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Manisha Koirala: I could have gone into a shell

Actor Manisha Koirala, who has written about her journey of fighting cancer in the book titled Healed, says she learnt to value life in the process, and is looking forward to feedback from people for her writing.

more lifestyle Updated: Jan 28, 2019 16:49 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Manisha Koirala,Cancer,Manisha Koirala book
Actor Manisha Koirala was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.

Just the thought of visiting Delhi makes actor Manisha Koirala smile. And why not, for it was this city where she did her schooling. “We used to live in Mandi House, and have a lot of memories of Delhi,” says Koirala who hopes that people in the Capital read her book Healded. “I want to reach out to the readers, connect with them and get their feedback on the book. It’s so exciting to be able to reach out to as many people through my book,” adds Koirala, who is also a speaker at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival.

Released recently, the book encapsulates the actor’s journey of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Even after braving the disease, it wasn’t easy for her to relive the battle for the book, in which she mentions the difficulty of getting notes together. “I’ve a habit of jotting down whenever I’m in pain. My notes and my diary are all over the place in my house. It’s a habit which I have had since childhood. But, during the treatment, I wasn’t even thinking of writing a thorough detail of my pain. I [decided that I] would be jotting down what was healing. So, anything that was going to be a positive effect for my healing process [became a part of this book],” says the UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador.

The actor is indeed one of the firsts, in Bollywood, to have spoken about her fight with the disease. “I was among the first few ones… there were very few people especially celebrities who actually had come out [about their illness] because being a celebrity, disease is something that you want to keep very personal and private. So, I guess not too many stories came out, and when I was ill I really wanted to get some encouragement,” says Koirala adding that she did look around for other celebrities who had gone through similar experiences.

In the book Healed, actor Manisha Koirala mentions that she has been unlucky in love.

“I was searching and found Lisa Ray’s The Yellow Diaries. I saw her pictures, and then Yuvi [cricketer, Yuvraj Singh] had also come out bald, swollen face and all chemo and steroid… so I really thank these people and God that they had come out and posted pictures and spoken about the illness and struggle. It also depends on people, every individual is different, some are very private and don’t like to share it and I totally respect that. I like to share, and sharing made me light. It also opens the doors to see the beautiful aspect of humanity. I could have gone into a shell because I was very hesitant and scared, but with a little hope I started experiencing that human beings are inherently kind and loving people who just need encouragement,” she says.

The title of the book, however, suggests more than her healing process, and Koirala admits it. She confesses that somewhere in her life she had become ungrateful to whatever she had. “I have been very conscious of the fact that [the title] shouldn’t be a negative connotation to whatever I do. Once we decided that the book will be on the cancer journey, it was kind of a lot of thought behind how do we write a story about cancer and have a positive impact. I knew that people who have known me as an actor would want to read it but what about others? So, the title suggests that cancer was like a catalyst for my change; I started valuing life. The second sentence (below the title) ‘How cancer gave me a new life’, was suggested by a friend, and shows a lot of contribution of my friends, family and well-wishers,” she concludes.

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First Published: Jan 27, 2019 12:37 IST