Saturday, December 5, 2015

Hallucinating on Chennai Rains

A township passes us by
Venice, Sept 2008

For the last few days Anna has been hallucinating about being on a boat / yacht / ship. His questions and comments range from, "This ship is well decorated" to "I want to go on deck" to "I have never been on a ship". And tho' I keep reminding him that he is at home and in Delhi (miles away from the sea) I haven't been able to stop the hallucination, tho' he does break out of it for brief periods of time.

Photo courtesy Madras Crocodile Bank

Yesterday, on his evening walk, I tell him that there is a rumor that 40 crocodiles escaped the Chennai Crocodile Park and are swimming the streets of Chennai. He finds this interesting and funny, focusing on the escape and not the fact that it is a rumor. I then tease him that he needs to walk more, to build up strength and stamina, so that we can send Cheenu, the famous Tamil crocodile tamer to catch them. He lets out a loud laugh!!

Smooth Sailing, Kronborg Castle, Helsingor
August 2009

This morning, we are again on a well managed and turned-out yacht.

Anna: This ship is well decorated.

Me: Anna, where do you think you are?

Anna: On a yacht.  I have never been on a yacht.

Me: Are you feeling unsteady? Is the ground swaying under your feet?

Anna: No. Everything is steady. Technology has advanced so much that I can't feel the yacht move.

Me: Anna, look at the floor.  Can you see the granite chips embedded in cement? Like in all DDA Flats? You are at home in Sheikh Sarai.

Anna: Oh! Pause. I have never been on a ship. I want to travel on a ship. Will you take me?

Me:  Anna, we are in Delhi.  We will have to travel to Bombay or Calcutta or Chennai.

Anna: Aren't we there yet?

And then it hits me!! Ever since the heavy downpour and floods in Chennai, Anna has been hallucinating about being on a boat or a ship or a yacht.

It is that simple.

So till the floods abate and Chennai limps back to normal, I know that Anna is going to be on a yacht or ship or boat.

The hallucination is now so much easier to understand and manage.

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