I thought a lot about writing on the mental health scenario in India. After quite a lot of digging and research, I realised I had no good news to offer. What’s the point of recounting the lacunae when the whole system is an abyss all by itself?
It led me to the realisation that matters have in general, gone downhill, since I passed out as a fresh psychiatrist 16 years ago. On this forum, I try to restrict my rants. So I thought I’ll share a few of my own experiences that range from outrageously hilarious to mundane tragedies.
I didn’t know I was going to be studying a subject that will break my parent’s fragile heart. They didn’t ask much from me, except that I scored top ranking in either the premedical exam or the pre engineering. All they wanted in return was bragging rights. They wanted to be able to tell their friends how they raised perfect topper kiddos.
Alas, I went and dashed their dreams by taking up Psychiatry. My mother feebly told people I was studying at the hallowed Maulana Azad Medical College of Delhi, but suppressed the vital information that I was neither going to be a surgeon, nor a gynaecologist.
People who knew the horrid secret, warned my parents that it will be difficult finding a match for a woman Psychiatrist. Dire predictions were made about Psychiatrists losing their marbles from the backbreaking work of interpreting dreams. My parents knew Psychiatrists haven’t been interpreting dreams since the last ice-age, but they were never averse to perpetuating stereotypes. It helps build up a certain parent-victimhood.
Strangely, I was not finding it difficult to negotiate my way in our very organized marriage market. I don’t think our military is half as disciplined as our marriages, we have column after column of choices, all neatly segregated and classified. Open any matrimonial page or website and look at the inventory on display. Make a list of potential husbands and start meeting them one by one. Meeting them all at once is so last season, swayamvar is passé.