Two years ago, actor Emraan Hashmi’s life turned upside down. His only son, Ayaan, four-years-old at the time, was diagnosed with cancer. The actor and his family have since been through a painful battle, but now that Ayaan has recovered, Hashmi has decided to pen a book, titled The Kiss of Life: How A Superhero and My Son Defeated Cancer, to document the struggle.
In a chat with HT, the actor says that his first thought after the diagnosis was to blame himself. “When you hear such a news, there are a lot of things that go through your mind. As a parent, you go through anger, guilt and you often ask yourself - did we do something wrong? My wife Parveen and I thought we made some wrong choices as parents which led to this,” he says, adding: “The worst fear at that time is losing your child. Cancer is a terminal disease and has taken so many lives. The thought of losing your loved one to it is scary.”
The 36-year-old says that he could only cling to the hope that Ayaan will recover. “I guess it was hope that got our family through. It was also mad optimism that things would be okay and there is no other way. The jolt that a person feels if you tell him/her that he has cancer is anyway wrecking. But how it feels when a family hears that their child has cancer is difficult to even explain in words. Ayaan was just 3-years 11-months old. The initial shock was devastating. But what got us through was the thought that we had to fight it. It might be a long battle, but we, as a family, had to fight for our son’s life,” he says, adding that his son has fully recovered from Wilms’ tumour and is cancer-free for a while.
Talking about the book, Hashmi says that his intention is to pass on this hope to other cancer patients and their families. “Like many, we never understood what cancer meant. Most people think cancer means death. If this book can even reach one family and give them hope, I’ll be happy. I want to tell them that if we could get through it, so can they,” he says.
Hashmi adds that the book is also for his son to read when he grows up. “When Ayaan grows up, he can read it, pat himself on the back and be proud that he endured all this and came out stronger. The book will help him know what the entire family went through,” he says.