Book Review : ‘I was a Drug Addict’ by Ravindra Singh

About the Book

My Rating : 4.5 / 5
Plot : A first-hand memoir of a young boy and his experiences and struggles as a drug addict. He narrates his life story right from boarding school experiences to the hippie phenomenon in the 1980’s to his rehab and subsequent experiences with the withdrawals.


The story is based in the 1970’s and 80’s when the hippie and the drug culture really made an impact to the upper middle class in India. Ravindra, belonging to an army family, was a really smart and bright boy and was sent to Mayo College, Ajmer in Rajasthan for his primary education. It’s still a very famous boarding school among the wealthy families in India. The book also has photographs of him with Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and Tenzing Norgay, first to summit the Mt. Everest. It was at Mayo College only, where he first developed the habit of smoking, starting from the local “beedi” to hash and other stuff. It all went downhill from there for young Ravindra due to negligence from his family members and school authorities regarding his struggles at the boarding school. Like a typical teenager, all Ravindra was looking for was someone to listen to his perspective and be supportive. But, it was not meant to be…

The book later provides a detailed description of how he went away from his family and friends and traveled from Manali to Nepal to Goa and started living the hippie’s dream life. What is fascinating about this book is how well he wrote even though he was going through the worst stages of his addiction and therapy at that time and the way in which he gave details about each and every drug he took in his life, its working and effects on the mind and body in a very clear and precise manner. The manner of his writing was funny because of his experiences as well as sad due to the pain he suffered in the later stages of his life.

The final few chapters were finished by his father unfortunately as Ravindra died before the publication of this book. Personally, this book meant a lot to me as it was a gift from my father on my 16th birthday. Unlike the usual Indian parent, he always believed in having an open discussion with his kids regarding topics like addiction and the reasons for it. And he always encouraged us to share our emotional fragility and insecurities rather than bottling it inside…


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