When Breath becomes air

breath becomes air

Life is finite. I knew it well but never thought of reading an experience of a journey of life that would suddenly culminate at the young age of thirty six, “When breath becomes air” by Paul Kalanithi is an autobiographical account of a neurosurgeon who at the peak of his career discovered that he was dying of lung cancer.

My sister told me about this book and after reading its review on internet, I placed an online order. Once, I got the book in my hands, I finished reading it in two days. It’s an easy read but the deeper meaning of life which Paul’s want to narrate through his experience demands us to not only read but ponder over his words.

Here’s this quote from his book in which he shares his thoughts about life. He writes

“There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”

In the beginning Paul was confused about choosing his career. He loved literature and he loved doing writing but in order to understand the mysteries of human brain, he decided to pursue his career in neurosurgery.

I would recommend this book to medical students and to anyone who’s interested in reading about medical cases. There’s an account of real life dramas that happens in corridors of hospitals. Paul’s gives us an account of details he witnessed as a medical student and also describes his experience of saving many lives as a senior neurosurgeon.

The best thing about Paul’s writing style is his way of mentioning quotes from literature that goes well with his life experiences. He was a doctor and he was aware that his illness of lung cancer was life threatening yet he did his best to fight off his disease. He continued doing his job till his body became too weak to carry weight of struggles of life.

Sunday Times considered it a powerful and poignant tale. There are many passages which I liked to read again and again but reading this one passage where Kalanithi was bidding his final adieu to his dream job of neurosurgery left me speechless.

“I left the OR shortly after, then gathered my things, which had accumulated over seven years of work___ extra sets of clothes for the nights you don’t leave, tooth-brushes, bars of soap, phone chargers, snacks, my skull model and collection of neurosurgery books, and so on. On second thought, I left my books behind. They’s be of more use here.

On my way out to the parking lot, a fellow approached to ask me something, but his pager went off. He looked at it, waved,turned, and ran back in to the hospital___”I’ll catch you later!” he called over his shoulder. Tears welled up as I sat in the car, turned the key, and slowly pulled out into the street. I drove home, walked through the front door, hung up my white coat, and took off my ID badge. I pulled the battery out of my pager. I peeled off my scrubs….

This book has taught me that life is finite. There’s a certain amount of time that’s been allotted to all of us on this earth but “Cease not till death” should remain our approach in life.

This post is written in response to daily post Finite

Pride and Prejudice


Once, the guests were supposed to come. All day long my mother continued to give us instructions. I remember she asked us to behave properly and said, “Always remember that first impression is the last impression!”.

She was right at that time but I guess it’s not always true.

I have just finished reading “Pride and Prejudice” and I’m still rambling in the shrubs of Longbourn. Marriage and the difference between reality and appearance are the major themes present in the novel.  I really admire the character of Elizabeth Benet. She was not a charming girl, yet her keen intelligence and lively nature make her a popular heroine of classic literature.

It so happen that the black clouds of pride and prejudice obscures the vision of Elizabeth and Darcy. They both misjudged each other. Thus, their wrong judgment and false precision at their first meeting, provide basis for the development of novel.

Jane Austen gives us several examples of good and bad marriages here. She gives us an example of bad marriage and tells us that passion and love at first sight often prove fatal for the relationship of marriage. I love the way in which Elizabeth and Darcy accept the fact that they both love each other. It was a gradual process which also enables them to get rid of their attitude of pride and prejudice.

Unlike, the passionate desire of love which blinds Lydia and unlike the only want of economic relief which Charlotte seeks in her marriage, Elizabeth looks for an honest man.

Reading the novel was a great experience. It makes me to think upon this topic and I came to conclusion that trust, honesty and wisdom provide firm basis for the successful relationship of marriage. I believe that first impression is not always the last impression. Human nature is quite complex and our first impression about someone can mislead us. The pure relationship of marriage requires trust and honesty and the love bond between Elizabeth and Darcy beautifully depicts this message.

I love Elizabeth Benet. She’s not naive rather she’s bold in expressing her feelings. Have you read this novel? What is your perception about the successful marriage?