As of today, he’s a cancer survivor who is just raring to play for his country in the coming T20 series. Yuvi was in the city to promote a non-profit three-part TV series Zindagi Abhi Baaki Hai produced by Colors and his own foundation YouWeCan. In a frank conversation with CS, the cricketer talks about the need for cancer awareness, his life and future:
Need to talk
There’s a lot of social stigma attached to this disease. The upper and the middle class people might have the resources to better health facilities but even they are somewhat shy of discussing it. On the other hand, the poor folk don’t even know what they are dying of. My attempt is to spread awareness so that people come out in the open and talk about it. It’s too serious a topic to be neglected. Moreover, it wasn’t an easy decision to share these videos of utter vulnerability with the public, but it’s for a cause that will help create an environment in which ignorance will be superseded by knowledge.
From darkness to light
Before I became aware of this cancerous tumour in my lungs, life was very happy-go-lucky. Never in my wildest imagination had I ever thought of having this terrible disease but then, that is life. There are always shocks and surprises. You have to be prepared for them. I feel lucky and blessed today to be able to start life afresh. In between, there were intensely depressing periods when I felt I will never be able to hold a cricket bat again. To me, being a cricketer is the most important thing because that’s what I’ve been for most part of my life. But the disease was caving deep into me and the chemotherapy was draining too. In fact, walking a few steps would leave me weak and panting. I used to cry like anything. Fortunately, my loved ones were there to support me and keep my spirits high.
Source of strength
The doctor who treated Lance Armstrong treated me too. During my stay in US, I read Armstrong’s autobiography and about his struggles. He will always be my hero. Also, after returning to India, once Anil Kumble visited me when I was watching my old matches. He just switched off the laptop and asked me to look forward to the future, not at the past.