Saturday, July 26, 2008

On Facing Death...

Randy Pausch, the IT Prof in Carnegie Mellon (with specialisation in Virtual Reality), died today... He succombed to pancreatic cancer, which he had harboured, looked in the eyes since long....

Since the time, when in September last year, he had given his "Last Lecture", he had become a phenomeon ("The Last Lecture" is a series at CMU, where Profs are invited to give the lecture/talk, which they would, if it was there last one... IN case of Randy Pausch, it was a real talk, since his doctors had given him just a few months to live)...



Since then, he had appeared on Oprah Winfrey show, had written a book "The Last Lecture"...etc., etc.

[To access any of those just Google "Randy Pausch"]

What struck me about his "Last Lecture" was:

1. his humaneness in the face of death, and

2. that he had prepared his lecture, not for the audience, but for his 3 kids - he was making a point about a life - lived and understood in its own context
...

...which reminded me about someone, I used to know intimately - in similar circumstances, who had written:
    "...It is like this - it has to be different for everyone. If twenty years back someone had told me all that I would feel, or that there was a point - I would have thrown it all out without a second thought - because nothing mattered when I was 18... Life for me began when... Then other things happened, and from time to time I lost track of the meaning behind it... I still have to put it all together. And no one else can make this story work out for me. This is a crisis even now, in fact, now larger than life.

    And still, when I am not there any, I want you to tell X__, it mattered...

    ... I think the image I have resisted putting on paper is the Confluence. Two rivers coming closer and joining for a while - but each has to take a different direction. Each absorbs the other for a while, and nothing remains the same. Yet, the point of the river is to flow. The point of the human being is to remain humane and vulnerable...

    And still I want you to tell X__, that it mattered. There was a point to the music, the chocolates, the fancy dresses, the loneliness and the hopelessness, the talks, the walks, the dreams and the mourning, the helplessness in the face of hurt...

    ...That is the point for me... don’t call it a quest for immortality or any such thing. It is not for my sake that I wrote this down. It is for her and you - but because of all that, it is for me also."

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture was his way of saying: "It mattered."!!

In any case, the Life goes on!...

[Cross-posted @ Madhukar's Musings]

2 comments:

devi said...

Dear Madhukar,

Thank you for sharing this with all of us. It is very moving and gives us a glimpse of Geeta and the wonderful relationship you shared

devi

Puneet_the valuator said...

Hi Sir
I am a student at MDI. I just watched the video and felt like saying... thank you..

Puneet Khurana