Healed by Manisha Koirala

“Excerpted from Healed by Manisha with permission from Penguin”.

‘I don’t want to die,’ I texted my friend in desperation.

The feeling of being engulfed by darkness was fast descending on me. Even as I choked and struggled to fight it, darkness clutched at my throat, cutting off the light. Then it travelled swiftly, sweeping ruthlessly through my body, and finally settled into the pit of my stomach.

I panicked at the old memory of feeling abandoned.

It had happened to me at age eight when my mother left me at my grandmother’s house in Benares and simply walked away. Wide-eyed, I had remained standing there, waiting for her to look back and take me in her arms. She never did.

‘Why didn’t you turn?’ I asked her many years later.

‘Because, my little one, I did not want you to see me get teary-eyed.’

It was only years later that I understood why she had left me there. She was helping out my father in Nepal’s mounting political activities and knew that my grandmother, who had ably raised several children, would look after me well. Of course, with time I had understood my beloved mother’s situation and the wisdom of what she had done back then. But could I shake off the feeling of abandonment imprinted on my young soul? No.

I felt a similar tinge of desertion when my marriage failed. I had tried my best to make it work and its collapse weighed heavily on my soul. But we were just two very different people —

not meant to be with each other. Why did I always end up choosing the wrong guy? I fretted over what the world would say. That I could not even handle a marriage well? The fear of being abandoned had chased me all my life. This fear, however, was unlike anything I had experienced before.

It was the fear of being abandoned by life itself.

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