From Ouch to Oops is the autobiography of RamG Vallath, the author of Oops The Mighty Gurgle. Having read the review on this site, I snooped around using google to know more about RamG, and fortunately I landed on his latest book, his biography, an inspiring one at that.
The biography starts with the chapter Ouch, where RamG describes an incident where he is getting ready for a meeting. It takes him the better part of 3 hours to get ready – to shower, have his breakfast and then dress for the meeting. He has CIDP, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, an auto-immune disorder characterized by weakness in the arms and legs. The last chapter Oops is about his present condition, when he has just published his first book of fiction, Oops The Mighty Gurgle. In between he describes his childhood, his education, his love, his marriage, his career, his debility, his recovery and finally his current mission in life, in 21 chapters.
Vallath is one of the few, for whom everything comes easily. He did well in his studies, even without trying. He gets into IIT with a very good rank. He enters a premier management institute after a minor hiccup in his undergraduate studies. He marries the girl of his heart; he becomes the youngest CEO in a telecom company. At such a time his physical health suffers due to a mysterious condition, despite which he continues cheerfully in his job, determined only to show his positive side to others. He learns and he lives with his never say die attitude and overcomes his circumstances to make a difference to himself and to others around him.
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- From Ouch to Oops is inspirational. It is the story of a person, who faced the odds with perseverance, at the lowest points in his life, and came up trumps each time.
- The unflagging spirit and positive tone of the book throughout. Even during the toughest patches of his life, the tone of the book is never negative, bitter or desperate. It is a reflection of the author’s stated life’s mission – to impact positively as many people in his life as possible.
- The author is honest about himself- he owns up to doing things which he later found as wrong and changed. In fact his biography reads like the story of the Prodigal Son in some places.
- The narration is wacky and full of humour – it keeps the reader engrossed throughout.
- At the end of very chapter he summarizes what he learned. These make for interesting reading. I did a bit of analysis on his learnings:
There are 46 things that he has listed as having learned – Ok maybe 47.
Twenty of them can be classified as Dos – things that should be done, and five as Don’ts. The remaining 21 can be labelled as funny, sometimes philosophical observations or realizations.
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- The similarity between RamG’s biography and Chetan Bhagat (or his books) is remarkable.
RamG is an IITian with a five point something GPA
He is an alumnus of a premier management institute
He has had a “Two States” marriage too.
Here are my takeaways from the book (quoting from the Things I learned section of each chapter):
- If you push yourself out of your comfort zone, you will grow as a person.[ibid]
- Never hesitate to reach out to loved and dear ones when in trouble.[ibid]
- Life is a long, long innings. There are plenty of opportunities to make up and get back on track even if you falter. Just don’t give up hope.[ibid]
- If people are willing to let go of the belief that their own culture is the best, they will be able to appreciate the beauty of cultures which are different from their own.[ibid]
- Never restrict your role to your job definition. Those who succeed in a job are those who take on more than expected of them.[ibid]
- Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.[ibid]
- The boundaries of your job are limited only by your imagination.[ibid](Similar to 5)
- Being brave does not mean having no fear. It is the ability to smile and handle the situation with a calm mind even while one’s heart is quaking within oneself.[ibid]
- Life is not fair. Expecting life to be nice to you just because you are nice to everyone is like expecting a tiger not to eat you just because you don’t eat tigers.[ibid]
- You may not get an opportunity to return the kindness to every individual who has been kind to you. But you can surely be kind to every individual you have an opportunity to show kindness to.[ibid]
Learn by living and live by learning.