Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spots we missed at Wayanad

Though we saw all the important spots at Wayanad, we missed a few fantastic sights. ‘Edakkal Caves’ was one of the most important spots to trek at Wayanad. We could not visit the caves because, the month we went, the place was closed for maintenance. We could not help it. One other spots, which my friends suggested as quite interesting, is the ‘Sunrise Valley’. ‘Chembra Peak’ is another spot we missed. I am now giving a short description about those places here.

Edakkal Caves:
Edakkal literally translates into 'a stone in between' in Malayalam. The two Edakkal caves are not caves in strictest of sense since there is merely a 96 feet long and 22 feet wide split in the rock. The caves, that stand on Ambukutty mala (a mountain) at a height of 1000 m, were discovered quiet accidently by the F. Fawcett, the then superintendent of police. The caves preserves prehistoric rock engravings including a human figure with headgear, a human figure on wheeled cart, images of a tribal king & queen, a deer and an elephant. The caves are situated at a distance of 12 kms from Sultan Bathery and can be reached by bit of effort. You can take your own vehicle only for the first kilometre. From there, a jeep has to be hired and then a trek of one kilometre will take you to the caves. Apart from the engravings, the views from atop is also splendid.
Etchings found on the walls of these caves have drawn the serious attention of archeologists and historians worldwide. It is assumed that the Edakkal had been inhabited at various stages in history. A telescope installed a panoramic view of the surrounding country is another attraction.

Chembra Peak:
To reach Chembra peak, we need to first reach a place called Meppadi, that is around 17 kms from Kalpetta. From Meppadi we can see the Chembra estate direction board. Once we reach the Chembra Estate Entrance, we need to get the pass. To reach the peak's bottom we need to walk 7kms and from the bottom, the peak is around 3kms. If we walk through the estates, it takes around 2 hours to reach the bottom of the peak. Alternatively, a vehicle can be arranged. The walk is really energizing with the greenery around us.

From there the trekking uphill begins. It will be a difficult climb, people say. It takes around forty five minutes to reach the top. There lies a small lake at the top of the mountain, which is the most beautiful at that spot. Again, more trekking is required to reach the top. The trek to this peak is told to be the most exhausting of all, as it takes a long time to reach the bottom of the peak and then start the trekking.

Sunrise Valley:
This is located 20 km south of Sulthan Bathery at Kadasseri. Sunrise valley is a great place to watch the rising and setting sun amidst dramatic mountain scenery. It also offers a panoramic view of the valley beneath. We need to reach the place early, climb up the hill. From the hill top, we can see the valley.

The sun seems to rise from beneath the valley. That’s the whole point in visiting this place. We can see sun’s rays spread around the place distinctly. How beautiful it should be! We missed it terribly.

I feel I ve missed some important places of interest at Wayanad, and one day in my life, I will make a trip back to the Green Paradise. :)

Hope you have developed some interest in visiting Wayanad now. So, What are you waiting for?! Gear up!!

Trip to Wayanad, The Green Paradise - Day 4

We were so enthusiastic to reach the place intended for the day then. It was to the Soochipara Falls.

The Tea Plantations:
On our way to the falls, we visited the tea plantations, which was peculiar to most of the hilly regions (I presume). The tea plantation all our way through, was a splendid location to miss.
They are most visually appealing; they sprawl over the hills in a thick green carpet, with thin silveroak trees scattered in between in an indifferent manner - and best of all the women at work in the plantations, carefully plucking the tea leaves, heads protected by plastic against any sudden downpours.

We stopped by the woods and tried getting a glimpse of the tea plantations. We moved in the midst of them, trying to experience the greenery of the region. How fresh and how green they were! How peaceful the place was! I just didn’t feel like walking out of the greenery there.

The whole place was so green and striking. Green is the most charismatic color ever J -that was what ran through my mind then! We then resumed our journey towards the Soochipara Falls.

Soochipara Falls:
We reached the spot, alighted from the drive, took a walk through the dense forests and reached the falls. Nature is at its thundering best at this place. The falls is 200-300 feet in height. It is pleasing to the eyes.

We planned to dip in the water. To reach the falls, and touch water there was a heroic task indeed. We were scared of the rocks and the water beneath it. We were warned that the rocks are quite slippery. We made our way to the falls and dipped in the falling water. Ah! What a pleasing moment it was! I just cannot forget! The water was so cold and we were the only people there. We had a relaxed shower and then walked back to the rocks. We were feeling thrilled at this momentous occasion. I had longed for a trip like this, and finally enjoyed one.
From there, we walked down to the 'Suicide Point' where it is said, depressed folks try and commit suicide. It was deep down and we had to walk a distance. We had a look at the spot and walked back, because of lack of time.

And now, came the sad moment with all refreshing memories to preserve forever and some people to miss forever. We went back to our rooms, dressed up, packed our bags, returned the keys at the reception and made our way to catch a bus to Calicut. Our train to Goa from Calicut was scheduled at 7:00 pm. We started around 3:00 pm to Calicut, reached there by 6:00 pm, had some light snacks, and reached the railway station, boarded the train and sat there relaxed. While we just boarded the bus to Calicut, we called up Aunty and bid a ‘bye’ to her. She wished us a ‘Happy Journey’. ‘Cheta’ was filled with tears, as he had become one with us in these 4 days of trip. He took care of us like his own sisters. Hats off to ‘cheta’.

We reached Goa the next morning fresh with all memories to preserve for our lifetime. It was an awesome trip, to be short!

Trip to Wayanad, The Green Paradise - Day 3

We had our minds clear and set for the visit to the Tirunelly Temple in the morning. We started off by 6:00 am in the morning. We had to travel for 2 full hours to reach the temple. We had fun on our way playing songs and moving through the thick vegetation so peculiar to the place.

Jain Temple:
On our way to the temple, we happened to see another ancient remains of the Jain presence at Kerala. It is located at Puliyarmala, an old temple dedicated to Ananthanatha Swami, one of the most revered Jain Saint. The entrance doors of the temple are beautifully carved, which holds three panels. The outer entrance has a carved granite pillar in front of the gate. The stupa, constructed in the traditional Dravidian style of architecture, has colorfully painted ornate carvings going up in a pyramid shape and at the top, there is a carving of Mahavir.

We were attracted by the enchanted remains of this age old temple. We spent about half an hour in this place, digesting the fact that the temple has become one with nature because of its age.

Thirunelly Temple and Papanasini:
Thirunelly Temple also known as ‘ThekkanKashi/Dakshina Kashi’ (Kasi of the south) is located at 32 kms from Mananthavady and is 3000 years old. Nestled in the midst of mountains and rivers, this ancient temple is an excellent example of classical Kerala Temple Architecture. Legend says that the temple was dedicated by the Creator, Lord Brahma to the Preserver, Lord Vishnu. The clear water of the Papanasini River adds to the enchantment of this place. There is an aqueduct from the Papanashini to the temple to have Papanashini water for the temple use right in its precincts.

On the southern side of the temple there is a pond called Panchatheertha where five rivers used to meet in the past. In the summer the pond is waterless. Usually the pond is covered by dense undergrowth. A mound is seen in the centre of the pond on which a stone slab with the imprint of Vishnu’s feet is also seen. The imprint is called Vishnupad.
A short walk from the Temple leads us to the clear mountain spring of the Papanasini. It is believed that a ritual dip in this river washes away all our worldly sins.

We reached the temple around 9:00 am. We were dressed appropriately for the temple. We visited the temple and waited for the ‘pooja’ to end, had the ‘swamy darshan’. The sounds of the drums and the typical Keralite music that was played captured our hearts. We had the opportunity to walk along the aqueduct that brought water from the Papanasini to the temple. The place was nature’s splendid decoration.
We moved through the dense undergrowth with rocks in between which added to the beauty of the place to reach Papanasini river. We took a dip in the river as per ritual and then moved to the place where there is the Vishupad. When we walked further south, we could see a small temple of Lord Shiva carved in the rock. We had to look into it through a small door, and it usually remains closed except for the times when ‘pooja’ is conducted.

We had a good time at this sacred place for about 2 hours and then started to move towards Karapuzha Dam.

Karapuzha Dam:
We took our way towards Karapuzha Dam, the large irrigation based dam site. This is set amongst picturesque surroundings. A fine venue for picnics, we took a speed boat ride, six of us together. I happened to meet a couple (the guy working for Tejas Networks, Bangalore) on the speed boat.

When we just stepped into the boat, it started raining. So we had to wait till the rains stopped. We then started off again. And!! It once again started showering while we were riding.
The couple was so sweet; we had a nice chat with them. Took some snaps of the picturesque area and came back after 40 minutes. That was the most interesting speed boat ride ever in my life.

We then made our way to Pookot Lake, though it was late in the evening.

Pookot Lake:
This is a natural fresh water lake surrounded by evergreen forests and rolling hills. A fresh water aquarium with large variety of fish is an added attraction to this beauty of nature. The lake I knew was fresh water, and was so eager to make a boat ride there. The climate was cold and we got something hot and spicy to manage the temperature. We then asked for tickets for the boat ride, thinking of the way we would move through as we boat there.

But, the timing was restricted and we had to skip boating then. If we had been to boating, I could imagine that we would have been in the midst of the evergreen forest, and we would have got a feeling that we are in a strange land where no way to the outside was possible. And now, we proceeded to the viewpoint, which was a marvelous tourist attraction. It had a stretch of hills with a deep pit beneath.

The Lakkidi Viewpoint:
This is amongst the tallest point in the Wayanad region and has a height of 700 m above the sea level. It is a perfect place where you can capture the beauty of Kerala in your camera. The towering mountain peaks, the rushing stream, verdant vegetation and a deep valley add to the attraction of this place. Lakkidi is just 5 km from Vythiri.
We went to Lakkidi having a look at the Chain Tree on our way. We were amazed by the beauty of this spot. At first, I envisioned this place to be similar to the viewpoint at Kodaikanal. But this was something unimaginable. It was much more than what I presumed it to be. We walked along the road, that covered the viewpoint. We reached the spot at the right time, so we didn’t miss the view. Around fifteen minutes, the view was breathtaking. Only a short while later, we could see that the mist was jamming our view. Even that view of mist covering the huge area was awe-inspiring. We stood there dumbstruck for half an hour. We then had ice-creams and made our way back home.

That evening, we had an invitation from Aunty to her place. So, we drove there and again, her house was located in a place which was silent, surrounded by all thick trees and hills. From very close to her place, we could see the Edakkal Caves (we missed it because, that month the place was under maintenance).

At Aunty's House:

Aunty had made some sweets from fresh plantains and gave us a hot cup of coffee to get rid of the cold. Her house was situated in one magnificient location, we just failed to imagine. How happy and peaceful her life would be, staying at that kind of a location! I wish I had a house for myself at that location, all silent and peaceful. We started back to our place by 9:30 pm at night. That day, we had to shift from the Cottage we stayed in, and move to Isaac Regency.

We had booked 2 rooms there, even before we reached Wayanad. The Isaac Regency was an interesting space to stay in the night. The people there were so caring and helpful, that we made friends with them quite easily. We had fun watching TV, playing games, and chit-chatting. We had to leave the next day from Wayanad back to Goa. We had a fantastic feeling about the trip till that day. We were eagerly awaiting the next day to dawn.

Rest in the next post !!

Trip to Wayanad, The Green Paradise - Day 2

We started early about 6:00 am with full of expectations and excitement. I was too excited to explain what I was doing then. The place where we stayed had beautiful gardens with attractive flora. We spent all our time there admiring the beauty of nature. I was too impressed about the place for the first time in all my life. We set out singing and playing all the time.

Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary:
Our next adventure was the jungle safari through Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. The unique feature of this place is that it is linked to Mudhumalai Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu and Bandipur National Park of Karnataka. This place is rich in bio-diversity with rich fauna and flora. The vegetation is predominantly deciduous with small stretches of swamps, teak forests, bamboo and tall grass. This region also grows varied medicinal herbs and plants. Elephants, jungle cats, panthers, civet cat, monkeys, wild dogs, deers, spotted bears, bisons, peacock, owls, woodpeckers, cuckoos, etc.

The above being the description of Muthanga Sanctuary, let me now explain how we had fun there. We used our jeep for the safari in the forest. We were warned that the elephants are dangerous and therefore we had to keep distance from them in case we spot them. This time, it was not just ‘cheta’ who accompanied us, but also a forest guide. He took us through the areas where elephants quench their thrist.

We spotted many deers which I felt was the most common among all. We saw a bison and some strange birds there. We were feeling refreshed when we saw small streams. We stopped every now and then to enjoy the refreshing forest atmosphere. The forest was a place that can never know pollution or traffic or sounds of vehicles and crowded streets as in towns and cities. It was the most peaceful spot we could find. What we missed and were eagerly expecting till we reached the exit of the forest were the elephants which seemed to have no manners to come and greet the guests (i.e., we) of its home. Disappointed, we left the forest and moved towards a small stream close by.

The Stream:
The stream was another attraction to our thirsty souls. I felt my whole body refreshing when my feet touched the stream. Its exotic beauty attracted all of us that we were not willing to leave the spot.

No one usually visits the stream close by because that is little known by the tourists. But I would say, that was something really attractive to the eyes and soul.

Our next step in the day’s adventure was to move to Kuruva Islands. This island is 950 acres of evergreen forests on the tributaries of river Kabani. This place is also away from the disturbances of city life. This island is uninhabited. It shelters rare species of birds, orchids and herbs. This place is 40km north west of Sulthan Bathery from where we started.
On our way to this beautiful place, we could see a lot of bamboo trees with the worst of the beetles on the ground. The bamboos were attractive and so we didn’t care to step down from the jeep and majestically pose for the snap. The place reminded me of the Tamil Song ‘Moongil Kadugale’ from the movie ‘Samurai’.
Further through the route to the island, we could see lilies grow on a land where there was nothing but dry leaves. The site was too impressive that we stopped by to enjoy the wonder of nature. I would love to have spent a few more minutes there, but we had to proceed for lack of time.

Finally we were there at Kuruva, the exciting place ever. I loved the entire greenery around. There were fields through which we had to walk to reach the entrance of Kuruva. We then had to cross the river using a raft, which was interesting to do. We then walked over a small wooden bridge and reached the dweep (island). We walked through the tough and thick bamboo trees reaching the river side of the place.

We could see rocks which we had to use to cross the river. We did a small adventure crossing the rocks and finally reached the waters. We knew very early that the waters there are dangerous and we might slip any moment. Still we managed to play with the water and had a lot of fun. We spent around 2 hours in the place and then returned to the entrance. It was quite a lot of fun for a place where only Nature was dominating, unlike the cities.

We then made our way to Banasura Sagar Dam located close to Karlad Lake. It was getting dark in the evening.

Banasura Sagar Dam:
This dam is considered to be the largest earth dam in India. This dam is an excellent base to start off a trekking expedition to the Banasura Peak. Located in the midst of lovely, mist-clad hills with a wildlife sanctuary and park full of flowering trees, this spot of enchantment has no parallel elsewhere. With its placid crystal clear waters Banasura is a wonderful picnic spot.

It was dark by the time we reached there. We had food packed from a restaurant close by and planned to have it there. The scene there was so picturesque that we just could not take our eyes off the place. We were dumbstruck atleast for ten minutes. We had a great time chatting with each other then. It was kind of cold at that time in the evening. We just could not manage the temperature then. We had our dinner, hot and spicy and finally made our way back to the town, Sulthan Bathery.

Jain Temple at Sulthan Bathery:
We winded up for the day with a visit to the Jain temple at Sulthan Bathery. This is generally known as the Tippu’s fort. Tippu Sulthan used this place for his ammunition store (Battery). And hence the town got the name ‘Sulthan’s Battery’ derived finally as Sulthan Bathery. This temple is one of the most important historic remnants of the strong presence of Jains in this region.

We reached this place around 6 pm after which we were too tired to continue. So we went back to our nests and slept tight for the night.The third day fun follows in the next post.

Trip to Wayanad - Day 1

Memories Again!! I should call this ‘Memories!!! Part Two’…

It was the third week of March, 2008 when we finally came up with a final plan for our psenti trip. It was, to Wayanad, The Green Paradise of Kerala. Wayanad is a picturesque mountainous plateau in Kerala. It is close to Calicut, a scenic, quiet place situated on the Western Ghats. Clean, enchanting with a lot of mystery about history and culture, this is located about 80 km from the shores of Calicut. The name Wayanad, is derived from ‘Vayal Nadu’ which means ‘The land of fields’.

We were six of us. The team consisted of Sundhu, Appu, Aishu, VimJo, Deepu and me. We booked our tickets to Calicut. We started on the planned date, the leave application being confirmed. We reached Calicut at 5:00 am in the morning. We were then clueless as to what has to be done next.
We decided to goto the bus stand and then take a bus to Sulthan Bathery which is where we planned to stay. We had booked 3 rooms in a place called Shreya’s cottage, run by Christian brothers, considering safety.

DAY 1:
We reached the spot by 8:00 am, relaxed for an hour. We were getting ready for the trip, when we met our collegemate’s mother, who stays at Wayanad. She came to our place, drafted the plan for all our 4 days, accompanied us whenever possible. She was so helpful to us. This trip would not have been possible without her. She arranged a Commander (jeep) for us, with the driver she trusted the most. We called him ‘cheta’.

Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS):
This research station is located in Ambalavayal and a part of Kerala Agricultural University. It has a nursery which has rare species of roses and other ornamental plants.
The first day, we set out for our wild journey through the thick forest of Wayanad. We visited a nursery which had 800 varieties of roses. They were the most beautiful rose plants I ever saw.

Heritage Museum:
Our next visit was to Heritage museum at Ambalavayal,which is located 12 km from Sulthan Bathery. The prominent displays are sculptures, ancient hunting equipments like bows and arrows, atone weapons, musical instruments, bangles, ear ornaments and hunting traps. The items have been collected from all over Wayanad region. We spent about an hour at this place, and then proceeded on our way to the Meenmutty Falls.

Meenmutty Falls:
Our next venture was to go trekking to the Meenmutty Falls. It is located 12km from Meppady and 29 km from Kalpetta. One has to trek for 2 km downhill to reach this spot. The trekking is quite exhausting.

It is just not water, but a milky way, tearing apart the dense greenery of Wayanad forests. The Meenmutty waterfalls, gushing down and then flowing down in cascades further down its course is an awesome sight to watch from the Neelimala viewpoint near Vaduvanchal in Wayanad. The following picture was taken when we just started our trek downhill.

Get down, pick your backpack, put on your trekking shoes and of course keep a good camera. On the way up to the Neelimala viewpoint, one would have the company of the coffee plantations on either side and further up, small holdings of ginger and areca nut. The sides of the path leading to the view point is also dotted with small bushes of purple flower plants and also chirping sun birds and other varieties of small birds darting in and out of the bushes. These were the thick bushes through which we trekked our way downhill.

Completing the first part of the ascend, which is about half a kilometer, the trekking path gets narrower and goes down before it climbs up again. Now the vegetation on the sides change to tall, wild grass, including the lemon grass variety. The narrow path goes further up and suddenly opens up into a panoramic view, with the mountain folds of the Western Ghats on your left and a hill slope replete with grass and studded with boulders on the right.

Have a brief stop. Catch your breath. Feel the cool breeze in your hair, as it dries out the sweat. Take a look around to spot some butterflies with rare colour and size, gliding down the slopes and sometimes going behind the mist. As you remain there, your ears slowly get receptive to a rumble down the valley. If you hear it, take the narrow path going down to the left. Make your way through tall grasses leaning on to you. Move gently and watch out for slippery rocks and pits. Meandering to the left, the path would lead you to a spot, where you would find yourself standing behind a rocky spur with the rumbling noise becoming intense manifold.

Carefully make your descend down and move towards the middle of the rocky spur. It would take some time for you to believe the mesmerizing sight that is right before you. Down flows a track of white water, flanked by evergreen forests. A sight you would never forget. Get your best shots and take in its pristine beauty as much as you can. As you watch the unforgettable sight of Meenmutty waterfall, an occasional blanket of thick mist could block your sight. But, do not get upset. Wait for some time and as the mist clears out, and on occasions the sheet of mist would split open to reveal the waterfall, which is yet another delightful thing to watch.

Yes! Get Set Go!! We were ready for this scenic trekking full of life. We were six of us, Aunty and Cheta started to trek around 12:00 noon. Aunty’s younger daughter Charanya also accompanied us. She was the most impressive trekker since she was used to hillside life. Aunty was doing great with her saree still clean. There were a lot of dangerous spots on the way, which if not taken care of, will have serious consequences. I had a great time as well as a scary time to reach the falls. The falls was gorgeous and enchanting as well. Throughout our trekking experience, we could see dense hilly forests.

The unique nature of the falls is that the water falls to a depth of more than 500m in three steps. We could not go exactly very close to the falls. We were drenched completely even while we were at a distance from the falls. That was a marvelous experience. We then had to climb uphill to reach the top, which had to be done before dusk. We made our journey uphill and reached the top in about an hour’s time. We then had refreshments including fresh plantains, Kerala being famous for it and spiced butter milk. The refreshments were refreshing :P after the exciting and exhausting trekking experience. A few moments in the experience were near-death experiences which took my life out by the time I was out of fear.

We reached home around 9:00 pm in night after having dinner in a nearby restaurant. The big-sized rice that is traditional to the place was a peculiar attraction. First day was the most interesting of the four-day trip at Wayanad because of the trekking experience we had there then. This kind of trekking would not have been possible if we don’t go with friends.

That night, we were pretty tired to further discuss amongst ourselves about how the other enjoyed the day. The next morning we had to wake up early.

There are 3 other days of total fun to be expressed. They follow up this post. Hope you enjoyed this reading.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Favourite Lines from "Eleven Minutes"

I would like to add some of my favourite picks from the book, "Eleven Minutes" by Coelho; most of them are quite valuable as well:

"Really important things are planned by the soul long before the bodies see each other."

“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”

“When we meet someone and fall in love, we have a sense that the whole universe is on our side. And yet if something goes wrong, there is nothing left! How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanish so quickly? Life moves very fast. It rushes from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds.”

“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.”

“(Don’t) listen to the malicious comments of those friends who, never taking any risks themselves, can only see other people’s failures.”

“If I can walk on my own, I can go wherever I like.”

“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.”

“Despite her apparent freedom, her life consisted of endless hours spent waiting for a miracle, for true love, for an adventure with the same romantic ending she had seen in films and read about in books. A writer once said that it is not time that changes a man, nor knowledge; the only thing that can change someone’s mind is love. What nonsense! The person who wrote that clearly knew only one side of the coin. Love was undoubtedly one of the things capable of changing a person’s whole life, from one moment to the next. But there was the other side of the coin, the second thing that could make a human being take a totally different course from the one he or she had planned; and that was called despair. Yes, perhaps love really could transform someone, but despair did the job more quickly.”

“Humans can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings.”

“In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each of us responsible for our own feeling and cannot blame someone else for what we feel.”

“Considering the way the world is, one happy day is almost a miracle.”

“That’s my one great virtue: I refuse to deceive myself of you. Because it’s not worth it, because you don’t merit a lie.”

“As if everything had been ordained by fate, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, as if she had known this man all her life or had already lived this moment in dreams and now knew what to do in reality…”

“If he was the man she wanted him to be, he would not be intimidated by her silence.”

“Love is not to be found in someone else, but in ourselves; we simply awaken it. But in order to do that, we need the other person. The universe only makes sense when we have someone to share our feelings with.”

“I’ve learned that waiting is the most difficult bit, and I want to get used to the feeling, knowing that you’re with me, even when you’re not by my side.”

“Now she was searching once more for her reason for living, or, rather, for the kind of utter surrender by which a person offers his or her heart and asks for nothing in return.”

“Profound desire, true desire is the desire to be close to someone. From that point onwards, things change, the man and the woman come into play, but what happens before–the attraction that brought them together–is impossible to explain. It is untouched desire in its purest state. When desire is still in this pure state, the man and the woman fall in love with life, they live each moment reverently, consciously, always ready to celebrate the next blessing. When people feel like this, they are not in a hurry, they do not precipitate events with unthinking actions. They know that the inevitable will happen, that what is real always finds a way of revealing itself. When the moment comes, they do not hesitate, they do not miss an opportunity, they do not let slip a single magic moment, because they respect the importance of each second.”

“Now that she had nothing to lose, she was free.”

“And that was now her great joy: to say to reality that she didn’t need it, that she was not longer dependent on what happened in order to be happy.”

“Anyone who is in love is making love the whole time, even when they’re not. When two bodies meet, it is just the cup overflowing. They can stay together for hours, even days. They begin the dance one day and finish it the next, or–such is the pleasure they experience–they may never finish it. No eleven minutes for them.”

“Every human being experiences his or her own desire; it is part of our personal treasure and, although, as an emotion, it can drive people away, generally speaking, it brings those who are important to us closer. It is an emotion chosen by my soul, and it is so intense that it can infect everything and everyone around me. Each day I choose the truth by which I try to live. I try to be practical, efficient, professional. But I would like to be able always to choose desire as my compassion. Not out of obligation, not to lesson my loneliness, but because it is good. Yes, very good.”

“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility. Anyway, if my love is real (and not just a way of distracting myself, deceiving myself, and passing the time that never seems to pass in this city), freedom will conquer jealousy and any pain it causes me, since pain is also part of the natural process. Anyone who practices sport know of this: if you want to achieve your objectives, you have to be prepared for a daily dose of pain or discomfort. At first, it’s unpleasant and de motivating, but in time you’ll come to realize that it’s part of the process of feeling good, and the moment arrives when, if you don’t feel pain, you have a sense that the exercises aren’t having the desired effect.”

“The world enjoys suffering and pain. There’s sadism in the way we look at these things, and masochism in our conclusion that we don’t need to know all this in order to be happy, and yet we watch other people’s tragedies and sometimes suffer along with them.”

“As I say, it’s the human condition. Ever since we were expelled from paradise, we have either been suffering, making other people suffer or watching the suffering of others. It’s beyond our control.”

“Why was it that in God’s holy world men were only interested in showing her pain. Sacred pain, pain with pleasure, pain with explanations or without, but always pain, pain, pain…”

“‘I felt that pain is a woman’s friend.’ ‘That is the danger.’ ‘I also felt that pain has it’s limits.’ ‘That is the salvation. Don’t forget that.’”

“That’s why I’m telling you: don’t get used to it, because it’s very easy to become habituated; it’s a very powerful drug. It’s in our daily lives, in our hidden suffering, in the sacrifices we make, blaming love for the destruction of our dreams. Pain is frightening when it shows its real face, but it’s seductive when it comes disguised as sacrifice or self-denial. Or cowardice. However much we may reject it, we human being always find a way of being with pain, of flirting with it and making it part of our lives.”

“Pain and suffering are used to justify the only thing that should bring only joy: love.”

“I need to love–that’s all, I need to love. Life is too short, or too long, for me to allow myself the luxury of living it so badly.”

“Always making plans for the future, and always being surprised by the present.”

“Original sin was not the apple that Eve ate, it was her belief that Adam needed to share precisely the thing she had tasted. Eve was afraid to follow her path without someone to help her, and so she wanted to share what she was feeling. Certain things cannot be shared. Nor can we be afraid of the oceans into which we plunge of our own free will; fear cramps everyone’s style. Man goes through hell in order to understand this. Love one another, but let’s not try to possess one another.”

She made this promise because she knew love’s traps all too well, and knew how easily they can change a woman’s mind.”

“In all the languages in the world, there is the same proverb: ‘What the eyes don’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over.’ Well, I say that there isn’t an ounce of truth in it. The further off they are, the closer to the heart are all those feelings that we try to repress and forget. If we’re in exile, we want to store away every tiny memory of our roots. If we’re far from the person we love, everyone we pass in the street reminds us of them.”

“The only thing she could do now was to shed a few tears, feeling rather afraid of herself, an intelligent young woman, who had everything going for her, but who tended to make wrong decisions. She just hoped that this time she was right.”

I guess people who have not read this novel till now, will feel like reading this, inspired by the lines above. Wishing you all happy reading !!

My Views on Eleven Minutes

'Eleven Minutes' is a novel by Paulo Coelho that I read recently. I ve done 'The Alchemist' and 'The Witch Of Portobello' by Coelho sometime back. I was then quite convinced that Coelho's works are worth spending time with. I ve started falling in love with his works, of late. Its really exciting and thought-provoking as he takes us to the various dimensions of the human mind and thoughts. I did 'Eleven Minutes' this week, and I was so excited about the real-life emotions he has portrayed. I have a mixed feeling about this work of his, because he has dealt with a subject that was harsh, difficult and shocking, because, it covers the subject that is the most tabooed till today. I guess you know, what the three letter word is, by now.

The novel begins by the line 'Once upon a time, there lived...', which gives us the impression that the author has tried writing a fairy tale. But in course of time, you will realize that it is actually not. I had a mixed feeling after finishing the novel, and I am short of words to describe what I felt while I read the novel. At first, I started feeling a little uncomfortable reading the novel. But as I brushed through more pages, I could really understand what the author has tried to illustrate through his pretty character and the protoganist, 'Maria'. I put aside all my apprehensions and perspectives about the novel and did the novel with a plain mind. This novel I realized, has a great value associated with it. Some or most of us, might not acknowledge the complete value of it, but it is really an interesting piece of work. To better understand what the novel has tried to talk about, you need to have a clear head; otherwise, it will just been another novel that people think is 'tabooed'. 

But its not just the tabooed subject that the author has concentrated on, but on the virtues of innermost human feelings, specifically, those which everyone of us keeps for ourselves. Coelho, through various customers, talks through Maria's customers, what kind of suffering different kind of people can have, and he finally talks about suffering,ie., pain as a kind of pleasure if endured willfully. It is the most difficult thing to digest probably but it gives immense pleasure for people who have learnt to accept it. 

I was taken away by the way he has portrayed the heart of a woman. For a man, I thought it is quite difficult to understand the feelings and emotions of a woman, the way she thought about the unanswered questions of her life. But Coelho has written a woman as though he has penetrated the depths of every woman's heart. Every woman might have similar thoughts in her innermost soul, though she might defend herself from finding answers for it. This book will serve a good reading for both men and women who are willing to accept the complexities of human soul. 

As a plain speak about this novel, Maria is in search of true love, which is when she decides on travelling to Switzerland, where she embraces the most tabooed profession ever, to make a living for a year. She is focussed on her plans to save money, and buy a farm, build a house for her mother. She encounters a variety of personalities in her clientele and thereby understands what the world is like. This descriptions gives an insight into the varieties of personalities who exist in the world. The rest of the novel talks if she has attained the purpose of her search. 

The diary that Maria maintained throughout is an excellent part of her analysis of human beings around her. I guess by now, my long time confusion has come to an end. The confusion was if I have to maintain a personal diary or not. I am convinced that maintaining a diary, not only puts to paper your thoughts, but also makes you analyse everything we put into the diary, thereby getting the most about life out of your experience. Maria, as I could understand did a lot of her analysis as she penned them down. Maria had the courage to take any opportunity in life as it comes. How many of us are that brave ( even for simple tasks) ?

The people who read this book can think of any one of the following :
1. Is it just about Maria, a woman who faced all adversities of life?
Is it about just her happiness (individual) ?
2. Is it about interpreting and living your life which is bounded by our partly understood complexity of life?
If we start analysing ourselves very seriously, we will have several questions in our mind when we finish the novel:
Who am I?
What is my destiny?
Am I going in the path that is destined for me?
As I read through various views of this novel, I discovered that some people did have negative opinion about this novel. My opinion is that those who have negative opinion about this novel, just took the blind form of Maria and did not look at what Coelho has written through her. Coelho has used a character and some incidents of her life to tell us some real facts about life which most of us fail to analyse. Coelho's thoughts and analyses are too much for us to grasp, atleast for me, at this age.

It does not take just 'eleven minutes' to read this book, but the analyses done revolving around the 'eleven minutes' of each one's life is worth a gift to be received from this great Brazilian author/philosophist, Paulo Coelho.

Concluding, I would say, 'Eleven Minutes' is a great inspiration for me which enabled me to think of life from a different angle and look into the depths of life. It has given a new life to my life. Thanks to Coelho for spreading his light into his readers.