All I can say is that I was born with a book in my hand. Reading was not only my passtime, but it was also my passion, my obsession and fodder for my active mind. Books stimulated my brain switching on the thinking process and the reasoning and led me to the peak of happiness. I started with Enid Blyton and enjoyed her Famous five and Secret Seven series, also the wonderful magical adventures of Wishing chair, Faraway tree, Mr Pink-whistle’s party which enhanced my vivid imagination to a brilliant and powerful one. Albeit damn interesting, books helped me pick up some confidence and optimism and admire the forces of nature, rain or sunshine, wind or quietude.
As I grew up in my aloneness books became my only companion. I spent a good deal of time in bookshops turning over the pages of books I used to think if only my life were a thousand years long I could read all these books. Two bookshops became my regular haunting place to which I went for an evening walk and returned loaded with wrapped up books.
By this time I had read all Agatha Christie. Michael Crichton and Arthur.C.Clarke books I was reading as many books as I could lay my hands on. I fell in love with their novels so much so that an idea lurked in my mind that one day I will be an author. After reading “Wheelers” by mathematician Ian Stewart and biologist Jack Cohen, I told my father “I am going to be an author.” He took the book I was holding and looked at me happily. “Okay finish your studies and keep reading books. I will be the happiest person to find a publisher for your books”, he gave me a frank smile that strengthened my confidence. While reading “The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco I discovered Philip.K.Dick and Neil Gaiman. I’d like to see shelves with books rather than furniture in my room. When Philip K Dick entered my life I had odd sensations, fidgety and nervous but didn’t understand my feelings. I had odd nightmares but told my mother that aliens are trying to get in touch with me so just keep everything shush! I could hear things which others couldn’t and see stuff which nobody did! I asked my mother to be sure of that and was convinced either I could see ghosts and hear them or aliens are trying to get in touch with me. I was happy with the thought.
After some time elapsed my mother saw me getting violent partial seizures while in sleep, she called my father and both tried to hold down my body getting spasms but the force with which it was happening they couldn’t. After I woke up I didn’t remember what happened to me at night. For this brain tumour, father ran across India looking for a suitable doctor. After fifteen days of admission, when the doctor saw I was reading “Minority Report” in the hospital bed he denied doing the surgery but I was told these very words “Come at the last moment when the tumour grows to the size of a Deus ball” it was also added that there was a chance of getting paralyzed for life.
My father sought out a tiny nursing home in Kolkata with minimum facilities where ultimately the surgery of the tumour was done in 2006. After the craniotomy ( open brain surgery) These tumours are extremely vascular. A biopsy would make them bleed resulting in a stroke. I woke up with paralysis on the left side. After the craniotomy ( open brain surgery) I experienced total numbness in my arms and hands and I couldn’t close my fingers and make a fist. But this was sorted out by proper physiotherapy and exercise and I got back the control of my limbs but even now I don’t have sensations in my fingertips. Currently, I am suffering the consequences as Leptomeningeal dissemination of hemangioblastomas (HB) of the central nervous system (CNS) is extremely rare. Between 1902 and 2013, approximately 132 cases were reported.
Without previous surgery such cases haven’t been reported, it is due to spillage and spread of tumour cells through the cerebrospinal fluid(CSF) space in patients with a genetic predisposition to the condition. I made up my mind to keep myself well-informed so that I don’t get into such situations.
Well, certain things are just fated, and I had a liver transplant but I had the ability to overcome it and the subsequent viral infection which was supposed to be fatal for me. But life offered a few moments of bliss, and happiness then. I read up “One Flew over the cuckoo’s nest” and finished the Ring trilogy by Koji Suzuki.
When my tough times began after my father perished books kept me away from the feeling of irritation and provided courage and strength. I read, “The Shadow of the Wind” but “The Lovely Bones” put my spirits down. I thought I’d better not read Isaac Bashevis Singer, Albert Camus or Jorge Luis Borges. Times change and when things get better I shall read those. I started with “Wise Guy”, Jack Reacher novels when I discovered a marvellous thriller “Killer inside me”. Then I had a cyberknife. It was a time which had a lasting effect on my life. I had sudden brain fog, short-term memory loss and I became cranky. I wrote my poems and read and primarily stuck with crime thrillers. I possess a lot of unobtainable books and I am glad my father and brother always gifted me books.
I discovered “A Kiss before dying” by Ira Levin. After I finished the book I was sorry I had finished it so soon. I developed abililiophobia, a critical condition. The book reminded me of the Bollywood movie “Bazigar” but as we know books are always better than films. I made up my mind if my brain permits me to be an author I will write an entirely different book like no one has ever read before or can correlate to.
But then again, I was in dire straits as the landlord presented me with a court notice on my birthday as I was diagnosed with kidney cancer and optic nerve tumour but by a twist of fate I got cancer surgery but optic nerve radiation therapy was late making me blind with the right eye and left with mum within the stipulated time given by the court.
While reading my favourite Mark Twain short stories and “Letters from the Earth” re-reading “Three men in a boat”, “Dracula” I read Shirley Jackson’s books.
I made up my mind after completing Roald Dahl that I’d write a ghost story someday.
One sunny morning, sitting with a cup of coffee after the 2017 radiation therapy I made up my mind to write unique detective stories. I created unique characters drawn from my life and wrote about Mum with an unexpectedly brilliant and problem-solving mind enjoying the guise of a harmless little lady with a remarkable facility for observation and notation of the trivia which often leads her to solve impossible cases. Her daughter Princess is very ill but doesn’t spend time brooding over it. With her anxious searching gaze and flashing her brilliant determined smile twiddling with various theories, she helps Mum solve mysteries introducing Verma Sharma detective duo as comic relief and Arin as an inspector in the homicide department who takes the help of Mum for puzzling cases. Even Dr Ishita liked the stories.
Next time I thought of writing a paranormal story of a gifted child. She has an unusual ability. The power to see those spirits wandering on the margins of the world. The fabled sprites come to meet her, to play with her but this amazing ability makes her different. It doesn’t let her blend in with normal people. One day a vengeful spirit visits her and tells his story. The ghost was on a desperate quest of a murderous assassin to stop a crime against humanity when he fell into their trap and got killed. He seeks help from her to avenge his killers. But how did Mina go missing? The story is in the diary. It is a medley of ghost story and spy-thriller like never been written before.
But my disease is an albatross around my neck and I developed severe lancinating pain of bilateral trigeminal neuralgia and it felt like holding a live cable against my eye, cheeks, teeth. I got a cyberknife of right side but the left side is pending. I have several problems after the cyberknife but no way to get an MRI or follow up with the doctor. Hence, I’m again with my beloved pals. Reading and writing help to improve memory and get a good night’s sleep. The entertainment part is an important part along with boosting courage. I have taken names of just a few of the books I have read, I have missed a lot of gems like Kazuo Ishiguro, P.G.Wodehouse, Keigo Higashino, Kanae Minato, Stieg Larsson and the classics which are a vital part of our lives.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.