Amartya stared at the beautiful girl sitting opposite her. Something
was terribly wrong with the girl who was so alive and yet looked
so dead. Amartya picked up the case file lying on the desk and
Patient Name: Shivani Ghose, age 25.
“Hello Shivani, I am Dr. Amartya John, your psychiatrist. How
She hoped she would get an answer. But Shivani’s face was
blank and her eyes stared into space. Who had done this to the
poor girl? Dr. Amartya sighed. Shivani was her responsibility now.
She would start treatment on the girl and bring back life in those
lifeless eyes. Shivani had to become normal again. She had been
admitted in a case of suicidal depression. Amartya closed the file
and rung the bell.
“Sister Maya, take Shivani to her room. And cancel the rest of
my appointments for today.”
She opened the case file again. There were very few details
given in the file. It just mentioned name, age and address. What
had happened in Shivani’s life?
She had seen something in Shivani’s lifeless eyes. An expression
she couldn’t decipher. Was it hope of seeing someone? What was
it? She was not sure.
But she would find out whatever it was that she had seen. She
had to find out and she would. She got up and started pacing the
Dr. Amartya was feeling restless and she hated the feeling. Why
was this case bothering her so much? All these years she had been
able to maintain good control over her emotions while practicing
her profession. How was this case any different to her?
Shivani had been admitted last week for attempting suicide. It
was a clear case of depression. As a psychiatrist, in the last ten years
she had treated many patients suffering from mental disturbance
Depression cases had increased over the years. Social and work
pressure had resulted in the increase in the number of patients
suffering from severe depression. Patients usually rambled on
about the past or spoke about irrelevant things as if in a trance or
stuck in a particular period of time. But Shivani was not responding
at all. Shivani too was in a trance and she refused to speak or react.
The girl had gone into a deep shell of silence. It was a self imposed
silence. A silence that reflected immense hurt and sorrow…
Who had hurt the girl so much that she had lost interest in life?
Sister Maya had told her that Shivani hadn’t eaten anything for
three or four days and had fainted at her residence. She had been
admitted to the hospital in a very bad condition. Shivani’s silence
troubled her. The case had first been handled by the General
Practitioner, Dr. Rao who had put her on drip immediately. Within
the next two days Shivani had looked okay but the doctor was
surprised when Shivani did not speak or answer him.
It was then that the hospital had called up Aparna Mistry,
the girl who had admitted Shivani. But Aparna hadn’t disclosed
much information and the case file was almost blank with just a
few comments by the General Practitioner. The previous reports
attached showed dehydration and weakness. The reports taken
yesterday were showing normal. No physical ailments except mild
She sat down and opened the case file again. She did not find
Aparna’s telephone number in it. She called the nurse.
“Sister Maya, weren’t you helping out Dr. Rao last week when
he was handling Shivani’s case?”
“Aparna was the girl who brought in Shivani to the hospital,
right? Could you get her contact number?”
“Yes, doctor. I can get it from the reception. She must have left
her contact number in the register.”
She decided to call up Aparna and see if she could get some
more information about Shivani.
Sister Maya returned in less than five minutes with a slip of
paper in her hand. “Doctor, this is the number.”
Amartya immediately dialled the number but there was no
response. Probably, Aparna hadn’t reached home yet. It was better
to try again later in the evening.
She got up and put the slip of paper in her bag and walked out
of the hospital building. It was a short walk to her resident quarters
where she lived.
On the way she wondered what it was about Shivani that was
bothering her so much. The case was just like any other case. But
still, somehow she felt more responsible and drawn towards the
She took a quick wash, had a light dinner and tried Aparna’s
number again. It was on the seventh ring that Amartya heard,
“Hello, is this Aparna Mistry? I am Dr. Amartya from the
“Oh! Doctor, is everything okay? I mean, is Shivani okay? Is
there any problem?” asked Aparna, concern visible in her voice.
“Shivani is better. But she is not normal. She hasn’t spoken
to anyone since she has been admitted. Shivani is under my care
now. I am her psychiatrist. I would be glad if you could reveal
some personal details about her. It would aid me in starting her
“Doctor, I did not reveal much to the GP the other day.
Somehow I felt Shivani will snap out of her silence and things will
be fine in a day or two. So I didn’t feel it necessary to give any
personal details that day. I can tell you all that I know about her.
Actually, we have been working in the same department for the
last two years.”
“Aparna, I am sorry to interrupt you. But would it be possible
for you to spare some time and come and meet me at the hospital
tomorrow? Or, do you want me to meet you outside somewhere? It
will be better if we meet personally and discuss the matter.”
“I will come to the hospital tomorrow, around 8 a.m. Will that
be okay doctor?”
“Yes, thanks Aparna. See you tomorrow then.”
Amartya disconnected the phone. So Shivani and Aparna were
colleagues and probably good friends too. Tomorrow she would get
to know some personal details about Shivani and she could start
her treatment. There had to be some reason for Shivani’s silence.
There were many questions troubling Amartya. Why had a
friend admitted Shivani? Didn’t the girl have parents? Was she
an orphan? Hopefully, Aparna would be able to clear her doubts
tomorrow. Amartya knew instinctively that the case was not as
simple as it seemed on the surface.