“What is the best essay, you have written so far”- I asked the girl, who came with her father the other day to my clinic? I saw the pall of gloom descend on her fleshy countenance as she remained without any answer.
“Would you like a chocolate”- I was groping for a ruse?
“Hey, the doc is asking you something”- Her father commanded in a gruff voice.
Archana- the fourteen year old girl from the suburb of our city was the second patient in the psychiatric ward of the private hospital, where I used to work as a consultant psychiatric.
“Archana, I heard from your father that you love literature; your sentences are always pithy and full of life. He says you have won a number of prizes in essay writing and debate competitions of your school. Is that true my child”- I asked moving my face very close to her?
She looked at me; her eyes looked like the burning charcoals.
She breathed fire while hissing out- “Don’t ask the rotten things. Write your prescription. Thrust the pills down my throat. Kill me, if you want”.
I was not surprised at her reaction. Such patients were always edgy.
I looked out of the window; my mind was engrossed in finding a way to deal with the over-aggressive and frustrated teenager.
“She is completely spoilt. She keeps on stealing money to take drugs. I caught her while stealing money from my purse”- Her father was grumbling.
“Would you mind waiting in the lobby while I talk to her”- I looked in the eyes of her father?
As he walked out of the cabin, I was fumbling for words.
“Archana, I know you love your mother more than your father. You simply dote on her. Am I right?”- I asked this question while making myself comfortable in the revolving chair.
She raised her head like a snake while eyes spewed venom. I saw straight in her eyes and in a few moments, she was choked in her emotions. Next, I saw her eyes mellow with tears. Streams rolled on her cheeks as she lowered her head.
“And you simply cannot tolerate it when your father beats and bruises her. As a matter of fact, you are a nice girl. But there is something, you can not put up with when your parents fight. You simply can not bear the dirty slangs your father throws at your mother. You shudder when your father catches her neck and beat her black and blue”- I was speaking the dialogues without looking at her.
“Oh,,,no”- I saw her closing her face with her hands!
“Yes, they fight like snake and mongoose. Every other day, I see his vicious hands falling on my mother’s body. I close my ears when she writhes and shrieks in pain as he kicks her. I see this from my infancy. When I was a toddler, she used to hold me tightly on her chest when the beating began. She took all the pain without allowing a single scratch on my body”- She gushed out.
I collected myself as she was getting hysterical.
“Archana, please calm down. I will tell you what to do. After all, we are just discussing”- I soothed her as I offered a glass of water.
“My mother is a holy cow. She fasts throughout the festival days and worships a number of deities to bring good to us. She hides her pain behind the smiles”- She was all in tears.
“I understand that dear, but that’s no reason you have begun taking drugs. How can you fight for your mother being an addict?”- I pointed my finger trying to show her the logic.
“Oh, it gives me the creeps. So terrible….when it begins. My father’s pitched voices and my mother’s shrill cries; it is as though someone is breaking the sky loose on my head. I begin trembling; it’s so nerve-racking”- She was clenching her fists while narrating.
I looked at her miserable being in the throes of severe depressive psychosis. I was searching for strength to tell her father that she would not recover fully from the symptoms rest of her life. Gradually, she would get shifted in to folds of psychotic disorders. Her histrionics would gradually pull her to the confines of a mental asylum.
She wiped her tears as her father stepped inside my cabin. She looked at the distant horizon while I was busy scribbling medicines for her.
“Why do not you come once with your spouse? I would like to say both of you a few more things”- I said trying to suppress the anger and resentment surfacing in my being against the sadist sitting before me.
When she walked out my cabin with her father, I picked up the receiver of the intercom and murmured- “ No more appointment please. Let’s call it a day”.