Wake up to good mental health

FPJ BureauUpdated: Monday, June 03, 2019, 07:52 PM IST
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Book: Wake Up, Life is Calling
Author: Preeti Shenoy
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Pages: 256; Price: Rs 199

The beginning can be a battle — with your mind, your near and dear ones, your thoughts. You can actually feel the protagonist Ankita’s pain as the story proceeds. There were instances when the reader wanted to close the book because it was too daunting — a life so depressing. But as I kept ‘moving on’, I knew something would definitely change. Bipolar disorder — as scary as it may sound — is something which the author has broken down to simple bits for people to understand.

Thank you, Preeti Shenoy, for another positive book. As a sequel to her second book written in 2011 called Life is What You Make It which went on to become a national bestseller, comes Wake Up, Life is Calling which is incidentally her 12th book.
Ankita, having spent time in a mental health centre and the course of treatment that follows to fight depression and a range of accompanying issues, has arrived in Mumbai along with her parents to start a new chapter on a fresh note. She starts pursuing Creative Writing at a prestigious institution in Mumbai. She makes friends, she is bright (again after a dull period), exceptionally good with her assignments and it is like a picture-perfect life of an ambitious student.

But can life always be a picture-perfect frame? Of course, not. If yes, then what about ups and downs for which ‘life’ is so famous for? And when it comes to a person with bipolar disorder, life may not be too fair. The devils that have to be fought on a daily basis can be draining — physically, emotionally and mentally.

There were instances when the reader felt pulled into a hopeless situation with envious people to deal with, ego hassles and a lot more which did cause a repulsive effect but that was not for long. In fact, the characterisation of Ankita’s parents is commendable, providing much comic relief at times. Her mother is the stereotypical Indian mother (but in a good way, if the reader may say so).

Ankita’s little notes did seem too simple but on pondering over them does one realise the depth they carry. That’s Shenoy’s weapon too — simplicity that becomes the ultimate sophistication (sorry for the cliché here).

Having known a person who has bipolar disorder and who fights battles on a personal level other than the many that has to be fought to be ‘normal’, the book only made more sense to the reader. Through this book, it is hoped that the stigma around mental illnesses decrease (if not end). As members of a society, it also teaches (without being preachy) how one can develop a bit more empathy towards one who is on the road to good mental health.

It definitely is a quick read or what is more popularly known as ‘an unputdownable book’ (which more or less all her books have been).It can be a helpful guide for teenagers. Not only teenagers, as people progress through life’s phases, here’s to them!

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