A life fulfilled

This is the story of an ordinary man – me

 These seemingly simplistic words belie the heroic effort that was required to retell the fascinating story
of Vijay Santhanam. Till 28th August 2006, Vijay was a regular Joe,
a graduate of two of India’s prestigious educational institutions – IIT Rourkee
and IIM  Ahmedabad –  working as
 a  senior executive with BP, living in his own
penthouse in Singapore and enjoying the company of his wife and 15 month old
son. It seemed to be the perfect life. Little did he know that the severe headache
he so casually dismissed as “normal” would soon turn his world upside down.
Within hours he found himself vomiting on his bedroom floor and eventually
passing out in the emergency room of the hospital! When he came to, he was
shocked to find that from a competent, vibrant man, he was reduced to a
helpless being unable to speak or move.   Luckily for him, though, he realized that he
could still think and taking support from this fact, he rallied round. But like
all challenges, this was not possible without the unstinting support he got from his
wife Kainaz, who stood by him like a brick, his mother and his friends. Over a
slow and painstaking process that took all of six years, this support system
and his indomitable will helped him recover from this life changing incident,
re-invent himself and reclaim his life. This book which traces his journey from
being paralysed to slowly re-learning skills like motor co-ordination and
language skills makes one realize how easy it is for us, the normal person to
take these tasks for granted.

Realising
that his right side was paralysed and that the only word he could articulate
was “No”was extremely frustrating. But equally important was the realization that
if he really pushed himself, he could get out of it. After the immediate medical
treatment was administered, Vijay got down to the task of rehabilitation, the
painful process of re-learning motor skills and speech. Drawing up his own
punishing schedule, Vijay gave himself goals and targets, overcoming any road
blocks and setbacks along the way. On one particular day when he found that he
could only do one task at a time, he and his wife were literally reduced to
tears: what a far cry from the person who could drink coffee, type on a key
board and attend to a telephone call,  all at the same time. But this only made him
more determined to get back to his work which he finally did. And what is
creditable is the fact that though this is his first book written entirely by
him, he has co-authored two other books, both of them written after his
stroke. Today Vijay has retired prematurely from corporate life and enjoying every moment of his new lease on life pursuing his passions and interests. Apart from active writing, he is a visiting professor at the IIMs at Ahmedabad and Lucknow
With
diabetes, hypertension and stress being a given for modern day executives this
book will serve to warn many people that this could very well be their own
story. So I would make this compulsory reading for every busy executive who
often feels that his four km runs, his annual health check up and his “healthy”
lifestyle inure him from a life threatening stroke. Strokes are life changing not only for the person who suffers it but also for the entire family who have to change the way they think and the way they live. 

However, a word of warning
: despite the heroism of this story, I feel it lacks a soul and comes across as
a dry narrative of an engineer who typically analyses the problem, finds a
solution and works towards it. I do not wish to undermine his effort and salute
his never- say- die spirit but sadly even though Vijay learns the alphabet and
becomes a writer, he is not an author the subtitle credits him to be. At the end of the day, “My Stroke of Luck” is just a story of an extraordinary man told in an ordinary way. 

This review is a part of the biggest <a href=”http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews” target=”_blank”> Book Review Program </a> for <a href=”http://www.blogadda.com” target=”_blank”>Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!

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Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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