On my twenty-sixth birthday, Puneet & Aditi gifted the book Tuesdays with Morrie along with few other (cool) things they had gifted me (wink). I had heard of this author, and of this book, and I had told myself years ago that I was not going to read another of Mitch Albom’s books. But that’s the fundamental nature of life, to throw her travellers on the roads they have decided not to take.
Years ago, on the recommendation of a friend I had read The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and all remembered was that I was not very happy with that recommendation, for all the reasons I was oblivious to now. So when Puneet handed over the book to me, I will not lie, I shrugged (sorry, matey). He told me that he had taken help from Aditi to find out whether I had read this book before or not, and then started telling me how he ended up finding this book in a local bookstore in Jodhpur, and the pains he had to go through. Along with the book, there was a letter in a white envelope too, written dearly to me. Now I can’t tell you the specifics of those letters to you here, because that would be against the principle of being a gentleman, and since you know that I’m a gentleman, and so is Puneet. Let’s just say that enough good stuff were written in those letters which had persuasive powers to convince me to pack Tuesdays with Morrie in my bag when I was packing to go offshore.
Completely drenched and not particularly happy I was when I had started reading this book. There was chaos in my mind, in my heart, and unfortunately in my life too. So much was unclear to me, so much I had in me to worry about, so much I had beaten myself over the last past few weeks or months, I had almost lost the count. Morrie came to my life, like I can imagine how he must have come to Mitch’s life, in the moments when he needed him the most. Like a really good coach we all need and deserve time after time.
Mitch found that he was not where he had thought he’ll be when he would graduated from his college. He had promised Morrie, the best professor he ever had, that he’ll stay in touch but he could never keep his promise. Materialistically he was doing well for himself, he lived a life most people could only desire, but he wasn’t happy. All the conditions for the happiness where there, but happiness was not there. On the other hand, Morrie now couldn’t dance anymore, after few days, he couldn’t walk anymore, and he was told by his doctor that he only has few months to live before this disease reaches his lungs and chokes him to an eternal sleep. No condition for the happiness was there, but Morrie was filled with happiness and love which he wanted to give to all those around him. Love for life he had lived, and love for the life he was about to live in his numbered days. When Mitch met his estranged professor again, he truly learned what living is. That’s what Tuesdays with Morrie was about.
A man who is going to die is teaching “how to live” to the man who is going to live.
Just like his college, where Morrie had suggested that he should work on a thesis under him, the teacher and his disciple decides to work on one last project together, they meet every Tuesday, well, because they have always been Tuesday people, and discuss life. Mitch records the words of his professor and later publishes it into this book. And now, even though it has been years since Morrie is sleeping peacefully, his wisdom still lives on.
“If you hold back on the emotions–if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them–you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your heard even, you experience them fully and completely.”
“Life is a series of pulls back and forth… A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. Most of us live somewhere in the middle. A wrestling match…Which side win? Love wins. Love always wins”
“I give myself a good cry if I need it, but then I concentrate on all good things still in my life.”
“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levin said it right. He said, “Love is the only rational act.”
“This is part of what a family is about, not just love. It’s knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.”
“Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent… But detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it…You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief… But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. “All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.”