Rudrani Devi has added two new chapters to her life –– a life that was nearly taken two years ago in a terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. Jump to 2011 –– or "run," in Devi’s case. The Mumbai survivor participated in the Boston Marathon on April 18.
Rudrani Devi has added two new chapters to her life –– a life that was nearly taken two years ago in a terrorist attack in Mumbai, India.
Devi, born Andreina Gaetana "Andi" Varagona, was told in 2008 that damage to her shattered leg might not ever be repaired. Jump to 2011 –– or "run," in Devi’s case. The Mumbai survivor participated in the Boston Marathon on April 18.
And that's just one of the new chapters in her life.
The other is "Soul Survivor: A Healer's Pilgrimage and Homecoming," Devi's new book that chronicles her experiences, determination, passion and courage during the healing process.
The Tennessee native was one of more than 400 people hurt during the November 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai; she was shot three times while attending a dinner party at the Oberoi Hotel.
That day, 17 people died, but out of six Americans, Devi was one of the two who survived. A hotel worker pulled her to safety as automatic weapons were fired and grenades were thrown into the restaurant. She spent several weeks in a Bombay hospital before returning to her home. From then on, her rehabilitation was in the hands of a therapist, her own and that of her inner spiritual healing.
Devi believes in and practices holistic and spiritual healing. A therapist and yoga instructor in Nashville, Tenn., she took the Sanskrit name of Rudrani Devi in 2002. The name is described as a name of service, meaning one who takes the pain away from others.
Devi still has some pain from her own wounds, however, and she has shrapnel in one of her legs. Be that as it may, running is one of life's joys she refuses to give up.
"I was training for it (the Boston Marathon) when I was shot," Devi said in a telephone interview from her home in Tennessee before the race. "I always wanted to run the Boston Marathon.
"This is my 10th marathon," she said. "It will be my last."
But running the 26-mile event almost didn't happen for Devi. About the time the marathon deadline closed, she was still under the care of a physician who wouldn't release her for sports.
"I still don't have all the feeling in my leg, yet," she said.
But then in December, her doctor gave her permission –– but only if she does what she's supposed to and continues to have X-rays to make sure the shrapnel hasn't shifted.
But by then, she thought it was too late to enter.
"If I could get a bib, I'd just run for charity," she said. "But all the bibs were gone."
A break came after a friend put up a snippet of her running on YouTube.
"Someone from Adidas saw it and got me in," Devi said. "It was a gift from them," she said of her No. 3251 bib. "I'm actually in the last corral, and I'm only hoping to finish."
Devi said her training has been tough at times: She ran 18 miles on her treadmill during a tornado watch, and after a 15-mile marathon, she couldn't feel her foot.
"When I took my shoe off, sure enough, my foot had turned blue," she said. "I'm going to finish if I have to crawl over, that's going to happen."
As far as her new book, that came about after several people told her to write down her story.
"People kept asking about it," she said.
Not only has her story been told in local newspapers, it has also been told on state and national television.
"I like journaling away," she said. "When I was still in the electric wheelchair and a friend in a writing group asked me to come, I wrote 20 pages and noticed when we were passing them around, my pages weren't getting changed."
She said when people told her to write the story, they also told her she'd have no trouble getting the book published.
"I had it written for a year," she said. "I was still searching for a publisher. I got turned down everywhere."
Then, author and medium Allison DuBois and Devi talked about DuBois' book, "Don't Kiss Them Good-Bye," and the author told Devi she self-publishes. Her book was the basis for the television drama "Medium," which aired from 2005 until 2011.
"So I did the same, and it's now on Amazon and selling," Devi said. "It's been a good process for me. If someone really wants to know what happened, there's my version of it,” she said.
And, she's already working on another book, "For the Love of Running," which she says is the working title, and it's based on marathon running.
Beverly Majors can be contacted at (865) 220-5514 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.