Chinese soldiers had almost overrun his village near the central Assam town of Tezpur. But that’s not the reason why Thula Borah locked himself indoors since 1962.
Sonitpur district authorities are baffled by the 63-year-old Borah’s reluctance to emerge from his residence at Deurigaon, some 150 km from Guwahati.
Borah’s neighbours, however, insist he was seemingly in his senses until a few years back. “Strangely, he chooses to remain indifferent to the world beyond his room. We tried talking him out of his confinement, but he is unresponsive,” said Ramen Deka, a neighbour of the Borahs.
Among the few who tried to coax Borah out of his self-imposed confinement was Satyen Goswami, now a deputy superintendent of police. “The last time I tried was in 1990, and my efforts came to naught,” he said.
What made Borah lock himself up? Members of his family opted to remain incommunicado, but neighbours said he could not digest his mother’s scolding after failing in the Class X exam that year.
He did not come out of his room when his mother died. Nor did he attend his younger brothers’ marriages. He is barely able to recognize his siblings, leave apart their children.
Borah survives on food his kin pass through a window. He appears to be sulking in one corner most of the time, disinclined to talk or pace about.
Doctors have recommended medical help for Borah. “He possibly took such a step out of depression and stubbornness. His could be a case of mania, and he is challenging himself and his family,” said Imphal-based psychiatrist Lenin.