My Stroke Of Luck is a book about Vijay Santhanam’s inspiring journey from adversity to triumph. It is, as the book’s blurb reads, “The stimulating saga of a man who, thanks to his never-say-die attitude, found the courage and the determination to bounce back despite being felled by a serious, disabling condition.”
Vijay was afflicted with a stroke when he was 41 and working as regional marketing director for BP (auto lubricants) – Asia-Pacific, based in Singapore. The right side of his body was paralyzed and he could not move without help and could not speak at all. He assiduously developed the willpower to work at regaining his health and other faculties; according to him, when a human being is confronted by a big crisis, often s/he summons all her/his spirit and willpower to fight back and win. The stroke affected his left-brain; however, it left his mental abilities intact. Simple things which we take for granted such as driving a car, speaking to several people at once, etc. were impossible for him.
The book is a light and easy read. Though it talks about such a serious topic, nowhere in the book do you feel pity or sympathy for the author. Instead, what comes across is the story of a man who refused to get bogged down by why the stroke affected him; instead he set out to find ways and means to overcome it and recover his health and speech as it was pre-stroke.
The author has consciously avoided using a lot of scientific terms to explain the stroke as it may unnecessarily confuse the readers. It is an inspiring and motivational read as we see how Vijay takes small steps on the long journey; how he undergoes the physical therapy, the occupational therapy and the speech therapy.
The detailed explanations of how he actually set out to learn the languages (English, Hindi and Tamil) struck a chord with me. As children, we easily pick up a new language. But to learn at the age of 44 requires great persistence which Vijay displayed. Also, he developed his own unique learning methods to cope with the situation – visualization of concepts worked better with him.
Reading the book makes one realize that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. Vijay had a positive mindset focused on recovery; he is also grateful that the stroke did not affect him too severely and he was able to come out of it.
The book provides an important insight into the functioning of the brain. The entire left-brain/right-brain concept has been explained in a very detailed and interesting manner. It also enlightens us on how the body has the ability to repair itself. His analysis shows that we learn what we like. He stresses that it is important to teach children in an interesting way; they are less likely to remain concepts taught in a boring, purely textbook oriented manner.
Vijay also appreciates the support and help provided by his friends and family during his moment of crisis. He also expresses gratitude to his organization – BP – which was there with him throughout.
Read the book and get inspired – it will help you get a perspective on your life. I am going with 5/5 for this book.