The following review is not a typical book review. It is more of my life than anything else. This book I’ve read is exceptional. And so I thought it would be great if I tried to understand my life via this book.
As a student, I had a lot of teachers in school, and after a certain standard, after school as well. When I look back to those times today, I feel sorry for myself, because I never had a great teacher who changed my life or with whom am still in touch, or it should be more appropriate if I say that I never was a great student to any of my teachers. Frankly, I never gave a thought about teachers as a means to find the path to a happy life. In fact, most of my time went into distancing myself from them, for reasons ranging from fear of being questioned, the guilt of not doing the homework or helplessness of being pushed into unnecessary cultural work, and other stuff like that. I did not know then that behind my hesitancy to form a bond with my teachers, I was losing more than just the sight of them in the corridors.
It wasn’t until I started reading Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, which by the way is an extremely sweet tale of one such teacher and student who are meeting after a long time for one last assignment together, the assignment of the meaning of life, that I realized what I had lost. Naturally, I felt sad about not having any such person in my life, and parents don’t count here, because they are the first teachers any person could have. So, I started counting all my loved ones, yes, I can count them on my fingers and that’s a different story altogether, and see if anyone of them could be as great a teacher as Morrie was to Mitch. Strangely, I found that the only person who could fill that spot in my life is my husband. Although I have always told him that he has made me a better and happy human, I had never given a thought about the fact that he is playing a very important role in my life, of course apart from being my life partner, that of a teacher, which I so lack.
Morrie Schwartz is terminally ill. He has less than a year, lesser even, to live. When his ex-student Mitch learns about his old professor’s condition via a television program, he decides to visit and give the old man some of his time. What he does not know that it is he who is going to receive the old man’s time, and a lot of it seeing how much time is left. On his path to his grave, Morrie gives Mitch something which no one could ever give, the meaning of life from the one who has the experience, and although who has little time left but it is in no way little on life.
Very few books have the power to alter someone’s life without meaning to do so, this book is one of them. Without being an imposing self-help book, this book becomes the guiding light that so many of us lack. Well, what can I say about a book that most of us would wish was our story, one which we wish could have happened to us… But then, I can give my two cents anyway, right? So, tell me, how many of you can say you have a happy life, or are content with what you have? I know am not going to get many positives out of this question, but I still would like to know (you can answer in the comments if you want) As a young girl, I have always seen my father working day in and day out to provide us with the best lifestyle, clothes, food, keeping a shelter over our heads, those impromptu demands, holidays, pocket money…the list is endless, same as yours. It wasn’t a very good time, setting up in an entirely different city after a successful business in another is very difficult, I can say that first hand. So, as it happened, I was not a very compassionate and considerate child. Tantrums and anger were my other names. Growing up, I never realized what my parents had sacrificed for me and my sister, which I do now. I was never thankful, wanted bigger, better, and costlier things. Until recently, I was of the same opinion as earlier. Things changed when I got into my first relationship, like a lot of other people of my generation, my husband. It was with him that I started to understand my parents and the meaning of life.
Having shared 3 years of my life with the amazing man that my husband is, I have become wiser than I ever had been. He has taught me that the world is a nice place even if it hasn’t treated me well. There are many who have and many who will. So stop criticizing, and try to look for goodness in everyone. Self-pity is the worst of all the pity. It makes one lose confidence and subsequently, all happiness drains away. It is okay to cry for ourselves, but more important to buck up, and move on. Everyone has regrets, I have even if you don’t. It is not a means to get negative, it is, in fact, a means to do things better so as to not regret again. One thing that I haven’t had a chance to discuss with anyone, is death. You are too young to talk about such things, they would say. But I know, death doesn’t see the age, it just seeks. Maybe, someday, decades later I will have my husband talk to me on death, and if I remember this review by then, I’ll come back and edit. I am what I am because of my family. No, they don’t define me, rather they have made me the person I am today. My parents helped shape my character, teaching me that being a girl doesn’t mean you have to be weak and my husband further solidified this notion by letting me do anything I want, guiding me along the way. And yes, my little girl, she is bringing out the very in best me. My emotions have become profound. I know not to feel ashamed if I shed a tear watching some scene in a video or imagining my little girl all grown up. I know how to accept that others have emotions too, and if I am unable to understand them, I should at least be empathetic. Over the years, I’ve grown. Emotionally, mentally and physically. We all do. What we all don’t do is accept it, especially the physical part. The growth to the peak and then, the slow descent, aging. Oh, where did I lose my youth, this phrase makes one forget the truth. Acceptance of wrinkles, or lines, of shriveled skin, of receding hairline, of a bulging belly, of crows feet, of bad eyesight, of deteriorating health, of dwindling grip, is not at all easy. But, it must be done, and only doing so gracefully will make it easier. Yes, money can these days help a lot in the process, but it can’t stop the process. Money can’t bring back the youth, but it can make the old age better. Money is not happiness, but it is important for happiness. My thoughts may differ here, then again, whose won’t?
Do you believe your family and friends will love you even when you are gone? I believe it because I know it. Love is something that never fades, it just passes. What I received as love from my parents will reflect on how I love my daughter. My daughter has never seen my grandfather and I have never seen my grandmother, but I will surely tell her stories of him, the way my father tells us stories of his mother, which makes me miss, and love my grandmother, long long after she has gone. I also know that my husband would love me, long long after I am gone. When we married, we weren’t in love. Like with most of the arranged marriages, we were practically strangers thrown together to spend our lives. It wasn’t until the first anniversary that we fell in love, realized the importance of each other, and committed ourselves fully into our marriage. We were wedded first, married later, the way our culture demands. Who is this culture by the way? A person? A group? What is it? It was sheer luck that we fell in love, what if we hadn’t? Would our culture have let us part ways? The main aim of the culture should be to let people live their lives happily instead of forcing them to fake their happiness just for the sake of culture! I believe forgiveness is the key here, for those who have been wronged, forgive, and move on. It will not affect anyone else but you alone, and the peace thereafter is more important than burning in anger.
There are no perfections in life, only in theory. A day can be perfect for you but not for me. The same goes for a person, or a thing or anything else for that matter. Only our way of perception can bring about perfection. When the time comes for me to leave my physical body behind, I wish I have enough time to say my goodbyes, which by the way won’t be enough ever, but it will prepare me and my dear ones for the imminent death that lays ahead.
Life is meant to live, not spend. Have a happy life everyone!