While writing out my life-story, God was sure in an adventurous mood. Maybe, His bungee-jumping trip or something got cancelled and he was looking for an adrenaline-rush.

Hmmm, who’s due next? A baby girl? Pass me the pen. <Dips pen in a fiery, bubbling liquid and proceeds>

Those who have read my book, ‘That Autumn in Awadh’ would have got a ringside view of one of the dares God tossed at me.

I cross 40. I think now he is done with me. Done pulling my leg.

Ok, Rachna, you win! He is calling out from a distance, exhausted, holding his stomach.

But, that does not happen. He tosses cancer at me.

I am shattered. But I resolve not to get into a ‘why-me’ frame-of-mind. There is no answer to that.  So, why ask that question?

It is three weeks since my first dose. The after-effects have torn through my body mercilessly. At my worst, I hope I live through this.

At my best, I hope the Wifi is faster.

The mind has a lot of potential to bounce back, you see! We just need to allow it to do so.

The body has also decided to get up, dust itself and move on.

I go out a bit, meet some people.  I get a lot of stories in return.

When folks hear that someone has been diagnosed with cancer, an irrepressible urge seizes them – the urge to relate random, gory cancer stories. It hits like a bad bout of dysentery. Uncontrollable. They have to. They just have to tell the story.

My friend’s sister had a brain tumour. They operated twice. Then, she died.

My bhabhi’s brother’s mother-in-law had a rare form of cancer. She really suffered. So sad. She died last year.

My colleague’s father has mouth cancer. His entire face has been torn apart and sewn. So horrible, na? Does not look like he will make it.

I listen to these stories. I cringe. I did wonder what is causing this idiotic narration. Do they realize that the stories don’t help, only harm? I wonder if there is a cure for them. Anything? Allopathic? Homeopathic? Naturopathy? Hammer on their heads?

It’s been a lonely three weeks. None of my friends have called or visited. I suddenly get a surge of anger and lash out. Maybe not appropriate on my part. Maybe they just did not realize. Or, are scared? Or confused? Or, just back in their routines after taking out time for my surgery? But, I still wish someone was there as my family of three cringed with fear watching me go through the after-effects of Dose 1. The house is eerily quiet – the kids watch me fearfully, Alok tries to juggle several balls all at once. I mean this metaphorically. I mean, if he went around juggling actual colourful, plastic balls as I suffered, it would not be very nice, would it?

Remember, if a person close to you is going through chemotherapy, you have to be there for the long haul. Can you commit to it?

It’s Valentine’s Day. A friend throws a party. Love…enduring through suffering. That’s the real thing, isn’t it?

With my valentine!
With my valentine!
With my sister, Anamika, Shubhra and the hostess, Roma .
With my sister, Anamika,  the hostess, Roma and Shubhra