City Life – Fleeing from Nightmares, Jacobpura
On “unsolvable mind problems”.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
They can do nothing but wait. The “Baba” will return to his home here in Gurgaon’s Jacobpura—in the Greater Delhi Region—only in another hour or so. He is away for work. Brij Kishore, the young patient, has come with mother, Ramrati, to get some specialised treatment (they call it jhaara) from the mystic man they are referring to as Baba.
“We were told by a neighbour’s relative that Baba treats people with unsolvable mind problems,” says Ramrati. It is a sunny afternoon and the mother and son are slouched under a peepal tree, close to Baba’s home. Brij Kishore is lying with eyes closed on the chabutara (cement platform) under the peepal; Ramrati is slumped on the dusty ground, quietly looking about the buzz on the street in front of her.
Natives of Hardoi in UP, they live in a rented room in Sector 4. “My son is a labourer but he has been suffering from terrifying dreams since some time,” confides Ramrati, adding that he is not able to sleep due to that reason.
“At one time he had fever and headache but those problems went away after getting golis (pills) from a sarkari (government) doctor.”
The nightmares aren’t going away.
Now Brij Kishore opens his eyes and slowly gets up. He narrates the previous night’s dream in which he was stranded in a dust storm and “I myself was in fire.”
He had woken up screaming and his body was sweating. “Though it was a very cold night,” the mother recalls.
The disturbing visions have been haunting the man for about six months and “I’m not even able to work well.”
In fact, he hasn’t worked for weeks and the mother is obliged to draw money from her savings to meet the daily expenses.
They are hopeful about the Baba’s jhaara. The son again lies down and closes his eyes. “If his dreams continue to come, we will go back to Hardoi,” she says resolutely.
Tortured by dreams