Chronic manifestations of social ill health

 Suchitra had been to twenty different doctors. One doctor thought she suffered from schizophrenia, another thought she was obese, a third thought she was just sheer lazy, a fourth asked her to cut down on fatty foods, the fifth had told her to get a treadmill, the sixth had referred her for gall bladder and uterus removal, the seventh had referred her to a homeopath, the eighth had suggested that she was going through menopause and just had to ‘live through it’, the ninth had told her that she suffered from a rare condition that was yet to formally receive a name, the tenth had prescribed her medications to be taken twice every week, every alternate month, for the rest of her life. The other ten had been varying combinations of the first ten.

These visits had left her feeling dissatisfied and uncomfortable. Life wasn’t all black and white according to Suchitra. She didn’t want people like doctors labeling her and classifying her and saying she had a syndrome. Suchitra had wanted to find at least one doctor who would diagnose her problem accurately. She wanted this one doctor who would ask her a series of supposedly weird and random questions after which he or she would suddenly make the mother of all diagnoses – the diagnosis that would explain Suchitra’s problems. Sadly this diagnosis had not yet come about, about so Suchitra was never healed.

The diagnosis she craved for without knowing it was that she suffered from a superiority complex. Suchitra wanted a doctor to tell her in no uncertain terms that she had a genetic tendency to developing a superiority complex which had also been greatly exacerbated in her situation by the environmental conditioning. Suchitra’s grandparents, parents and other relatives, had suffered from a range of manifestations of this condition – sometimes full blown and debilitating, sometimes just mildly disabling. Suchitra’s father had been so full of himself that he refused to talk to many of the people around his neighbourhood. He vicariously maintained the house spotlessly clean through his wife and daughter aka Suchitra.

Suchitra had imbibed many of his characteristics. She meticulously applied his principles at her work place. Her office was spic and span. She made sure the ayahs and attenders kept her office and her desk spotlessly clean at all times. She threw a mother of all tantrums if the class D office staff weren’t anything but busy during office hours and a few hours extra each day. She prided herself for being a strict disciplinarian and had received rave appreciation from her other friends working in similar positions in similar other offices. “Suchi, how do you manage to keep your office so clean?’ was a constant refrain from her friends. Suchi had explained to her friends over several clean and simple vegetarian meals, the secret of her approach. “Always maintain your distance from the staff’ she would say as she stuffed rice and sambar and palya into her mouth. ‘ The staff should not feel that you are their friend. They should feel that you control their jobs. They should have some fear of you and always remember who the boss is’. Suchi had suspended one of the workers a few months ago. She had also replaced some of the workers.

At home she maintained a great deal of order. She and her parents lived together and they believed that the home was symbolic of one’s mind. They felt that a scrupulously clean home meant a scrupulously clean mind. A clean mind would not let the day to day issues such as dirt and uncleanness to pollute it. To keep one’s mind pollution free Suchitra and her parents constantly meditated. They worked hard to keep the dirt of the outside world exactly where it belonged – outside.

In the meantime her symptoms were beginning to bother her a wee bit. She hated doctors. She hated that different hands touched and probed her. She therefore made it a point to meet only her kind. It wasn’t really the best of experiences, but……………….

Finally she had met a psychologist who had put her on a couch. The couch was nothing more than a sofa with a few pillows, but Suchitra let herself be led to it and made to lean back. The psychologist began to probe…………mentally. Gently the psychologist began to explore Suchitra’s past. Beyond the superiority complex, to the netherworlds where souls and conscience exists. The psychologist engaged with Suchitra for a long time. Finally she made out her report.

Suchitra suffers from a chronic superiority complex. Suchitra has been exposed to a long period of insensitivity in her family, which has hitherto been undiagnosed and untreated. This has brought about irreversible damage to Suchitra’s mental health. She is unable to identify with a larger cause, her vision is narrow and limited to herself, she does not care about people beyond what they do for her. Suchitra goes through acute bouts of social  exclusivity and superiority. She lacks empathy and has a high level of tolerance bordering on intolerance towards situations requiring empathy, kindness and moral values. Suchitra is unable to perform simple tasks such as differentiating between good and bad and right and wrong. On the morality score she scores around 2 which is even less than a 7 year old child.

As therapy, the psychologist had suggested that Suchitra engage herself with marginalized communities, spending time with them, understanding and listening to them. She was advised to see the world through a different lens.

On hearing this Suchitra point blank refused. Her mother was furious with the psychologist and accused her of being one of ‘those’ people. Her father maintained a tight lipped silence as he drove Suchitra home.

Suchitra began to do yoga. Her mother prepared traditional home made kashaya for her everyday made out of pure vegetarian ingredients. Her father vicariously got the house even cleaner than before.

Unfortunately for her, she has a vague social malady the only solution to which is exposure to dust and poverty and suffering and hunger and sadness. Lacking this exposure Suchitra continues to languish……… in her spotless, empty, vegetarian home………….

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