Earlier this year, I was in Bangalore on a brief vacation, eager to see India’s recent economic progress first hand. I was not disappointed—new flyovers, crowded shopping malls, gleaming glass buildings—the city was almost unrecognizable. One pleasant evening, I was sipping a particularly tart Mojito at one of Bangalore’s many new nightspots.
The place was packed—confident and hip young things milled...
Dr. Venkatesh, Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Department, had a thick mustache and a permanently disgruntled attitude.
“What is schizophrenia, I say?” he asked by way of greeting, as we stood in his small office, sweating in the Bangalore summer.
“Sir,” I ventured, “it’s a psychotic disorder in which there are delusions, hallucina-tions, and decreased functioning.” I’d read a few pages...
The resident handed me the phone. “The psych charge nurse thinks the patient should stay in the ICU,” he said.
I glanced at my watch. My outpatient clinic was in 15 minutes. We had had a hard time convincing the family and the patient about the need for psychiatric admission, and now this. I took a deep breath.
“Linda, how are you?” I said, in that cloyingly pleasant tone my voice...
I feel terrible,” she said. “I can’t sleep, I cry all the time, and I don’t want to do anything around the house.”
Her symptoms seemed mind-numbingly mundane. I’d heard a dozen similar stories in the past week alone, probably thousands over the years, and I had to remind myself that for her, this was a singular experience.
She’d never felt anything like it.
I dictated my note in a practiced...