It was lovely weather. The torrential downpour late in the night paved way for a tranquil morning with a gentle breeze, overcast sky, and a wayward raindrop falling every now and then. The atmosphere was a sea of tranquillity. The patient sat on the floor at the foot of his bed. Legs folded, eyes closed, he embodied the tranquillity all around him. Had I met him somewhere else, I would have taken him as the source of the serene atmosphere. But this was a mental institute.
I saw a man scampering like a dog with his tail between his legs. Having walked similarly a few minutes ago myself, I knew the reason for his unusual gait. But his robes piqued my interest; a patient was allowed to roam outside after sunset.
“Hey, how come you’re here?” I inquired.
“Ahhhh, sweet God, I needed that. Are you happy now?” he said with a sharp tone.
We’re All Equal
Meeting a patient confined by a straitjacket was strangely appealing. It was the first time my erstwhile idea of a patient in a mental institute came alive. Despite the synchrony between my mental picture and the patient in front of me, I trod cautiously. Unpredictability was the only certainty within these walls.
“Hi there! Mind if I have a word with you?”
The patient stopped pacing and turned to face me. Her eccentric braids flew and whipped her throat. The sound of a flagellant’s instrument echoed through the sombre quarters, her purple lips stretching in a sinister smile. I gulped.
“Hi, there,” I greeted with the best smile I could manage.
“What do you want?” The words were intermixed with a sigh. The night outside the cell was intrusive, silent.
“I’m just going around visiting patients for a project, to know about the…their…um.”
“Madness,” he said turning towards me. The springy bed didn’t make any sound as he turned, doing its bit to make the room dingier.