SATYAMEV JAYATE 9 – Alcohol abuse
This episode of Satyamev Jayatestands out for the wonderful choice of guests who shocked, informed and educated. Compared to heavier themes like female foeticide and other social ills, the much-spoken-of topic of alcoholism might seem trivial to some.
A chillingly candid interview with Vijay Simha puts a human face on the misery brought about by alcohol addiction while the enlightening interview with Dr Ashish Deshpande dismissed the myth that it’s the habits of the sufferer that landed him in the mire.
Its hard not to flinch at Simha’s booze-soaked decline after having touched the pinnacle of success in journalism — from working as the executive editor of a reputed daily to languishing for weeks in a public toilet where neither cleaners nor flies would venture. After alienating friends and family, and compromising his dignity along the way, it is a heartening experience to watch the man rise above it all, telling his tale.
Though the unseemly, sometimes bizarre, actions of men under the influence sometimes invited laughter from the audience, the genetic nitty-gritty of addiction that differentiate those struck by the disease from those who aren’t was very succinctly explained by Dr Deshpande, earned their rapt attention.
As did the story of another man identified only as Laxman, who spent a whopping Rs40 lakh in hospital bills to seek some relief after decades of liquor pangs. His lesson that while hospitals could only purge his body, but not mind, of alcohol makes a powerful case for the importance of Alcoholics Anonymous — which proved to be his saviour — in smoking out the disease.
Perhaps to those who don’t display the text-book symptoms, overlooking the ruination to the life of a casual acquaintance or distant family member, one’s drinking is a personal, harmless thing.Not so, according to psychiatrist Dr Vivek Benegal, whose shocking statistics revealed that half of India’s liquor-drinking population do harm to themselves by exceeding their limit (Four pegs, by international standards).
Lastly, with the introduction of Sumir Anand, who lost his son Curran to a drunk driver, the episode effectively showed how irresponsible drinking matched with overall irresponsible behaviour creates a problem which assumes society-threatening proportions. Going so far as to question the manner with which the perpetrator of the offence was let off called viewers to question the strictness with which the law was dealing with the menace.
Aamir Khan, keeping things cool, refrained from being high-handed and this episode, far from self-indulgent, only has the potential to induce reflection and open many drenched minds to intervention.
Watch the complete episode at: