Books that can transform lives!
Books that can transform lives!
What if you had one day perfectly healthy, I asked? What would you do?
“Twenty – four hours? ”
Yes. Twenty – four hours.
“Let’s see . . . I’d get up in the morning, do my exercises, have a lovely breakfast of sweet rolls and tea, go for a swim, then have my friends come over for a nice lunch. I’d have them come one or two at a time so we could talk about their families, their issues, talk about how much we mean to each other. “ Then I’d like to go for a walk, in a garden with some trees, watch their colors, watch the birds, take in the nature that I haven’t seen in so long now. “ In the evening, we’d all go together to a restaurant with some great pasta, maybe some duck — I love duck — and then we’d dance the rest of the night. I’d dance with all the wonderful dance partners out there until I was exhausted. And then I’d go home and have a deep, wonderful sleep.”
Can books transform our lives? Yes, They can. Provided we are willing to change. There are several such books which had a significant influence on my life. They have worked like real life mentors to metamorphose me. One such book which has left an indelible tattoo on my brain is “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. The above paragraph is from this book. It’s almost two decades since I read these lines and it appears as if I have read them recently. Even as of today, this book remains in the top 5 positions of my personal favorite 100 books.
“Tuesdays with Morrie” is a conversation between a teacher and his favorite student. The Teacher is Morrie Schwartz, a 78-year-old sociology professor at Brandeis University, who was slowly dying from the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The name Morrie comes from its meaning in Hebrew, which means “my teacher.” The student is Mitch Albom, a successful sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, who was otherwise wanted to become a pianist during his childhood. While the student fails to correspond with his teacher due to his work schedule, his teacher remembered this favorite pupil even after 16 years. After spotting his compassionate teacher on a TV show, and learning that he is not going to live for a long time, he calls on his teacher.
A newspaper workers union strike helps Albom to take a break from his busy life to commute weekly from Michigan to Massachusetts to visit his teacher. This wonderful book is the result of their fourteen Tuesday meetings where Morrie shares his lectures, life experiences, his take on many aspects of his life. While the initial three chapters provide a flashback to their acquaintance at the university, and current reunion, and an introduction to the final conversation between them, remaining chapters dwell on Morrie’s views on death, fear, aging, greed, marriage, family, society, forgiveness, a meaningful life, world, regrets and feeling sorry about yourself. Morrie’s insights on these most important aspects of our daily life are great lessons.
Earlier, I was sucked into this materialistic world and the life had become too artificial and mechanic. As I got absorbed into the book, I had a feeling that I am conversing with Morrie! Without my knowledge, I had gradually replaced the author Mitch Albom and become Morrie’s pet student. Morrie successfully installed a new philosophy of life into me. That is when the motto of my life changed and I started committing myself to the service of others. I started appreciating pleasures in the daily simple activities of life with family and friends.
Few words from that book always reverberate in my mind. “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. ”
Albom asks, “Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back. Sometimes it is only in your head. Sometimes it is right alongside their beds.”
I was lucky to have many such teachers in my life, whose memory I shall always cherish. However, I was not fortunate to sit next to their beds. They shall always remain in my heart. They are my “Every day with Morrie!”
There is also a movie based on this book. However, I have not seen that movie. “Tuesdays with Morrie” is for everyone who loves their life.