When we’re going through a hard time, there are a lot of coping mechanisms we can turn to—funny movies, tearjerkers, drinks, music, chocolate, and of course, books. Reading books, especially good, inspirational books, positively impact one’s psyche, as proven by several studies. A book is that silent best friend that offers hope when you need someone to instil the lost spark in you. The recently-released self-authored book by an Indo-British doctor and Assam native, Bhaskar Bora, has caught our attention. But this is not the conventional journey that documents a man’s life from grass to grace or talks about how hard work and perseverance always pay off. Neither is it a story that talks about how one poor man became rich and famous. It is a tale of courage, vision, and a never-say-die attitude, even in the face of life’s most challenging odds. They say when life throws lemons at you, you should make some lemonade. But this is not often as easy as it sounds.
The book, titled The Second Chance in Life, tells the story of a young man who almost lost everything after he had a spinal cord injury, culminating in paralysis of two feet. The odds were against him; nothing made sense anymore. In his 40s, Dr Bora was already a successful man by every standard. The ambitious young man who left India for the United Kingdom in 2004 after getting his medical qualification from the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital in Assam and embarking on several odd jobs and businesses later, grew to become a renowned medical practitioner, acquiring five medical practices and shoring up their turnover from a mere £480,000 to £2.3 million after just seven years.
Aside from his remarkable reputation as a family doctor which would go on to last 12 years, Dr Bora also opened a restaurant, Samsara Restaurant and Bar, in Sutton, London – becoming the first Assamese to do so in the city, and owns eight rental properties in London. Life was great, with an amazing family to cap it all, until tragedy struck. He was diagnosed with a severe spinal cord injury in 2019 after a spinal surgery that went wrong. It’s quite ironic that he’d be a victim of medical negligence – being a medical doctor himself. This led to paralysis of both legs, a non-functional right hand, and a lengthy stay at the hospital.
Just two months later, he was told he had cancer of the thyroid and required several operations. Today, he’s a celebrated cancer survivor, but those moments were some of the darkest days in his life. The world fell apart as the once agile Dr Bora became completely physically disabled.
In his own words, “When I first had this life-changing event of the spinal cord injury, my initial feelings were of frustration, confusion, and fear of the future. It took me a while to adjust. Maybe being a doctor was both a good and a bad thing. Good because I had been dealing with many patients undergoing similar situations and I had counselled them. But it’s bad because I understood the gravity of the situation and what lay ahead in the future,” he says.
Forced to retire from his medical practice and give up some of his businesses, the future seemed bleak. In 2000, when his father had a stroke and he had to take responsibility for the family, young Bora worked as a taxi driver, owned a bus ticket counter, and a pharmacy just to make ends meet. Today, with paralysed legs and arms, he had to relearn walking to be able to take care of his young family. With the help of crutches, he can now cover short distances. But through these trying times, Dr Bora has found a silver lining in a very dark cloud.
Like a newfound purpose; a higher calling unto the next phase of his life, he wants to use this book to inspire other people that no matter what life throws at them, there’s always a positive side to it. One can always find that positivity and make the most of it. He had everything he could ever ask for, but life had other plans. Writing the book took about three months due to the loss of functionality of three fingers on his dominant hand. With the help of an editor, the book has now been published and available on different platforms.
“The book isn’t all ‘doom and gloom’. It covers chapters of faith, nostalgic school days and humour – a perfect option for readers of all genres,” he says.
Dr Bora hopes that his book, The Second Chance in Life, would help to amplify his voice and give hope to disabled people out there who may think it is the end of the road for them. The book is a message of hope; a trigger for the downtrodden to rise through the ashes and become everything they desire.
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