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Shrink time

By Nickunj Malik - Aug 15,2018 - Last updated at Aug 15,2018

The wonderful and scientific world that we live in these days, is giving us longer, and pain-free lives as most of our diseases can be diagnosed and treated by the innate skills of physicians and surgeons. London is a city especially popular as a healthcare hub, where scores of ill people troop in, on a regular basis. The doctors are exceptionally brilliant and have a cure for almost all the bodily ailments.

There is no dearth of psychologists and psychiatrists here too. The shrinks, as they are commonly called in colloquial slang, are people who look after our mental well-being. So if one is suffering from depression, melancholy, despair or an unexplained bout of sadness, one seeks them out.

I was always intrigued with the idea of visiting a shrink. The closest I have ever come to one is via a Woody Allen movie. For some reason, a majority of his films have scenes that are shot in a shrink’s chamber. The doctor usually sits behind a desk while the patient, sort of, reclines on a couch-like sofa. In this posture, the specialist listens to the constant chatter that pours forth from the sufferer. Occasionally, he jots down notes on a writing pad or if the prattle subsides, he prods the talker with some pertinent queries.

I liked this portrayal of psychologists, I really did. I mean, I lived in a house where nobody had the time or inclination to listen to my complaints. And here was a person whose sole occupation was to hear me speak. I could not contain my excitement and was eager to meet with one of them. All I needed was an appropriate ailment that could assist me in getting an appointment.

I am not really an unhappy person so depression was ruled out. I do not have much patience for melancholia and sadness also, but I do call myself a perfectionist and like to keep my home and hearth spotlessly neat and clean. I do not think that is a negative quality but if I presented it as an obsessive compulsive disorder then maybe the doctor would give me that much needed chatter session on the couch.

Moreover, I was fascinated with both the words obsession and compulsion. The former means being continuously preoccupied with a fixed idea, feeling or emotion and the latter is an irresistible urge to behave in a particular manner despite the consequences. I was actually totally charmed with this description. The only negative was the term “disorder” associated with it.

Next day I called up the clinic and fixed an appointment with the consultant. At the scheduled hour I presented myself at the hospital. The doctor made me sit in front of his desk and excused himself to answer the phone.

I observed that his table was overflowing with knick-knacks. Before I could stop myself, I started the tidying by placing the magazines in a neat pile, the scattered stationary in the pen-stand and the disposable coffee cups in the trashcan. 

“What are you doing?” asked the doctor rushing back.

“Putting things in order,” I answered.

“Your work station was very messy,” I informed him.

“It was my mess,” the shrink announced loftily.

“But it was on my side of the table,” I countered.

“Confirmed OCD,” he diagnosed suddenly.

“You or me?” I muttered under my breath.

“What did you say?” his voice was shocked. 

“Nothing! I have to go,” I said, beating a hasty retreat.

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Comments

Lovely spoof on the pretenders, who claim to understand the complexities of the human mind and more so,to treat it. Imagine!

A good ol' cuddly granny cricket clacking her knitting needles while listening to outpourings, with an occasional hmm, aah, ir a raised quizzical eyebrow did the job much better.

The next best is to just lend an ear. The mind heals itself once the vitriol is expelled.

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