The book opens with a chapter called ‘’The Curriculum ‘’ in which Mitch Albom, who is the author of the book recalls, his memories with his dying professor named Morrie Schwartz. Morrie is suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is a rapidly progressive, neuromuscular disease and it is a terminal disease. Mitch, the student and Morrie, the Social Psychology professor were close when they were at college and after twenty year of graduation Mitch sees his professor who was healthy then in a wheelchair now. Morrie lives in West Newton, Massachusetts and Mitch lives in Detroit, where he works for a newspaper as a sports writer. Morrie used to teach at Brandeis University in the city of Waltham. The story is based on real story of Morrie Schwartz. Morrie and Mitch meet and then Morrie teaches Mitch things that can only be learnt from experience. Their subject becomes meaning of life which professor teaches from his experiences.
Morrie is a positive yet he used to be a healthy man who enjoyed dancing and teaching. He was loved by every student in his class. This ALS illness is incurable and he knows he has to die sooner or later, but he never gets disappointed for a moment till his last breath.
Mitch losses contacts with all his friends and loving professor until he catches a glimpse of Morrie when he was flicking through the TV channel one night. He was very sorry to see his professor in that condition in wheelchair and goes to see his coach that’s what he used to call his professor. Morrie becomes an inspiration to all from that TV program called Nightline.
The best of this book is that Morrie knows he is dying, but he never feels hopeless or helpless. He is always positive. He wants to die serenely, yet he wants to share his experience with as much as he can for which he meets with people all the time. He learns value of things like love, family, relationships, emotions, marriage, forgiveness and much more from experience and teaches these to his favorite student in particular and to the world in general.
Morrie says, “When you learn how to die, you learn how to live”. He is very right I believe because we should never be afraid of death rather we should live out our lives fully. Mitch starts visiting his Professor on Tuesdays and they call themselves “Tuesday People”. Professor teaches lessons that can only be learn from experience. He would take food and they would talk about topics for hours. With the passage of time, illness gets worse exacerbating his health. Sooner he is unable to do anything on his own, so his workers do everything for him. He thinks about dependency but he is never pessimistic. He enjoys every moment he is left with in this ephemeral world.
He teaches about love which is the only rational act said by Levine. Author gets even closer when Professor’s health gets worsen. Every Tuesday they would talk about something new. On first, they talk about world. He teaches us about caring about everyone even about the people we have never known far in the lands of east and west. In addition, he teaches about being sorry for ourselves. He asserts that it is okay to be sad at times, even crying, but then we should concentrate on all the good things still in our lives.
The following Tuesday they talk about regrets in our lives. He puts it rightly that our culture doesn’t encourage us to think about such things like death until we are about to die. We are so wrapped with egotistical things, career, having enough money, cars that we don’t get into the habit of standing back looking at our lives and saying Is this all? Is this all I want? Is something missing? This is very true for our society as well I believe, since everyone is so obsessed with materialistic gadgets and dreams that hardly anyone cares about things that really matter in our lives.
One Tuesday they talk about death. He utters a beautiful reminder that, “Everyone knows they are going to die, but no one believes it.” He basically urges us all to be ready to die than being afraid for lifetime because death is unavoidable. It is taking us all anyway. Furthermore, they discuss about family and relationships which are both important in one’s life. Family is important because our friends can’t be with us 24/7, but our family is always standing by our side through thick and thin. He is suffering from ALS and he can’t move, so he has learnt the value of family and how much they are helpful in the hour of need. Likewise, relationships are also very important. We run into different people. Some we find honest and sincere and some not. We also come across people who love us and care for us unconditionally so we should respect them too at least. We should never take our family and good relationships for granted he teaches us. Think about a life in which we don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that we get from family. We don’t have much at all. Do we?
He also teaches about how important it is to have a meaningful and purposeful life. He iterates that, “Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaningful life.” Devotion gives us purpose and meaning of life.
He talks further about love and we come to know that love is different from business. In business people negotiate to win, but love is different. Love is when we are as concerned about someone else’s situation as we are about our own. This is one of the important lessons we should all learn from his experience.
Morrie sees and feels his death coming so he picks a place to be buried which is not far from his house. One more surprising thing is he arranges living funeral in advance. He wants to know how much people love him when he is alive because once he dies he can’t hear or see anything. He picks a place on a hill, beneath a tree, where his spirit will overlook a pond that is in sight. Place was serene and remember what did he say about his death. He wanted to die serenely and undoubtedly he dies serenely on a Saturday morning.
This book is filled with so much positivity that it teaches us lessons which are inexplicable otherwise. Experience is the greatest teacher indeed. I have found this book very interesting because each chapter unfolds things and lessons for us that are easy to understand but we never give heed to them. It simply wakes us up of deep slumber of materialistic dreams. It teaches us value of genuine things in our lives. It teaches us about humanity and helps us out to be one.
The contributor is a student hailing from Hunza Valley.