Tuesday 9 August 2016

Book Review- A Book Of Light- Jerry Pinto

ISBN- 978-93-86050-17-5
Title- A Book of Light - When a Loved One Has a Different Mind
Edited by- Jerry Pinto
Contributors- Shashi Baliga, Leela Chakravorty, Sukant Deepak, Nirupama Dutt, Anabelle Furtado, Lalita Iyer, Sharmila Joshi, Manoj Menon, Patricia Mukhim, Parvana Boga Noorani, Ina Puri, Amandeep Sandhu, Madhusudan Srinivas
Genre- Nonfiction
Publisher- Speaking Tiger www.speakingtigerbooks.com
Pages- 175
Price- Rs 399

The dude in the picture below is Jerry Pinto. The writer who wrote Em and the Big Hoom- a book that immediately made me his fan. He spoke in the book of his mother's condition. She was a bipolar patient with schizophrenia. The odd taboo associated with psychiatric illnesses in India can only be removed if we are willing to talk about it. 

This guy is talented too. He has done the cover illustration for the book in question- A Book of Light. This one is a compilation of personal accounts of people from mostly the journalist or writer fraternity who have suffered at the hands of fate. Fate that has taken away the minds of their loved ones and wrapped those minds with barbed wire.

The stories in this book are heart breaking and the accounts are real as it gets. The editing is nice and except a punctuation error (apostrophe related) in Anabelle's story, I could not spot any errors.

The publishers have done a great job with the presentation and the hardbound book demands to be treasured in your bookshelf. The pages are crisp and off white and have a very international feel to them. Although relatively young, Speaking Tiger is going to make a name for itself.

Coming to the content, the book has beautiful stories which are personal accounts of the writers. Sukant Deepak's story about his bipolar dad shakes you from within. It is written with such intimacy yet, such distancing that it allows for the reader to assimilate the helplessness the patient's family feels.

Leela Chakravorty's angst against his schizophrenic mother is again a very personal account. It shows how it is not always as easy as it seems to love your family.

Amandeep Sandhu's story made me cry. It was the sheer burden of his mother's psychiatric illness and adding to that, her breast cancer, that made me realize how difficult it is to understand someone's pain.

Nirupama Dutt's story read like a story. It was a story of adoption and inner turmoils more than anything else. It had more sunshine moments than other stories in the book.

Patricia Mukhim writes about a Khasi mother's account of her daughter's illness. This one is again a story with positives and strength but, the fight against fate is difficult to win.

Sharmila Joshi writes about her neighbour who fought his demons. It was again a sensitively written story. Alcohol, depression and other demons are strong in this one too.

Madhusudan Srinivas's is a very small story of acceptance and sharing. Positive message awaits at the end.

Lalita Ayer's story is her love story with a schizophrenic Swedish guy. The sad part lasts for little less duration of time in the story and it is majorly a love story but the end has a thick blanket of guilt over it.

Anabelle Furtado fights her own demons in the story and it is a very brave thing to do.

Manoj Menon's story has some dark humour which ends up warming up your heart and makes one think about how different can mental illnesses be.

Shashi Baliga talks about his father but, the illness seems to be absorbed and assimilated in the family so much so that we are not really sure if it meant something more than 'mood swings'.

Parvana Boga Noorani talks about a mother and the unexplainable things that happened with her. It is written with poise and sensitivity.

Ina Puri's story raises some pertinent questions about depression.

All in all, the book contains heartfelt emotions and true to life feelings. It does have the light as promised on the cover and is an inspiring book for all those suffering.

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