Kaye Jacob, The Principal handing over a memento to the guest speaker
The eleventh of November 2013 finally arrived, and we were all excited to meet Mr. ram Gopal Verma the author of the quirky and funny book titled, “Oops the Mighty Gurgle.” His talk was the high point of the English week that too on the first day! Mr. Vishnu Kartik, the senior program leader had been kind enough to ensure that Mr. Ram G. Vallath was there before us to inspire students and teachers alike with his experiences of life. There was in the chill in the air, and I arrived at seven in the morning to ensure that the Meditation Centre was spick and span. After taking the attendance of the students of my class, I rushed along with my students to the Meditation Centre to see that our speaker had already arrived! Mr. Vishnu Kartik was already there with him and our Principal arrived along with me. The first thing I did was to get my copy of his book autographed by him! He appeared to be an unassuming person filled with humbleness and grace! I further came to know that his children had once studied in our school, and his elder daughter would have been studying in class ten! After the brief introduction by the compere, a young student of the school, and a brief introduction by me, Mr. Ram Gopal Verma took the stage to enthral the gathered students of classes eight to eleven with his experiences as a successful professional followed by the turn of events that led to his decision to take up writing as a full time commitment.
Mr. Ram Gopal Vallath began his talk by describing how he had grown up in a small town in the South of India, and his experiences as a child, his escapades, and goof ups. He maintained that he had a great interest in reading which kindled an active imagination in him. Later in life he completed his BTech from IIT Chennai and went on to be appointed to prestigious posts in various well known mulit-national companies. However, when he was thirty, “ and on top of the world when the niggling worry started. It was quite a small worry in the beginning. I found that my hand would tremble when I was holding up a spoon, a plate, a glass of beer etc. My original self-diagnosis was that this was caused by work related stress. When one becomes a country manager at 31, apart from being on top of the world, the by-product is stress. And when at 33, I had moved into a telecom operation as head of sales and marketing, the effect was approximately like moving from the frying pan into the fire.” This was the time when he was diagnosed with a rare form of an “auto-immune disorder” which rendered his hands and feet steadily uncoordinated. Preliminary examination “indicated that the condition was not congenital but was an acquired disorder called CIDP.CIDP is an autoimmune disorder- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. My own immune system was attacking my peripheral nerves and they were losing their conductivity. This in turn was making( his) muscles useless and over a period of time, they were fading away.”The treatment in India constituted of a strong dose of steroids which affected his eye-sight and made him gain a lot of weight. Looking at the complications resulting from the limited treatment offered in India, it was decided that he should travel to the United States of America for a treatment that was still in its experimental stages. “The standard treatment for the condition was to take an intravenous medication called IVIG. A full course was 2mg/Kg of weight which in my case worked out to 160mg. This had to be taken over five days. It cost 6 lacs!! An enormous sum.”
It was while he was recuperating from his treatment in America, and the havoc that the chemicals were playing on his mind that he decided to write his first book, “ – Oops the Mighty Gurgle”. The task of writing this book gave him “a huge mental push. The book was so wacky, funny and totally in the realm of the absurd that writing it kept my spirits soaring high. I jokingly tell my friends that it was a mix of the chemo and the rat and rabbit extracts that were pumped into me that made me write such a crazy wacky nutty novel.” The novel in itself is not simply for children but for those who dare to think differently and out of the box. After the initial success of the Book, “Oops the Mighty Gurgle,” Ram G. Vallath has embarked on the sequel to this book, which is at present in the editing stage and will soon be out on the bookshelves.
RamG Vallath’s creativity and humour are a message that handicaps can be overcome in life, and these handicaps need not affect our ability to celebrate life in its fullest form! Literature is in its highest form therapeutic in nature and the role of poetry and prose cannot be ignored in an age that is highly dependent on technology. It goes without saying that a life without the capacity to dream is a life bereft of colour. RamG Vallath is an inspiration to all of us to dream, and dream big of all the possibilities of life, and never to accept “no” in the face of challenges! Life presents before us numerous challenges but these challenges do not mean that it is the end of the road for us! Literature in all its forms celebrates life in all its aspects, and it endorses the need to enjoy good literature without rationalizing it and just immersing ourselves in the possibilities that can yet be!
In the talk to the students and teachers, Ram G.Vallath attributed his success to the following Mantras:
- Never ever think of what could have been.
- Always be cheerful and be the provider of cheer – at home, at work...
- Actively seek solution instead of moaning about the problem.
- At work, always do more than what is expected of you.
- Thank god every day for a wonderful family, great friends, relatives and above all, for my unconquerable spirit.
The whole gathering was spell-bound by his talk, and at times we were moved to tears of sympathy and appreciation at the same time! It was certainly a grand way to start the English week in the school, that too with a motivating and inspiring talk by a man who went through so much, finally rising to the challenge and proving that everything depends on the role of the mind and the spirit of positivism, which can defeat all odds and turn difficult situations into precursors of success! Ram Gopal Vallath’s story is about conquering difficulties and handicaps against all odds with a positive attitude. I went all the way to the Reliance Times Out outlet in Gurgaon to purchase his book, and sure glad I am to have been able to acquire his book which I am looking forward to read!
Valuable Inputs and Quotations have been taken from the Write Up sent by the Guest Speaker.
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