Friday, October 3, 2008

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.

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