It was when wild thoughts reached the pinnacle that Johns K Mangalam, former professor of Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, decided to end his life, which was soaked in alcohol till then.
Though a drunkard, he loved his family and wished to transform his suicide as a financial benefit to his wife Raji and their only son by taking an insurance policy, and hence approached a doctor for a fitness certificate.
However, the meeting with Dr V J Paul changed his life. There, he was taught that alcoholism was a disease and there was no medicine for the recovery, except the true knowledge about the reason and means of recovery, its cause.
It was this self-realisation that prompted him to start ‘Punarjjani’, a de-addiction centre, which ultimately paved way for making a literal form of his hitherto experiences as ‘Kudiyante Kumbasaram’ (Confessions of a Drunkard), an autobiography of Dr Johns K Mangalam, which will be published by DC Books on Saturday.
The book portraits an open account of his life as a drunkard. “Only self-realisation can change a drunkard’s life, and that ultimately prompted me to disclose all my experiences as a drunkard, in which I have included my bitter experiences too. No boozer in the world wants to be known as a drunkard. If you marginalise them, things would get worse. Consider alcoholism as a disease and support the patients to recover from it and bring them back to normal life. I hope this book can sow the seeds of realisation among the boozers,” said Johns.
Turning the pages of a 50-year-old life, which has an alcohol-soaked history, words triumphed over his prolonged disease, liver cirrhosis. He got the first taste of the dark liquid at the age of 12. Johns is the son of a teacher, who was a drunkard till his death. According to him, when his father died at the age of 56 the lamp of alcoholism was passed over to his elder son Johns.
During childhood, his father’s drinking habit stood as an obstacle for his studies. As a result, he repeatedly failed in his pre-degree examinations.
However, he recovered from the plight and came out with first rank in BA Philosophy from Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur. He had his post-graduation in Philosophy from Calicut University Centre and once again won the first rank. Then he got UGC fellowship for PhD.
He had kept a belief that it was alcohol that played a crucial role in all his victories, till he realised his disease.
Later, his miraculous escape made him to dedicate his life for those who have fallen prey to the habit of drinking.
It is his personal experience in life that made him the healer and philosopher more than his formal and academic education.