I inspire is the story of Neerja Malik, double cancer survivor. The story is unique for though it is a true story about a living person, it is written in third person. This makes the voice of the narrative fresh and innovative. Secondly each chapter oscillates between Neerja’s adulthood, particularly the phase when she is diagnosed with cancer and her growing up years. Her grandmother has a unique role to play in her growing up years. She mentions her that there are ten treasures for a meaningful live, without telling what are those. Neerja discovers these treasures during her happy and difficult times.
Neerja’s story is moving. But it is not a sob story. It is a celebration of life. It underlines the spiritual bent of mind of Neerja. The book is full of pilgrimages made by Neerja which are more of spiritual adventures. The incidents from her life make you believe that miracles happen even today. After many miscarriages Neerja finally gives birth to a set of twins. While everything seems to be happy, she is diagnosed with cancer. Her attempts to conceal her disease from her young children and their anger, especially that of her son, when they realize that their mother had kept them in the dark, will make you cry.
Neerja’s love for life is palpable from every word in the book. Neerja has enjoyed every phase of her life, whether it was as a child with great love for food or that of a woman diagnosed with cancer for the second time. Her experience as a mother of raising two kids has been articulated very well. The way she continues to enjoy watching movies and partying even on the day when she is diagnosed with cancer for the second time, shows her great courage.
Her work as a counsellor in the hospitals deserves a special mention. Indeed she has spread fragrance in many wilted lives by telling them that if she could conquer the disease, not once but twice, even they could. Her immense faith in God helps her in overcoming all that comes her way.
The treasures given by her grandmother play very subtle role in the story. Its subtlety works very well, for it doesn’t mar the narrative. It doesn’t make the book preachy with hollow lessons in spirituality. The way she narrates her encounter with the God of death Yama on page 87 is simply hilarious.
On page 79 in the following line I felt that the word he was wrongly written as she. “Her son was trying to comfort her so that the shivering would subside , but wasn’t able to. Her operation was fixed for seven the next morning, so she requested Neerja to somehow meet her before that, so that she could instill some courage into her.”
I inspire is a true tale told honestly, without any glorification. It is full of happiness and love for life which is contagious. Isn’t that a good reason to buy the book?