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There’s life beyond cancer…

Ruby Ahluwalia’s book Fragrance of a Wild Soul is soul-stirring poetry of humane concerns, of a priceless search of the inner soul, of the raison d’etre of Sanjeevani. How beautifully she had tamed a wild soul and brought out its fragrance! This guardian angel provides hope, comfort and confidence to thousands, especially to poor cancer patients.

Fragrance of a Wild Soul is a rich mixture of the experiences of a consummate, multifaceted personality, Ruby Ahluwalia. She describes her life in simple, lucid narration, from an adventurous childhood, often landing her in serious risks that continued right through her life. Her approach to life was chiselled and honed by her parents. Despite the shock of losing her father suddenly just days before her exams for civil services, she got selected as an IRAS officer and is presently working as the Financial Advisor and Chief Accounts Officer (FA&CAO) of the Central Railway. There are bright prospects for her heading a zonal railway as General Manager, the zealous preserve of men.

Ruby’s husband, Anil Ahluwalia, a communication and marketing expert, a senior executive in a reputed oil marketing company and their children, a son and a daughter, were rudely shocked when Ruby was diagnosed in 2009 with stage III cancer. Deeply religious, with staunch spiritual leanings, Ruby describes the ordeal she went through for three years. Her resolute fight with strong support from her family and friends helped her come out of the ordeal by fire regaining full health and vastly refining her innate finer instincts.

The lessons: Food is something one needs to have a love affair with. Eating raw, eating live food, eating what your body asks for, eating just as much as your stomach can hold comfortably and digest happily without difficulty are the keys.

Pranayama and yoga: Breathing is one of the most important determinants of immunity levels in a body. If the immunity has to be strengthened, the breathing pattern has to be understood, dwelled upon and managed efficiently.

I tried to understand the role of my mental constructs in the harmony of my being. For, it was only when my body and mind were in harmony that my systems worked optimally. The food was properly digested, nutrients were absorbed, breath remained normal, toxins were released and in such a state of harmony, the immune system strengthened. Ruby –

Where cancer survivers become cancer caregivers…

In 2009, I went to the Tata Memorial Hospital for cancer treatment, where I saw so much misery of general patients. They were going through an experience similar to mine but without any of the resources that I had.

After I resumed work, I wanted to do something to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients. ‘Sanjeevani’ was set up with the intent to work with underprivileged cancer patients in India and to bridge the gap between the doctor and the patient. I wanted to fill up the space and to work with the cancer survivors. Because they have empathy in place and they needed to be rehabilitated emotionally, financially and physically. At Sanjeevani cancer survivors are trained to become cancer caregivers. We also started a wellness centre where we conduct a 36-session course in psychotherapy, emotional freedom, yoga and pranayama, nutrition and dance movement therapy.

Sanjeevani has enriched the lives of over 200,000 patients since inception and we work only in government hospitals.

From Ruby’s address at the IE Golden Jubilee 15 March 2018

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