Giving the dope

Author and social activist Pranay Patil’s new book addresses the problem of drug overdose and its impact on youngsters
Giving the dope

BENGALURU: It was definitely disheartening to see the devastation the pandemic caused to mankind in the last two years. While some volunteered for Covid-19 relief work, some were only able to see the tragedy unfold before them, helplessly. Pranay Patil, an educationist and social activist who was born in Bengaluru, saw some of his friends succumb to Covid-19 and some hospitalised.

With much tragedy and anxiety around him, Patil was just about to consult a psychiatrist, when he decided writing was the best form of catharsis. “I was suffering from survivor’s guilt after seeing a lot of people in my close circle succumbing to the virus. The only way I discovered to get rid of this was by writing and that is how my book came about,” he says about his book, Burgundy Winters: In Europe, published by UK-based publisher Crystal Peake.

“I started working on this book during the first lockdown in March 2020 and took a year to complete,” says Patil, who is launching the book in Bengaluru at Higginbothams on May 7. The book will be launched by senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and columnist Pooja Bedi.

As a first-time author, Patil, in fact, wanted to write the book with the motive of helping children infected with HIV. “The revenue generated from the sales of this book will be used for helping HIV infected kids in Belagavi. I never had the passion to write a book but the need to support HIV infected children and other marginalised groups is what drove me to write this book. I felt very helpless due to the lockdown and was unable to continue my social work. The only way I could help myself is by writing,” says the 35-year-old.

Burgundy Winters: In Europe is partly fiction and partly inspired by true events. Patil pursued engineering in Germany and his extensive travel around Europe makes a mark in this new book. The story is centred around American rockstar Jace Tanner who comes face-to-face with the reality of his actions. After a fatal cocaine overdose of his best friend, Tanner realises that his reckless actions have very real consequences.

He is later admitted to rehab and leaves the centre on an optimistic note, only to meet Yasmine Belmont where the duo have panoramic experiences. What happens next, forms the crux of the story. “While the motive is to raise funds for social work, the book is also an attempt to address the drug menace that is ruining youngsters in India and across different countries. Some of the instances and characters are connected to my real-life experiences. For example, a mutual friend of mine actually died due to overdose in Germany,” says Patil, who runs an education society in Belagavi.

Not just Burgundy Winters: In Europe, Patil is now ready to take on many such social issues to raise awareness for the welfare of the people. “If writing is a significant medium to address some social issues that are plaguing society, I am ready to write many more books,” says Patil.

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The New Indian Express