Monday, October 29, 2018
Book Review: 'ELIXIR VITAE - A story of her love: A Doctor's Saga' by Pallavi Aneja MD
‘She was a rebel at heart, her wise parents caught on early.’
Florida author Pallavi Aneja, born in India, schooled in medical school in Ukraine, came to the US to pursue her Internal Medicine residency and practice Hospital Medicine. A multitalented woman Pallavi is multilingual, trained in Indian Classical dance, Bhrathanatyam and has performed since age 3, throughout her school years. Pallavi currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, working both as a mother and as a hospitalist. ELIXIR VITAE is her debut publication.
Pallavi’s prose is uniquely elegant: simply reading her introduction to this first novel shares the humanity and compassion this remarkable physician author manifests: ‘Driven by compassion in Medicine personally, touched by the numerous patients encountered on a daily basis in the hospital setting, it was hard to keep my emotions just to myself. It felt selfish to not share the intensity of joy, stress, of bittersweet moments, of patient’s recovering and being discharged home, to helplessly seeing them go, too far for us to intervene anymore. To be able to empathize with the ones who’re suffering, just by being by their bedside, is not something that comes with our profession as physicians. It does not come with age or experience either. Nor is it taught at school. Rather, if we’re able to commiserate with someone hurting, feel their pain, live through their ailment, with an urge, a humane intention to help them get better, probably that’s when one could consider becoming a physician, so as to dedicate their inner self wholly to their profession, to their patients in need. Anyone born today will eventually die. Anyone who’ll live before they die, will love. A story of life, of love, of medicine. Of a girl, of a doctor. Born as a result of immense exultance, is a person who gets the right essence to live So is born a person seeing sadness, who knows we’re not here entitled to take it all, but also our share give Unenlightened I am, if we’re driven by just our nature, being human To empathize, to commiserate seeing pain around, or rejoice and celebrate with others jubilation Are we what we become because of how we are or who we are determines what we become And how much of what we are is the result of compassion, luck seldom.. Written is hence a saga of the heart of a healer.’
And so we begin the life of Leyah Yale from the opening of her story at age 14 in 1994 in Boston, her passion for wealthy young engineer Nihl Ahmrell, the transition to becoming a physician (‘Her intentions to treat each one of her patients was transparent enough to be relayed through her actions as if they were her own family. It wasn't a dilemma, it wasn't impugnable anymore for the patients who in no time envisaged and reckoned on her, their lives. It was a challenge for her though many a times, as she was exhaustively a thorough physician, an unabridged healer, a doctor en masse.’).
In a very adventurous manner of writing Pallavi writes her story in passages of patient encounters. And to make the story even more engrossing Pallavi writes of the lovers’ encounters in a similar fashion. Even the climax of the love story is surprising and successfully tender. And to say more would spoil the story.
Fortunate are the patients who fall under Pallavi’s care – she is an artist through and through. It will be interesting to see how her writing proceeds from this initial entry into literature.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.