Friday, July 15, 2011

What Coelho Couldn't Reveal

Years ago, as a starry eyed dreamer, I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, feeling the surge of a kind of passion that I had seldom experienced before. At that point, to me, it captured the essence of everything idealistic that a life truly ought to stand for - believing in one's passion, listening to the heart, traveling to make dreams come true, meeting new people, finding love etc.
However after that, I slowly started drifting away from fiction. I was only keen on picking non-fiction from the shelves. Non-fiction was simpler - it laid the facts on a plate and served  them to you, it  gave the analysis and required less imagination. Perhaps I was losing the creativity of pensive deduction. Perhaps I was losing the patience to go through an entire story to come to a conclusion; or maybe I didn't like dramatization anymore. While I would definitely vouch for the truth in the former arguments, I also, will stand by the last one with a resolve, even higher - since, it allows me to put the blame on the medium. Yet, the truth is I was getting weary of glorification and while some novels did do an excellent job of creating colours from shades of reality, most of them over-did the art.

It is just like in the movies. Certain movies do stand testimony that story telling can be an effective medium to get the message across without much of tale twisting . Yet, a lot of them grotesquely cross the line and take it upon themselves to make what is, interesting beyond the point of justified exaggeration, thus making the bad seem devilish, the good seem divine and life seem larger than it is, end of the day making you regret your dull colorless existence. I sought to escape from this trap.

Yet today, I was back to meeting the man who yielded  power over me through his words not so long ago - Paulo Coelho. I really tried my best to resist spending time reading the books. The thought of someone preaching far fetched para psychological philosophies to me was not attractive. Yet, I finally had to submit myself , seeking to escape sheer boredom, to spending time on his 'The Witch of Portabello' and 'The Devil and Miss Prym'.

Something long forgotten was kindled again. A couple of years back, I had it all in my cards - Experimenting with trance dance, seeking esoteric experiences, getting in touch with masters, knowing the vertex of light...I had actively planned for all these adventures. Seeing them all again today in his words made me realize how long it really has been and how completely I had forgotten about it all in the last two years. Its not that I have gotten busier. I am still the procrastinating student that I was. Yet, today I am more concerned on making myself fit to getting capable - capable and resourceful to handle the practical world. My plans are more centered on knowing how to invest,  seeking cost-effective ways of shopping, efficiently handling gadgets without breaking them  down(serious), learning to drive and getting over the retardation at making contacts.
As I sit up and wonder whatever happened to me, I realize...I realize that it had very much been a conscious decision to change; when I had finally acknowledged that in order to completely immerse oneself in the profound, abstract and spiritual, one first needed to have a firm control over everything worldly, practical and materialistic.

In order for me to elucidate the thoughts behind this reasoning, I need summarize a few concepts of the Science of Personality that will help validate the point in better light. Of course, I have always wanted to share these old theories in this blog and I shall do so in subsequent posts. These are things that have always held my interest, perhaps as an answer to my incessant questioning of why I often turn out to feel so maladaptive in my surroundings. It stands true to me. It might not to you, though I do believe someone somewhere someday will chance across it and muster the courage to awaken hope again in their heart. Not that I will ever let myself believe that my writing is powerful...yet, life can create miracles from anyone's random words.

I do not expect everyone who reads this to do so without wondering about the far-fetched aspect of it all. I have always believed that it is okay to be skeptical. It is also  okay to be a detached observer.
 Yet, what demeans the experience of life is being judgmental and thinking we have the authority to label things as right, wrong, weird etc; authority to label people as good, bad, dumb, great, loser etc.   In other words, do not believe. Do not disbelieve. Just be open.


karthick r said...

I've been hearing a lot about Paul Coelho today. And, I stumbled upon this article of yours.
Strange coincidence eh?
Haven't read Coelho. But after today and this article it will definitely go into my must read list.
I hate non-fiction.
Outliers and Literary Occasions-An Essay Collection by Naipaul are the only two Non-Fiction books I've read so far and I don't even remember a word about the later :(
Keep writing.

Sindu said...

Hi Karthick!

If Paulo Coelho were to hear that, he would say that the universe conspired to bring you closer to his books. :D. Maybe true. Outliers is a good one. If you enjoyed it, you should try Freakonomics.

Thanks for the comment! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could say something meaningful...

I'll be coming back to this post again Sindu.

Your ending paragraph reminded me of this post - though I don't see why - Reasons to slap me.


Abhishek said...

u have to admit ..... the man's " talking to the winds " , and " 10 bars of gold for 1 death in the village " idea does seem strangely artistic .... nd yet quite thought-provoking .

Maybe thats why so many read Coelho's books . I'm going through" Veronika Decides To Die " right now ..... nd its quite a book !

Sindu said...


Ah! You often escape saying that, V! :) The next time, I sure expect a huge comment from your side ;)

As for the list, I don't know it reminded you of the para but it was a great compilation. Thanks for the link!

Sindu said...

@Abhishek: If there is one person to whom I would readily gift Paulo's books, its you Abhishek! :) You are a guiding light within you and you should believe me when I say that you are gifted! :)

Veronika decides to die is a great book. Enjoy! :)