As Maureen Lee has rightly said in her short story ‘Miss Smith and the Black Pearl’ that ‘Success was not an impossible dream, but was waiting for anyone, whether black, white, brown or yellow, if they wanted it enough’ , ‘The Secret of the Red Crystals’ also emphasizes the truth that ‘Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do’. It takes a lot of dedication, tenacity and hard work to accomplish the dream and the authoress proves this right by sharing her experience as a mentee under the mentorship of Prof. T. P. Singh.
This is an autobiographical account of Dr Sujata Sharma that elicits the essence of the unadulterated bond shared between a teacher and a student. It also portrays the determination that guided the authoress towards her goal. It is difficult to choose a career when one is studying, especially if one is in the field of biotechnology. Since I have been there and done that, I know the struggle involved. There are so many subjects that are taught and each one of them is equally compelling. But it takes a while to realize the point of interest and go off the beaten path. Dr Sujata retells the story of her youth with an impressive narrative that not only inspires the readers but also gives them the desire to aspire. Her quest to unlock her potential in form of deciphering the structure of one of the most vital proteins- Lactoferrin and her journey of realizing self-worth, fighting the odds to prove her identity, establish the fact that she is a champion.
‘The Secret of the Red Crystals’ is based on science. Unravelling the mysteries of science is equivalent to searching for a needle in a haystack and similar was the task of obtaining the crystalline form of the C-lobe of Lactoferrin. For a layman, this book promises to offer a lucid explanation in a very simple language. The authoress has made sure that she abstains from sharing too many scientific details which might not be liked by the readers who are not from this background.
Dr Sujata is an idealist and also prosaic. Her prowess to quell her fears and strive for success helped her receive the National Woman Bioscientist Award in the year 2008. What I liked about this book is that it branches out from the clichéd plots where the women are projected as hard-bitten beings because they come from a humble background.
Kudos to the authoress and her husband for coming up with an original photo as the cover. With a soothing blend of colours, the cover passes the muster. However, I was irked by the several typing errors that are present in the book. It is a quick read and I must say that at no point does the narration become mundane.
The authoress’ attempt to highlight how important it is for everyone to follow their passion is commendable. There is a lot to learn and imbibe from this story.
A recommended read for sure!
Best wishes to the authoress!
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