LARKANA: A Spanish woman shut herself in a bathroom at a hotel in Larkana for over 20 hours. She was taken to the Chandka hospital and admitted to its psychiatric ward on Thursday.
Lusia Carlo Maria, in her 40s, has been living on her own in Larkana for over a month. Nobody knows much about her other than the fact that she used to be a lecturer at the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad and has been travelling across Sindh for her research on shrines and heritage sites.
In Larkana, Maria had been staying at the Royal City Hotel. On Wednesday morning, she checked out and taking all her bags, she went to the Asia Hotel, located on the Station Road. She asked for a room there but the receptionist told her there was no vacancy. Maria persisted and so did the receptionist.
Finally, the woman stalked off to the bathroom in the lobby and locked herself in. After some time passed the receptionist became worried and he went to the bathroom, knocked and asked her if she was okay. Maria replied that she was not going to open the door.
The hotel staff knocked, begged and bargained, but she refused to open the door and for around 20 to 24 hours, she stayed locked inside. According to the hotel staff, she was also smoking inside the bathroom. She kept shouting in Urdu and English, asking for a room and at some points, for a tailor. Every now and then she would open the door slightly and peek out but almost immediately she would slam it shut again.
Around lunch time the hotel management gave her food, which she took in. “After all our efforts failed,” said the incharge at the reception, “we called the police.” A team from the Dari police station, including policewomen, arrived at the hotel and joined in the struggle. Finally on Thursday, they managed to get her to leave the bathroom and then took her to the hospital.
The distraught woman is refusing all kinds of treatment at the hospital. Psychiatrist Dr Badruddin Junejo has recommended that the woman should be sent to a hospital in Karachi. “She has a mental disorder,” is all he said. “She lives like a normal person most of the time but sometimes she gets these fits,” he said.
The staff at the Royal City Hotel also said that she was a somewhat off-key customer. A police constable has been looking after her since she arrived in the city but was not there when she went to the Asia Hotel, nor was he available for comment later.
According to officials, Maria will be sent to the Embassy of Spain in Karachi and then they will decide what to do with her.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2011.
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