The Last Lecture

It was just another foray into the world of ‘Crossword’ at the GVK Mall at Hyderabad when ‘The Last Lecture’ caught my eyes. Considering my fancy for book stores and the time I spend there (the rest of the mall does not excite me as much as that little corner besides the book shelves) it is not unnatural for me to pick up a book at random, just because I like the cover-page or the title of the book. But this time it was not so. I had heard about the author, I had seen the video of the lecture that had inspired the book but somehow I never took those into account while buying the book. I had an inner feeling saying that this is one of the best that it can get. And Randy Pausch, in all of his two hundred and six pages, and a story that is so common in its existence in our day-to-day life that it almost goes unnoticed not only unconventionally tells us something that we all forget as we grow up but also presents the beautiful world of dreams and seeing them fulfilled – for yourself as well as for others!

It is uncharacteristic for someone to speak about ‘Reliving Their Childhood Dreams’ on their last lecture, literally so. But when Randy Pausch, a professor in Department of Computer Science (another reason to have a special liking to the book) in Carneige Mellon learns that he has his days numbered on this planet he decides to give his last lecture, as is the tradition, but he also decides he would speak nothing about his cancer, nothing about his impending death, nothing about how unjust life had been to him, nothing about all the wrongs that he has been met out with. Rather he would speak about the beautiful world of dreams, the euphoria of seeing them achieved, all the good things life has showered him with and how he did live a life that he would trade for no one else’s.

And so he relates incidents from his life, handpicked with care where he outlines all the innocent dreams that he saw in his childhood (I could relate to all the dreams. I wanted to touch the sky. I wanted to be a cricketer. I wanted to play the mouth organ. I wanted to be Harry Potter. I wanted to win trophies. I wanted to write a book. I am sure you will relate to them as well) and how he has achieved them one at a time – failing in his tries but never failing to try. And in the magic that he weaves as he narrates them, he creates a world where you suddenly begin to believe that nothing, I repeat nothing, is unachievable – no matter how weird they are, no matter how tough they are! As Randy puts it in his masterpiece,” The Brick walls are not there to keep you away from your dreams. They are there to see how badly you want your dreams to be fulfilled. They are there to keep the others away from your dream.”