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One of the first things I learnt as a child was to question. Probably, I was a tad bit more inquisitive about the happenings around me or probably it was just the way children are supposed to be. I used to question the existence of various phenomena, or, and the lack of it. I used to question why we had to touch our elders’ feet while greeting them or why girls were expected not to roam around topless, just like boys.

I think somewhere down the line, this behavioral pattern of mine led to the birth of a writer within me. With the sunny backdrop of my reasoning stark in my mind, I learnt to look at both sides of a single coin with an unbiased stance. In fact, I began looking at every phenomena in my life in two different ways. When it would rain incessantly, a part of my heart would breathe in the romanticism in the air whereas another part of my brain would work recklessly to decipher that probably rain is more trouble than relief. Look at the muddy roads, the diseases, the floods.

Isn’t it odd, that a single occurrence such as the rain had extremely contradictory significances in a single person’s mind?

And that’s when, I began leaving the comfortable nest of what society dictates, and took residence under the grey shadows of possibilities.

I always support the underdogs, or at least, have developed the love to hear and understand the side that nobody wants to hear.

So, yes, that brings us to a magnanimously large topic – Voices. And mental health. And, don’t cringe. I am just trying to talk about what I know and what, probably everyone should start thinking about.

In India, the state of people suffering from mental sickness is large and alarmingly ignored. Depression is mood swings. Depression automatically garners sympathy from onlookers and an array of questions that asks if your marriage is failing or if you have been kicked out of your job. Because of lack of education and acceptance of such diverse topics, most people believe that depression is caused due to such tangible and mundane reasons in life. They fail to understand that depression is a disease, a condition, an illness that can be countered, just like the flu and the fever. Also, as such conditions are deep-rooted, one cannot get “better” in a jiffy, just by fixing their marriage or by getting a new job.

If you hear voices, you are written off by the society as mad. Crazy. Lunatic. Anti-Social.

But, who is this society?

Society is made of such mad, crazy, lunatic and brilliant people, right?

Hearing voices may be medically alarming, but it doesn’t give society the right to write people off as stereotyped cases.

Would you believe someone who says he heard voices? Would you be open enough to consider the possibility that he is not lying or isn’t hallucinating? Would you be able to open up your mind slightly to believe that there could be a phenomenon that science cringes to justify?

We watch, digest and popularize TV shows such as Stranger Things, and on TV, such uncertainties are not just entertaining, but thrilling as well. On the pretext of “fictional content”, we are easily able to believe and sympathize with characters that are really fictional, fantasizing the unending possibilities that our imaginative mind could concoct. But then, when your own friend (who you have known since childhood) tells you that she has had an experience that could well pass off as sinister, you shrug your shoulders, grin disbelievingly and tell them that they are losing it.

Could it be a ghost, a spirit or an unknown occurrence?

Just because it is unknown, it cannot exist and the person who experiences it is mad?

Why are we so disbelieving? Why have we become a race that believes only with proof and disbelieves anything that is not black or white as defined by books and society?

Just because we do not know of aliens, or external life away from earth, aren’t we still putting all our forces to discover it?

Could it be God speaking to you? Or is it your own conscience speaking to you? Or possibly, could it be God speaking to you through your conscience?

The religious types would dig this theory. The PHDs would nod their heads vehemently showing that all of the above is nonsense and the person experiencing the same is just schizophrenic.

Wow, schizophrenia. Such a simple word to justify anything you want to disbelief.

Mind you everyone, I am an engineer too and have difficulty believing. But, I am a human too. And an extremely inquisitive and eager one at that.

I have an extremely close relationship with God. No, I don’t pray numerous times a day or visit the temple on Mondays. I don’t do any of the things that would qualify me to be close to God.

But I am very close to God. I talk to him every night. I tell him my worries, my problems. I also thank him for the wonderful things he has given me. Maybe I am talking to God, maybe I am talking to my own conscience and the force within me who is my God.

And, unfortunately, God doesn’t speak back to me, per se.

I don’t hear voices.

But I knew someone who did.

And I had the courage to believe.

Would you?

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