit, he readily agreed.

Awareness is low for many of these blood disorders except for HIV. I'm sure if people knew, they would make it a point to get tested.

adi said...

I decided to get tested sometimes last week, but haven't got tested until now. the counsellor who i talked to misled me into believing that the test centres are open on sundays as well.

I suddenly could feel the pulse racing when i stepped inside the hospital. and when i heard that the test center is closed, i heaved a sigh of relief.

However hope to get tested next to next week.

although i won't like to feel how i will react if i test positive. thinking of that brings back the fear

Sue said...

D -- Pathetic and dangerous.

Sparx, Dipali -- Exactly. Nothing to lose and peace of mind and self respect to be gained.

Jottings -- They have huge posters at all testing centres and labs, that's how it struck us that maybe we should have done thalassemia too. Oh well. Why don't you do a post about it since it involves you so personally? I'm sure you will sound more forceful.

Adi -- And if you test negative think of the peace you'll feel. Go get it done and think of me cheering you on.

Anonymous said...

Ha! yes we got tested as well. i remember waiting for the results imagining i had advanced cases of everything including HIV!

a lot of what you say on your blog rings true with me.

Sue said...

Anon -- :)