About the book
“Traveler’s tales, not about slogging through jungles or sailing across uncharted seas. I am a traveler ebulliently engaged on a unique journey between worlds: between the quirky world of autism that I inhabit and the wearying world of “normal” that I would like to explore.” – Chandima Rajapatirana, Co-Founder, EASE Foundation
“What begins as a journey into Chammi’s soul could well end as a journey into your own. It is a wild ride, but with Chammi holding your hand, you should be okay.” – Ruwanthie de Chickera, Playwright, Dramatist
“Chammi allows us to breathe with him, feel his tentative freedom, and get pulled back into his fears and realities. It awakens within us a reminder to believe, hope, and look deeply at one another.” – Co-founder and Organizational Advisor, Arcadia University
Review of Traveler’s Tales
“It is hard to capture in words the enormity of value in this book by poet, advocate, and author Chandima (Chammi) Rajapatirana. In Traveler’s Tales, Rajapatirana shares many of his writings through the years since his family’s relentless search for a means of communication for him succeeded in helping him to emerge from silence by typing to communicate.
Fortunately for him and for readers who meet him or who visit and revisit his writings, Rajapatirana was not lost forever in what he calls “the silent abyss”–a place and time in his life without effective communication. His indomitable will and the opportunity to communicate gave him an exit from “a black hole beyond the reach of even my mother.”
In searingly poignant words Rajapatirana describes his struggle to “join” and “not hide” in the world. He tells the tales of his life journey with compelling imagery, as when he describes the “logjam” of words in his mind waiting to be expressed. That expression is now possible via his typing fingers, when he is able to slow and control not only his anxiety but also his impulsive, “restless movements”.
This introspective nonspeaking man with poetry in his heart writes of his sensory challenges, of his desire to speak, and of his struggle to establish who he is in the world: “Who am I, and who gets to decide who I am?…I will not take on the identity given me by others; instead I will create my own…In the end I became the one who bested the identity foisted on me by others.”
His advice is heartfelt and wise: “People as handicapped as I am need someone to find the door. Our families and our teachers have to keep searching till they find the right door. Please don’t just stop believing in our ability and the existence of that portal. If you will but dream with us and take risks for and with us, together we will walk through that magical door. Without my Mom’s feeling that I was intelligent, and her stubborn refusal to give up I would never have gone through that door.” Reading this book will encourage you to keep searching for that door with people whom you know now or whom you will meet someday.”
– Judy C. Bailey