New Delhi: The Capital witnessed a unique event of a book launch at the Indian International Centre as two of the country’s publishing giants- Speaking Tiger and Rajkamal Prakashan Group, joined hands together to celebrate the launch of the English and Hindi editions of Tales From the Tail End: My Cancer Diary (in English), and Thaharti Sanson Ke Sirhane Se: Jab Jindagi Mauj Le Rahi Thi (Cancer Diary (in Hindi) by Ananya Mukherjee. Ananya, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, succumbed to her illness in November 2018, merely eighteen days after submitting the manuscript with the publishers. Written in her inimitable style of acerbic wit and dark humor – Tales from the Tail End is a book of hope, courage, even sunshine—not only for those living with cancer, and their caregivers and loved ones, but for anyone determined to live life on her or his own terms despite adversity.
Besides the formal launch of the book the evening also saw an august gathering of artists, writers, cancer survivors, friends and family of the deceased soul including Harmala Gupta – Founder-President, CanSupport; and Sadia Dehlvi, author and columnist; journalist and editor Pragya Tiwari; Shantanu Bhasin, Ananya’s husband; Sunil Mehra; Mark Tully, Rajeev Sethi, Dr. Manchanda, Rama Pandey, Writer and bureaucrat Paramita Satpathy, Renuka Chatterjee andRavi Singh of Speaking Tiger; Ashok Maheshwari and Satyanand Nirupam of Rajkamal Prakashan Samuh.
Sunil Mehra, a close friend of the family, read out an excerpt from the English version and made everyone in the audience emotional when his eyes were moist while touching upon the little known aspects of the author. His reading was followed by a discussion steered by moderator Pragya Tiwary with cancer survivors Harmala Gupta and Sadia Dehlvi. While everyone present who knew the author personally shared how Ananya had an unfettered spirit that resulted from her great sense of humor, both Dehlvi and Gupta also shared some of their personal battles with the disease. The two admitted to being labeled once it became known to others about their malady but candidly spoke about the ways it needs to be tackled, both by the distressed and aggrieved and the close family and friends.
Gupta who identifies with Ananya Mukherjee’s pain, said,” She is an example of yet another writer whose luminous prose is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and its ability to find meaning especially in the face of death.” Harmala Gupta, Founder-President, CanSupport.
“Although I didn’t know Ananya, I am happy to have come and found all the support that has come her way, said, Dehlvi. She and Gupta discussed in a freewheeling chat all the concerns that any affected person may have. “For anyone afflicted with the disease, the reactions are pretty much the same. From shock, denial, grieving, anger to acceptance, the different stages that everyone goes through could make the person weaker,” explained Gupta. ‘We need to have strong support systems. The disease cannot be treated by one person; it needs a team to share the pain from social, psychological and spiritual aspects.”
Dehelvi stressed on the point that in the book “Ananya has not dealt with death; she engages with life around her.” She also went on to add that she was preparing herself for the eventual demise by de-cluttering her life. ‘Hence, one decides on things that one doesn’t want to leave unattended, and I have almost either given away nearly half of my books and other material possessions to family and friends, and have even given instructions to my family to follow a few things like wrapping me in the sacred piece of cloth from Ajmer Sharif.” Harmala shared the CanSupport objectives and how palliative care is given to patients who don’t have any support system. “There are many volunteers and dedicated members in my team who help others. I have received help and support too from others, and now I need to help others.”
Writer and Dastango Himanshu Bajpai in his eloquent style did the dramatic reading from the book.
Hindi translations has been done by Urmila Gupta and Dr. Mridul Bhasin and edited by Prabhat Ranjan.
The book has already been translated into Urdu by Kausar Jahan which will hit the stores soon. Also, the book will be translated into many Indian languages, including Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu among others.