Raju lived in small sleepy remote village on the outskirts of Kolkata. He could barely read or write but he knew everyone in the village by their name. He worked as a compounder at the almost dilapidated but functional village hospital, and used to usher patients to the doctor. ‘Roshan’, Kanahiya, ‘Lata Devi’, he would shout with enthusiasm. Often, he would forget the order of their arrival, but used his best judgement to maintain a decorum.
After long days of toil, he would spend the nights at the hospital, comforting the admitted patients. He was always engaged in a chit-chat, many a times he went sleepless all through the night.
One day, a medical camp was set up at the village hospital and a very renowned doctor from the city came over to consult the villagers. Raju knew he was in good health, but he couldn’t resist the opportunity to consult the esteemed doctor.
Eagerly, he arrived early at the hospital early and got the doctor’s undivided attention. Intrigued, the asked him several questions about his childhood, family, work, and friends. Convinced of his well-being, Raju dismissed any symptoms in response to doctor’s questions. A little restless, but touched by Raju’s simplicity, the doctor wrote a prescription and recommended future visits to the city. Raju felt extremely elated and thought to himself, “Doctor sahib has invited me to meet him in the city’, how lucky I am!” Triumphantly, he ogled at his prescription entire day and clutched it like a certificate of achievement from a renowned doctor.
Throughout the day, Raju was exceptionally cheerful with all patients but made sure anyone doesn’t disturb the doctor. Whenever doctor spent an extra moment with someone, he felt a tinge of jealousy and subtly signaled them to conclude swiftly. In the evening, he expressed profuse gratitude to the doctor, escorted him to his car and bid a heartfelt goodbye. Later, filled with enthusiasm, he narrated the day’s events to all the patients admitted at the hospital. Unable to sleep, he didn’t stop talking entire night.
The hospital, primarily a day care center, possessed a few empty beds. Due to lack of adequate infrastructure, overnight admissions had ceased long ago. All villagers were aware of this fact, perhaps Raju as well. But that didn’t bother him. The prescription he held with pride, as a coveted certificate indicated an advanced case of schizophrenia.
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