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CLOSE TO THE BONE

— JASMEEN DUGAL

Supermodel-actress-author Lisa Ray was diagnosed with rare blood cancer, multiple myeloma, in 2009. She shared her experience of fighting cancer with valour, and how it transformed her life, in her blog 'The Yellow Diaries' which led to a personal memoir, 'Close To The Bone'.

 

Not knowing what to expect, I was drawn to her disarmingly honest story of being a supermodel at sixteen; her almost- reluctant entry in Bollywood; working in Oscar-nominated film, Water; her battle with bulimia and cancer; her pursuit of spirituality; her heartbreaks and ultimately finding love. This book is Ray's inspiring story of living life to the fullest on her own terms, facing crisis head-on and emerging a winner. ''It never occurred to me that I wouldn't get better. Almost as soon as he said cancer —or didn't — I was framing it as just another adventure in a life… I had become a junior member of the MM cancer club, diagnosed at thirty-seven, while the average age is sixty-five. Fatal. Incurable. But I wasn't scared — not yet.''

 

This positivity, love for life and facing reality head- on forms the spine of the memoir. Be it her pursuit of spirituality in Shirdi, Rishikesh or a meditation retreat in Dharamsala, the author's openness to experiencing diverse spiritual philosophies makes one think. ''I got up early, drawn by the sound of prayer bells ringing in the mountains… and passed a sign-post: Ten Day Silent Meditation Introduction To Buddhism Course. I needed to do this, whatever it was, this meditation retreat… and despite the exquisite torture of sitting captive to all my thought, I had also felt at home. It was natural, a deep familiarity, settling into my bones through extended silence… Dharamsala and my time in Tushita had cracked me open, made me more self-aware, softened me. Into this strange spiritual expedition, I imported my recent acquired ability to sit with the realities of life in order to finally unlock the trauma of the car accident, find acceptance and set myself free.''

 

One of the heart-wrenching moments is when the author reminisces about how relationships cannot handle the strain of cancer. ''When we had first met, I was a dramatically different person. Of course, I had changed; how could I not have changed? And he had changed too, simply by bearing witness. But I knew I couldn't take him in the direction I was headed. Our story had to end and, in fact, when we parted ways, we smiled with kindness. Still, it stung.'' Good authors are disarmingly honest. By that belief, Ray qualifies as one. The memoir delivers hard truths in a light tone. Whether it's about her relationships, her quest for spirituality or her battle with cancer, Ray bares her soul. ''My heart tells me I am going to be around for a very long time. And my beliefs are fucking magnetic'' she grins as she wraps up the memoir and prepares for the next stage of her life: marriage and motherhood. Salut.

 

CLOSE TO THE BONE

AUTHOR: Lisa Ray

Publisher: Harper Collins

INR 599
 

CLOSE TO THE BONE
CLOSE TO THE BONE
 
27-JUNE-2019
 
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