Elixir- A Book Review

I had picked up Elixir from the New Delhi World Book Fair last year on a publisher friend’s recommendation. Post that, meeting Sinjini Sengupta on Women’s Day earlier this year and following her feed on social media, I knew this would be one powerful read but never imagined it to be ‘unputdownable’ ( yippee I coined a new word!). Read it in one day straight as I was so curious to know what happens next! Seriously sleep- deprived now and will welcome that adrak wali chai : p But more about the book now…

Elixir is a story of Manisha, a normal middle class working girl who seems to have it all together – a successful career, an accomplished husband, a beautiful house – a life which seems to be coveted by many. But despite having all this, why does she find herself increasingly lonely? What happens when she falls asleep? Does she find the happiness she is craving for? Do parallel planes exist?

Picking up this book on World Mental Health Day (coincidently!) and looking at the various posts on social media around it makes one wonder, do we take our mental health as seriously? Are we as a society going through a loneliness epidemic? Do we even realise it, let alone accept it? Is that why we are so glued to our mobiles and tablets from morning to night? Are we aware enough to recognise signs of mental illness and address it in time? We all know which doctor to go to when a common cold seems to be turning into a bacterial infection but do we know when to visit a mental health professional? When a passing feeling of melancholy turns into a more severe depression? More importantly, if one does fight the stigma attached towards visiting a psychologist / psychiatrist, are there enough well-trained professionals in the field in India?

The story is beautifully penned and reminded me of Jhumpa Lahiri’s style of writing. The short film made on the same was aired in Cannes Film Festival, among many others, and I am now very curious to watch the same! Pretty sure I will not be disappointed!

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