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Some Common and Uncommon Manias

Some Common and Uncommon Manias

Sentinel Digital Desk

Buddhadev Nandi

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner's dictionary, psychological mania is a mental illness in which somebody has an obsession about something that makes them extremely anxious, violent or confused. There are many people, irrespective of their social, political, educational and economic status, whoare maniac– either euphoric or dysphoric or both.

As an advocate of finding fault with myself before others, I would like to profess that I am a patient of Arithmomania or Arithromania. Despite my desperate efforts, I cannot desist myself from the strong desire or need to count my actions or objects in my surroundings. If I write something, I am obsessed to count the words I have written; even the letters and the time taken me to write.

I have an acquaintance with the conspicuous symptoms of Pyromania. Though he is not a smoker himself, he always carries match boxes or gas lighters with him; only to set fire with whatever combustible things, like papers, dry leaves, straws, plastic carry bags,etc that he finds littering on the street. One might be under the impression that my pyromaniac neighbor ignites fire only during winter for basking. But no, his collection of combustible materials and his penchant for igniting them cannot be discouraged even during the scorching summers of mid-May when the temperature soars above 45 degrees centigrade.

Again Ablutomania, a morbid preoccupation with thoughts about cleanliness or obsession with bathing and washing, is very common among elderly people, especially elderly widows. A great classical singer of BishnupurGharana and also one of the musical teachers of the great poet Rabindranath Tagore, used to swing his bag of vegetables over something like dog dung in the street only to confirmed whether the bag touched the shit in the process. Most often than not, the bag used to touch the dung the during testingprocess,compelling him to throw the contents and taking splash baths even during winter mornings.

There is a family known to me where all the members of the family are Clinomaniacs. Even after eight hours of sleep that a healthy adult requires, the members of that particular family find it excruciatingly difficult to leave the bed, until or unless they are obliged to do so. The family never needs to arrange the beds or fold the mosquito nets. The mania has perhaps affected the entire family from the paternal line.

My octogenarian father, a retired High School teacher, is a Bibliomaniac. He cannot stay away from books or reading something or the other, including paper containers of 'masala muri' in a running train, if there is dearth of reading materials.

When one comes across words like Xenomania, which is an inordinate attachment to foreign things, and especially,Anglomania i.e. obsession with England and the English, one cannot help but remember Mohan Lal, the protagonist of Khushwant Singh's famous short story "Karma". Mr. Lal had to face an extremely humiliating situation in the hands of two inebriated English soldiers for his excessive indulgence in speaking grammatically correct English with Englishmen and his efforts to mimic the British way of life.

But all manias are not innocuous and mirthful. The crazy line of the song, "Why this Kolaveri Di?", sung by Dhanush, or the serial murders committed by the stonemen in the footpaths of Kolkata or Delhi, of course, reminds me of Dacnomania or the obsession with killing. Again, Catapedamania, an impulse to jump from high places, has been a pernicious urban trend among the depressed who commit suicide by hurling themselves from high rises or those who have reached the final stage of the Blue Whale Challenge internet game.

Kleptomania or shop lifting is a very common mental illness. Even celebs like Megan Fox, Farrah Fawcett, Britney Spears, and Winnie Mandela, et al were reportedly caught several times for indulging in cases of Kleptomania.

On the other hand, though Megalomania is a common trait, its excessive manifestation at last ruined Napoleon's and Hitler's misconception of their omnipotence. This mental illness perhaps made them warmongers.

Again,Dipsomania has posed such a grave proportion that many State governments are adopting hardcore steps against alcoholism and inebriation. Then there is Opsomania for excessive consumption of fast food, which responsible for the rising trend of obesity all over the world.

Again, Nosomania and Pharmacomania are linked with each other. If the former is a delusion of suffering from a disease, the latter which is abnormal obsession with trying drugs is more pernicious. Doctors and physicians believe that a large number of patients are actuallyNosomaniac.

However, there are some other manias that help in inculcating useful habits in day-to-day life. If Dormomania intensifies one's wander thrust, Ergomania makes one dynamic by enhancing one's desire to work. Graphomania,which is an obsession with writing, is a blessing in disguise for students. Needless to say, for most of the students, writing is a boring affair. I had a student who could memorize his notes only after writing them repeatedly.

A few manias have only temporary effects. They recede automatically with the passage of time. Rhinotillexomaniaor compulsive nose picking and Phaneromania, a habit of biting one's nails, are generally found among children. Constant vigil on the part of the parents in homes and teachers in schools,in most cases, enable the children to get rid of such unhygienic manias. A great skipper of the Indian cricket team was often found biting his nails while the team was fielding, especially during terse moments. I am sure you must have recognized him by now.

But lo! Has my obsession to accumulate information about different kinds of manias led me to become an infomaniac? If it has, I have no regret for that.

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