Friends, recently the White Swan Foundation for Mental Health – which is doing great work in the field of information and communication related to mental health – gave me noted Odia writer Susmita Bagchi’s first novel in English language to review.
Beneath A Rougher Sea fills an important space in discourse around mental health by portraying professionals who remain largely unspoken in the increasing narratives we now encounter.
Please read …
Tags: Beneath a Rougher Sea, Mental Health, Psychiatrist, Susmita Bagchi, White Swan Foundation
Friends, it is a matter of immense satisfaction that almost a decade after this book came out, it still evokes interest. The lovely and talented Sheila Kumar came to the recent book reading at iBrowse, Catholic Club hosted by the gracious Marianne Furtado De Nazareth.
Sheila wasn’t fully satisfied by the interaction because it veered towards the subject of the book – mental illness – which is critical but was less about the craft of the book and the author position. So, as she does, she wrote a review but also interviewed me. Frankly, I was quite blown by the questions. There were about a writer’s relationship with a story. We hardly talk about it. I loved answering them.
‘Also, though I am a writer and like to connect with the world, (I even seem extrovert and warm to friends, readers and strangers), I am actually very private and shy. I am very hesitant to single out myself with a ‘why me, God’ kind of question or use the first person narrative: the ‘I.’ I constantly ask myself: doesn’t the world suffer much more than me? Aren’t there much bigger issues to talk about? Why would someone read what I write? Yet, all my writing is first person. The inflection point is: when I know that the story is no longer about my emotions but taps into a universal consciousness, then I put it out for readers. Then they earn the epithet you just gave them – honest.’
Please read …
Tags: Honesty in writing, Mental Health, schizophrenia, Sheila Kumar
Friends, Mini Anthikad-Chhibber from The Hindu covered the White Swan event last month on Literature and Mental Illness. She quotes my controversial remark:
Amandeep, on the other hand, said there is no such thing as non-fiction, as everything one writes is coloured by what one chooses to highlight and what one ignores. “We should open stereotypes instead of perpetuating them, literature should be used to build bridges rather than exclude.”
Thank you for the event White Swan Foundation for Mental Health, Pavitra Jayaraman, Manoj Das, C K Meena, Dr Ajit Bhide, Subrato Bagchi, Dr Prabha Chandran and others.
Please read …
Tags: C K Meena, Dr Ajit Bhide, Dr Prabha Chandran, literature, Mental Health, Subroto Bagchi, White Swan Foundation
Over the last two months those of you who do come to this site must have been sorely disappointed in me. I have been so non-punctual about updating these pages. I was caught up with something else, my second book, which I will talk about later.
For now this is a notification on a talk I am giving at Roshni, a part of ACMI (Action for Mental Illness) initiative this Saturday, April 18, 11 AM at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi. Link to ACMI.
I am no expert on human behaviour or on mental illness. All that has happened to me has been 35 years of living in close proximity to mental illness. Okay not so close, I was mostly away from my fragmented home where my mother was ill. But my mother was also in my heart. That way she was never too far. I grew up watching for her, her moods, her tempers, and my behaviour.
I also saw my father all these years, crumbling under the onslaught of mother’s temper. He felt guilty. I felt guilty for being their son and keeping them married. Under the combined load of all our guilt my father lost his mind towards his end (2003). I had been writing Sepia Leaves for about two years before that but the night my father passed away the format of the book revealed itself to me. I wrote Sepia Leaves to tell Papa that he was not responsible.
Roshni is an association of care givers of mentally ill patients. I want to stand in front of these care givers and listen to them telling me their stories. And I want to present to them the fact that they are not responsible for what has happened in their lives. In fact, they have already done much more than is their due. Come!
Tags: ACMI, Care Givers, Mental Health, Roshni, Sepia Leaves