Aroma of cumin seeds turning golden spread in the lanes from windows of a grand mansion which stood on the rusty lanes of an Indian town. The chatter in the house proclaimed its prosperity and the royalty was evident from its giant entrance. On a fine Sunday afternoon, the dining table was set, the kith and kin embellished the chairs , the only thing being awaited was food!
From the kitchen area you could hear a hasty voice calling, “Deep-ae, Deep-ae!”. The sense of domination in those calls entitled the person being called as the house help who had to serve the family and be every ready at the beck oftheir calls. The tinkling anklets resonating with those authoritative calls darted the acceptance that the young daughter in law had accomplished . It also created an image of Deep-ae in the mind of the spectators; a young man in his twenties who went running even to the mock calls of kids being their source of recreation, his shoulders burdened by the coarse red cloth which symbolised favours he had been getting from this family and the debts that he had to repay.
The entry of Deep-ae in the kitchen leaves spectators perplexed as he is nothing as you would imagine! A man with grey hair, in his seventies stood obediently before the young daughter in law, scared by her calls. His ears were trained robotically to listen and interpret every command he received. To the mercy of spectators stood a feeble old man with the string of his loose – fitting pyjamas hanging out bluntly , his meek frame hardly supporting the weight of chinaware he held. The kids in the family found a constant source of entertainment in Deep-ae and one of those naughty throng came running towards him and pulled the string.
The family could hear the broken chinaware, the spectators could hear the broken dignity and somewhere deep down inside Deep-ae could hear that insult.
Meet Mr.Deep Chand Jain one of the two heirs of Shri. Pratap Chand Jain and the owner of half of the grand mansion property worth crores of rupees. A rare mental disorder had caused degeneration of neurons and gifted him the life he was leading. He could understand, but couldn’t interpret. He could feel but couldn’t think. He certainly couldn’t express. He was there with all working senses but no sense of perception and nil interpretation. He was the owner of the house in which he led a life worse than servants. Impairment of brain deprives an individual of his individuality. The story of Deep Chand Ji , the wealthy owner of crores who rejoiced the one rupee coins he got while he begged was at the mercy of the entire town except his own family who saw him as a mere body and not a soul.
Many like him have impersonated Mental Retardation before I have on a stage and perhaps strained their nerves in the overwhelming situation as I have while watching them since childhood during those oft-attended plays. It has accommodated my hypothalamus, dominated my emotions and enveloped my heart ever since. Exploration in this field with substantial inputs of scientific achievements ought to be the current research boom. Stem Cell Therapy holds a faithful potential, has found success and can be a revolution from the people, for the people and has to be made by the people.
When the curtain falls, most of us will be silent spectators, unaware and distant; while elsewhere disintegrating individuality and loss of life though alive asks for a cure of the dignity of mental patients often crushed beneath the red velvet.
contributed by Aakriti Jain