>> Sunday, March 20, 2011
Mentally subnormal people are happy. This is what I have seen in my practice .In clinical medicine, there are many conditions where we link this phenomenon to illnesses. Mongols are universally acclaimed to be happy . And that is considered to be part of their clinical spectrum. Whenever I see them in the clinic, they smile at me, even at the extremes of their illness and suffering. They have fewer expressions other than happiness. They smile through their tears.I always used to think that the life of a mentally subnormal is like that of a caterpillar in a cocoon, never having the chance to grow to a butterfly and fly.
The more intelligent always find reasons to be unhappy. There are innumerable reasons in life. We only have to find reasons to be happy. The rest is all for unhappiness.
I had known Marwan (Not his real name) from the time I joined this hospital . He was very short and morbidly obese with very short arms and legs. In his traditional Arabic dress, he used to look like a penguin flipping around. He would walk very fast, as if he were very busy at something .I had seen him panting when he walked around the corridors, but he would never stop. He had bronchial asthma to start with, and would come to me for treatment, and that is how I became friendly with him .I always used to think that he was mentally subnormal. But the interesting thing was that he could communicate in English language. With his broken English, combined with many unique gestures, he could easily put messages across to me that I could understand.
We had evening clinics those days and he would come to the clinic to chat when the clinic was free. And slowly he tried to make a friendship with me .He would tell me many stories of his adventures to impress up on me. He must have been around thirty years of age at that time .He had married four times and divorced all of them because “they were not good enough”( Actually they all had left him, from what I came to know later).So he was on the lookout for a better girl. And that is when he started telling me stories of his Dubai trips. During weekends, he would go to Dubai, where his friends would take him to 'wonderful ' girls. And I asked him “for what?”
“ Jig Jiga” was the answer
That was something which was not in my dictionary
I asked him again. He said again “Jig Jiga”, this time with some gestures to show me what it was, and I got the message. I had thought when I met him first,that the gods must have been in a very non generous mood when he was created.He had neither the looks or the brains. But then,if he was gifted with something,this must be it!
He said he would’ Jig Jiga’ five and six times over the week end. I was surprised at his skills and secretly admired him for his capabilities .And then he would go in to the finer details of his activities, to which I was not much interested. Anyway, he convinced me that he was a very capable man, when it came to matters of sexual activity.
During one of his trips looking for a wife, he got married to a girl from Hyderabad and brought her to this place. He would hide her from outsiders .It was a week after he brought her that she fell ill and I was asked to see her .I was really sad when I found that the woman had a serious heart problem needing urgent surgery. She was incapable of even looking after herself. Someone had cheated him, extracting money from him and had got him married to her. Marwan was really angry when he heard the news. With the background stories of his Dubai trips, I could understand his desperation. He promptly divorced her and sent her back home.
Over the following few years Marwan became progressively ill. He was found to have a heart condition which didn’t have much treatment. His heart was enlarged but weak to pump, and he was admitted with serious shortness of breath and had to be placed on ventilator. It was when I was trying to pass a urinary catheter that I was taken in for surprise. He had a rudimentary genital which was hardly visible. His testicles were atrophic and I guessed he would be impotent, for sure.
Marwan was always happy. I had never seen him sad or depressed . He fabricated stories out of his fantasies. And he lived in a fantasy world which he had made for himself. Even in conditions of serious illnesses, he never gave me any trouble, instead, entertained me with his fantasy stories when he was comfortable enough to speak.
Feelings and desires can easily mislead us since they have nothing to do with wisdom or logic.Our emotions tug at us to give way to fantacies and longings that were not meant to be.I often wonder about the way people deal with their personal problems for which there are no actual solutions.Being depressed and angry at the world is one way.We can make others feel miserable too. To convert the problems to be reasons for happiness for others,is another way,but nearly impossible.