Book Review – The Test of My Life – From Cricket to Cancer and Back

the-test-of-my-life-from-cricket-to-cancer-and-back-hardcover-Have you ever started your day with an abrupt cough and vomiting attack? Imagine a tooth pain, can you? How does the drudgery of going to the office or college or school feel like on that day? Are you able to focus? Now multiply that discomfort several times over. And then, imagine trying to focus hard enough to win a world cup. And be the player of the tournament. Fathom the magnitude? That’s what Yuvraj did in 2012, as he overcame major personal odds to win the tournament. Yuvi pours out his heart in this chronicle of his fight against Cancer. Abruptly at times, incoherent at times, but with his heart in the right place most of the times.

This book is not exactly an inspirational book, like most such books are expected to be. It’s just a heartfelt chronicle. It starts with his denial of the disease, and ends with his eventually successful treatment of it. It is not a tale of heroism. It is not a glorification of how this victory was achieved. And thankfully, it gives credit where its due. The people around Yuvi who helped him wade through this journey. The resources he had at his disposal. And probably, most importantly, his mother.

The book was kind of personal to me. Over the last couple of years, we have gone through a similar journey, where sometimes the very act of living gets discounted by the fight for survival. Moving from a test to another, one opinion to another, one chemotherapy session to another. You know that you don’t have an option but to fight, but it becomes difficult every now and then. Somewhere when I was reading through the book, the book was an insight into how my dad might have felt over these months. We do not have the kind of resources that Yuvi might have had at his disposal, but I am sure the fight of mind over body does not become easier just because you have the best doctors looking at you. So, for that, I am glad that I read this book.

The book does not carry much of a literary value. Its language is unpolished, and fairly inconsistent. The timelines are fuzzy, and the editors have done a rushed job on the book. I would say that it’s a purely commercial act, and that ends up discounting Yuvi’s ordeal a fair bit. But thankfully, somewhat like Rafa’s sectional autobiography, the book has a very honest sound to it, and that’s what makes it an OK read. A somewhat more interesting story that runs parallel throughout is Yuvi’s relationship with his father. It makes you wonder if it was even a remotely healthy one or not. And how did such an unhealthy relationship become the foundation of such a promising sportsperson.

At this juncture, it’s difficult to say whether Yuvi will ever be a permanent fixture of the Indian Test team, but it suffices to say that several years back, when he opened the gates to the grand entrance, he almost blew them open. His talent is unquestionable, his work ethics has often been questioned, and his achievements do not stand true to his potential. Yet.

I think the true segment for this book is cricket lovers, and not people who are looking for an inspirational tale of fight-back. Someone who has no relation with the game may not even appreciate it. Not for cancer survivors really, because Lance Armstrong’s book is a better one for that. And I don’t enjoy the sports called cycling much.

And lastly, Dear Yuvi, you should not have used the book for such a heavy parading of your twitter presence and your charitable foundation. Seemed like an overdose by the end of it.

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About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

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