Love At The Asy­lum

It was mud.

Woman's Era - - Short Story - By Deek­sha Tar

t was my last day at the hospi­tal. To be pre­cise, men­tal hospi­tal. Yup, don’t be as­ton­ished. I have spent good three sixty five days here all thanks to my past dis­tress­ing events. Luck­ily, I am sta­ble now to leave this place af­ter a long wait. In fact, I am not happy to­day as I should have been. Strangely, the past days in this place have been re­joic­ing and filled with more mem­o­ries than my for­ma­tive years of ex­is­tence. Some are worth the grin whereas rec­ol­lect­ing some makes my eyes moist.

“Stop it, Era. What is the mat­ter with you?” My mother yelled while the nurses in the room stood ter­ri­fied in the cor­ner. Though they were trained and had ex­pe­ri­enced such sit­u­a­tions be­fore ,my vi­o­lent be­hav­iour was adding to their chills. A year ago I was spot­ted with clin­i­cal de­pres­sion and was ad­mit­ted for treat­ment. I oc­ca­sion­ally slept into a si­lence zone, keep­ing mum for days whereas on other days I turned ag­gres­sive, chuck­ing the ob­jects around. Un­for­tu­nately, there weren’t any in my cur­rent room and forc­ing me to over­turn the mat­tress.

‘Era.’ His voice star­tled me. He was loud and clear with his mes­sage even though he didn’t ut­ter any­thing apart from my name.

I stood fac­ing the wall, ter­ri­fied and un­able to

“S top i t , Era. What i s the mat ter wi th you? ” My mother yel led whi le the nur ses in the room s tood ter r i f ied in the cor­ner . Though they were t rained and had ex­per ienced such s i tuat ions be­fore , my v io­lent be­hav iour was adding to thei r chi l l s . He sig­nalled them to leave and locked the door. Now in it was my turn to shiver the man­ner I had made his nurses a while ago. He held his palm open in front of me with tablets rest­ing on them.

com­pre­hend my own ac­tions. What the hell did I just do? Why was I act­ing in­sane? Why was I los­ing con­trol over my ac­tions? I was un­able to jus­tify my deal­ings.

“Who was in charge for her af­ter­noon med­i­ca­tion?” he yelled at the nurses who still ap­peared to be alarmed.

“Sir, the mother of the pa­tient in­sisted to give the af­ter­noon dosage,’ she spoke still shiv­er­ing. Both were try­ing to hide be­hind each other.

“I gave her the medicines,” my mother de­fended her­self.

“Re­lax, I will han­dle her,” he as­sured my trem­bling mother.

was 20 and a third-year med­i­cal stu­dent. Though I was study­ing to be a doc­tor, mid­way I turned into a men­tal pa­tient and po­si­tioned my­self in a mis­er­able con­di­tion. Events and in­ci­dents over years had splin­tered my life and me men­tally. Heart­breaks, ex­pec­ta­tions from fam­ily, re­jec­tions, friends turn­ing foes and aca­demic pres­sure had turned a healthy sane per­son into a men­tally re­tarded girl.

Un­luck­ily, I got ad­mis­sion at the city med­i­cal col­lege and with no al­ter­na­tive at dis­posal, got en­rolled for the first year. Parental pres­sure to pur­sue medicine be­gan the jour­ney for my cur­rent des­ti­na­tion. I al­ways de­sired to be­come sound en­gi­neer and serve the pur­pose I en­joyed and loved to do. Un­for­tu­nately, I was wasted in the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion in which I felt my fu­ture bleak. My pho­to­graphic mem­ory and high in­tel­li­gence quo­tient helped me to break into the haz­ards of the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion. With the pas­sage of time dis­like turned to ha­tred and I moved into lust for un­known. I hooked up with sev­eral guys, lost my vir­gin­ity and en­joyed my nights with sev­eral men over course of a year.

With va­ri­ety on the cat­a­logue, I set­tled for the one, two years se­nior to me. In my head I pic­tured me be­ing in love even though mu­sic didn’t play when he en­tered the room nor did I blush, rec­ol­lect­ing his im­age. He dis­missed my emo­tion for love and left my com­pany when his de­sire was sat­is­fied. He no longer wanted to con­tinue with the reused and overused ma­chine and opted to go along with some­thing brand new. My at­ti­tude and crav­ing for the phys­i­cal had de­creased my re­la­tions with friends. They no longer de­sired to go out with me and sug­gested to me to part ways. With re­la­tions be­ing an­ni­hi­lated, crav­ings get­ting out of hand my san­ity de­cided to fol­low and they parted ways with me se­cur­ing a bed which I just at­tempted to up­lift.

r Arin put the mat­tress back sin­gle-hand­edly and asked me to turn around. I re­fused to move and face him. In­stead he came and stood com­fort­ing my face. He put his hand in my pocket and took the tablets out, the ones I was sup­posed to have af­ter lunch. I qui­etly moved towards my bed with­out a word. It turned out to be ef­fec­tive, com­pared to the pre­scribed med­i­ca­tion. It was almost a week since I was in­tro­duced to this room. Though fam­ily wasn’t al­lowed to visit the pa­tients, my mom had made a spe­cial re­quest to visit me as I had agreed to shift in here with a prom­ise to see her at least once a day.

“Ma’am, I can no longer let you visit my pa­tient. You have got to trust us and our treat­ment. I know I am sup­posed to be gen­tle and mild with her and I am not. You have got to trust my rea­sons for this cruel be­hav­iour.”

I got up once again from the bed and yearned to smack him in his face. The mo­ment he saw me mak­ing my move he stopped mid­way of his di­a­logue and turned towards me.

“You dare not to do that. If you do I will en­sure they cut off your mother’s vis­its here as long as you stay with us. No please and re­quests will make me change my de­ci­sion in fu­ture.” He once again turned to my mother.

“I prom­ise to look af­ter her and will call you over when I feel the time is cor­rect. Un­til then you will have to keep your­self strong and have faith,” he said. My mom left with­out even say­ing good­bye. For a sec­ond I felt dis­owned and unloved. The push for vi­o­lent acts had trig­gered in my head but his march towards me wiped away my evil acts. As he ap­proached the nurses in­quired if he would in­ject med­i­ca­tion in­stead of let­ting me take it orally. I hoped he would give an af­fir­ma­tive re­ply which didn’t turn out to be true.

e sig­nalled them to leave and locked the door. Now, it was my turn to shiver the man­ner I had made his nurses a while ago. He held his palm open in front of me with tablets rest­ing on them.

“If you can in­ject medicines, why am I asked to take them orally?”

“I don’t want you to take the priv­i­lege of spe­cial treat­ment for no spe­cific rea­sons. Firstly, you aren’t suf­fer­ing from a se­vere ail­ment as you ap­pear to make it .You por­tray it to be dras­tic, mak­ing your par­ents worry and adding dan­ger to their well-be­ing. There is no need for you to be kept here as you can re­cover with proper med­i­ca­tion for a few months at your own dwelling. But I don’t want your par­ents to take the risk as you are ir­re­spon­si­ble. You will re­main here un­til you learn to be­have even if you com­pletely get over your sick­ness. The rea­sons for oral con­sump­tion are your tantrums for not tak­ing them. Any­thing more you wish to ask?”

“I don’t want them. Please, I will be­have in the de­sired man­ner.”

con­di­tion is not that se­vere.”

He got up and rang the bell to call the nurse. I didn’t re­act and sat on the bed. When she en­tered he com­manded, “Pre­pare for ET.”

swal­lowed once again with­out the wa­ter and later drank it. He still didn’t stop her from car­ry­ing on the prepa­ra­tions. Some­where down the line I knew he wouldn’t tie me up and get the ET done but it still proved to be an ef­fec­tive threat.

“I had them. Why do you still want to make me go through it?”

“What’s the time?” he asked.

“I don’t want to play any phys­i­cal sport.”

“Be quick. We’re going to tie her legs and hands to avoid dis­trac­tions,” He spoke to the nurses.

“I don’t know how to play.” I got up from the bed with fear of be­ing tied up and stood in the cor­ner.

“Fol­low me to the ground.”

I qui­etly fol­lowed with­out ut­ter­ing a word. He took me to the track where other pa­tients were be­ing trained. He ex­changed words with the coach and took me to un­used side of the track.

“I have never ever done this be­fore. I can’t do this.”

“You have ex­pe­ri­enced ET in past?”

“I will never act vi­o­lently. Trust me. I will take my medicines on time and will go through the pre­de­cided ses­sions. Don’t do this to me.”

“Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is part of your treat­ment. You were given a chance to de­cide, but you didn’t feel like se­lect­ing it. So, you have got to do what you are be­ing told to. An­other word of re­fusal from your mouth will lead you to the bed all tied up. Fol­low­ing with what, you have clear idea of.”

I kept silent for next two hours where he made me jog, walk, run and do other phys­i­cal ex­er­cises pos­si­ble. At the end of two hours I couldn’t stand on my own two feet, so I sat on the track with fright and pain.

“Af­ter a shower, head for the med­i­ta­tion ses­sion and later I want you at the din­ner ta­ble. If you miss it again in the man­ner you have been for the en­tire week, your del­i­ca­cies will be re­placed with food you wouldn’t want to put into your mouth. So, think be­fore you de­cide not to make it there.”

dragged my tired feet up to the room to take a shower. Un­for­tu­nately, I was late for my med­i­ta­tion ses­sion. I tried to hurry, but my phys­i­cal ache wouldn’t per­mit me to make swift move­ment. As I was about to reach the door it opened. Dr Arin stood there with anger clearly vis­i­ble on his face. I made an ef­fort to move, he stood but didn’t aid. He ac­com­pa­nied me silently to the au­di­to­rium where they had al­ready be­gun with the med­i­ta­tion. I joined in but couldn’t man­age to sit on the floor. Bear­ing the un­bear­able I rested my rear end and tried to med­i­tate along with the rest.

Later, I re­luc­tantly made it to the din­ner hall. This was pos­si­bly the first time I had made it here. I wasn’t very pleased with the food and was about to keep my empty plate back in its place.

“So, would you like to have bit­ter gourd juice?” Arin ap­peared from nowhere and asked with the glass of bit­ter drink in his hand.

I re­joined the queue to get food. I set­tled alone

Some­body kissed my fore­head. I didn’t know whether I should have opened my eyes and checked. “You re­ally love her…don’t you, Arin?” I heard a fe­male voice. The per­son who kissed me was Dr Arin.

and ate just to avoid drink­ing bit­ter drinks. He kept an eye from a dis­tance. I felt lonely while oth­ers merged and chitchat­ted with each other. Once I was done I headed to my room. Medicines lay on the bed with a bar of choco­late be­sides. I had both around up for the day. I couldn’t re­ally make my­self fall sleep. Af­ter a while I heard whis­pers. Though it was dark I sensed two peo­ple get­ting in my room. I pre­tended to re­main asleep.

ome­body kissed my fore­head. I didn’t know whether I should have opened my eyes and checked.

“You re­ally love her…don’t you, Arin?”

I heard a fe­male voice. The per­son who kissed me was Dr Arin.

“Yes, mom. Do you think she will re­cover?”

“You have over­turned hun­dreds of lives and you are ask­ing such a ques­tion? This is not even a se­vere case.”

“Yes. But I didn’t have an emo­tional con­nect with oth­ers. For me they were just my pa­tients. She is my love. I want her to be hale and hearty.”

“Thank you, son, for look­ing af­ter my child.”

Now that was my mother. So there were three peo­ple in to­tal be­sides me in the room.

“Thank you, aunty, for trust­ing me.”

“Arin, are you sure you want to keep her here? She is sta­ble enough to go back and re­cover at home.”

“I know that. But the prob­lem is not just the ail­ment. She has lost the de­sire to put ef­forts in the task she un­der­takes , she hates peo­ple and their pres­ence, her ab­nor­mal crav­ings for sex still ex­ist. In the past two years I have seen her life crash closely. I couldn’t help then and found my­self help­less. I don’t want things to turn worse and wish for her re­cov­ery. I am sorry, aunty, for be­ing strin­gent with her. I know I am not sup­posed to. But it seems to be work­ing in a pos­i­tive way and not do­ing any harm.”

“I wouldn’t in­ter­fere with your treat­ment. It is your pick and I will re­spect your de­ci­sion.”

I was dis­turbed with the alarm sound. Ap­pears like I slept while they were in the mid­dle of their con­ver­sa­tion . I put it on snooze only to be pushed down from the bed. The fall awak­ened the aches be­fore wak­ing me from my slum­ber.

“Get ready for the morn­ing stroll in the woods. Quick.” It was Arin again. “I am not going.” “I didn’t ask you if you are.”

“Good­night”. I slept once again. He called the nurses.

“I am fully aware that you won’t be do­ing it.” “I will prove you wrong.” They almost po­si­tioned me for the ther­apy. I agreed to lis­ten be­fore he ap­proached to com­mence. Af­ter groom­ing I headed to the ground. Amidst strangers I felt un­com­fort­able. I stood sleeply. I was still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pain from yes­ter­day’s work­out. I wasn’t sure if I could walk. Right be­fore I re­versed my foot­steps to my room Arin showed up. So, I had to pace along with the other pa­tients. Sur­pris­ingly, Arin walked along with me. He was quiet which made it awkard. I felt strange walk­ing with a man who loved me even though I didn’t. He ap­peared friendly to­day. Half­way I stopped.

“I can’t walk….my an­kles hurt.”

Luck­ily, he didn’t ar­gue and agreed.

I sat in my room on the bed with my legs crossed, un­sure of my day ac­tiv­i­ties. I knew he was com­ing at 9 for his daily round.

“So how are you to­day? Feel like lift­ing and toss­ing things around?” he asked.

I kept quiet. He con­tin­ued ask­ing ques­tions. I replied by nod­ding my head. “You re­ally want ET?” “I didn’t do any­thing now.” “That is the prob­lem.” “What?” He handed me my medicines. A nurse called him out, so he had to leave mid­way. While I was hav­ing the medicines I hid two be­neath the pil­low out of the three handed to me.

“You want to meet your mother?” “Yes.” “Got to take medicines first.” “I did.” “Good if you did. This was your last chance. Now, you will see her face the day you will be dis­charged,” he said and was about to leave.

“I will have them. Please don’t do that.”

He re­turned. I took the hid­den pills be­fore he asked me to.

“I won’t rec­tify my words in the man­ner you did your ac­tions.” he sat next to me. “That’s not fair.” “Tell me your ac­tiv­ity for the day.”

“You call mom inside first.”

“Sis­ter, take her to the art room.”

“I am not going any­where.”

“We have ways to get our or­ders done.” “I can’t paint.” “Yes­ter­day, you said you couldn’t run.” “But I re­ally can’t.” “What do you want to do?” “Li­brary.” “Okay.” He left.

y days at the centre were sched­uled. The day com­menced with a stroll in the woods fol­lowed with ac­tiv­ity at the recre­ational centre and ses­sions with the doc­tor. Ob­vi­ously, mine was Arin. Evenings were al­lot­ted for phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and ended with med­i­ta­tion. Af­ter din­ner we wound up for the day. We had no ac­cess to tele­vi­sion and other gad­gets. We were only per­mit­ted to lis­ten to mu­sic in our spare time. Sun­day

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