Chronicles of a Combiflam Addict

Vice

Chronicles of a Combiflam Addict

Illustration: Akshita Monga / Arré

S

angeeta’s mother-in-law had a peculiar habit. After her morning chai and biscuit, maaji would partially shut the door of her room. Through the narrow opening, Sangeeta would spy on her fishing out a pouch from her closet, and proceeding to swallow a few white spheres.

Maaji would do this every day, without fail. Sangeeta casually mentioned this to her husband. “I think maaji really likes prasad makhanas. I see her eating them quietly in her room each morning.” That’s when he chuckled and clarified that she actually slunk away to take her pain medication. At the time, it hadn’t occurred to any of them that maaji’s acute dependency on over-the-counter painkillers would have an adverse affect on her health. Maaji suffered from migraine from a young age, and every time she felt a hint of pain – a headache, sore back – she’d pop a pill. Doctors in their village in Jharkand would prescribe painkillers liberally. Over the years, she switched from Saridon to Analgin to Combiflam.

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