1. Book review ‘From Ouch to Oops’: Road to recovery

Book review ‘From Ouch to Oops’: Road to recovery

From Ouch to Oops is a humorous narrative of how a high-flying corporate executive battled an incurable autoimmune disorder at the peak of his career

By: | Published: January 25, 2015 12:21 AM

From Ouch to Oops
Ram G Vallath
HarperCollins
R149
Pp 152

RAM G Vallath has a whacky sense of humour. After every chapter in his new book, From Ouch to Oops, he has provided a small box on things he learnt from that part of his life. One of these boxes read: “It is incredibly stupid to tell a girl you are madly in love with her if you have only ever spoken three sentences to her.” Maybe it’s this quality of his that helped him overcome chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a crippling autoimmune disorder.

In a rollercoaster career spanning 17 years and counting, Vallath worked with companies such as Titan, Airtel, HP and Dell before he was diagnosed with the disorder in 2001. He later turned to writing, debuting with a humorous science-fantasy novel called Oops The Mighty Gurgle. His inspirational talk, ‘Find Your Own Oops in Life’, has been heard by thousands of corporate employees, making them laugh even while imparting life-changing lessons.

From Ouch to Oops is the story of his life—a boy from Kerala who went to the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, lost track of his life by veering towards alcohol, but later found his mojo in management.

Born into a middle-class household, Vallath was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder at the age of 33 years. Over the next 10 years, even as he grappled with his deteriorating health, he continued to hold tough and complex jobs, spreading cheer and humour wherever he went.
In From Ouch to Oops, Vallath’s narrative is honest and often brutal, especially when he describes his own follies. In 20 very precise chapters, he touches upon every aspect of his life, from his childhood and his tenure at IIT Madras to managing people, as well as an illness.

The disorder, which started with tremors in his hands and a deterioration of balance, worsened rapidly, leading to the weakening of muscles and loss of dexterity in his fingers. He was even asked to quit his job at HP during his illness.

Vallath, while researching on his ailment online, came across a clinical trial being conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago for a treatment called Autologous Nonmyeloablative Hematopoietic Stem Cell transplant. The researchers were looking for patients who had been suffering from CIDP. Vallath enrolled for it and was successfully cured.

In his quest for improved fitness, Vallath lost 12 kg after the treatment and even taught himself swimming with the help of instructional videos on YouTube. To sum it up, Vallath’s book provides an extraordinary account of his life.

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