Pay it forward

When breath becomes air


I have known Garima for many years. She had even done a few photography assignments for NalandaWay. But I had never met her until recently last December in Goa.

Garima is a furniture designer from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and a parent of a one year old. Her company “Other Wise” makes simple products for children and parents. Products by ‘Other-Wise” use natural materials and local skills and is guided by her own experience, choices and beliefs in parenting, which included natural birth, cloth-diapering, co-sleeping and baby wearing.

As a parent she found it difficult to find products that agreed with her philosophy, hence she decided to plunge in to make products that will offer children a natural and a neutral environment to grow in.

Her product “Baby Fabric Swing,” has become a big hit. Do check it out here.

I gifted Garima, one of my life-altering books, “When breath becomes air,” by Dr. Paul Kananithi. It is an utterly spectacular and devastating book both at the same time. The book begins,

“I flipped through the CT scan images, the diagnosis obvious: the lungs were matted with innumerable tumors, the spine deformed, a full lobe of the liver obliterated. Cancer, widely disseminated. I was a neurosurgical resident entering my final year of training. Over the last six years, I’d examined scores of such scans, on the off chance that some procedure might benefit the patient. But this scan was different: it was my own.”

It is about a 37 year old super achiever, two BAs and an MA in literature in Stanford, then a Master of Philosophy in Cambridge and a graduate cum laude from Yale School of Medicine. And just when he thought his life is going to take off, he is diagnosed of terminal lung cancer with less than few months or years to live.

Just when he was learning to live, that which he had postponed trying to make a career in nuerosurgery, he was faced with learning how to die.

I can guarantee that this is not a book you can finish reading and forget about it. There is so much that will haunt you for days, of life, of death, of birth and of love. His message is simple,

‘When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.”

Hope you will like the book Garima. 🙂

#PayItForward #GiftABook 25/100


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