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.