Mental health conditions have multiplied after the pandemic, but solutions to these challenges remain hard to find. Author and columnist Aparna Piramal Raje’s new book Chemical Khichdi: How I Hacked My Mental Health (Penguin Random House India), released yesterday, is a bold attempt to normalise conversations on these topics.
Part-memoir, part-reportage and part self-help guide, Chemical Khichdi is a hopeful and helpful guide for anyone looking to enhance their mental wellness. The book is divided in two sections: the first section is a memoir, which gives a raw and authentic look into the lived experiences of the author herself and how she learnt to live and thrive with bipolar disorder over two decades. In the second section, she outlines seven essential therapies that can help individuals with a mental health condition, their family, friends, colleagues, medical professionals and others who love and care for them.
Speaking at the launch function, Radhika Piramal, vice-chairperson of VIP Industries, and Aparna’s sister, spoke about how their family came to understand and manage Aparna’s bipolarity, including her mania, depression and mood swings, and explained her motivations for writing the book.
Aparna then spoke about how the seven therapies are intended to for anyone wanting to improve their mental well-being. “Bipolarity may affect only one per cent of the population, but mental wellness is important to 100 per cent of us. I believe three therapies – medical therapies, love therapy and lifestyle – are essential to learning how to survive any mental health challenge,” said Aparna adding that without the three therapies it would have been hard for her to handle herself. “The remaining four therapies – the role of allies and the therapy of empathy, work therapy, self-therapy and spiritual therapy – have taken me from surviving to thriving,” she remarked.
Business tycoon Anand Mahindra, who has penned the foreword of the book, stated that the book’s seven therapies present a pathway for everyone to cope, survive and heal, in a holistic and nurturing way. “This book is as much for caregivers as it is for those dealing with a mental health condition themselves. Each one of us knows someone, in our respective inner circles, who is battling a mental health condition, of some sort,” he said.