Washing the grime
away, Agra style
Agra Mental Hospital is not the same. Between July 1 and July 6, the green
of the trees and the brown of the earth have become a shade darker. The
monsoon has finally baptised the lands with its holy water.
And with the water, and Dr SK Gupta’s suspension, the hospital has
been washed of all sins and vices. Everyone says there was no malaise
to begin with, save for Dr Gupta. He was the source of all evil, the epitome
of villainy — an “antisocial”, a “psychopath”…
a “niggard”, “irresponsible”, “selfish”
to the core.
And yet, in the eight years of his service, incredulously, no one really
came to know him — “Woh to doosri side baithte the”;
he “never socialised” — except for attending the occasional
dos and the seminars; “had uncomfortable relationships with everyone”.
Says one doctor, with discernible anger for the camera, “Everybody
is abusing him; we want him to be punished. It is because of him the world
perceives our hospital, today, as the den of criminals.” Another
adds, “He was always frivolous: never came for duty on time.”
It seems, with the rains, other practitioners at the Agra Mental Asylum
have washed their hands of a colleague — and there is a race to
reach the finish line first. Everything from eating habits to way of speech
is being picked on.
On the evening the story broke, an old nurse exclaimed in front of television
crews: “Gupta used to eat away the food meant for patients”;
“He never spent any money” was another male nurse’s
take. A senior doctor told this reporter, “His language was improper
for someone in his position.”