MAY 27, 2022
By Ronnie Q, Host of Limit Break
Limit Break Stories is a Limit Break Media project dedicated to promoting and curating inspiring and positive stories. To that end I am also speaking to creatives with different perspectives who are steeped in the art of storytelling in different mediums.
Today our Limit Breaker is Ashok Rajamani, an award-winning author, artist, poet, radio host, and speaker from NYC.
He is the survivor of a catastrophic, near-fatal brain hemorrhage at the age of 25. Though surviving, he was left with permanent 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: his first book -- an irreverent and decidedly unconventional memoir about a day that exploded not only his brain, but the world around him, entitled THE DAY MY BRAIN EXPLODED: A TRUE STORY.
The memoir received worldwide acclaim, including raves from Pulitzer Prize Luminary Jane Smiley, Publisher's Weekly, Harper's Magazine, Booklist, The Times of India, Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, BBC, and more. He also performed the unabridged audio production of the book, which was called by Dr. Gregory O’Shanick, Medical Director Emeritus of the Brain Injury Association of America, a “groundbreaking masterpiece.”
After the hemorrhage, he emerged as a proud brain injury rights advocate, becoming a board member of the International Brain Injury Survivors Network, Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the Brain Injury Association of America, and guest host on Brain Injury Radio.
Ashok is also an accomplished artist, having studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and School of Visual Arts. His artwork has been submitted and exhibited in galleries and shows such as Greenpoint Gallery, Exit Art New York, and Pancakes & Booze, the nationwide pop-up art tour.
He has been a keynote speaker for the International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the United Nations, as well as headliner for events like “Masala in Words: A Night of South Asian American Writers," "Brain Injury as Confession," and "Brain Injury Warriors New York City." He is the winner of the Peoples’ Choice Telly Award for the TV special “Interview with Ashok Rajamani”.
Ashok's other works include Imagine Carnivalesque, his vivid essay collection of literary criticism, and If These Saris Could Talk: a monologue of gossip, an audio production starring voice actress Zehra Naqvi. He has been a featured writer in dozens of publications including Danse Macabre, Scholars & Rogues, South Asian Review, and 3:AM Magazine. He belongs to the Authors Guild, Indo-American Arts Council, New York Writers Coalition, and South Asian Journalists Association.
Honored as a nationally recognized poet in Poets & Writers Magazine's Directory of American Writers, he is one of the first Indian American poets to have been invited to perform at the Curtea De Arges World Poetry Festival in Romania. 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.