Listening to an Astronaut and Tears of Joy

Do you remember the last time you experienced overwhelming joy that made you cry?

If you do remember, that is great. Was it something that happened in your own life? If yes, you are lucky. I cannot remember any such moment in my life. I have felt it while reading a good book or watching a good movie. If a film or a book succeeds in imparting intended emotions to the viewer or reader, then it has served its purpose.

Recently I was listening to an audio book – ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth‘, recommended by Destin of Smartereveryday. As a person who has an insatiable desire for knowing about space and space travel, I loved this book. It has first hand accounts of astronaut Chris Hadfield on becoming an astronaut, being launched into space, going on space walks and so on. It is narrated by the author himself which gives it a whole new dimension. It is like hearing a friend of your’s who had been to space and is sitting by your side right now, narrating everything in detail.

Book cover

In the first chapter of the book, Hadfield talks about his journey of getting into the astronaut program. Starting from watching the moon landing on his neighbor’s TV to going almost blind during a space walk, his journey is full of twists and turns. Every life decision is made with a hope that he gets a chance of becoming an astronaut.

In the final part of the chapter he recounts the intensive selection process where handful candidates are chosen from thousands. He talks about a particular moment when he is waiting for a call from the selection board which will convey the result. When I was listening to that part, I was walking down a street. It was raining and I was holding an umbrella. The phone rings and the voice on the other end asks if he wanted to be an astronaut – and Hadfield did. My stomach flipped over. The funny feeling of someone tickling my insides, spread all over my body. My vision was blurred with tears. I was happy for him and could not stop smiling, which drew many looks from the passers-by.

The moment might have been affected by a lot of unknown factors. I might not have felt the same if I was listening to it in a local bus, sweating all the time, stuck in a traffic. If you are a person who gets excited every time the word ‘Space’ is uttered or just interested in listening to amazing stories, I highly recommend you to read this book. Better listen.


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