August 27, 2004

Chasing equanimity

Last week we went to the psychiatrist. Its a monthly visit-these days. After coming out of the clinic, we saw a man sitting on the kerb, with a basket on his lap. He stood out because of the way he dressed. He was from the countryside. Looking at him, I was so sure that the basket with the lid would have a snake. It did. When I asked him he opened it and predictably a huge, spectacled, black cobra uncoiled itself, spread its hood and hissed threateningly. I felt suddenly happy for watching the man and his snake, brought back pleasant childhood memories when life moved at a slower pace and snake charmers were a common sight. As the man explained how he made a living with the snake, occasionaly selling its venom, he struck such a contrast to the chaotic traffic behind him. Later as we were coming home, my daughter remarked as to how the man seemed so content despite his choice of leading a life where he couldn't be sure of earning enough for his next meal.
As I thought over her words I wondered if that man had achieved or was blessed with that rare quality of equanimity, where he could exist in peace amidst the chaos. The wise ascetics and the ancient scriptures urge us to stay calm in this eternally changing world. With schizophrenia in our lives the magnitude of turbulence in our lives, at times, is at unimaginable levels. It is so difficult to always stay calm, it is so difficult to love and yet stay detached, so difficult to give while overcoming the desire for a return...the list is endless. Perhaps some are blessed and for some, well- they have to take different paths to achieve that state.
I hope and pray the over-conscientious wild-life authorities do not ever catch that snake charmer and imprison him.

Thank you for your comments
Dear Moeder,
How I wish books such as the one you mentioned, �The Day the Voices Stopped a Memoir of Madness and Hope� by Ken Steele and Claire Berman are available here. Our country has over ten million people battling schizophrenia and it is so difficult to get a book on this illness, even in New Delhi-its capital. I read Fuller Torrey's 'Surviving Schizophrenia' only this May after I borrowed it from the courageous boy, who is battling this illness - I met on this site. He is twenty years old, ordered this book from an Indian site which is akin to Amazon, now no longer functioning and has also read it. Few in India, would have read this book for its not available and even if it is, for the ones who have this illness it must be disturbing to read all that is written. Currently, there is only one book on this illness which is written by an Indian psychiatrist this year.
My prayers are with you, Cassie and your family.

Posted by survivor at August 27, 2004 02:35 AM


Dear Mother & Survivor,

Can you e-mail me at!

If you do e-mail me, please be sure to include in your subject area your identity as "Indian Mother from" Otherwise I may delete the message without reading it.


Posted by: Moeder at September 12, 2004 08:25 PM

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