No One Should Be Alone in Their Grief

Priya Vashisht, Nidhi Poddar and Sushil Poddar

Priya Vashisht, Nidhi Poddar and Sushil Poddar

Authors Nidhi Poddar and Sushil Poddar, who lost their son to cancer, tell Prabha Khaitan Foundation his tale of grit, courage and determination at a session of Kalam

The people best equipped to tell stories of unconditional love and loss are, perhaps, parents – especially if they have watched their child battle against formidable odds. Prabha Khaitan Foundation, in a very special session of Kalam in Faridabad, featured Nidhi Poddar and Sushil Poddar, the authors of Blaze: A Son’s Trial by Fire – A True Story, a book they went on to write after the demise of their son, Divyansh Atman, from cancer.  

Sushil Poddar began by thanking the Foundation for organising the talk on their book. He stated that it was Divyansh passing from the dreaded disease that spurred them on to write the book, but as parents, they have always felt that their son’s journey was different from that of other cancer patients. They felt that Divyansh’s atma-shakti inspired them to write this book. When asked about the reason why they decided to bring their son’s story to the world, the Poddars replied that it was their dream to let people know about their son’s journey. This dream inspired them to write Blaze: A Son’s Trial by Fire.

“Throughout this journey, we got to know our son as a completely different individual, someone who was unknown to us till then,” said the parents. “We also realised that the characteristics of pain are fundamentally very beautiful, and we should not associate our life with target and purpose, as both body and soul have different purposes and targets.”

“Throughout this journey, we got to know our son as a completely different individual, someone who was unknown to us till then.”

When the moderator of the programme, Priya, asked the authors about the feeling of revisiting the pain of such an awful loss during the writing process, the Poddars replied that their son turned them into writers. “Seeing his will power and pran-shakti, we decided to bring our experiences to the world in the form of this book.” Nidhi Poddar got emotional when she recalled missing out on a family wedding for the first time during her son’s treatment; she also mentioned that she and her family were not invited owing to Divyansh’s illness. “I have not attended a single family event or function till date,” she said. “People going through pain should be included in all kinds of celebrations and joys. They should not be left alone with their pain.”

Upon being asked about the poems Divyansh wrote on his experiences during treatment, Sushil Poddar said that his son wrote his first poem, ‘Breakthrough’, after finding out that the process of treatment was going to be very long. During the conversation, the authors also read excerpts from the book, and emphasised the importance of breaking stereotypes associated with all kinds of illness, especially cancer. They mentioned that St. Mary’s School in Mumbai and Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey have also started an endowed scholarship named after Divyansh. At the end of the session, the audience posed several questions to the authors, which they answered in detail.

Kalam Faridabad was supported by Shree Cement Limited as their CSR initiative in association with Radisson Faridabad, Humane Foundation, and media partner Dainik Jagran and with the support of Ehsaas Women of NCR.