Book Review: Tuesdays With Morrie


“An old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson”

Tuesdays with Morrie is a non-fiction true story in the biographical and philosophical genre.
The main theme of this book centers around what a person can learn about life through death.
In this book, there is a professor named Morrie Schwartz, who has a terrible disease, ALS. One of Morrie’s students named Mitch Albom had Morrie as a professor in his college days when they met every Tuesday learning about the Meaning Of Life.

Morrie is a professor who finds out that he is dying in his late sixties. Mitch Albom happens to bump into Morrie during his final days of life, after almost 20 years. They plan to meet every Tuesday again like they used to in college years.

The first Tuesday they talk about the world. Morrie asking questions, and listening to Mitch’s replies and correcting and adding to it if he missed something, just like they used to do before. Mitch notices a pile of newspapers and wonders why Morrie would like to keep up with the world if he is dying anyway. Morrie answers by saying now that I am suffering, I feel closer to people who suffer than I ever did before. Mitch asks Morrie why he cares for people he doesn’t even know. Morrie gives a great life lesson – he says that the most important thing he is learning from his illness is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.

In the next chapter (the second Tuesday), they talk about feeling sorry for yourself.
Mitch asks Morrie if he felt sorry for himself, after this terrible disease struck him. Morrie says that he gives himself a good cry if he needs to but then he concentrates on all the good things that are still in his life, for example the people that come to visit him like Mitch.
This chapter basically tells us to try and look at the good side of things. Morrie has a life threatening illness and if he can look at the good side of things, anyone can.
Many Tuesdays pass by and Morrie tries to tell Mitch as much as he could about life and how to really live before he died.

For example, on the sixth Tuesday they talk about emotions. This chapter was pretty interesting. It talks about detachment from an emotion.
If you take an emotion – fear, for example (what Morrie is going through with his deadly illness), if you hold back on this emotion and don’t let yourself go all the way through this emotion, you can never be detached from it, because you are too busy being afraid of it. But by throwing yourself into this emotion and by experiencing it fully, you know what that emotion is and you can get away from it. You can recognise that emotion and detach yourself from it.
In this chapter, Morrie has a rough day and is coughing really badly. He tells Mitch that he doesn’t want to die like this, choking and coughing his lungs out. He wants to die serenely and peacefully.
This is where detachment comes in. If Morrie dies in the middle of coughing and choking, he needs to be able to detach himself from the horror, the pain. He needs to be able to know what is happening and accept it, get to a peaceful place and let go.

Similarly, on the seventh Tuesday they talk about aging.
This chapter is also quite important for people who are old. Morrie now needs to depend on other people for almost everything, except breathing and swallowing, because of his illness, so Mitch asks Morrie if he is ashamed of it and Morrie replies by saying that he feels like a child again and he enjoys the dependency of feeling like a child. Later that day, they also talk about the fear of aging.
Mitch asks Morrie if he ever was afraid to grow old, and Morrie says he has embraced aging. What Morrie basically says in this chapter is that as you grow, you learn more. People say growing older is pain and decay to your body but it is not just that. It is growth. It is more than the negative that you are going to die, it is also the positive that you understand you are going to die, and that you live a better life because of it. Morrie also talks about people having unfulfilled lives. Many people wish to be younger again and very few people wish to be 65 or 80 years old. This reflects unfulfilled lives, lives that have found no meaning. If you have found meaning to your life, you would want to go forward, not backwards. You would want to move ahead, see more, do more.
If you are always battling against getting older, you are always going to be unhappy, because you will grow old and die eventually.
Another thing that really touched me in this chapter is the fact that we shouldn’t envy younger people.
Mitch asks Morrie if he envies younger and healthier people. Morrie answers this question brilliantly.
He talks about the detachment process again. The emotion in this case is envy and jealousy. Get away from it and detach it from yourselves. Morrie says its impossible for the old not to envy young. But the issue is to accept who you are and enjoy the stage you are living in. Looking back makes a person competitive and aging is not a matter of competition. We can delight in being a child when it is appropriate to be a child and we can delight in being an old man when it is appropriate to be an old man. Morrie concludes by saying that he can’t truly be jealous and envious of a younger, healthier man when he has been at that stage himself.

They keep talking on Tuesdays until they reach the Fourteenth Tuesday. In this chapter, Morrie is very unwell and is going to die and this will be Mitch’s last visit. Morrie and Mitch say goodbye and Morrie tells Mitch that he loves him a lot.

So that is basically the summary of Tuesdays With Morrie. I really loved this book and it taught me a lot about life, things that we never actually realise in our everyday life. This book can be extremely helpful for a person who is dying, it makes us think about death in a not so sad way because majority of people are scared of death and think that death is evil and scary.

I also really think that this book has an impact on our life. While reading this book, I learnt quite a lot of lessons on life. So overall this book was brilliant and it definitely made me look at death in a different way and it taught me how to live life in a better way.

– Saania Saxena


Book Review: Magic Of Reality


Magic Of Reality

Author- Richard Dawkins
Genre- Science

In Magic Of Reality, Dawkins uses an amazing technique highly appealing for young and old.
He explains the questions all of us have about the universe in a very interesting way.
This book taught me that magic has many forms. One that talks about gods and myths but there is
another kind of magic that makes us discover the real answers about the universe.
And that is the magic of reality, or basically what we call science.

Questions like “what is stuff made of?”, “how old is the universe?”, “why do bad things happen?”
We can ignore these questions as something beyond us or they can make us think like a scientist too.
In all the chapters, Dawkins talks about the myths first and then gives the best possible answer to the questions, which is the answer of science.
In chapter 2, “who was the first person?”, Dawkins starts by telling some of the myths people believed (and still believe) like the Adam and Eve story where god made the first man out of dust and called him Adam (Adam just means man) and later in the story, god gives Adam company by creating a woman, Eve. That is a popular myth used to explain a question in everyone’s mind.
But then Dawkins talks about who the first person really was. Actually, there was no first person. Dawkins explains a thought experiment. In the thought experiment, we have to imagine ourselves and then our father, and then our grandfather, and then our great-great grandfather and so on until we reach near our 185th millionth great grandfather.
Another way to visualise it could be to imagine a bookshelf where we are in the near end and the far end has a picture of our 185th millionth great grandfather. If you walk steadily from one end to the other, you will notice yourself in one end and a fish in the other (meaning we all descended from fish who then became apes and so on and very difficult to say the exact moment when one form changes to another).
Dawkins explains this by giving the example of our own lives: we were once a baby and now we are not. When we become a lot older, we will look quite different again, but every day of our life, we are the same person as when we went to bed the previous night. It is like when a baby changes into a toddler, then into a child and so on until an old person. However, there never really is a day when we can say that a baby stopped being a baby and is now a toddler!
Back to the thought experiment, changes in life forms are so gradual that we never notice any clearly demarcated change. We go back through 185 million generations of grandparents until we come face to face with a fish!

The book abounds with similar other thought provoking examples. In chapter 3, “why are there so many different kinds of animals?”, Dawkins first talks about a myth. Then he talks about why are there really so many different kinds of animals.
Every scientific name of an animal or plant consists of two latin words. The first refers to a genus (which is basically a group of species) and the second to the individual species within the genus.
For example, Homo sapiens (wise man) and Elephas maximus (big elephant).
Every species is a member of a genus and each genus belongs to a family.
Cats (including lions, leopards, etc) make up the family Felidae. Every family belongs to an order.
Cats, dogs, bears, weasels, and hyenas belong to different families within the order Primates. And every order belongs to a class. All mammals belong to the class Mammalia.
Dawkins then speaks about the family tree, because we can see a shape of a tree developing in our minds while reading this description. That is what happens in evolution.
Charles Darwin himself drew a branching tree as the only picture in his very famous book, On the Origin of Species. You can see that if you keep on doubling up species, it doesn’t take long to get up into millions of species.

There are many many other examples in the book.
I really enjoyed this book a lot and it definitely made me see the scientific side of magic! I think books written in this fun and engaging style can convert many young people’s mind into one of scientific inquiry. We will become more curious, ask a lot of questions and try to understand the reality behind what we see everyday. Instead of blindly believing in myths.

Friendship – Quality or Quantity?

In my view, if you really want a friend, you should be you and not change yourself just to be friends with others. Because that will not be the real you, whereas if you be yourself, the right people that are meant for you will actually come to you and be your friend. You also need to believe in yourself and if nobody comes in the beginning, keep being yourself until the right person will automatically come to you and be your true friend. But you have to choose if you want to be a popular person with a lot of friends or just have few true friends who know the real you. If you have lots of friends, you may be very popular, but the many friends you have might not be true!⭐️

12. The Dark Ages:

Over Thousand years after Jesus died, religion became very powerful. People used to think that God is infinitely better than humans and we should respect him and believe in him through faith. Logic and reason became less important. People also said that women were less capable than men. 
I am a girl and I think that girls are better than boys!😊 

11. Jesus: 

Jesus said that you should care for the poor, love your neighbour and forgive everyone, even your enemy. The more you give love to them, the more they will like you and they will no longer be your enemies. Like Socrates, the powerful people did not like the things that Jesus taught. Therefore, like Socrates drank poison, even Jesus was crucified and he died on the cross.

10. Mysticism:

Most western religions believe that there is a God outside us, who lives in heaven. And people who don’t believe in the god outside us are called atheists. However, mystics say that God is inside us, and if we do not believe in ourselves (god inside us), then we are atheists. They say, “When I was there, God was not there; When God was there, I was not there!”
They also say that everyone in the world is one and connected to each other. Vivekananda said that love your neighbour as yourself because you are your neighbour, it is an illusion that we think that our neighbours are someone other than us. There are atoms inside us that mix in the air and transfer it to a lot of people so everyone is made up from same atoms. 

I am so happy that Harry from one direction and I are one!😊

9. The Epicureans:

These were the opposite, they believed that life was only to live once and we should enjoy it fully. But they also taught that we should plan so that we can be happy for a long time. If enjoyment now makes us unhappy later, we should not do it. Epicureans were not even worried about death. They said, “As long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.” 
My pet toy monkey, Kiki is my epicurean friend who always makes me happy!