Saturday, September 22, 2012

45 Days In A Cancer Hospital by Alka Dimri Saklani - A Review

I am eating, living, breathing mysteries. Yes. In books. On television. In my mind too. Its just a matter of time before I become that lampooning character who roams around the world casting suspicious looks at people, trying to find mysterious stories and explanations where exist none. Phew. One more time, its a mystery that came my way for review. A win - its a different kind of mystery - a medical mystery - the first that I have ever read.

45 Days In A Cancer Hospital is the debut work of author Alka Dimri Saklani. This book narrates a story based in Umeed Hospital - a medical centre which has built its reputation as the best cancer treatment centre, in perhaps the whole country. Dr. Chatterjee, the founder of this hospital, is also a famous cancer specialist, one known to have given his life to the cause of caring for cancer patients. His own mother had died of bone cancer and under excruciatingly bad conditions since his father refused to afford the treatment. His incapacity to save his mother as a child drove him towards the noble medical profession - one which he pursued with obsessive sincerity.

Enter Ashritha - a young and famous writer, who, as her latest project is writing a book on the lives of cancer patients, for the purpose of which, she decides to stay in Umeed Hospital and observe and interview patients. She hopes that her book will become a source of hope, company and inspiration for others afflicted with this deadly disease. However, little does she know that the hospital she chooses to stay in has more to offer than just the stories of people coping up with cancer. A number of terminally ill patients are being killed in cold blood - an extremely strange occurrence given that they are already going to die. Ashritha, the strong, concerned and smart woman she is, suspects some foul play and with the help of her friend from CBI - Animesh - gets on course to unravelling the elusive facts behind these hideous acts. The road to solving the mystery is paved with threats to Ashritha's life, but for once does she not buckle down. If anything, she is even firmly back on the case. Intellectually ripe, she is able to figure out it all - only her wildest dreams could not have conjured where ultimately her investigations lead her. This, along with a subtle, brewing romance between Ashritha and Animesh is what makes this book a wholesome tale to savour.

I roughly took three days to finish this book, that too when I had a pile load of work to do. The previous line is to show that the book managed to keep me engrossed. The storyline is interesting, with adequate crests and very less troughs. Crises are introduced in the story when you least expect. However, as you get friendly with the author and the psyche of her characters, for sometime, the narrative does become predictable. The tale ends like most mysteries do - the culprit is not whom you expect, but one who fits the jigsaw perfectly. Alka's characters are deep, and have consistent traits, which makes them easy to understand and follow. The language of the book is quite ordinary and comfortable. No big promises, but this book does live up to the excitement it creates in the back-cover blurb. The knowledge and research of the author shows in the way she has described unto last detail the life of doctors and nurses in the hospital. The book seldom loses its focus and ties together all the lose ends at the climax. To summarize, I would not label this an extraordinary piece of writing, but a genuinely decent effort by first time writer Alka Dimri Saklani. Giving it 2.5 stars on 5, I would go on to say that this is the kind of easy-read mystery that would conveniently fit into your hectic schedule and provide welcome distractions.

PS - My favourite bit about the book is the Acknowledgements. The author admits to having named her protagonist on her brother, because his support during the process of drafting the book was invaluable. I only hope that if someday I get down to writing a book, I have similar support systems available to me too. 

Book Details -
Title - 45 Days In A Cancer Hospital
Author - Alka Dimri Saklani
Publisher - Leadstart
Genre - Medical Mystery / Crime Fiction
Price - ₹ 195
Pages - 296


  1. That looks like the perfect weekend read. Need to catch up soon. Nice review Saumya.

  2. Thank Reshmi! Always nice to hear from a fellow reviewer.


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  4. You talk about Cancer but do you know what it actully is ?
    Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancer grows out of normal cells in the body.Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when the body doesn't need them. Cancer appears tooccur when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too quickly. It can also occur when cells forge
    t how to die.
    Cancer can develop in almost any organ or tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin, bones, or nerve tissue.
    Causes of Cancer you should be aware of :
    Drinking excess alcohol
    Environmental toxins, such as certain poisonous mushrooms and a type of poison that can grow on peanut plants
    Excessive sunlight exposure
    Genetic problems
    The following symptoms can occur with most cancers:
    Loss of appetite
    Night sweats
    Weight loss
    Cancer is a bitch if you ask me . It ruins everything.
    * Happiness *
    Families Collapsee & Everything .
    The treatment is so fucking expensivethat not everyone can afford it so ppl just DIE in a HOPE to LIVE .
    You wanna know what being dead feels like ? Go to the Cancer building at AIIMS . People there are literally dead .
    It hurts to see their faces but inspires a normal person to respect the value of Life .
    No I am not asking you to contact a NGO and donate. It will be better if you just go and interact with the patients theree :') and then you will know what to do yourself .
    Broadcast for the sake of Humanity .
    Cancer Patients need affection not sympathy.
    Thankyouu :') so read this sumya hows it??

    1. Arre re! So much information you have shared here. Whoa!

  5. I just winded up with the book.. it was a nice read for the weekend..
    Good to read ur review.. off to put up mine..

    1. Aah. Interesting. Hopping on to your blog right away!