I was first introduced to Mr. Venkatraman Pichumani on Jan 8th 2016 at the SCMM expo by a friend-Vikas Sharma, who had one of his stalls of his company, Dr. Cool there. I found Mr Pichumani to be an extremely warm and unassuming person. Little did I realize that there existed a story behind this nice demeanour just like the ones that prevailed in every runner’s life, only this one being a little appalling and awe-inspiring.
My second meeting with him took place on Feb 7th 2016 at the footsteps4good event, where my husband and I just finished a 10 km run. He was standing near the finish line cheering a middle aged man, running 10 km, to keep going. ‘He was a heart patient’ he told us and that’s when he revealed his own story about being a cardiac bypass patient who took to running and is now promoting running for good health under the banner of ‘youtoocanrun.’
Feeling intrigued I went home and immediately ordered a copy of his new book ‘Unstoppable’ which consisted of 9 inspiring stories of people who had overcome their barriers to fight their way through the finish line.
The foreword by running veteran Fauja Singh was enough to set those pages turning as I got absorbed in the book for an hour. Each story was riveting and intense, be it someone overcoming poverty, their fight with cancer, running with a prosthetic limb, battling obesity, age, alcoholic addiction and blindness or an entrepreneur overcoming a brain surgery to discover the joy of running.
Embracing the second chance that life hand handed them, each individual lapped it up in delight without any trace of bitterness. They had clearly put their painful past behind them, ready to move ahead with those rhythmic strides and conquer the roads. I now vowed to vanquish that impudent voice which says “why does it happen only to me?”, whenever I face a downfall.
As I turned the last page, I was filled with admiration at these spirited stories of human triumph which exhibited nothing short of a fairy tale ending. It banished those old age belief that ‘happily ever after endings’ ceased to exist only in those Grimm Brothers tales of castles and kingdoms.
As a runner especially, I often tend to look for some source of inspiration in the form of a book, movie or a living person. Venkatraman’s book co-authored with journalist Padmaja Shastri certainly gave a good dose of the inspiration pill. Just reading about these 9 determined individuals who broke all barriers to achieve milestones, reaffirmed my faith in the saying that ‘Impossible is nothing’. It enabled me to relearn the joy of living and running which we often lose out in the quest to race against time. As the title suggests, this book is indeed an ‘unstoppable’ read.