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LET'S TALK ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS

The WHO defines Health "as a state of complete physical, mental and emotional well being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity." And yet we often find ourselves paying heed only to any of these domains in solitude. Oft neglected are the domains of mental and emotional well being or rather, the lack of it.
As someone who is a fledgling in the study of Mental Health, I'd like to share my two pennies this World Mental Health Day.

THE MENTAL ILLNESS PANDEMIC
Mental illnesses have been known to humanity since time immemorial. Even the ancient Indian scholars described mental illnesses in the Charaka Samihita. 
Despite this, mental illnesses have been treated as perhaps being "not real" or "it's in your mind"! It was seen as something that a person who's fragile would develop. So you had to merely, "Man-up!" or "Grit it out"!
But it's only off late that India is waking up to mental illness. Mental illness is real …
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ONE NIGHT AT THE DOCKS

This story was written back in 2010 as an entry for the Deccan Heral Short Story Competition. Back then I was a second year medical student, and was fascinated by diseases of the mind. Now having taken up Psychiatry as a specialization, I re read it, and I must say it's quite an accurate description( save for fictional liberty). 
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‘Raman, how much exactly is eight times thirteen?’, I queried.  It was the fag end of the day, my feet were aching and I didn’t exactly pride myself with regards to my mathematical abilities. All I wanted was to tally the change, finish the cursory submission work and head home. ‘One hundred and four’, rapt came the reply. This boy had a sharp mind. Pity he didn’t put it to much use but to place bets at the bar that he’ll shortly be heading over to; to intoxicate himself to the point where he can…

Musings of my mind!!!

On a balmy night, as I tredged across the campus, freshly painted with the evening's shower, I let my mind wander. Not wander as we often do, unaware and unconsciously... but more of a permitted wander. One where I encouraged my thoughts to take flight, jump spectrums and pick up rich embellishments from the environs around.
      This is a campus I've now lived on for 14 months. It was , as a matter of fact, love at first sight. The day when I first set eyes on this quaint mini-town with its spatter of stone buildings and and cottages from a bygone era,   ... it seemed like the someone had dialled the sleepy town setting on a time machine. As I moved a year and a half later to live on this campus , my affection only grew stronger.
The walk replenish my parched soul, and I realised how caught up I'd been the last few months that I'd barely taken time for this leisure stroll.
As I pondered , time flew by and here I am, all set to bid adieu to this beautiful place . A…

5 minutes of introspection

So it's the fag end of the year and I ask myself where was I last year at the same time?!
And how is this any different from what it was 365 days back?
Have I done all that I set out to do? To see, hear and feel... Have I had happy conquests and numbing losses? What've I learnt? And more importantly, what've I unlearnt?! 
Have I lived atleast a few days to the fullest, enough to refresh my spirit? Have I looked on upon the wondrous valleys? Have I gazed at the starry sky with a heavenward prayer at my lip? 
As the clock ticks towards closure on another chapter, I vow, to break free of vows! To wonder, to wander. To imagine and to discover!
To breathe in the happiness of the human spirit, to relive the warmth of hug on a moonlit night! 
To live ... To life!

The Sands Of Time...

It gushes forth, a harried flurry then a steady drizzle.
Yet as I peek though the hourglass , my mind is at  a standstill.
 The last few grains trickle by unflinched.

A journey into your mind

Into your mind i peek,
Yet I  hear not the speak.
The myriad oddities you do utter,
While you smile and mutter.
I know not what goes on out there.
Boiling in your minds inner lair.
But as I look into yonder,
I can't help but wonder,
Oh dear boy, what is it that you need,
To my medicines will you not heed,
And yet you battle each day,
To understand or to be understood I can't say.

Through the annals of history I pore,
You're story so unique yet shared by so many more.

From Bleuler to Schneider,
Sure our knowledge has grown wider,
But yet not can I tell,
The voice will be banished to hell.

But m'lad,
This is the journey we embark upon,
For every night has a dawn.
And so it shall be,
The caverns of your mind one day light shall see.

Saturday afternoon in a quaint town!

Growing up in a big city, I always had my weekends packed with the myriad of mundane that we metropolitan dwellers are acquainted with.
And so, since the time I've shifted to this quaint little town , nestled in the belly of this hot, fire breathing land, the first question I ask of the locals is," What do you do here on weekends?" ... I get a general matter-of-fact shrug and a 'you know ...' look! The answer though remains elusive. But of course, there's this big beast called google which has intruded all our lives, and so be it the charming countryside or the bustling city centre , we're doing much the same thing. Selling our souls to the internet!
However, on this charming afternoon, following a stirring session with Dr.A, a bunch of us headed down a different path.
A few scrapes and grazes and a little more uphill effort later we were there, atop College Hill!

The view from atop the hill! 


                                                 Ah! Cheers t…

The Lost Sheep Of Modern Medicine

In the mad rush of today’s outpatient department , even as I noted the duration of his cough and enquired about the tremulousness of his hand, I could , feel the ticking hands of the clock breathing down my neck. The corridor outside my tiny room was overflowing with the sick and the needy, ebbing with tales of pain and sorrow. They sat there pleading to be heard, hoping to be understood, and above all, praying to be cured. I felt overawed by this sheer deluge that was now at my doorstep, people, families from far and wide were here, having battled long queues and prolonged waiting lists running into months just to obtain this appointment. Would the next few minutes they spend with me put a name on their suffering, or would they still be wandering in the dark corridors of ambivalence, oscillating between hope and despair.  The next few minutes, that is all I have to understand this person’s elaborate story spanning a third of his life, a story of his pain in the arm , and how he lost h…