Friday, November 06, 2015


Father drove us to the mental hospital which was about twenty miles away from our place. He must have rung up and fixed an appointment.

We were ushered into the big doctor’s room - the young doctor and nurse were there, too.

“Come in, sir, and you, too, madam, come in and sit down. Ah, Doctor Krishna, is it! Yes, yes, we almost suspected it, rather spotted it. How do you do? Sit down and make yourself comfortable,” the big man said. Father was director of a big electronics research institute and was reasonably well known, and the doctor was being more than courteous.

There was shaking-hands and sitting-downs.

“You remember all of us, doctor, don't you,”he asked.

“Yes, yes,” I said.

“Why did you leave us, doctor; we were most worried and the police were bothering us,” he asked.

“You asked me to go to the zoo,” I replied.

“Ah, the joke, you took it seriously - and now,” he looked at me.

“And now,” interrupted the young doctor, “I see no joke. I too feel I must go there. Lots of things inside me! I see a hypocratumus right in that corner.”

Father and mother looked aghast at him.

“Stop it, doctor,” rebuked the big doctor, “you and your jokes. This is not the time for it. Now, let me see. Where was I? How do you feel, doctor Krishna?”

“I feel myself,” I said.

“Yes, yes, that's fine. Do you recognise your parents and all that?” he asked.

“Yes, I know them, now,” I said.

“Why did you call yourself Thimmy or whatever it was!” he asked.

“You called me Thimmy. I said I was stuck with Thimmy. I didn't call myself Thimmy,” I replied.

“Then who was Thimmy?” he asked.

“A cat ,” I said.

“Oh, alright, alright, how do you sleep?” he asked.

“Nicely, thank you and how do you,” I asked politely.

Someone giggled.

“Don't be rude, son,” admonished mother.

“That's alright, madam. I am accustomed to this. Now, how do you find him - I mean, at home - any trouble?” he asked.

“No, doctor, no trouble. He has always been a good boy. Only more so now. Sometimes, he says funny things. But we are so glad he has come back to us. Will he be alright?” asked mother.

“Keep an eye on him, madam. He will be alright, I think. But if there is any trouble you can see us. You can come by yourself, doctor. You are always welcome here,” he said.

“Please don't say that, doctor; you mean well, I know,” Mother pleaded.

Father hummed and hawed. “He is not fully himself, yet, doctor. Thank you for all you have done. Must be in the family, doctor. My wife’s - what!” he stopped as mother tugged at him furiously and changed the subject.

“Doctor, will my son be able to work as a doctor. He is our only son and you alone can help us. Any medicines to give,” she asked.

“Yes, yes - let me see, cactyl 3 tablets three times a day should do nicely and you can see me in 3 weeks time: A nice number, number three. And now, sir, if you would kindly sign this certificate it will clear us with the police.”

Father signed a document saying that he would be responsible for me.

Again hand- shakes.

“You are alright, aren’t you, doctor, Krishna, well keep well, so long, ta ta,” chuckled the big doctor.

“Alright, doctor,” I said, “Nothing left.”

There was another giggle: But the big man was accustomed to all this.

Father and mother went to collect cactyl. The young doctor followed me to the car.

“So you are a doctor. Glad to know you, doctor, Krishna, - but tell me, seriously, did you really see all those things and you really went to the zoo, and all that!” he was clutching at my sleeve.

“Yes,” I said. “I already told you that I can only see and hear things that I see and hear. How can I really see anything that is not really there?”

“Good God, you are right, my friend. I am getting scared. That big goat thinks I am joking when I say I see things, inside me, and in him, too - strange, strange changing things. That hippopotamus, with the wrongly spelt label - Hypocratumus - I saw it, and he thinks it is a joke,” he said. “I am getting the jitters. May be this damn place has infected me. Anyway, what did you do - you seem to understand many things. How did you get rid of them?”

“Oh, by simply not standing under them; not asking them silly questions like - are you real? They certainly jump at you. Won't you, if someone asked you if you were real? Or imaginary? And see, how sore you got when the hippo or the goat said it was a joke. Just get to know them, and someone said to be kind, and not want anything to do with them,” I replied.

“Gracious! I am getting frightened - and all the time, I thought patients were nuts and having hallucinations - now, I see they are poor things like me - like so many, perhaps, who do not know what to do with the things they see or hear,” he mused, “may be I don't even know what to do with things that all can see, and so I do not know what to do with things I alone can see. Did cactyl help you?” he asked.

“Ah” I said, “everything helps itself, I suppose. But, your kindness, doctor, and the kindness of all of you here, did something to me. You are kind and that is why, perhaps, these things come to you; and I am sure they will feel fine.”

“Can't say that I see clearly what you mean. But I feel fine talking to you! Fascinating! Lucky you came to us! And to think that I was your doctor, and you my patient! Pardon me for my wise-cracks at times. That silly joke, asking you to go to the zoo, and all the trouble you underwent. Let me call you, sometimes.” He took my hands in his.

“We both must be patient, doctor, not patients. The zoo is no joke, though. Doctor, you saved me. Shall I take cactyl?” I asked.

“You tell me, doctor, shall I take cactyl?” he asked.

I smiled and kept silent. Cactyl comes to me - it comes to become known by me - and I let kindness show its face - what a big houseful it is going to be!

Father and mother returned. They shook hands with the doctor, who introduced himself as Shankar.

“Thank you, doctor, you have been most kind - but please keep an eye on him, won't you? We are worried - no mental doctor in our town and we are so far away. Can we trouble you now and then?” implored mother.

“I shall certainly keep an eye on him, madam,” said Shankar, “and may I drop in once in a while to consult him?”

“Consult him!” Father said, “I see what you mean - thank you for being so encouraging to him and to us - please do come, doctor. We will be obliged and you should not worry about fees. I can even send the car down to fetch you. Here is our telephone numbers; though it is we who will be needing you.”

Mother, too, thanked Shankar profusely. “God bless you, doctor,” she said.

We got into the car. Father started the car. Shankar stood by.

“Give my regards to hypocratumus,” I said, “and be kind to him.”

Shankar’s face lighted up. “Thank you,” he said, “I will try!”

“Such nice young man, and he seems so fond of you, son,” said mother. “You will one day be like him and help so many people. Wants to consult you - wasn’t it wonderful the way he said it,” Mother was waving to Shankar.

Mother and father was beaming with smiles, at what I could not say.

“Take this cactyl, son, three times a day as doctor said, and you will be alright.”

“I like cactyl,” I said, “I shall look after it.”

Father looked at mother; Mother looked out of the window. She was forgetting to keep an eye on me.

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