The first thing that intrigued me about a book by a first-timer, who is also a non-writer was the tagline that said – “Some journeys are just meant to be read”. It did ring a familiar bell somewhere in my mind, the keywords of the idiom that had something to do with experience, others, learn and so on.
‘Devil Inside My Mind’ could be an action-packed thriller. It could also be a social commentary. It could also be a self-help book. The book is all this, and much more – for it is a chronicle of a man plagued by a phenomenon that is as emotional as it is physical.
Amit Saxena leads his life as dictated by his obsessions. A full-blown victim Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the book is like a ‘mind over matter’ journey of leading a ‘unique living profile’ with his struggles and triumphs.
His only escape from not having a social life because of his condition is writing scathing, self-aware, and at times teary-eyed expressions of what all his mind dictates him to do. The book is all about his struggle to fit in, which is compounded by the many inexplicable quirks associated with his OCD.
I loved reading about how Amit cuts off the names of diseases from his medical textbooks so that he is ‘victorious’ over them. I was delighted to read about how he wins a dissection battle from a cushion made of feathers as he was fearful of it being the main cause of HIV.
In every day incidents, the book explores, in completely lay-person terms, the science behind what is OCD – and how a person discovers it threadbare. It is about taming the devil within for the protagonist, Amit.
The book is a chronicle of personal triumph in how Amit makes peace with the world of his ‘fantasy’ and trains his mind to generate solutions to its own problems.
Amit, the protagonist, uses behaviour modification and cognitive self-therapy in the form of painting, meditation and music to fight demonic thoughts and to develop new patterns of response to his obsessions.
The author, Dr Nigam uses his protagonist to illustrate the triumph of the spirit when Amit becomes a world-renowned paediatrician, rubbing shoulders with the crème-de-la-crème.
‘Devil Inside My Mind’ is as humbling as it is honest; it is as informative as it is vivid. It is as biographical as it is a commentary. The intricately imagined visuals also open up the possibility that OCD is something that could happen to anyone and could manifest itself in myriad forms.
These brutally honest monologues are eye-opening candid conversations with oneself. Indulge in them!