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(Book Review) Lights Out: A True Story of a Man’s Descent into Blindness, by L Subramani

Imagine if you were to slowly close your eyes till you couldn’t see anything. If you were to open them, all would be well again, but what if that slow closing wasn’t changeable. What if you came to know that even if you did open your eyes, you wouldn’t be able to see? How would you react to such news? I was, and even now am, pretty sure that I would panic.

I do not mean to make fun of such a condition, or anyone who is afflicted by it. It was the only way that I could picture myself if I were to be (God forbid!) in the author’s shoes. When the author, who is now a successful journalist, came to know he had a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, his first reaction was disbelief. He was sixteen then, and I think it is understandable that it would be difficult to take in such a news at one go, especially at that age. Through the book, he shares his life after that difficult revelation. How he reacted, how his family reacted and how they moved through it.

I could relate to the reaction of his family to the bad news. Though I’m not very religious, in bad times, I turn to God to find solace and hope everything turns out alright. I could understand his reaction to his family approaching astrologers, spiritual healers and such to find a cure, even when the doctors had informed them the condition has no cure. That said, I feel I understand his family’s reaction too. Their approach had no logic, but when someone you love very dearly has a serious problem, sometimes logic goes out the window. And yes, a person in such a condition would most likely try to hide it, keep others calm even when they know (know and not completely accept) the seriousness of the condition.

I commend the author for finding the strength to survive through that painful loss of vision, and becoming who he is now. That slow loss is also well shown through the illustrations inside. I wanted to know more about his journey. From the time he ran into that boy with the coffee, to becoming a journalist. That part was missing in my copy. That’d have made the read even more inspiring.

About the author:
L Subramani is a senior sub-editor and reporter with the Asian Age newspaper. He has been associated with a network of patients who are suffering from retinal diseases. This network helps reaching out to families and caregivers in an effort to provide information, mentorship and emotional support.

Book Details:
Title: Lights Out
Series: N/A
Author: L Subramani
Genre: Non-fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9788184003512
Publisher: Ebury Press / Random House
Price: INR. 299

This book was given to me for review by Random House India. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills 2014 at Tales Pensieve.

(18th January, 2014)


Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.