My Cancer Diary: Ananya Mukherjee (2019)

Ananya_Cancer Diary_2019

This is a very special book. Full of insights into living with cancer and the uncertainities of life, with a STRONG sense of HUMOUR. You will really ENJOY reading this book and seeing the videos.

Cancer Memoir- Ananya

Book launch video of 90 minutes. It is a mixture readings from the book, and interviews with survivors of cancer diagnosis. Part of the programme is in Hindi.
I strongly recommend seeing the full programme.

In case you can not watch the full function, there is 13 minute version , the link is at the bottom of this message.

EXCERPTS from the book:

What gifts should you get for someone battling cancer?
Ananya Mukherjee

The Hindu Oct 21 2019.

A survivor speaks, with heart and humour, on what her well-wishers should get her
I’m forever grateful to my well-wishers and friends, who send or bring me wonderful things. Yellow lilies brighten up my room, a bag of fruit brightens up my mother’s mood, there’s a silk stole that I drape around my arms now and then just to feel beautiful, and a Dove gift hamper, which when opened, fills the room magically with the sweet smell of ek chauthayi milk. And ever since I told another pal that I have stopped reading serious books, he thoughtfully gets me a stack of Cosmopolitan and Filmfare magazines, which I read cover-to-cover, to stay on top of the latest bedroom moves and Taimur Ali Khan’s airport looks.
In this indulgent phase, I wonder what else I should ask my well-wishers to send me.

A fuzzy little feeling

Prolonged illness can make your soul dull. The weekly needles, the drab hospital colours, the bitterness in the mouth, the blank eyes of fellow cancer comrades…
everything adds up to the growing dullness in the heart. As a counter, I have suddenly started enjoying everything that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. My friends’ babies gurgling, throwing spit balls in the air, trying to eat their own hands and legs, and opening their toothless mouths to show off their brand new pink tongues, warm the cockles of my heart. As much as sloppy dogs, smiling with all forty-two teeth, goofing around, and making a fool of themselves, make me happy on many a prickly day.

Your children’s art

While my interest in horizontal, helpless babies is fairly recent, I have always been fond of the vertical ones. Ones who can run, tell you their names when they are lost in a mall, ask for food when they are hungry and can point where it hurts. These little ones are usually a delight, more so when you don’t have to take them home with you. And I’ve always swelled with the pride of an aunt and the delight of a teacher when my friend’s or relative’s children make art. I’ve pored thoughtfully over little Ishaan’s crayon drawing for me, wondering if the sun is squinting because it’s hot, and if our heart really is a balloon; while little Kian’s spirited narration of an enormous monster has me engrossed.

Sell me some dreams

I have always patted myself for being hardcore practical. But now when I can’t walk for 15 minutes without getting tired, I want someone to tell me that I can make that road trip to Jaisalmer, through bumpy, dusty roads where a wrong turn can lead to nowhere. When my lonely heart aches, I need to believe I’ll be able to do that gondola ride in Venice under a bright blue sky, floating over water that’s like green silk, an occasional window flashing a bunch of red roses, while a thousand blossoms bloom in my heart. When I call a colleague and hear they are out for lunch, I dream of rushing out with my work mates to the nearest biryani joint, laughing at some inside joke, flinging my bag hurriedly over my shoulder, heels clicking. More than anytime ever, I need make-believe now.

Tell me a good story

I am a sucker for stories. When not looking out the window and sighing, my mother reads me some contemporary Bangla short stories from a big fat library book. These are stories of unrequited love, family dramas with a twist, crimes of passion and tales of the unexplained. I carefully follow her mouth, spilling out the words, lest I miss something. Before I know it, I take centrestage in these dramas, fighting for the underdogs, siding with the protagonists, crying for the fallen and sighing with my mother, when the stories end abruptly. So if you have a story to tell, I’m all ears!

Macherjhol

At my core is a greedy, rice-eating Bong, always aching for a good fish curry. After my surgery last year, a close friend from Pune, went straight to the market, bought fish, cooked it and drove 150 kms, bringing with him a piping-hot pabdajhol and some fried rui. Not a drop spilled on the way and every drop nourished my soul. The memory of that afternoon still lingers — drowsy and sated with fish and rice, the indignities of surgery forgotten, we had looked at the monsoon clouds gathering in the distance and chattered away all afternoon.

As my list comes to a close, the husband quips, ‘You have forgotten the most important thing’. To my wide-eyed stare he says, ‘Money. Ask everyone to bring you some money, along with fish curry or dreams or whatever else they’re getting.’ Point noted, sir.
Excerpted and edited from Tales from the Tail End: My Cancer Diary by Ananya Mukherjee (Speaking Tiger and Rajkamal Prakashan)

A survivor speaks, with heart and humour, on what her well-wishers should get her
I’m forever grateful to my well-wishers and friends, who send or bring me wonderful things. Yellow lilies brighten up my room, a bag of fruit brightens up my mother’s mood, there’s a silk stole that I drape around my arms now and then just to feel beautiful, and a Dove gift hamper, which when opened, fills the room magically with the sweet smell of ek chauthayi milk. And ever since I told another pal that I have stopped reading serious books, he thoughtfully gets me a stack of Cosmopolitan and Filmfare magazines, which I read cover-to-cover, to stay on top of the latest bedroom moves and Taimur Ali Khan’s airport looks.

In this indulgent phase, I wonder what else I should ask my well-wishers to send me.

13 minute portion of the book launch

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