Battles were never tough and if it’s against cancer, tough is a small word to define it. Fighting the Big C with a lighter yet reflective prespective is not an easy deal. But Ananya Mukherjee with her Tales from the Tail End:
My Cancer Diary has done that. She fought a battle against breast cancer but lost it at the end with her life. Yet the journey through it removes the dark cloud which might affect the patients and lends a sense of hope despite the struggles.
In a form of a diary, each chapter is a varied journey dealing with life, friends and friendships, family, things happening around her, shifting cities and more, while dealing with her treatment. The short chapters are not filled with self-pity but speak about things Ananya felt and observed. You travel with her.
For example, in Dukh, Dard and a Season of Hope, you are with her when she has to deal with sympathy, hope and all that while trying to normalise things with some humour. Dealing with a new outlook towards her breasts hits you in the chapter The Breast has become Kali. She deals with her baldness and wearing wigs, learning to love herself, looking at well-wishers in a new way, love for loved ones and cities and so much more.
Her language is simple and lets you feel the myraid emotions that come with the battle. It is her humour and matter-of-fact voice that makes you look at cancer patients and survivors in a different way. Ananya may have lost her life, but she lives in this book.
It is short but profound in what it wants to convey. Picking up Ananya Mukherjee’s Tales from the Tail End: My Cancer Diary is quite a good thought if you want to truly understand what cancer battle and trying to simplify life is all about.