India Uncut

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Despatches 17: Sleeping

On our way back towards Cuddalore, we stop again at Pudupettai. Here, we see a group of people from the Ananda Marg, a Hindu sect, distributing medicines. We go over to them and start chatting. They are doctors from West Bengal, and have both allopathic and homeopathic medicines with them. I ask them about the common aiments that people have, and how they treat them.

“Sleeping,” says one of them.

“Sorry,” I ask. “Sleeping?”

“Yes,” he says sadly. “They come and they tell us, 'we can’t sleep, please give us something that will help us sleep'. We give them Avil 25, an anti-allergy tablet that produces sleep as a side-effect.”

For days I have been hearing talk of vaccines and paracetamols and ORS until all of those have become almost meaningless words to me. But now I am jolted into attention. These people are not able to sleep. For now, the pills help. How long will it be before they can sleep on their own? And what will they dream of?
amit varma, 1:11 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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