Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Revealed at last! My shameful neurotic past.

I was 18 and in the second year of college when I became convinced that I was neurotic. Having just read an American paperback on the subject (I cannot for the life of me remember its title and author), I had come to the conclusion that every young American worth his or her salt had neurois and had undergone long drawn psychoanalysis for it. In fact, I thought it was a rather chic and smart malady to suffer from. I continued to read pop psychology and search for labels for my neurosis. Like a true hypochondriac, I used to imagine a whole gamut of typical symptoms in myself such as vague unease, wakefulness, a forlorn feeling of loss and foreboding and the meaninglessness of life. I used to walk up and down on the terrace above our third floor flat at 233 Khetwadi Main Road for a long time at night on the pretext of a constitutional. My neurosis library was built from books bought on the pavement of Hornby Road. I also used to borrow from a comics wallah at Lamington Road a pseudo medical and slyly prurient magazine from the US, quaintly called Sexology. Started by Hugo Gernsback – after whom the Hugo Award for sci-fi is named – in the 1930s, it contained vaguely written gibberish about various maladies and conditions and was full of scientific seeming line drawings. I used to borrow and browse through every issue religiously as soon as my comics wallah got it. I don’t think I read many articles in their entirety, though. (To add a cloak and dagger flavour to the whole affair, he used to always cover it with a newspaper before handing it over to me.) I had also got into the habit of reading a slim DIY magazine called Psychology. After a couple of years of all this, I slowly got out of my delusional mode and, somewhere along the way, came to realise the utter sham of the whole thing. Today, I am of the firm opinion that all the so-called angst, anxiety, low self-esteem and resultant suffering that people bitch about are mostly bogus and self-manufactured and the therapeutic ‘help’ industry is a vast money-making racket. The whole self-delusion is created by unrealistic over-expectation, greed, jealousy and an obstinate refusal to call a spade a spade. I fully agree with what Samuel Goldwyn had to say on the subject: "Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined." See what Sexology looked like: http://www.magazineart.org/main.php/v/healthandfitness/sexology. There’s a slide show of Sexology covers too at http://www.magazineart.org/main.php?g2_view=slideshow.Slideshow&g2_itemId=6961. To read an article from the magazine set to pop music from the sixties including Beatles, click here: http://www.samsloan.com/sexology.htm

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