Tuesday September 11, 2018   |   Rachna Singh

  “It covers the post-treatment flirtation with fear and hope” Rachna

Bookaholicanonymous today celebrates a fighter! Someone who fought the dreaded ‘C’ and has come out victorious. The book ‘Mum’s Gotta Live.’ is a series from her diary entries as she went through diagnosis, mastectomy, reconstruction, and chemotherapy and the emotional upheavals. This is an account of her difficult journey!

Thank you Rachna Singh for inspiring us and being brave enough to share this difficult phase of your life with us.


About Rachna Singh: Bangalore-based Rachna Singh is one of India's leading humour writers. But since man can’t live by laughter alone, she works as an HR and Marketing Consultant. She has five published books (including this book) and a highly-popular blog. She would like to work towards world peace after eliminating people who say ‘ossum’.


The blurb of the book: An indifferent sonographer is probing mammary-land. My only concern – that silly, putting-an-entire nudist colony robe I am wearing. Then, I hear – Okay – it looks like cancer only. Phlegmatic, indolent announcement. Loud. Care-a-damn loud. What? WHAT? What did she say? Landmines explode in my ears. I stare. I start shivering. I don’t know why. But I am shaking like an overloaded washing machine. I could have cried. Maybe, yelled. Or, shrieked. Held her by her shoulders and done a filmy, ‘kyon, kyon, kyon, keh do ki yeh jhoot hai?’ But I am shivering. Violently. Cancer. I struggle uttering this word. Fear has a new meaning. It’s a blood-hound aiming for my jugular. I have never felt so scared in my life. Cancer is inside me. Thriving without my permission. That’s not supposed to happen. Others get cancer. Like Mrs Sriv   astava’s bahu’s bhabhi. Or, that nice magazine editor I met once. Other people. Today, I begin a long, difficult battle with breast cancer.


The interview:

What made you write this book....about the most difficult part of your life?


I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. During the treatment, I wrote a diary to help keep sane. On the last day of chemotherapy, I published it on my blog. Several women who read it urged me to put it together as a book. They said it would help others going through the same – a kindred spirit sharing her struggles, fears, little victories. So, I took the difficult decision to publish it as a book.


Tell us something about the title of the book 'Mum's Gotta Live.'


As happens with a writer quite often, I did not have a title. So, when it was ready to go for printing, I generated few options and asked my friends to vote. Most of them voted for ‘Mum’s Gotta Live.’. It struck a chord, it summed up the goal of the journey and it also emphasised the spirit of the fight. My sixteen year old daughter, Aisha, who is also the cover designer of this book, added a full-stop after the title. She said it should be, ‘Mum’s Gotta Live. Period.’


What can we expect from the book? 


It’s a series of my diary entries as I went through diagnosis, mastectomy, reconstruction, and chemotherapy. It also covers the post-treatment flirtation with fear and hope. Those who have gone through this will know that the journey, post treatment, is not bed-of-roses. How to reinvent your life, and keep fighting fears is so crucial!


There is also section with Q&As which talk about changing one’s diet, benefits of yoga and putting up with people who make sad, pitiful faces at you.


The tone of the book is funny. I have tried to use humour while dealing with gravest of moments in my journey.

Tell us how you put your life back together after the dreaded 'C'...what led you on.


Along with the body, the mind is ravaged during and after a tryst with cancer. Picking up the pieces and moving on is horribly tough. Life’s finiteness is, suddenly, staring at you. I did several things as I moved ahead – made peace with myself, forgave people who’d wronged me, re-built my relationship with God, ate healthier, exercised and learnt to be very, very grateful for the blessings I have.


What are the things that a cancer fighter and then a survivor look for according to you?


A cancer survivor is, quite often, dealing with PTSD. She is anxious, fearful, possibly even depressed and cynical. Life’s purpose has become one huge conundrum. She is always looking for answers when there are none. It’s a battle with oneself – the army in front is one’s own fears, worries and doubts.


She needs a lot of love and hugs from her loved ones to be able to conquer the turmoil within.


You are a true inspiration...your story tells us that there is life after cancer and how. What are the things you do or think differently now?


I savour each moment. And, try to find the positive in it. When stuck in traffic, I look at pretty balconies, a mother teaching her son, a vendor taking a tea break and so on. I try to live in that moment. I love spending time with my children, listening to their stories, holding their hands. I take out time for friends more than I did before. I work-out. I detox my body once a week. I laugh more. I sing more. I will not say I don’t fret at all. But, overall, I have learnt to be more peaceful, more content.


A big hug from Bookaholicanonymous Rachna Singh for inspiring us! Keep doing what you do best-writing. You are truly gifted.


Rachna’s websitewww.rachnasingh.in

Other books by Rachna: ‘Dating, Diapers and Denial’, ‘Digs, Dogs and Drama’, ‘Nuptial Knots’, ‘That Autumn in Awadh’ and ‘Band Baja Boys’

Link to buy the book: https://www.amazon.in/Mums-Gotta-Live-Rachna-Singh/dp/9353118867/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536639215&sr=1-1&keywords=mum%27s+gotta+live

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