Ye Dil Mange No More

Ye Dil Mange No More

Prevention is better than cure, it is said. But this adage does not apply to AIDS, where prevention is the only option, since there is no known cure. In spite of this seemingly common knowledge about AIDS, the incidence of this deadly disease is on the upswing. AIDS is spreading faster in India than anywhere else in the world, with an official figure of 51 lakh HIV+ cases. According to some foreign NGOs, this figure is over one crore. Cause for alarm is the fact that more than 50 per cent of all infected cases in India are in Maharashtra. And in Maharashtra, Mumbai (together with its twin city Thane), is the worst affected with one in every 40 people being HIV+.

A programme on AIDS awareness for the youth was organised in the city on March 24 at the TMA Hall in Wagle Estate. About 90 college-going students attended the programme and came out better informed. Well-known theatre personality Meena Naik, who has been doing AIDS awareness shows in various city colleges. Titled "Ye dil mange more", the show first used a 15-minute puppet show capsule that attempted to demonstrate how AIDS is transferred from one person to another. Later, a 45-minute play revolving around a mother and her two teenage daughters highlighted the modern day life in colleges, the party culture, and the accompanying risks.

Naik, who was awarded the Japanese Foundation Fellowship for study of puppetry in School (Educational Puppetry), presented a paper on "safe sex through puppetry" at the International Conference on Puppets in Health Education and Therapy held in London on June 1994. The interactive session after the play was alive with several questions being answered adeptly. Naik came across as a flexible person who was willing to incorporate suggestions for change in her approach from the audience.

Many of those who attended felt that the programme should be extended to seniors at the school level itself. College students were of the opinion that parents must be made to attend such programmes, in presence of their teenage children. "Nothing much has been done in Thane to spread AIDS awareness. Therefore, when we got an opportunity to do a programme with Meena Naik, we didn’t think twice", said ND Joseph, President of the Rotary Club of Thane Hills, the organisers of the programme.

According to Dr Rajan Bhosle, a renowned counsellor and an AIDS activist, "After 24 years of human effort in an age when technology and science are so advanced, and with all countries working together to find a cure, we have still been unable to deal with AIDS. As of now, prevention is the only cure for AIDS." Yes, we need more awareness programmes to stop the wildfire of AIDS from engulfing our youth. Listen to your hearts as they cry out Ye dil mange no more AIDS.

Colourful Values
Holi, the festival of colours, is fun. But oftentimes, Holi colours, if not smeared properly, are known to hurt and harm individuals. Realising that the best way to inculcate safety habits is to catch them young, the teachers of Garden School taught their little pre-school kiddos the right way to enjoy Holi. The idea behind this was that children tend to remember and stick to the values they acquire at a tender age.

On Wednesday, 90 children between 3 and 4 years, all Garden School students, learnt how to daub colour via demonstration. The children learnt how colours can make some people go blind and deaf and therefore it was important to throw colour carefully. Teachers trained them to apply colours only on cheeks, chin, nose and forehead, and taught them how to carefully vulnerable body parts, especially eyes and ears. Later, they were told to memorise this sentence: "Holi is a festival of colours, bright and nice – but we must not throw colour in anybody’s eyes". Why only children, even some adults need to memorise this one.

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