New Delhi: Fingerprint! Publishing has announced a two-book deal with journalist Vijay Simha. Vijay’s personal struggle with drugs and alcohol is one of India’s best-known stories of victory over addiction.
Vijay, a renowned political correspondent and former editor, had early encounters with drugs in his youth. The dependency reached its peak in the prime days of his journalism and resulted in the end of his career. Homeless and penniless, Vijay landed on the streets. His determination to rebuild his life has touched many lives and helped many an addict and alcoholic.
A pivotal moment in Vijay’s life came when his story was aired on Indian film actor, director, producer Aamir Khan’s television show Satyamev Jayate, on which he opened about his remarkable journey—from being a successful political journalist to nearly dying on Delhi’s streets and then finally recovering and helping journalism ventures. The astonishing response to the show motivated him to turn into a full-time addiction therapist.
Vijay’s first book, Alphabets of Love (working title) is a memoir. It takes you from the author’s childhood, how as a school-topper he got introduced to drugs, to his journey as an aspiring journalist and a top-notch editor, all under the shadow of rising drug and alcohol addiction. This book will also include his experiences with top editors Vinod Mehta, Shekhar Gupta and Tarun J Tejpal. It will lay out the soul-crushing and soul-constructing path to full recovery from addiction in public glare.
Vijay’s second book, The Book of Sobriety (working title), is a complete, contemporary text on addiction and how to recover from it. Most medicines, support groups, and even government measures the world over have limited success in helping addicts quit and even if they do, the relapse rate is very high. In this book, Vijay talks about Root Cause Therapy®, which he has been using successfully in his work with addicts and alcoholics.
Says Vijay: “For ten years, I resisted proposals that I write my story with a sense of dread. Why would anyone wish to engage with a story so bleak? Kanishka Gupta, widely described as the top literary agent in South Asia, then added two words in 2014 to bleak: bright and breathtaking. He has since handheld me through the publishing process. Fingerprint! had the most endearing response to our proposal. Shikha Sabharwal of Fingerprint! said she knew of what addiction could do from the experiences of a couple of her friends. This imbued heart to the project and took it beyond the confines of a business deal. Our endeavour is that these books regale and help readers and their near and dear free themselves from addiction, which is the biggest blind spot in present-day India.”
Both books are expected to release in 2017.
Literary agent Kanishka Gupta said Simha’s book will empower all addicts to step out of the shadow of anonymity and ostracism, get the right treatment and take charge of their lives all over again. “In a country plagued with rising instances of alcoholism and drug abuse, Vijay Simha’s harrowing and ultimately uplifting story of his victory over substance addiction comes as a ray of hope. “
Publisher Shikha Sabharwal explained why the books are important. “Indians continue to live in a closed society. For us, addiction is taboo, even a mention of which is to be swept under the carpet. In our misplaced zeal of appearing correct or perfect, a victim of this condition—a friend, a family member, a co-worker—often faces rejection, ridicule, and disregard by everyone around him/her. There are so many people who need help, and the people surrounding them need to understand this challenge in a deeper way. Vijay will be doing a great job by sharing his story to help understand what addiction really is and how it impacts and devastates. His second book, on addiction therapy, is even more important coming from him, since he knows this subject better than anyone else and can truly help. The way I look at it, if this book helps even a few addicts see the light of life and recover, it’s a job well done.”