Book review: It`s All In Your Head, M by Manjiri Indurkar
Managing the Black Dog
A brave account of struggling with a troubled mind and body.
If life sometimes looks to be all uphill, never is this more manifest than in Manjiri Indurkar`s It`s All In Your Head, M.
Laid low with a bevy of stomach- related ailments, some of the trouble diagnosed to a rotavirus attack, it takes a while for Indurkar to cotton on to the fact that at the root of her seemingly unmitigated misery is her body`s struggle to expel the accumulated-over- many- years detritus of her mind.
The physical affliction unlocks the door to turbulent, long-repressed emotions, and the deluge that follows almost sweeps the author away but also helps take her to surer ground from where she can and does attempt a recovery.
Stomach ailments, UTI, haemorrhoids, the early onset of diabetes, Indurkar`s body throws everything at her. And once the door of her traumatised mind is unbolted, out comes health anxieties, panic attacks, feelings of paranoia, hypochondria.
Courage shines through every sentence in this book. It cannot have been easy to bare all, not when the confessions involve childhood abuse, the rocky road of relationships, trichotillomania (the recurring urge to pull out body hair), a candid look at her weight problems, and of course, keeping the black dog of depression on a tight leash.
If courage shines through, so does the author`s extreme vulnerability, her dependency on her stout support system of parents and friends.
The book is so direct, it takes you aback. It is so honest, it takes firm hold of you. There is absolutely no distance between the reader and the writer here. It’s a no-holds-barred account of the many unsavoury incidents that have brought Indurkar to this pass, and the reader is fully engaged in her life struggles, roots for her enthusiastically.
There are passages which detail the heart-warming comfort of community in small towns. Even as Indurkar chuckles at the thought that small towns are now the flavour of Bollywood `as if before this we didn’t exist,` she goes on to underline how back in the day, one telephone in one residence served as communications centre to the whole colony; how people would gather in neighbours` homes to watch colour television; how if a kid fell asleep there, no one would bother picking them up and carrying them home, it was all mi casa su casa. How food and confidences were shared, and even an extreme example of how the author used to go use the shower at her amused neighbour`s place.
Indurkar totally owns her narrative and employs a direct talking to the reader style which is appealing but also wince- inducing because of the lack of filters, especially when it comes to the passages dealing with what the years of physical abuse did to her mind and body. Apart from being a good writer, she is also an accomplished poet.
All the word loves a winner, so the reader is happy to know that though Indurkar has not breasted the tape at the finishing line yet, since her struggle is still a work in progress, she is on top of things at the moment and likely to remain in that position. More power to her.
It`s All in Your Head, M/By Manjiri Indurkar/Tranquebar Books/Rs 399/Pages 218
This appeared in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS` SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE of 8 Nov 2020.