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When I first asked Bikhshapati his age, he didn’t understand my question. I asked again, “Are you five? Six?”
He answered in English but seeing the confusion on my face, he reached down and scrawled the number “12″ in the sand.
I was shocked. For a moment I suspected he wrote the wrong number.
His doctor told me later that Bikhshapati looks half his age because of the ravages of HIV. Although he is on anti-retro viral drugs, his body constantly struggles against the virus. On many occasions over the past few years, he has fallen deathly ill. He has missed school so often that he is now years behind those his own age.
Bikhshapati’s hardships have not dimmed his enthusiasm for life, however. For those of you struggling emotionally with being HIV positive, this young Karate fighter’s bright disposition might provide some inspiration.