Archive for February, 2016

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“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

The Alchemist is Paulo Coelho‘s most famous book which he wrote in mere two weeks and published in 1988. The book is among the list of one of the most read books in the history of literature with the name mentioned in the Guinness World Records for being the book translated in most languages. By 2015, the book has been translated in 80 languages and has sold more than 65 million copies.  

The book is about Santiago, the Andalusian shepherd, dreaming about finding the treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. Santiago makes his mind for the quest of treasure. He meets numerous people during his spiritual journey who inspires/influences him and will give that same impression to the readers.

The book can easily be fragmented in 4 parts:

  • First phase is Santiago’s dream and contribution of gypsy woman and old king of Salem, Melchizedek towards the boy’s goal of treasure digging.
  • Second phase is his life in Tangiers where he is robbed and works for a crystal merchant.
  • Third phase is expedition at al-Fayoum Oasis where Santiago meets an Englishman who is in search of the Alchemist. This is where the boy falls in love with Fatima but she persuades him to find the treasure first.
  • Final phase is meeting his last inspiration, the 200-year-old Alchemist himself. He plays a very important role in the boy’s treasure hunting.

The Alchemist is a human torch in journey of hope with supernatural power towards WILL. Need a hand? Then hold this book and read. The book has one story but we all are connected somehow. A tremendous guide!!

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Why this book inspires you after reading? Because no matter what religion you follow, what faith you obey, what career you pursue, whoever or whatever you love… the flow of the story teaches you something at every turning page. The reader is at ease solving a riddle of his life.

The author digs more of the human psychology and spiritual philosophy of life than you may act/react at your side in your own world. At every point of twist, the author shatters the puzzles and fixing it for your most difficult questions to be answered.

Paulo repeats some specific words and during the storyline, the writer indirectly emphasizes the readers to work on it. Some of these are omens, personal legend, soul of the world and maktub etc. Maktub is an Arabic word which means ‘It Is Written’. The word is used by few of the characters repeating when the character is at the defining moment where they choose to say Maktub that whatever happening is written in your fate. The word is introduced by the crystal merchant.

Melchizedek talks about Personal Legend to Santiago, which he defines “it is always what you want to accomplish in life.” The word Omens has its own prominence like the previous mentioned words. Paulo has repeatedly motivated his main character Santiago to follow his Omens to find the treasure. In an interview, Paulo defined “Omens are the individual language in which God talks to you” which gives a more clear point to a common person. The word Omens is the highest level of motivation by which one can succeed. To my understanding, there is something in me and you that creates and builds your wants, and empowers you to reach your goal and make it possible. That something is your Omen, and God creates and builds your omens only if you want Him to assist you in achieving/accomplishing. That is how some specific Coelho words are worked on the human minds helping them to live and breathe a better life.

 

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Creativity is remarkable. Some names in the books are major references which the reader must understand. The name of old King is Melchizedek who actually is mentioned in the Book of Genesis 18-20. Melchizedek holds kingship of Salem which is a biblical name of Jerusalem mentioned in Psalm 76:2. The two stones, Urim and Thummim which he gives to Santiago are basically associated with the sacred breastplate worn by the High Priest of the Israelites. These stones are mentioned in the Book of Exodus which used to determine God’s will.

The Alchemist has the possession of Elixir of Life and Philosopher’s Stone. Both are legendary substances. Philosopher’s Stone is a chemical substance which turns any metal into gold whereas Elixir of Life is a drink by which the drinker is granted eternal life/youth and never gets sick. Both the substances of Alchemists are called his Master Work.

London Times says that Paulo’s books have had a life-enchanting effect on millions of people, so as this book. And New York Times has a better compliment for his writing which says that this wizard makes books disappear from stores. I am not admitting that my life has changed, but I am admitting that by reading this book, I am becoming aware of my options when I am surrounded by life’s complicated issues. Now I will be at ease than before to decide why, what, when, where and how to do. Paulo is like a spiritual teacher becoming the reader’s imaginary friend, motivating and cheering you by reminding you to follow your omens. Such book is recommended to every reader who surely will learn a lot from it.

Thank you so much Rossie Nathalie for suggesting me this book…

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Islamic Republic of Pure Land has a bitter history of feudalism among the chieftains and the headmen stretching for decades. The woman’s pride and dignity has been dependent on the word of mouth fouling or polluting her for the hunger and lust of the tribe’s godfathers. The traditional silence of women on beatings, tortures and harassments are still a freedom’s wail. But there was a time, this silence was never whispered to the outsiders and diggers until one lady open her mouth to the world and face the consequences of speaking the truth – Tehmina Durrani

Tehmina Durrani belongs to an influential family. Her great-grandfather, Mohammad Hayat Khan, served the government of British India and played an important role in establishing MAO College at Aligarh under the guidance of his close friend Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Her grandfather, Liaqat Hayat Khan, also served British India who was once minister of Patiala and after independence; he became Pakistan’s ambassador to France. Her father, Shakirullah Durrani, was a huge name in banking who worked in PICIC, ICP and later on held notable positions in PIA as managing director in 1969 and governor of State Bank of Pakistan in 1971.

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Tehmina’s name and rank stabled more when she married Ghulam Mustafa Khar, the Lion of Punjab. Mustafa Khar is one of Punjab’s most powerful politicians, who was among the founding members of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party. Their marriage had a disastrous impact on her personal life which led to shape a controversy-bound book ‘My Feudal Lord’. The book was European best-seller and made her name among one of the most successful Pakistani authors.

 

‘My Feudal Lord’ would sound a soap-opera with some spices of melodrama but the reader will fall behind the centuries-old gate of the haunting dungeons while notching the details. A reader unknown to Ms Durrani may highly predict the insider of almost 400-page story-book but the style of narration is propelling enough to harvest a forbidden fruit of evil seed. The book brings out the hatred for the feudal and shows true colors of the offensive decisions made on the throne by ruling over women by playing foul game.

 

The book is divided into three parts consisted of 18 chapters.

  • The first part is her introduction, her first marriage with Anees and falling in love with Khar resulting in divorce with former and marriage with latter.
  • The second part details married life of Durrani and Khar in political exile, her sufferings and beatings, her support to Khar in the political movement and sister Adila’s involvement.
  • Final part is the final phase of their married life with many emotional fluctuations and turnarounds making the reader think about the most possible ending.

One thing should never be forgotten while reading, this book is mainly the story of Durrani and Khar narrated by Durrani. This is half narration of what we come to know from her. Khar never wrote a book nor do I think will be interested to speak this topic ever. Durrani was actually Khar’s sixth-wife with age difference of at least 15.

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Another major aspect of the book is that by reading it, the reader will clearly understand the persona and psychology of Tehmina Durrani. It is her story but more than that she opens her world and invites common people to let them know who she is? what does she think? what is her take on male domination in Muslim society? what is the role of a person who has a dual role of a husband and a politician at the same time?. The book is more like a conversation between a mental patient and a psychiatrist where former is Ms Durrani and latter is you the reader.

 

Many times you would even come to understand that she wasn’t wise enough to understand Khar’s art of deception. She easily fell prey in his cage and lost her mind. Ms Durrani did break traditional silence by writing the book, but with the tale she should have presented her short analysis summarized from her life as what exactly went wrong. Reading her life will raise many questions e.g.,

  • Are all feudal lords omen to their women?
  • Is love really blind enough to fell into prey that easily?
  • Do parents contribute their daughter’s marital misery?
  • Is defending your awful husband for the sake of children a wise decision to keep your marriage and protecting your family image from falling?
  • Which decision was the worst? Leaving first husband or marrying Khar?

I honestly believe, there should have been one particular chapter of her analysis where she would summarize and provide answers of the most complicated questions arose from her life, like the few I raised above. Those details would definitely hit on the eastern and western societies and their readers.

Ms Durrani is indeed a brave individual who suffered the pain all those years and kept the marriage that long. This book is highly recommended to those readers who want to place the woman’s rank and acknowledge her role in the society. This revolutionary book is a moral victory over a complex society. May you stay strong with high spirits Amen.

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