Check out these 5 useful tips for a blissful career!
Women in particular face a lot of bias even when it comes to mental healthcare and awareness in our country. Aparna Piramal Raje's Chemical Khichdi brings more conversation to the table.
The conversations around mental health and particularly suicide prevention peak around 10th September every year as it is World Suicide Prevention Day. But we need to normalise having these conversations to reduce the myths, misconceptions, stigma and taboo around mental health and deaths by suicide.
In India due to the stigma and taboo few people come out in the open to speak about their mental illnesses, and even public figures shy away from sharing their mental health statuses. In such a scenario sharing lived experiences by a public figure is a huge leap in normalising highly stigmatised conditions like Bipolar Disorder.
This latest book by Aparna Piramal Raje is her memoir as a person living with bipolarity and her lived experiences is a welcome move in this direction. Aparna is a famous columnist, writer and business tycoon who hails from a reputed Indian business family- the Piramals, she has been the former CEO of BP Ergo, one of India’s largest modular office furniture companies.
Chemical Khichdi: How I Hacked My Mental Health (2022) published by Ebury Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House India, evokes curiosity as to why a mental health book be named after a vernacular dish that is so simple and yet versatile. In this book, Piramal Raje meticulously weaves threads of what worked for her, making the book into a sort of self-help guide for other survivors and caregivers who want to understand the wide spectrum of mental health, and bipolar disorder- 1 in particular.
As a mental health and suicide prevention activist I often face the dilemma of sensitive language for this area of work. What should the survivors be called? What verbs to use and how? These are questions we as activists and counsellors also face every day.
Piramal Raje tackles the issue head on and writes, “There is a debate about whether one should say ‘I am bipolar’ or ‘I have bipolar’ – the latter, to my mind, seems grammatically incorrect.” She chooses to say “I am bipolar” or “I live with bipolarity”.
The author thinks the word “disorder” means there is “a malfunction of some sort” – she insists on calling it “a mental health condition” instead.
Chemical Khichdi is thus a semi-formal attempt and quasi-medical attempt at defining how a mental health condition may alter the life graph of anyone. Even someone like Aparna who comes from a premium business family of the country, has been to the best educational institutions and has lived a fairly “normal” life as a parent, spouse and sibling.
Women in particular face a lot of bias even when it comes to mental healthcare and awareness in our country. This is not just a proven fact, but my own lived experience too. Our allies are few and far between.
Piramal Raje writes, “The word ‘ally’ is commonly used to describe friendly nations who come together in wartime to protect one another. It is particularly appropriate for someone with a mental health condition such as mine, which often feels like a psychological and physiological civil war.” She elaborates how her mother, sister, husband, children, friends and mentors sheltered her during this ‘wartime’ and nourished her during ‘peacetime’. How her team of caregivers created a system of support for her that was crucial for her thriving with the condition.
The three part format of the book has lived experience as the central theme running through all of these, and hence manages to evoke the empathy of even an impatient reader like me who gets intimidated by facts, figures and business jargon. The book is well-researched and has anecdotes about her marriage, parenting, sibling relationships, her parents’ divorce and the like that make it relatable for all commoners especially modern women.
The book is easy to read and her lucid style shines through even when she describes something as mundane as definitions and triggers.
The author remains empathetic and candid while being aware of her privileges because of coming from a particular class. However, the use of the word ‘hack’ for mental health can however be debated.
Also a lot of mentions of the support she received easily and efficiently is something still not available to millions and that gap is difficult to bridge for many as readers. Supportive families in a country that abandons its mentally ill women are also rare and hence the role of caregivers as elucidated in the book is hard to relate to for many including me.
Due to all these reasons the entire section on seven therapies becomes hugely subjective and at points, unrelatable.
Overall the book is inquisitive and also insightful, full of varied lived experiences of a survivor and can be useful to survivors, institutions working on mental health as well as caregivers.
Though it would be difficult for a commoner to relate with some of the solutions or “therapies” offered because even love or space is a huge privilege in our society, which all people do not have.
A good one-time read for anyone who has any interest in mental health, mental illness and especially Bipolar Disorder.
If you’d like to pick up Chemical Khichdi: How I Hacked My Mental Health written by Aparna Piramal Raje, use our affiliate links at Amazon India, and at Amazon US.
Women’s Web gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!
Image source: YouTube and book cover Amazon
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
Pooja Priyamvada is an author, columnist, translator, online content & Social Media consultant, and poet. An awarded bi-lingual blogger she is a trained psychological/mental health first aider, mindfulness & grief facilitator, emotional wellness trainer, reflective read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Neena Gupta’s take on love between a man and woman opens a can of worms. She’s speaking her truth, which is a reality for so many people, but is it universal?
Neena Gupta made a statement in her interview with Humans of Bombay that she doesn’t believe love exists between a man and a woman. She said it starts off with lust, which then changes into affection, and becomes a habit. The only love she’s ever known and felt is for her daughter, Masaba.
Neena is married to Vivek Mehra, a chartered accountant who she first met on a flight. Vivek Mehra has two children, and it’s his second marriage. It’s Neena’s second marriage too. She was earlier married at an early age of 20. She has one child, Masaba, from her previous relationship with the now retired West Indian cricketer, Vivian Richards.
Her statement about love evoked some vehement reactions ranging from she’s not met the right man to “blood runs thicker than water”.
Emotional Eating: the practice of finding comfort in food is common and if unregulated can lead to eating complications. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can cope up with emotional eating.
Do you find yourself reaching for a bar of chocolate or a bowl of ice cream when you are upset? Well, finding comfort in food is common and is part of a practice called Emotional Eating.
People who emotionally eat are found to do so several times a week to suppress their negative feelings. They may later regret on doing so and this becomes a vicious cycle leading to multiple eating disorders and weight related stress
What causes someone to eat emotionally? Anything from work stress to financial woes, health issues and even relationship struggles can be the root cause of emotional eating. It’s an issue which affects both sexes, but is more common in women than in men.
Please enter your email address