Sitting in my favorite cafe in Delhi's Main bazaar, reflecting on the seemingly endless miles and altitudes I had crossed during my travels, I found myself in the company of a brilliant, quaint man by the name of Akhil Dua. In our conversation I found out that he managed to subdue his paranoid schizophrenia with his passion for music. I was amazed by the power of this psychological victory I never assumed was possible.
Our sweaty faces happy about the one in a trillion chance to have run into one another. He enjoyed my gift - a Metallica sunglass case signed by the guitarist James Hatfield.
From how articulate and calm he was in conversation, I would never have assumed that he suffered from this demonic dysfunction. He got struck and the age of 6 and was in full swing by 9.
At some point he turned to music, fascinated with the intro melody to Nothing Else Matters by Metallica. The six tones looping over and over managed to focus his mind and make sense of the sensory chaos he was living in. Holding on to this suddenly perceivable regularity, he started generating internal beats, which externalized as passion for rhythm. The man is now a master drummer, and an aspiring lyrical artist as well!
I keep in touch with Akhil on Facebook and he has, since our encounter, had mild ups and serious downs. Getting evicted from his apartment, robbed in the streets and cast away by his family triggered many relapses of schizophrenia that he had to manage with little help from mental institutions and seldom medication due to lack of funds. However, somehow - astoundingly - his spirit will not give up. He kept practicing drums and putting on musical performances with his friends, writing and publishing on social media verses after verses of his psychosis-inspired rhymes, founded a music school for Delhi's aspiring musicians and finished the material for his album.
Akhil has just had a serious seizure, the 17th in his life. Doctors say he's suffered 10% brain damage and needs increased medication and a few months of hospitalization.
This young man has a lot of fight left in him, but he needs your help. To enable him to continue fighting with music, he needs funds to get his medicine, the recommended psychiatric treatment and to pay rent for his studio where he teaches kids.
Akhil is a loving human being who did not deserve this fate. He has been stronger than anyone I know in fighting these invisible demons and we should all feel called to do whatever we can to help him continue his life, which, although difficult beyond comprehension to us lucky enough not to suffer from schizophrenia, still gives him, his friends and music students, joy in times of triumphs.
No contribution is too small. If all the people whom this fundraiser reached gave a dollar, we would perhaps help cure this deeply tormented soul.
Give now. Good karma awaits.