“A new literary talent to watch: Outrageously funny and seriously courageous.”*
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"...good-humored and self-deprecating... deals with drama elegantly."
"First-time author Rajamani delivers a fascinating look at his life and his recovery as a brain-injury patient that is both heartbreaking and uplifting."
"In this frank and witty account of his own brain "explosion," Rajamani describes in vivid detail the circumstances leading to the injury, and its devastating aftermath on both his family and himself, including chronic epilepsy and a freak form of blindness affecting the left side of each eye. With disarming drollery, the author also recounts his racism-tainted upbringing as an Indian American in white-dominated Suburban Chicago. Shedding much-needed light on a little-known medical trauma, Rajamani's sharp-edged prose is both informative and inspiring, especially for the many marginalized sufferers of brain injury and those close to him."
"A pretty wild book."
"Rajamani's account is personal, inspiring, terrifying and funny, finding humour in his situation..."
"... a frightening, raw, droll, and hopeful book about what life is really like for a twentysomething who falls down a rabbit hole but doesn't end up in Wonderland. Instead, he finds a nightmare that won't end without the strength of character that he never knew he had.”
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Brilliant and Engaging. Perfect sarcastic humor... a hilarious, irreverent, fascinating Holden Caulfield-esque story of a 25-year-old 'brain-damaged, Indian American redneck.'"
"With a self-deprecating tone that vacillates between humor and anger, Rajamani details the cerebral hemorrhage and the damage it caused. The book jumps back and forth in time, from the “brain explosion” that left him epileptic and partially blind, to his childhood growing up as a first-generation Indian American in suburban Illinois, and to his post-college years working in New York. Rajamani describes what it is like to relearn the most basic of skills — how to walk, to eat, to speak — as an adult. “True, what I went through was terrible and, true, I wasn’t always patient with those around me,” he writes. “But I realize now, looking back, I am one of the luckiest people alive, and in telling my story I am hoping to give a voice to others who were not so fortunate.”
"The hope Rajamani offers is simple yet profound. His wisdom is gained from such clarity as is often borne of catastrophe."
"Rajamani doesn’t hold anything back in his memoir; his honesty is commendable... readers who enjoy raw and unflinching journeys of self-discovery will appreciate his “no-holds-barred” writing style."
Featured Memoir, theatlantic.com, dec. 2012
“It’s a marvel that he survived—most people don’t make it after such traumatic injuries. It’s a miracle that he recovered to write such an eloquent book about his ordeal."
"This memoir is heart wrenching with raw emotion and honesty. After suffering an aneurysm, Ashok Rajamani begins the recovery process with pain, anger, wonder, and discovery. Ashok portrays his experience and rehabilitation with clarity and honesty, which most of us will never endure."
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Namaste. Welcome to the official website of Ashok Rajamani, a new kind of Indian American writer, poet, and artist.
In 2000, at the age of 25, a mighty surprise came his way: due to an undetected birth defect that had been lurking in his brain, he suffered a sudden, near-fatal, massive cerebral hemorrhagic stroke.
At his brother's wedding.
Though surviving, he's been left with lifelong bisected blindness, epilepsy, distorted hearing, erratic transient amnesia, metal staples in his brain, and ultimately, a carved skull courtesy of open brain surgery. The final consequence of his body's very own 9-11? An irreverent and decidedly unconventional memoir about a day that exploded not only his brain, but the world around him. Funny, coruscating, angry, at times shocking, but always revelatory, it takes the reader into unfamiliar territory, much like the experience Alice had when she fell down the rabbit hole.
It's called "THE DAY MY BRAIN EXPLODED: A TRUE STORY," and has been published by Algonquin Books (division of Workman).
Now a proud brain injury rights advocate, Ashok has been a regular host for Brain Injury Radio and is a board member of the International Brain Injury Survivors Network, as well as Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the Brain Injury Association of America.
He belongs to the Authors Guild, New York Writers Coalition, Asian American Writers Workshop, South Asian Journalists Association, and is a nationally recognized poet in Poets & Writers Literary Organization's Directory of American Poets.
His writings and art have appeared in dozens of publications, including Scholars & Rogues, Danse Macabre, 3:AM Magazine, and South Asian Review.
(See "about works/buy" page for complete list of credits.)
A self-acknowledged Hindu hick, Ashok grew up in a town near a cornfield in Illinois, before fleeing to The Big Apple at the age of 17, where he's lived ever since.
He is a Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of New York University, where he received his Journalism degree with Kappa Tau Alpha honors. He attended Columbia University for advanced cultural studies.
His turn-ons include: Kathy Bates in Misery. His turn-offs include: tomato chunks.
*Pulp Metal Magazine