WHY THIS BOOK
Because no one's heard the story of an organ recipient before. There are countless reports and shocking details about "organ rackets" and the "illicit trade in human organs" but does anyone in India know what it means to be an organ recipient?
This story is about an organ donor, who pledged her organs to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, only to discover, four years later, that she had to be moved to organ recipient's list on account of acute liver failure.
Her story, told in first person, is full of such ironies of life that creep upon us and never cease to amaze.
The narrative moves in real time, as the author pens her account, before, during and after her transplant. While battling for life, she types away at a furious pace on the small keypad of her 'One Plus One' cell phone. Overwhelmed with pain, and fatigue, with the failing eye sight of one cataract eye (the other is yet to be operated upon), and donning an oxygen mask, she documents her experiences in poignant, painful and vivid detail, as they unfold in her life.
Through all this topsy-turvy, she was blogging, running her business, managing relationships, haggling with clients, delegating work and filing news and taxes from her the hospital bed in Pune from her hand-held device. Can there be anything more tragic than blogging about your critical illness? Her friends and relatives were shocked when they learnt about her double-cancer (liver and breast) one fine morning from her blog. Trained as a journalist, offloading her worries on paper came natural to her.
"You ghostwrite for clients, when will you write your own book?" her late mom used to rue. She had no answer as she had no book in her then. Then the illness came, and became the outpouring for this book, and she started a blog series on LinkedIn, not knowing where the journey would take her.
For a real time feel, the book has chat histories, emails and other multi-media elements that give insight into the author's fighter spirit. However this book is not about her personal struggle. There are several, more inspiring books in the market on surviving a critical, fatal illness. It's about the immense gratitude that she feels for the anonymous stranger, who before leaving the world, passed her a gift of life.
We can all make that as the last, supreme gesture, but don't, even though Nature had made every human organ recyclable. Mislead by our religious beliefs, we unwittingly consign our body to flames or bury it, not realizing that those bodies still have life in them that can be volunteered to others in need of those organs.
Imagine the courage of thousands of those unknown, unsung parents, husbands, wives and children, who lose a dear one to fatal road accidents, and on his/her behalf decide to let go, and donate the organs. In that one moment, they are able to rise a million feet above their grief, smile and smooth the worry lines on a total stranger's face, who is battling for life. Let's salute their towering spirit, and draw a lesson from them. The blog section of this site, tells their stories.
Finally, this book also has, what we consider, useful information resources for thousands of other liver transplant patients in India, who either wait or die for want of compatible donors and their turn on the table never comes.
Live or die? Unfortunately, the choice is not theirs to make.
It depends upon a number of chance factors. Luck is the biggest of them all.
The author of this story was definitely lucky.
She lived to tell the tale that you are now reading.