How people change when they get to know that you may be insane.


1. Short Story : Patient





I was on the verge on insanity as per my parents and relatives after I came back to my parent’s home after one month of my tumultuous marriage.


All my pleadings that there is no need for me to see any psychiatrist fell on deaf ears. After being exasperated, at last my parents resorted to coercion and it worked as I agreed to see a psychiatrist who had earned much fame in a short time.


I took an appointment for three in the afternoon and decided that instead of my parents I will take my best friend Lalita along. At that time, I did not know that I would have to persuade her to come with me whose first reaction was this, “oh! You have gone mad dear?”


“Yes I have,” I shouted back as I slammed back the receiver of the phone.


Lalita arrived exactly half an hour before three on her Activa.


“Hello!” she said to me with a frightened look on her face, which made me burst into laughter.


“Don’t worry I won’t hurt you,” I assured her.


My laughter produced a shower of myriad emotions on her face that gave her solid proof of my insanity. And I think somewhere in her heart she might have murmured to herself, “Yes she is definitely mad.”


I hopped on her Activa as she zoomed off with a frantic speed through the alleyways of Delhi. It was a twenty minutes drive and the loquacious Lalita did not utter a single syllable the whole way as I think she was afraid to talk to a lunatic.


“How our mental state transforms our friends?” I wondered.


We hurriedly climbed the stairs of the clinic situated on the second floor in the khan market of Delhi.


A big glass door opened into a waiting area where a pretty receptionist girl about my age asked us our name as she placed her pen on the card to jot down the name of the patient.


“Vinita, Lalita,” answered both of us simultaneously.


This produced a frown on the receptionist’s face as she struggled to find out the patient out of us two.


I understood her worried expression and said, “I am Vinita and I am the patient,” which produced a streak of relief on her face.


Then she fiddled with her computer’s keyboard and demanded Rs. 1000/- as fees.


Lalita and I were shocked for a minute at this ridiculous fee and then hiding my emotions, I produced two crisp notes of Rs.500/- which I had taken from my father in the morning to watch a movie while whispering to Lalita, “This fee might drive me crazy.”


Lalita gave me a suppressed giggle.


Then both of us deposited ourselves on the posh black leather sofa.


I think not many patients visited this famous psychiatrist at this siesta hour as there was only an elderly couple at that time or the psychiatrist’s famy was plummeting.


Then the old couple looked at me and gave me a reassuring smile, recognising me as the patient as I was the one holding the card.


Although I was not able to figure out the patient among them.


 The receptionist called for the woman and asked the man to sit down who by now had rose to accompany her wife.


“Mam has only called for your wife,” she said in an orderly tone.


The man sat down trying to hide his embarrassment thrust by this young receptionist.


Every minute was increasing our anxiety.


Even Lalita was in no mood to talk today, as she felt restless sitting in the environment of the clinic. Who knows she might be cursing me for bringing her along?


Then after fifteen minutes, the woman came out of the room slamming the door behind her in an agitated manner, caught her husband by his arm, and said, “Do not ever ask me again to come here.”


 The husband was brutally dragged out of the clinic by his wife.


This made me and Lalita a little frightened to meet the psychiatrist.


As I was thinking over the proposition to go back the receptionist cried, “Go mam it is your turn.”


I stood but Lalita did not. I frowned at her to get up but she did not budge from her position, instead picked a magazine, and buried her face into it.


I took a long sigh, thinking that still I have not been labelled anything, and look at my best friend’s weird behaviour. Anyway, I proceeded towards the psychiatrist’s room.


I halted for a second at the wooden door, mustered some courage, and turned the knob of the door to open the door.


There finally I was able to see the psychiatrist in her mid fifties with a head full of greys. I thanked God that her looks were not intimidating and the room was sufficiently lit to a sane level. She was busy writing something on her pad and sensing my presence pointed me to a leather chair placed opposite to her. There was a big wooden table placed between us.


I sat and waited for her to complete her scribbles. Then after  a few minutes she closed her writing pad and said, “Yes…,”  suddenly realising that she had not asked my name yet, so she asked in a polite manner, “Your card please.”


Only then I was able to look properly at her pretty face which was concealing her true age although her head full of greys said something else.


She read my name from the card and said, “Yes! Vinita, so you are here for…? Are you alone?” asked she as her eyes looked for any person accompanying me sitting on the sofa placed at the end of the room.


“Yes mam I am alone here but my friend is waiting outside.”


“My traitor and coward friend,” I said to myself.


Then I narrated to her my whole tale of woes that I felt very lonely at my husband’s house. How my husband had no time for me? How my mother in law was always busy belittling and insulting me in front of her relatives?


And the psychiatrist kept on receiving calls both on her mobile as well as on landline interrupting me in between, her expression kept on changing from funny to silly and vice versa and her swift nods were making me irate.


I understood that I was wasting my time and as soon as the psychiatrist picked her mobile this time to receive another call I said, “That’s all mam…” as I rose from the chair dashing out of her room giving her no chance to react.


“I think she is mad,” I declared to Lalita who was still busy with the magazine oblivious that her best friend had come out.


And Lalita without saying anything stood up, hung her purse on her shoulder, gave me a long shrug, and hurried towards the door to get out of the clinic.


I was taken aback at her behaviour and swiftly followed her. She was running down the stairs and I was following her at a frantic pace.


She started her Activa and I just made it in the nick of time, otherwise she might have left me. She again drove at a mad pace, keeping to herself, dropped me at my house and without saying anything zoomed off. I was dumbstruck at her behaviour.


As I entered my home, I found my husband waiting for me to take me back. I just hugged him and sobbed to my heart’s content.


Two years have passed to this incident but still it gives a smile on my face whenever my husband and I talk about it.


And Lalita is still my friend.



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