From writing prescriptions to heal the maladies to writing tales to heal the souls; from weilding the scalpel to cut across tissues or plugging in the stethoscope to hear the beating heart, to using the pen or keyboard to pour out expressions or listen to the symphony of life through naked ears sans the stetho; some doctors do have that knack to swivel smoothly from prescribing medicines to weaving tales. And believe me whenever the compassionate doctor, who brushes past the corridors of pain and death, takes to writing, the tales, poetry or prose ooze out deepest emotions. It’s not always morbid, but the smart doctor is wittiest at humour, sharp at bending a thriller, deft enough to weave a science fiction, create drama out of mundane or knit a literary fiction.
Reading is a necessary prerequisite to writing. Thick volumes of medical books naturally make doctors avid readers, so books never intimidate doctors and the physicians with a flair for reading naturally make good writers. These passion driven writings or prescriptions for that matter have enlightened readers since years. Belonging to the world of both doctors and writers, I have been an ardent admirer of the let’s call ‘penning doctors’ since my early days. Be it the classic writing ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ of Oliver Goldsmith or the lyrical poetry, ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ by the inimitable John Keats; the short stories of Russian doc Anton Chekhov; detective thrillers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; the touching volume ‘Of human Bondage’, by Somerset Maugham; among the more classic ones or the later doc writers A. J. Cronin of ‘The Citadel’ fame; Michael Crichton, who earned laurels for ‘Jurassic Park’ or the master of medical thrillers Robin Cook; modern great Khaled Hosseini, who weaves heart rending tales from Afghanistan ; or the biographical and autobiographical works of Siddhartha Mukherjee and Paul Sudhir Kalanithi; docs have enriched literature with their quality works. Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay ‘Banaphul’, a Bengali novelist and short story writer was an alumnus of Calcutta Medical College and worked as a pathologist in Bhagalpur, Bihar.
So when reading was a passion, writers were naturally always held in awe by me and unwittingly I embarked into this passionate journey of words and emotions although my own profession of paediatrician was replete with emotional tales of a different order. My earliest literary pursuits date back to the short story, ‘His Possession’ published in the silver jubilee edition of the school magazine of Mount Carmel School, Bhagalpur. Later there were trysts with poetry and articles confined mainly to school and college journals at JLN Medical College. With the onset of digital boom I started blogging on @ibncj i. e. Citizen Journalist, CNN IBN. Somewhere though a desire to be a published author sparked and my debut novel ‘Natal Fault’ was born.
Natal Fault is the story of two parallel worlds set in different time spans.The obsession with the difficult times of history during the World War II ; involvement with the miseries of patients of the degenerative diseases like dementia, the discrepancies that hit the medical education; the social divide and parallax which segregate humans, many times on basis of their birth; the existence of warring groups, societies even nations which owe their allegiance to different geographies again on basis of their birth; led me to knit a unique tale which binds the two worlds and resonates with Indian society as it spans almost seventy years. And come to think of it, ironically no one ever had any control on his or her own birth. But it is essentially the ‘Natal Fault’ of a child born in an underprivileged society which holds him or her back from reaching a mark he or she could only dream of. Natal Fault is thus a germinal idea around which the novel revolves in several layers of fiction.
The socio-political grain of the novel is inspired from the prevailing structure and lives in our own society. Thus the novel is set in the fictional town of ‘Jeerulot’ which is representative of any B class town of our country with its attached morbidities. The name Jeerulot itself was inspired by the existing commonplace names of small hamlets of ‘Haldar’, ‘Haldarva’, ‘Hinglot’, as not a few metropolitan cities but the conglomerate of such towns actually make the Indian nation.
Soldiers have been vital to a society since time immemorial and their unaccomplished love stories are equally intriguing. So love in times of turbulent wars was something that haunted me perpetually. I had to bring out that emotion and portray that pristine, everlasting love which was above all physical relations.
Natal Fault is thus a passionate tale which tugs at the sensitive areas of human bonds and social norms. This was my debut attempt at writing a novel so readers might find some omissions but a writer continues to evolve and so shall I.
In my forthcoming novel thus I have tried my hands at an entirely different genre and woven a more fast paced detective thriller. Mysteries had been my love since childhood. Thus weaving a mysterious plot and carving a thriller was a challenge I adored to accomplish. Hope readers would love it too. This one though set in India, explores a hitherto untouched storyline.
A doctor desires to save and cure more and more lives while an author enlghtens readers with a different philosophy, viewpoint or plot.
When the two fuse, it’s surely a passionate prescription for the soul.
About The Author
Author, Paediatrician, YouTube Travel Blogger, Citizen Journalist
Dr. Manisha Saxena is a paediatrician cum novelist, practising at her own Shaurya Children Clinic, Bharuch, Gujarat, India. Born to an eminent Botanist CSIR Emeritus Prof. K. S. Bilgrami and erudite mother Dr. Tara Bilgrami, she has a multifaceted personality. Brilliant at academics and recipient of the prestigious National Talent Search scholarship, a paediatrician by profession, she loved arts and literature right from her childhood. She wrote her first short story at the age of thirteen when she was at Mount Carmel School, and it was published in the silver jubilee edition of her school magazine. Manisha was smitten with Sherlock Holmes mysteries from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was also a doctor. So it’s her ardent dream to follow in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s footsteps.
Her penchant for writing came to limelight when she contributed popular blogs to the IBN citizen journalist CNN IBN news channel 18 during the years 2013-14. Several of her blogs and picture stories were appreciated and published by @Ibncj, webcast and telecast at The Citizen Journalist Show.
Around the same time her YouTube channel became a popular travel video blog and many of them were again appreciated and shared by CNN IBN news.
Her debut fiction novel Natal Fault was published in November 2016 by Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd, Mumbai and has been since launched with fanfare at several bookstores across the country like CROSSWORD bookstores of Vadodara and Surat, the Atta Galatta bookstore Bangalore and Ahmedabad International Literature Festival. Natal Fault is a socio-political novel which explores love, war and the social turmoil. It is a contemporary tale with a classic bend. The novel was endorsed by the Changi Museum of Singapore as a part of the novel is set in Singapore. It is available online at Amazon, flipkart etc. both in India and abroad through amazon and Barnes and Noble etc. Natal Fault had participated in Word to Screen contest of Jio MAMI in the year 2017.
Dr. Manisha’s articles and poems have been published by The Twin Cities edition of the reputed newspaper The Times of India. The famed travel magazine Outlook Traveller published her article ‘Call of the Thunder Dragon’ on Bhutan. The magazine Storizen, which is one of the top ten magazine in celebrity category featured her journey as an author of Natal Fault. Besides, Divya Bhaskar, Sandesh newspapers and many news channels of Gujarat like the Narmada Channel, CT channel etc. have often featured Dr. Manisha Saxena.
Dr. Manisha, is also a trained classical singer and has a keen interest in reading, writing, travelling, public speaking, photography and painting. She regularly contributes photographs to National Geographic. She loves to experiment and explore!
She is married to Consultant Surgeon Dr. Anupam Saxena and has two children, Shaurya and Shikhar.
She can be reached at :