The mad­man in town

Bhutan Times - - Home - Pema Sel­don, Mon­gar

C hoten Dupchu, 56year old, is a sorry sight sit­ting by the road­side near taxi park­ing in Mon­gar. Hold­ing the empty to­bacco cov­ers firmly his hand, his skin is thick with grime prom­i­nent on ev­ery wrin­kle of his ag­ing skin. As you ap­proach him, his body odour drifts up and hangs in your nose sourly. And while he begs for some money, one is dis­gusted with the foul smell vapour­iz­ing from him which re­sem­bles nau­se­at­ing smell of the rot­ting trash. So the lo­cals shun him. Most of the time he would smell of al­co­hol. Shop­keep­ers in the town have grown skep­ti­cal of giv­ing him money to sym­pa­thize with his sit­u­a­tion. One shop­keeper judged that he uses the begged money to buy al­co­hol, gets drunk and drives ev­ery­body crazy in town.

Some­times, he would keep talk­ing to him­self. Wan­der­ing around the town and both­er­ing peo­ple are his daily rit­u­als.

One can only won­der what hap­pened to him. And we tried dig­ging deeper into his story.

Eigh­teen years ago, Choten was an army per­son­nel based in Shaba, Paro. A time came when he lost his sense of rea­son­ing one day. And no­body knows what put him to that sit­u­a­tion. Soon the ded­i­cated army turned into a psy­chopath. The au­thor­ity be­came wary of his be­hav­ior and ap­pre­hen­sive of his ser­vices. So he was laid off from his job.

“I pe­ti­tioned the of­fi­cer in charge to con­sider keep­ing him in ser­vice but the Dasho de­nied say­ing my hus­band is sick and needs spe­cial treat­ment,” rec­ol­lected his wife, Pema, who now takes care of their two chil­dren and live in the vil­lage es­tranged from him.

Af­ter tak­ing him to var­i­ous hos­pi­tals within the coun­try and in In­dia, it was dis­cov­ered that his brain was filled with wa­ter. He went through count­less med­i­ca­tion and treat­ment but in vain. No rit­u­als could help him re­cover from his mad­ness.

“So I was go­ing mad of his mad­ness,” said Pema, tak­ing a deep sigh.

Grad­u­ally he suf­fered se­vere mood swings, mov­ing be­tween ela­tion and de­spair. They would last for weeks or even months.

As the years passed by, his fam­ily ex­pe­ri­enced the dark­est phase of their lives. The poor chil­dren whom they would call fa­ther was lost and now re­fuses to rec­og­nize them. The chil­dren are afraid to go near him fear­ing his crazy be­hav­ior.

“It be­came very dif­fi­cult to han­dle him,” says his wife. “Since he was run­ning away from us, we locked him up in the room and tied him up. Even then he broke the door and ran away. So fear­ing he might com­mit sui­cide, we set him free.”

His wife com­plains that he keeps talk­ing to him­self. “That is what he loves to do ev­ery day,” says his wife, clear­ing her voice on the phone in­ter­view.

To­day, he lives his life ly­ing by the road­side near the taxi park­ing and spends his time above the public play­ground.

Many shop­keep­ers think that giv­ing him money is fur­ther ag­gra­vat­ing his prob­lems than do­ing him any good. “We don’t want to see him com­ing to us, so we chase him away if we see him com­ing,” said some shop­keep­ers.

Doc­tor En­ery Perez Bar­tutis, the Psy­chi­a­trist at Mon­gar Re­gional Hos­pi­tal, said, “Even to­day we pos­sess no con­sen­sus on the na­ture of men­tal ill­ness, what it is, what causes it, what will cure it.”

“So, peer sup­port is very, very im­por­tant,” he says, “and it is some­thing that should be given a lot of at­ten­tion.”

Sadly with Choten, the con­trary has hap­pened with him. Peo­ple want to avoid him. And he has be­come a nui­sance in the so­ci­ety.

“I don’t know if he will ever come back to us,” tells his wife, al­most break­ing down over the phone, “and we have lost our hope.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.