Caution : What you could come across in the process.

Insignificant references to my life, an abstract and distracted thought sequel, monotony, inconsistency, vague vague perception, whorish intellectualism, feminist bullshit, armchair activism, causes I try to relate to, sharp sarcasm, even sharper criticism, frivolous details.

Nonetheless Happy Reading.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Forty one bloody degrees. With my lemon flavored Fresh Wipes almost nearing exhaustion, I finally decide to step outside the car and wait inside the premises of the clinic. Government run organizations barely provide any respite from the heat (except if you happen to be a politician ie) but I decide to take my chances anyway.
My doc friend signals me a I'll be there in ten and I sit down on one of creaky chairs in the waiting room under the wailing fan and wait.I glance at the local language newspaper lying in front of me and when I realize that I can't read a decent sentence without dissecting it disrespectfully, my shame gets the better of me and I look away.
'Alla? Get back here.'
My first impression of Alla is that of an eleven year old, it is only later that I learn that she is actually twenty two. Her beanstalk like figure patiently waits at the gate and her bony fingers break a crisp biscuit into four neat parts. She hurls those at the stray dogs now gathering around her. The dogs meanwhile trying hard to conceal their surprise at being fed this morning, or any morning for that matter, regard the biscuit pieces with some suspicion. Nonetheless after some sniffing around they quite relish the feel of cream and sugar. They look at her greedily for more, their tails up in the air ready to start wagging as a token of their appreciation. But somewhere in the depths of her tiny brain Alla is disgusted at being regarded with suspicion. She frowns and walks back inside.
Alla is wearing a screaming red blouse that adorns shiny buttons at odd places. It sticks to her and from afar she looks almost flat chested. Below is a terribly long black skirt with pint sized plastic coated mirrors at regular intervals. Wherever she goes, she has to drag herself along to get moving and yet she seems to leave something behind. It indicates her lack of confidence. Her hair is pulled back firmly into a pony that looks ready to be ripped off her head. She looks quite healthy by ordinary standards and beautiful even if it only weren't for the harelip. Her eyes are curious,ovoid and coffee colored.
Ears and nose all well and nicely proportioned.
Only the prescription that she is fiddling with is a bit disturbing so as to speak of.
Chlorpromazine (Largactil)
Haloperidol 10 mg twice daily.

While her mother keeps her baby brother from crying, Alla is folding her prescription paper until there is nothing left of it. How she wishes it just goes away. Once, twice, thrice and there..almost gone. Her mother catches her doing what she is doing and furiously smacks the back of her head while snatching the piece of paper away from her.
Alla is red faced and close to tears. An insult she would remember for quite sometime now. Days even, weeks perhaps. Months later when even the slightest memory of the event has faded to dust, Alla would wake up crying because she just wouldn't forget.

Alla shows the classic symptoms of schizophrenia. It doesn't stop at that she also suffers from a severe version of obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. And to think I jokingly referred to myself as an obsessive compulsive maniac, I clearly had no idea what I was talking about.

Alla is terrified of switchboards, my doc friend continues unfazed by my reaction. She thinks that there is someone watching her through those holes. Keyholes are terrifying too, so are cracks and half open curtains. They are all watching. She has actually cello taped every crack and hole back home. She hasn't even spared the toilet seat. Sometimes she won't even go out because she thinks maybe they are watching her though the sky!
While all this sounds like an interestingly high on LSD experience to us, think about what a nightmare it must be for poor Alla.

Alla stands on the brink of a volatile future. Her family can't afford psychiatric treatment, only drugs sometimes to keep her down. Luckily for Alla there are quite a few NGO's that have sprung up as of late and that are championing the cause of mental health and related issues. Alla's parents aren't really convinced of the promise and the future they seem to offer. They want her married off as soon as possible so that she would become someone else's headache. This family of six survives on the father's meager wages as a tailor.
There might a have been nights when Alla must have stayed awake for hours together, while the fear of somebody being out to get her continued haunting her.
Reality escapes her Kafkaesque imagination.
For Alla and the like, happiness lies at the bottom of the chest, covered by layers of guilt, doubt, suspicion and insecurity.
I hope she finds it someday.
Meanwhile the family is wondering at what cost should they bear the burden of this madness that they can never really understand.
'As long as she doesn't kill anybody' says her mother.

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