An elixir for Cancer patients, survivors

Fragrance of a Wild Soul makes for a compelling reading for the indomitable spirit of its author Ms Ruby Ahluwalia’s in overcoming the trauma of cancer  

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading and you know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. Ms Ruby Ahluwalia’s book “Fragrance of a Wild Soul” treats you to a spectrum of sentiments and transcends far beyond its brief of being an expression in self exploration.

The author is an IRAS bureaucrat with a wandering, adventurous spirit has had a successful career but somewhere in the midst of her life’s journey as a professional and multi-tasker, there is a poignant phase that, ironically, metamorphosed her into a stronger person than she thought herself to be. Her evolution, as she chronicles, reflect in a captivating photomontage of emotions and experiences. To be able to sew and stitch the threads of a wistful mind into a pacy, taut account is an intricate work and Ms Ahluwalia does it with all the delicateness without succumbing to rhetoric, cliché and drama.

The book takes charge of the reader’s focus right from the initial recountal. The intense dislike for brinjals, the inherent fascination for water and other little stories punctuating her life bring lessons of life. As she describes in the book, “Turbulence in life does become sane when there is least resistance from our body and mind.” Quite interestingly, her trials and tribulations with Cancer are portrayed when the reader is related halfway through the book. Yet, despite this transition from the intrepid to the intensely moving, the book maintains it lucidity and fluid narration.

The journey to and from cancer and her determination to overcome is spell binding. Looked at from a larger perspective, the book is not just an experience of a sufferer but a strong hope for all those who have to endure the trauma of a malady that has the potential to ravage a person’s mind and body. The most striking feature of the book is each experience culminates into a valuable lesson and the icing on the cake is its strong message that Cancer can be conquered despite all the torment it brings in its wake.

The life of a Cancer patient has to be lived to be felt. While the survivors are known to deny themselves, the book makes it clear that Cancer is a word and not a sentence. In Ms Ruby’s case, pain didn’t define her, it actually refined her. She turned the calamity in her life to introspect deeply and emerge as beacon light for other survivors. The affliction taught her to take responsibility of her actions. The gist comes out in ““…..finally I learn to live for myself – for my own sake and dance to the tune of my own soul….it is not selfishness, but focusing on the Self, it is not self centered – it is centering of the Self”.

Each lesson that the book throws up comes like enlightenment and leaves a strong impact. Ms Ruby unfolds them with her courage of conviction, equanimity and compassion that are hallmarks of her persona, now institutionalized in Sanjeevani – Life beyond Cancer. The book tellingly captures how her life turned topsy turvy during her battle with Cancer through untapped and unexplored sides of us all which we diffidently choose to ignore out of fear. That makes Fragrance of a Wild Soul not just an autobiography but with a tenable and persuasive philosophy. The anecdotes and memories are her distilled experiences. To quote her own words:  “I have bared my soul to showcase my vulnerabilities in this book. It is in vulnerabilities that our strength lies. Through my story, discover yours.”

Now a Life Coach and a prolific speaker on Holistic Healing and the Founder of Sanjeevani – Life beyond Cancer that has worked with over 2.5 lakh patients across the country through the narrative of Integrated Cancer Care, her book amplifies that we all have our own cancers, even if they may not have become tumors as yet. How can we heal ourselves and come out of our self-created pits and discover our infinite potential forms the raison d’etre of the book. It is available on Amazon.

Ms Ruby Ahluwalia can be reached out on

Fragrance of a Wild Soul by Ruby Ahluwalia, published by Notion Press, pages 185, price Rs 299.