Saturday, July 20, 2024

Anwara’s life

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Everyone in the house did not understand they will laughor they will cry

Anwara Begum is having a lot of trouble these days with her paraphrenia. But she can’t figure out the problem. Her belief is like that of schizophrenic patients, she is absolutely fine, she is not sick, but others do not understand him, do not believe him. She is very upset about this. She is hearing many things, seeing many things, smelling many things, tasting different things. Touching her husband, who died almost a century ago. No one believes him, and so now she has given up. She does not say anything to anyone except Paru.

A somewhat mixed reaction from the people at home. Someone is thinking, Anwara is making things up, someone is blaming her age, and two people are staying away because they are afraid that someone has caught her. One day when she woke up, she started screaming. Messy saree, hair, blood red eyes, got down from the bed and started saying, I kept the meat in the fridge because my son-in-law will come in two days, why are you eating it today? I thought I would cook with my own hands, who cooked it?

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Everyone in the house did not understand they will laughor they will cry. Again, many are bursting with anger, because the meat is still in the freezer in its raw state, no one even thought about cooking it. But Anwara is going to be angry, she is very angry. In paraphrenics the delirium is usually prolonged. Just at that moment Paru came. After hearing the matter from her cousin, she ran and took out the packet of raw meat from the fridge and gave it to Nanu and said, ‘Nanu does not have much time, there is a lot of work, go to the kitchen, cook the meat by yourself today.’ Nanu is still shouting, not hearing anything. At the end Paru handed over the packet of cold meat to Nanu and then Nanu Cool down. She looked at his hand with wide eyes, as if he didn’t understand anything. Looking at Paru with surprised eyes, she said, ‘You have bought it again now, right?’ Paru smiled and said, ‘Nanu it was in the fridge, see the ice is still frozen.’

Nanu: So I smelled that?

Paru: No, Nanu, you thought something wrong in your sleep, or dreamed something.

Nanu: What do you know? What is happening these days! I smelled clearly that the meat was being eaten with the paratha. If you eat them today, will anyone like my special meat the next day?

Paru: Leave it! See what I have brought for you!

Anwara is a very fancy person. She carefully made many things with his own hands, and when someone brought the materials to make them, he was delighted. That’s why sometimes Paru thinks to bring some things for Nanu. For example, at the time of eating Orange today she brought several oranges as for Nanu soon as she remembered, she brought with him all the five orange peels he had eaten for the last two days. Anwara makes her own face cream. For that she carefully dried orange peels for months. Then mix the dried peel with beeswax and other ingredients to make a nice scented face cream for herself. She made kajal herself. Even at the age of sixty-two, his milky white complexion radiates a bright glow. Paru has never seen such smooth and shiny skin on anyone else in his life. He is ashamed to see his own skin next to Nanu. The sixty-two-year-old Anwara’s skin is much more shiny and smooth than the skin of eighteenth Paru, which is still beautiful! Apart from making creams, kajals, Anwars carefully make various types of nakshikantha, nakshi pitha, various home decoration tools. No one in this house throws away the straw after drinking coke, washes it, takes care of it, gives it to Anwara. The old woman is very happy to receive them. They cut, design and make many kinds of fancy things! Again, red-blue colored cloth makes small pots, jugs, boats, fans, and more! Seeing them, not everyone could appreciate them at one time. Then one day Paru went to Arang and saw a bag exactly like Nanu’s made chaat bag. In Arang’s children’s section, she finds small kadais made of cloth, she reckons to herself, if Ish Nanu’s designs are ten out of ten, no one would give them more than a five out of ten. Why don’t they go to Nanu and learn!

From the point of view of heart, Anwara was always very fond but very childish. Around 1988, Paru was only 7 years old. Nana was still alive, Nanu didn’t have paraphrenia. Both Paru and Anwara dislike sleeping in the afternoon. After lunch, when everyone was taking a nap, Paru would quietly come up from the side of mother or aunt. In the courtyard of the Nanurbasa in the railway quarter, Nanu was making clay pots and small stoves for Paru. Paru would bring a handful of rice to the stove, cook rice, give that rice only to Nana and Nanu, and then she would eat it. At Nanu’s house there was a girl called ‘Taju’, a little older than Paru, to help Nanu in the work, in the afternoon she also participated in games with Paru and Nanu. There was another helper, her name was ‘Lily Apu’.

This Lily Apu loved Paru very much. After coming alone from the village, he also stayed with Nanu since childhood, worked, when he was seventeen-eighteen, there are younger siblings, mother at home, they need a lot of money. Nana found a job in garments for Lily Apu. She wakes up early in the morning and works in the garment, sends money to his family, and after the garment leave, comes to Nanu’s house, does the chores, eats and sleeps in this house. Paru loved both Lily Apu and Taju very much. He had not yet learned to discriminate, and the people of that house did not discriminate in anything and never did. Nana’s rule was that, after cooking, there would be mats spread all over the yard, there everyone in the house, including Lily Apu and Taju, would sit together and eat rice. Taju, a twelve-year-old daughter, would play a lot of games with Paru after doing the washing. In the afternoon, Sathi, Rekha, Dalia and others would come out from the surrounding quarters. They all used to play Gollachhoot, Saat Chara, Kumir Tor Jole nemechhi, Flower Tap and many other games! Stupid Paru used to pull a lot Nanu, But Nanu used to say, Can you run and play in a saree like this? At the end, because there is work in the garden, Nanu used to run away.

After playing, Paru would go to the garden to check what Nanu was doing. Nanu’s garden was full of different kinds of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Flowers, fruits, vegetables of all common names were in Anwara’s garden. He used to do all this alone, with only Paru or Taju giving a little help every now and then. Among the mangoes, there were three mango trees of three varieties in Nanu’s garden. Nanu’s work, which surprised the little Paru, was that Nanu used to catch Fazli mangoes on one side of the mango tree and Langra mangoes on the other side; Even though the leaves of a plum tree were covered with plums, Nanu Kulbarai was grafted on a branch. Paru’s paternal grandmother, Anwara, was fond and virtuous of such. After playing, Paru would go to the garden to check what Nanu was doing. Nanu’s garden was full of different kinds of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Flowers, fruits, vegetables of all common names were in Anwara’s garden. She used to do all this alone, with only Paru or Taju giving a little help every now and then. Among the mangoes, there were three mango trees of three varieties in Nanu’s garden. Nanu’s work, which surprised the little Paru, was that Nanu used to catch Fazli mangoes on one side of the mango tree and Langra mangoes on the other side; Even though the leaves of a plum tree were covered with plums, Nanu Kulbarai was grafted on a branch. Paru’s paternal grandmother, Anwara, was fond and virtuous of such.

Paraphrenic patients are quite neglected in our society. Their disease is not properly diagnosed, nor treated. The unfortunate truth is that most of the people we pass off as ‘crazy’ on the street are actually more or less schizophrenic or paraphrenic. They speak or behave incoherently. This is the symptom of their disease. Family and friends are most needed at this time to be by their side, to give them mental strength, to try to understand, to provide treatment. Avoiding it, or running away with the name ‘crazy’ is not humane. These mental illnesses are usually caused by a major physical or mental injury, fraud, or something incredible, and as I wrote in the previous chapter, neurological problems, brain tumors, or what else can cause these illnesses.

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