Sunday, November 13, 2011

Prisoners of the mind- Part 1

Kalki was rudely woken up from her  deep slumber.It was her cell phone.Must be a patient in pain,she thought and promptly picked up the phone.She heard a muffled cry at the other end.When her hello failed to fetch a response,she checked the number and jumped out of the bed .It was Shagun and she knew what this call was all about.It was going to be a long call as she quietly walked out of her bedroom .
"Shagun, hang on,calm down will you and please tell me what this is all about."
"Kalki, I am scared,very scared...something is wrong with Namit . His neck is twitching ,his eyes are blood red and he looks dazed. Manav is not in town and I do not know what to do!
"Tell me quickly,what happened ..Where was he all day,did he drink, any medicines he ingested that day before this happened."
 Shagun had a doubt that Namit was into some kind of substance abuse. She thought,he picked it up during his college stint abroad.
Being a friend and a doctor,Kalki was Shagun's confidante.Shagun often called her up to seek advice or to  crib,vent out her frustrations or for plain gossip.
"Namit wanted to do hukka and when I took him shopping,he kept insisting  that I let him go with his building friends.I refused obviously lest he go and do hukka at some shady joint but later bought him one to smoke non tobacco, flavored hukka at home .We had dinner as usual,he had severe cold so I gave him prescribed medicines and a cough syrup .His childhood friend came over to stay so I went off to sleep. I woke up to strange noises and saw Namit in this state.The friend is scared and won't speak up.What do I do ??"
Kalki's fears were true, Namit managed to do it yet again.She shot few quick questions at her friend about Namit's activities, woke up another doctor friend to confirm that nothing was serious and then consoled her friend on phone.She kept track  of Namit's condition on phone for a while and hung up as he went off to sleep after having a few glasses of water.Both women were awake through the darkness.
Namit's life as she knew it, flashed like a movie in front of her eyes as Kalki settled down with a cup of tea in the living room. It pained her to see Namit in this pitiable state.he had always been an extraordinarily brilliant student,an all rounder,and a member of Mensa owing to his high IQ levels. He always had behavior issues since childhood. He was in and out of the principal's office. When complaints became one too many,and switching schools almost like a habit, he was referred to clinical psychologists for counselling. Shagun always walked that extra mile with him. Namit resented counselling but at times,would himself urge Shagun to take him. He changed doctors too, stating that they were not competent enough to understand his mindset.
Manav being out of town for most part, played the indulgent parent while Shagun was more practical of the two.Namit went to best boarding schools, went abroad for graduation , left studies halfway,switched to aviation studies ,left again.In short this was his story,intelligence coupled with fickle mindedness .He had peaks and valleys of  highs and lows in his life.It got worse when he went to the USA .Shagun sensed something was amiss whenever she spoke to him. He spoke enthusiastically about some aircraft manufacturing at times and was severely depressed and spoke about ending his life at others.His girlfriend had ditched him and he was depressed about that.Shagun did not have to coax him much, Namit decided to come back to India on his own.
 Kalki observed that Namit had changed ,he looked different,his gait was slow and his eyes...well they had no life.Kalki knew the signs,she was all too familiar with the look. Now she listened to Shagun's routine talk about her son more intently and made a mental note of significant signs.Some notes read thus:
-He walked out of the house in the dead of night leaving the house open and came back on his own.Why is he so desperate for smoke?Does he do drugs?
-He ran down spotting something across the street and when he came back he was fuming ..he said he saw a man troubling another across the street and he ran to save the poor man.There was not a soul on the street as Shagun observed from her window.
-Kalki ,he is obsessed with the idea of manufacturing aircrafts and selling them to the world....please drill some sense in him.
-He plays a particular game in which he lives another life online at a stretch for 24 hrs,without eating ,or getting up ,like someone obsessed, Shagun once complained.
-He says he knows the tricks to be a perfect mafia man ..
Meanwhile,his violent side was surfacing more often where he would get abusive and aggressive towards his family.Kalki's concerns were true..and she was scared for the boy and the family.She researched ,consulted and suggested few experts whom Shagun could consult and she did over a period of time.After multiple visits to various experts in the field,there were two words ominously raising their ugly heads-bipolar and schizophrenia.Suspected substance abuse had to be investigated before arriving at a definitive conclusive  diagnosis.
Namit would refuse to visit docs and when he did ,would try his best to mislead them...he knew the answers to their questions...he had heard them all.Shagun was worried for his sibling ,more so when he slipped into aggression.Manav couldn't be relieved from his job and Shagun was alone to handle the situation.After many table discussions,it was decided to treat him under institutional care where ,round the clock medicinal treatment and counselling was available.
There was only one such place in the city and they were well equipped to handle such patients.She drove him down to the institute after he reluctantly agreed to consult a psychiatrist. Shagun's heart bled at the thought of what she was forced to do.She drove in silence,holding back her emotions.The staff was prepared for the visit.The huge grilled door opened slightly to allow one person at a time, Namit was swiftly ushered in and before she could blink,the door snapped shut..locked automatically.Shagun did not have any time to explain..she was searching for words on the she will prepare him for this phase and now ,here, she stood without a chance to even say farewell for a few days.
She looked at her child and froze.Her baby's eyes were wide in disbelief .Hurt and betrayal were conveyed from across the grill. words had no place in this widening space between the mother and son.
As she retraced her defeated steps,she knew in her heart that he would never understand and she clutched at her chest where it pained like it was stabbed.
He looked at the retreating frame he knew as his mother and could not fathom why??He too slept under the influence of medicines behind the grill door clutching his heart where it hurt very bad.
They will never be a medicine to shoo away this pain...
They were two prisoners ,of their own minds.



  1. Scary...where your right can be so wrong for someone...

    But won't he understand that she had no choice?

  2. He is not himself most of the time.Trying to write the story in three parts depicting the internal turmoil of mother and son as they battle with the circumstances.Still drafting...



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