Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Patient Patient by Tushar Rishi: a review

Cancer. A word that has meant a lot to me. Seeing very close family members suffer in this disease and losing on their fight made me feel that I know a bit of the pain that they go through but that was till the time I had read debut author Tushar Rishi’s bio-fiction, The Patient Patient. One of the most important reasons that made me choose the book was the fact that it is the life story of the author. He has been there, as a patient of bone cancer and has emerged as a fighter. The book is about his fight and yet not a non-fiction. While, authors hide under fiction or write non-fiction books, this book seemed so out of the box that I grabbed it at first chance. One look at the cover and the crab that represents cancer caught my eye. I turned over to the blurb.

According to the blurb- Fifteen going on sixteen, defining career choices await Sameer. To B. Tech, or not to B. Tech: that is the question. Until, that is, the lump on his knee is diagnosed as bone cancer and Sameer embarks on a journey he never imagined for himself. But in the whirlwind of hospital visits, doctors, chemotherapy, cannulas, injections, he discovers family, friends, love and hope. Life as he knew it is transformed for him, while he wanders through the narrow corridors of AIIMS, Delhi, trying to search for meaning in what has happened, his place in the universe, his beliefs and above all, himself. Based on the author’s own life, The Patient Patient is not only a young boy’s tale about cancer, it is also a story of the peculiarities of life, and his attempt to handle it with courage, dignity, and humour.

The prologue of the book didn’t have something that would hook you. No. It could have been just another prologue from just another book. But then you turn to the first chapter and after the fun prologue, you get to see the first line that says, “You have Cancer” and all that you can do as a reader is sit straight and be prepared to face what you are going to read in the book that hasn’t even started. Slowly Rishi, in his debut bio fiction goes on writing what he felt when he was diagnosed with cancer. And not only what he felt but also what people around him felt when he was diagnosed. The vivid details written in such a clean way is sure to touch your heart.

I wouldn’t lie; I have read a lot of books that has cancer as a theme but none that were biographical. This book goes deep and by deep I mean, DEEP and the only reason it feels like so is because this book is a very honestly written one. I read books and so if one is written honestly, I can instantly connect to it and this book was one such. With every page you understand what the author (or shall I say, the protagonist) goes through as his fight with this disease increases by the day. As the blurb itself says, this book is not just a young boy’s tale about cancer but it also is a story of life. Every second chapter in this book has something to take back. What I especially loved is the conversations between his uncle and him which were the source of motivation for him as a person and us, as readers. Not just the disease, the book wonderfully captures the family relations. Of what goes through the close ones of the patient, of what their ordeal is. Of how their relationship grows, matures. Of how they are always there, of how they understand.

This attempt is a very bold one and I shall praise Rishi for going on with it. Writing things just as it is, especially with cancer is tough but the thought behind the book is beautiful. The way that Rishi has handled the book and written the story just as it happened and yet in such a way that readers would love it is something that is commendable. There are poems in the book and the poems, as the book progressed, emerged into being beautiful and motivating. Since this is a bio-fiction, I would not say about the story or the protagonists but what I would say is that Rishi has balanced it perfectly. I would comment only on the writing style here. Even though the fact that the author has perfectly balanced every bit of it, as a reader I felt that there were certain parts that lacked the intensity. The flow was smooth and so, a majority of the book you would end up reading with a lump in your throat. It is commendable to see such a young author writing so maturely and so beautifully. 

It is a guarantee that by the end of the book and even after reading the acknowledgements, you would treasure this book and would also want to refer it to the people that you know. If I have to speak of the cons of the book then I would say that even though the book has been handled with a lot of dignity and honesty, I felt that when we are given a book as such, we would expect at least a bit more of the disease than it has been written. Of course the book is about the journey and not the disease but there are parts in the book where the way the disease affects has been written with such passion and at times, there were blank spaces which could’ve been filled. Apart from that, I have no complaints from the book. Because, there is nothing to complain about. For me, rating this book would be tough but keeping all things in mind, this book would be 4.5 out of 5 for me. I would sign off with loads of love and luck to the debut author for writing more poems and books in the near future.

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