Activist. Speaker. Leadher
This one is a very special story of a firebrand Leadher Jyoti Dhawale...better known as Jodha! Her story, told in her own words.
Divorcee, mother of teenage boy, HIV positive since 2005, in her journey in life, love and living. Standing proud, tall, badass Queen. I am known as JoDha in biking community and hence that name stuck. Why “JoDha” you may ask...
Well, it was quite a discovery and love from people of Rajasthan when I went there to receive an award. And am totally flattered when they gave me this name which is connected to their most beloved queen.
On life's unknown twists
How did you find the purpose of your life?
After I contracted HIV (on 2005) due to medical negligence, my whole life changed. That’s when my PURPOSE of life and living was defined.
I suffer from yet another chronic condition : Eosinophil Asthma. I am hearing impaired too, with my hearing level declining every year (current loss percentage 92%). There is a big chance that I would lose my hearing completely - but till then I want to experience the joys of listening to every sound, every noise, every whispers and sweet-nothings.
Living with TWO chronic conditions (that have no cure) has totally ransacked my body- as every long term medicine has severe side effects. BUT I am defying all odds, worshipping my body as a temple, nourishing it, pampering it, and above all, respecting it. I love life. And I want to live every moment of it. To enjoy. To experience. To endure.
Life has been one long battle for me ever since I was born. And through my experience I share my living, inspiring and motivating people who are on brink of suicide - stating myself as an example - of how I was abandoned, ostracised, shunned and yet here I am, risen from the ashes!!
Living with HIV
What keeps you going?
In India, HIV/AIDS is deeply stigmatised and discriminated. And those who are living with it are treated as “untouchables”. I want to reach out, through the power of media, to even the remotest place, and extend my hands to those crying for love, care and acceptance. In a conservative country like ours, I want to expose myself to show that HIV is not related only to the poor, the downtrodden, prostitute or drug/sex addicts. Even your well-do-to neighbour could be one! We need to reach out, speak up and be heard!
If there is a message to Leadhers, what would it be?
In the world full of darkness, be the light.
(Tamso ma jyotirgamay)
Just like my name "Jyoti" - a ray of light, the ray of hope.
Stop putting your hopes into hands of human beings. They make the same mistakes as we do. Stop caring so much about so and so person. If they are meant to be in your life, they will.
Failed business? Love gone sour? Divorced? Its okay. Just move on. Learn from your own mistakes instead of blaming the other or fate. Pave your own path. The world is big. Beginning is ALWAYS difficult, but unless one struggles, how will one know the true meaning of success?? (I say it because I have gone through it. Experienced it. Cried buckets. But moved on.)
I remember inspirational dialogue from the movie "Anand"
Babumoshai…..zindagi lambi nahi badi honi chahiye...
(Sir…..Life need not be long it should be big)
"Babu moshai, hum aane waale dukh ko kheench taan kar is pal main lee aate hain. Aisa kyon?"
(Sir, why do we always pull the sadness that is yet to come all the way to this moment that we are living)
'Anand mara nahi. Anand marte nahi'
(Joy is not dead. Joy doesn't die)
Stop thinking of suicide. It is NOT worth it.
Stop searching for love. Let love come to you.
Stop hoarding on materialistic things.
Stop "collecting" a lot of money. Or gold. Or antique items. Or property. Or etc etc etc. keep only how much you need or require for future.
In the end, none of those things matter. Not one single bit. What matters is your soul. Please, do not neglect your soul. Your soul is who you are, always. Be good to your soul. Love it. Give it a grace. Never forget where you came from.
You are an example for so many people. Never forget that. Never stop striving for that greatness that you were made for. Never stop trying to pursue your dreams.
There is darkness inside each one of us. Sometimes, the darkness never seems to lighten. We surround ourselves with the dark things of this world and convince ourselves that this is who we are. We forget that there is an abundance of light inside each and every one of us. We forget that darkness is TEMPORARY.
Be that light.
Never dim your sparkle.