BOOK REVIEW OF “SHADES OF LIFE - SUBLIME JOY IS IN LIVING”: VASUNDHARA RAMANUJAN & MOHAMMAD AKMAL, MD : WESTLAND : PAGES 160 : PRICE RS 195/-.
On the second day of this month, I was returning to Mumbai after spending dawn to forenoon in Kancheepuram where I went to attend the inauguration of the annual Brahmotsavam held in the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April) at the Sri Yathokthakari Temple. On my way to the Chennai airport, I stopped by at my cousin sister J’s home and shared the Prasadam that I had received. My brother-in-law K had just then come home for lunch and we discussed many subjects of mutual interest. When I was about to leave for the airport, K suggested that I read a book which he said was truly moving. He picked up the book from his library and presented it to me saying that the book had made a deep and lasting impression on him. One quick glance and I immediately decided to read the whole book during the flight of ninety minutes. The book has a Foreword by R. Gopalakrishnan, a Director on the Board of Tata Sons and a well-known author of books on Management.
My father suffered from end-stage renal disease during his last few years which really felled him. I could, therefore, empathise with the author and the sufferings that she and her nuclear family of four went through. The author in a simple and very readable style narrates the story of her son Aditya whose recurring and severe headaches turned into a nightmare for the family when his problem was diagnosed as failure of his kidneys. You feel a lump in your throat when you find that a happy-go-lucky youngster has suddenly to come to grips with a life-threatening disease. Full marks go to the author-mother for the courage, commitment and never-say-die attitude to fight the disease with her heart and soul. Aditya’s brother and father played equally important roles and the family took a planned, systematic and step by step approach in order to find a lasting solution.
It was a big setback when the author who had decided to donate one of her kidneys was detected to have breast cancer. She had to undergo mastectomy and treat her disease thoroughly before she could be ready for donating one of her kidneys. That she did it in record time speaks volumes of a mother’s love and dedication for her son. After the transplant was successfully done and when it appeared that all was well, Aditya had fresh complications with his transplanted kidney and another donor had to found as soon as possible. Brother Dhananjay stepped in and decided to forsake one of his kidneys for his younger brother. The parents were in a deep dilemma. However, the family discussed and deliberated and finally came to the conclusion that that would be the best course of action. The boisterous and ever enthusiastic Aditya got a fresh lease of life.
Any family would normally have been devastated with the huge setbacks that the Srinivasan family faced. But when a family is united and well-bonded, courageous, positive, and takes medical advice from the trusted and the best in the profession and goes about remedial actions with a scientific temperament, the results are very likely to be favourable.
The book is remarkable. It is written by a remarkable lady alongwith a very illustrious doctor who is a specialist in renal diseases. It is all about love, dedication, sacrifice, commitment, logical thinking, belief in the Almighty and a positive approach..
I commend Ms Vasundhara Ramanujan for writing a very informative and emotive book and for setting an outstanding example. Kudos to the whole family for selflessly supporting one another and constantly rallying around the young darling Aditya for his survival and happiness. The book is also a helpful guide to those having renal problems for whom there are useful and practical lessons to be learnt.