Curse or Civilization: A Story by Amrita Mallik

Binay, Badal, Dinesh…

Sri Ramkrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Mirabai, Sarada Devi..

Soldiers and martyrs…

I am neither of these yet I am paying heavily merely to exist.. Do I need to glorify living?
Isn’t the human already entitled to a decent living?

As we are nearing to observing World Mental Health Day on 10th October, I question the universal right to mental health.

Not only freedom fighters, but every day someone is paying the price for freedom. Surprisingly, with the explosion of technology, knowledge and all other advancements, human life isn’t turning simple. It’s becoming more complex than ever. How strange that without the abundant inventions, an individual could breathe, smile and live in earlier times!

Mental health is still a taboo. No matter your degrees, certificates and education, if you feel dejected, you are immediately pushed aside. It’s a hush-hush topic. While a woman’s weapons are supposed to be adjustment and compromise, a man must be stoic and ‘fearless’! Other genders are still invisible. Even children are kept outside this. However, health is both physical and mental. One cannot thrive without the other. And, it doesn’t see any gender or age.

Is it the curse of civilization that humans cannot patiently listen to each other? Why is that only an extremity can stir them? Even a doctor cannot recognize (deliberately?!) the characteristics of deteriorating mental health! For the shame of a divorced daughter, a mother advises her to be silent and sacrificial. Another man has to fake love, and adjust with his wife- just for the sake of his parents! And, in the tussle between the spouses, the child loses confidence. But then, it’s the sole responsibility of his mother to be ever-smiling and pretend to be alright.

The generational trauma is carried forward. And, the unhealed parents raise up another human being in their image. Then there is physical abuse. Emotional. abuse in the name of discipline and encouragement rules supreme in most houses. Education isn’t free. It doesn’t cater to the exact demands of the children and need of the hour. These have continued since ages, and are still glorified and celebrated.

The mass slaughter (generally without bloodshed) is a prized possession of the society. But, some are raising voices against the injustice. Some are practicing what they preach. Yet, the surging cost of counseling aggravates the situation. It’s just not possible to pay around ₹2,000 per session! Even after paying back with interests, we are still shackled.

And, then, we claim to be free and independent. Apparently, the colonial rule have been ousted but it still peeps through every mortal. The sheer joy of dominance, power and control cannot be ignored.