Sunday, July 8, 2012



As a cancer patient myself since September,2009, I feel the urge to share with my readers my thoughts after seeing the We The People discussion on cancer  anchored by Barkha Dutt, of NDTV, on the night of July 8,2012.

It had Barkha’s brilliant professional touch. She needs to be complimented for keeping it in the heart-to-heart chat format and avoiding the usual format of an elitist debate.

Cancer, like other serious diseases, is a great leveller.

It doesn’t make a distinction between the rich and the poor, between the young and the old, between men and women.

When it strikes, it strikes brutally.

Barkha’s WTP chat brought this out beautifully.

There were many moving moments during the one hour the chat lasted.

Like for example, when Pranav Arora, a young boy of 16, laughingly explained how he had forgotten his cancer.

Like for example, when a charming lady laughed and laughed---naturally and spontaneously and not compulsively--- when talking of her reaction to cancer and of her process of recovery.

Like for example, when a man who is bravely trying to recover his voice after having lost it due to throat cancer, valiantly tried to share his experiences with the viewers.

There were many other such moments of indescribable  beauty and grandeur.

When you see others heartily laughing, your natural inclination is to join them in laughing.

When I saw the big and enchanting smile of the young boy or the uproarious laughter of the charming lady, my reaction was not to join them in their smile and laughter.

It was to shed tears and cry.

Cry over the fact that these people are able to take their cancer in their stride.

Cry over the fact that these people have not allowed cancer to become a tragedy in their lives.

Cry over the fact that these people have not allowed their cancer to become the end of their world.

Cry over the fact that these people are handling their cancer with such detachment.

It requires human spirit of a tremendous order to develop such an attitude to a dreaded disease. Once you develop that attitude, the dread vanishes.

These people may not have as yet totally conquered cancer.

But they have vanquished the dread of cancer.

They have not meekly submitted to their pain.

They are defiantly staring at their pain in its face and have not allowed it to change the way they live, smile and laugh.

Let us salute them.

Let us salute Yuvraj Singh for not letting himself be overwhelmed physically and mentally by his cancer and for not letting his cancer distort his image and vision of himself and the world.

Let us salute Yuvi too for coming forward to share his pain,tears, smile and laughter with others recovering from the blow of cancer.

Let us salute Barkha and her team for giving a movingly human touch to the chat.

I have always believed in sharing.

I share readily everything with others---my joys, my sorrows, my pain, my pleasure.

When you so share, you rise sky high and feel a colossus in your mind.

We saw many colossuses last night in Barkha’s programme.

It was more than a programme.

It was a humanising experience.

( The writer has been under treatment since 2009 for a metastasised cancer of the urinary tract and nearby bones and lymphnodes. Pl. see, if you wish, his article on his cancer titled Living & Sleeping With My Cancer at


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R Balaji said...

Nice to hear the fight-back by cancer patients.

I saw the Yuvraj Singh's program in NDTV and wish to highlight 2 points.

(1)Yuvraj Singh tried Alternative medicine for 2 and half months before starting his Allopathy treatment. He never detailed on what kind of alternative treatment he underwent. As we have so many non-scientific alternative medicine treatments in the market, it would have been better if Mr.Yuvraj Singh bluntly asked the countrymen not to waste time like him, but undergo allopathic treatment as soon as one is diagnoised with Cancer. This would have given a strong message to the general public, who even with good education are becoming preys to quacks due to their unfortunate circumstances.

(2)Also, the mother of Mr.Yuvraj Singh carried the name of her religious guru in deciding to go for treatment to either UK or US. Incidentally, the family received info that in UK, the treatment will take 6 months and in USA the treatment will take 2 months. She said she chose USA option as per her Guru's order. Let us not criticise her religious leanings here, as majority of us may need some kind of psychological cajoling under extreme pressure.

But, I expected some answers to what kind of differences in treatment options for the same kind of cancer in USA and UK.

With my understanding, USA lead the world in new treatment options not only for cancer but also in every disease because of conducive atmosphere for discovering new treatment options. But in Europe, due to socialistic approach to medicine, new discoveries are barely minimal.

The above view is totally mine. If Mr.Yuvraj Singh elaborated this, it would have been better.

Anyway, nice to here so many voices who vowed to fight back and prove the human spirit's unlimited power.

R Balaji