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What it was like to find your close friend being treated at a rehabilitation centre

December 24, 2013, 11:54 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 1805

By riazhussain

This story was contributed by Wahid, a teacher trainer, who recently met his close friend at a rehabilitation centre. He visited our site and showed his interest in sharing the story of his friend, which shows how people, with their blind and needless discourses, hurt the feelings of poor and weak people around them.

'I entered the red building and went to the office of the Executive Director of the Fountain House, a center of rehabilitation for mentally disturbed people. The director was wearing the white lab coat with deep pockets. After greetings, I took a chair on the other side of the table and introduced myself, “I’m Wahid. I have come to see my friend who has recently been admitted here’. “Sure”, he said. I was happy to have this prompt response from him. The director called a person and asked him to take me to my friend. I went out with him. He took me to a lawn where I saw a person sitting alone—my classmate at college, Arsalan. Images and sounds of college life arose from my memory lane. We were very close. My eyes watered to see his current shabby and miserable condition. I thanked the person and asked him to leave me alone with the person in the lawn.     


Arsalan—a plain looking youth, was a mediocre student at the college. Even in those days, he had frail health. But, in his fragile body, he had a sincere and true heart which only a few people knew. He was an introvert with a very limited circle of friends. At times, he would unpack his heart and I would realize that he was hurt by the mocking discourse around him. People used to laugh at his plain looks –‘the ugly creature at the campus’, ‘look at his face , look at his…… it looks like……’ and then outbursts of laughter. Their mocking similes would hurt him but he would remain quiet. One day, I came to know that he had been victimized by such scathing discourse since his childhood. There was one common thing between me and this timid, shy and harmless creature on the earth—introversion. I was given to the pleasure of living in the ivory tower of literature and he was confined to his own loneliness because of being different in looks.

I could not remain in touch with him after graduation because of the hectic routine of my job. One day an old friend of mine told me about Arsalan’s sudden mental collapse. My heart sank and I decided to see him at the Fountain House Lahore.   

This winter morning he was enjoying the warm sun on the lawn. When he saw me, there occurred no change in his facial expressions. His eyes lingered for a moment at my face and then turned away. I pronounced his name. He gazed at me.  I spoke the sweet nick names we had during college days. These passwords worked and his eyes glittered with life---he hugged me like a child and cried. The ice was broken. We took tea there and had a long chat. I wanted to leave but his mad and lonely heart chained me so I stayed with him for a few hours.

I did not want to disturb him by asking him the reason of his mental collapse. However, what I gathered from his profile at the Fountain House and the aggressive chunks of his talk was that he had been neglected by his family due to his unemployment. All his siblings had gotten good jobs. He had remained unemployed and won the status of being ‘an unproductive member of family’. He was ignored and sidelined. He was accused of being an ‘enemy of food ‘and ‘useless creature of the earth’. His introversion, then, could not support him and he collapsed due to thoughtless discourses around him. 

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