At the NY airport, saw a book by Obama (Audacity of hope) before he became the president. Should I? Another one, Last lecture by someone I have not heard of. The cover looked interesting though not very colorful and I picked it up. I go by the cover, though have been told, don’t judge a book by the cover.
Once settled in the flight, looked at the book. Last lecture by Randy Paush. Professor Carnegie Melllon with Jeffrey Zaslow.
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt with, just how we play the hand “.
When Randy Paush, professor in computer science, had to give a lecture titled last lecture he did not have to imagine it as his last lecture since he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And the lecture he gave was not about dying. The lecture he gave was “Really achieving your childhood dreams “, it was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, enabling dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think). He was dying and he was talking of living.
He says he has an engineering problem. While for most part he is in terrific physical shape, he has ten tumors in his liver and only a few months to live.
He has three young children, aged 18 months, 3 and 5 years then. He starts working for the future of the family of which he will not be a part. He speaks to the young students about his experience, what worked and what did not. He prepares lot of lessons for his children which he will not be able to teach in person. They will be learning to live in their father’s absence. He will be leaving without experiencing the thrill of their growing years. He will be exiting with that knowledge. He says he is not the hero in the scenario but his brave wife Jai who is preparing for his death and the aftermath.
I read this book in one sitting from NY to India. I cannot recall whether I ate anything during that trip.
When I reached home, I called my daughter in NY to tell her my experience of the book. She said you can hear him on you tube and he died two weeks ago. This was in August 2008 .
I asked myself then, what if the doctor told me that I have about four months to live.
I checked within, well I have almost crossed the river, survival is not mandatory. The only effect will be a change in spouse’s status and you will be known as the late…
No harm in asking yourself the hypothetical question, what if the doctor….., just for fun and give it a serious thought.
Or why should we wait for the doctor, why not make it a practice to prepare dependents to live independently. I don’t mean providing money but ways to earn while learning. Don’t give them fish but teach them how to fish. In our country we have an earner and many dependents. Tragedy strikes when the breadwinner makes an abrupt exit leaving behind a chaos. Think about it, you may not need it but you can advise some needy family. Many of us do not like to even mention the word death, but death is the only reality in life. Don’t live in denial mode
Right now I m living a “what can I do for you? “ life until….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo more on Randy Paush. And his lectures
5 thoughts on “What can I do for you ?”
Rajan, you express your wisdom in such simple words! Love it. It reminds me of the tale of the Pandava’s and the Yaksha of the lake. During their Aranyavasa, the Pandava’s became very thirsty in their travels.They came near a lake. Each of the four younger brothers went to the lake to drink and bring water for the family. The Yaksha warned them that they had to answer a hundred questions before they can touch the water, or they will die. All four ignored the Yaksha and fell dead. Yudhishthira, the eldest brother, went looking for them, found them and the Yaksha who told him the same thing. Yudhishthira agreed to answer the questions. The last question was “What is the greatest miracle in the world?”, and Yudhishthira answered, “The greatest miracle in the world is that death is all around us, yet we go through life as if we are immortal”. Sigmund Freud essentially said the same thing about the human psyche and the illusion of immortality.
Mortality makes us just a little humble and kind – which you have always been. Love you. Khande.
Thanks . That’s a good extract. There is nothing that has not been touched in mahabharatha.
i also read that book, and suggesting it to all to be realistic about life and our role. thanks for such nice posts from you.
Just ordered in Amazon…
Thanks for the impressive review n yourreflections…