Last week, one of my T.Y. B’Com students, Pritvi, was hospitalized for Dengue. When I went to see him, I carried two books – ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho and ‘Anyway – The Paradoxical Commandments’ by Dr. Kent M. Keith.                  .

Pritivi lives, here in Mumbai, all alone as his parents are away in the Middle East. His elderly Maharashtrian maid and her family take extremely-good care of Pritvi. I was touched when I saw this.

Dengue makes you very depressive. Pritvi was feeling very low when I had been to see him. I had been to the hospital with one of his batch-mates, Pooja, and we spent close to an hour cheering him up. I knew Pritvi loved reading; but, looking at his condition, I gently told him, “Pritvi, just go through a few lines… whenever you can… You will feel nice.”

Two days later, when I called to enquire about Pritvi’s health, he sounded much better and relieved. “Sir, I am reading ‘The Alchemist’,” he said enthusiastically, “You had asked me to go through a few lines… I couldn’t put the book down!”

Well, I felt very happy on hearing that. I remembered the times the book had made me feel happy and hopeful… Like in Pritvi’s case, I too had picked the book just to go through a ‘few lines’…and ended up reading it cover-to-cover!

Paulo is a very sensitive writer. His honesty and simplicity oozes out in all his writings. After I read the book on him – ‘Confessions of a Pilgrim’ - by the well-known Spanish writer and journalist, Juan Arias, my respect for Paulo had risen a hundred notches higher… The phenomenon called Paulo Coelho, came about, to me, as a very simple, humble and vulnerable soul who lived next door. I have recommended his books, particularly ‘The Alchemist’ and ‘The Confessions…’ to several people. And, yes, I have gifted ‘The Alchemist’ to many….

The Alchemist is a very sublime and inspiring fable about the journey of an Andalusian boy named Santiago. Santiago, who gets a recurring dream, believes it to be prophetic, and decides to travel to a Romani in a nearby town to discover its meaning. It is the touching story of how this boy, who sincerely follows his ‘dream’, finds, along his long, uncertain journey, the ‘right’ guides, as though they were his pre-destined allies in fulfillment of his cherished dream. On his journey, the young-boy Santiago meets the old king Melchizedek, who warmly tells him: "When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires… so that your wish comes true". In fact, this is the core message of Paulo’s fable and he conveys it like a true alchemist!
‘The  Alchemist’ went on to become a real phenomenon… millions of copies sold and translated into over 60 different languages, and finding its place in the Guinness Book of World Records, it was destined to put Paulo on the world map…

But, note this: when the book was first published by a local Brazilian publisher, it had received a luke-warm response, which had prompted the publisher to tell Paulo bluntly that it would neither take him anywhere nor would bring him any money… and, so, it was better if he could focus on stock market, instead!

Paulo, as is in his endearing fable, was heart-broken and went away into the deserts with his wife in order to comfort himself... only to return with the strong faith that his little book – ‘The Alchemist – was, in deed, a ‘hidden treasure’ as in his novel… And, he went about knocking every door to tell that…

Yes, like the boy Santiago, Paulo, too, 

followed his heart… his dream…

The rest, as they always say, is history...
And, sometimes, 'destiny'!
I am happy Pritvi is feeling a lot better, now!


Pic.: Anima D'Cunha


Ratan Kumar said…
Very, very inspiring Post, they always are!Ratan Kumar
Kripa Shinde said…
Love Paulo's books... What a masterpiece The Alchemist! Great Post Gerry - Kripa
Anonymous said…
Dream calls us!
-- Ritesh

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