Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Alchemist - The winds will never feel the same again! ;)

When I began to read this book during my flight, the person next to me told me that I would see this book with a different perspective 10 years from now. I don't know about that, but I really found this book quite awesome.

There are a few recurring themes in the book.


The very first, and one around which the story revolved is of the treasure. The treasure that the king told him of. The treasure that his dreams told him about. The very same treasure that took him from Spain to Egypt.

But when I was done reading this book, I asked myself if the treasure really mattered to him at the end. If you really ask the soul of Santiago this question, his answer is going to be no.

You know what his real treasure was - his journey. The journey that evolved him in so many different ways. He came to know other businesses, understood the language of the world, met the woman of his life, and realised so many different things.

So, once I completed this book, I didn't need a dream to happen to find my treasure. Neither do you! We just need to seek more than our routine life we are accustomed to, like Santiago was being a shepherd, and boy, that's where you will find the treasure.


Then, there is the recurring theme of the fear of losing what we already have, the fear of leaving behind the comfort zone. Santiago initially feared losing his sheep, and that he had to get out of his comfortable life of being a shepherd.

Then he feared being in an unknown land with people speaking a totally new language. Next, when he was leaving the merchant's shop. Then, the same thing happened when he had to leave behind Fatima for the treasure.

The crystal merchant had the same fear. The story simply shows that you can achieve things only when you face this fear, and it does convey this quite beautifully by showing the contrast in between the two characters.

Only when we face our fear of getting out of our comfort zone, we can expand our horizon.


Next, you will find this word "MAKTUB" written throughout the book. The crystal merchant told that it means - "It is written". What does "it" refer to? I was confused initially, but then I kind of realised what it means.

You know what it means? It simply means that it is written that the results are out of your control. They are out of my control. We can only focus on the present, and surrender the control that we are so egoistic about. That's what it means to me! :)


We also see Santiago and many others referring to omens so many times in the book. But hey, omens are just an illusion. Isn't it so?

But if you look deep through those lines, what's there is nothing but intuitions behind those omens. Things we know can happen, things that show subtle signs of future. We ignore them. Santiago, fortunately, didn't.

And then, how can we forget the person who has been the title of this fable too - the alchemist. You know who he was. He was the very same person, who understood all the themes that I just discussed. He knew life!

While writing of the alchemist, I remembered the Englishman. His character displays this delightful concept of focusing on learning and understanding. His, on the other hand, was to make gold. But isn't it true that most of us are like the Englishman only. The only thing we care about is name, fame and money, which happens to be the gold of the present.

So, the fable conveys to be the alchemist.

But then what's the difference between the Englishman and Santiago. Wasn't Santiago also looking for treasure? Yep, he was! Even then, the alchemist said that he was ready, but the Englishman wasn't.

What I could reason out is that Santiago was not just after the treasure. He was enjoying his journey. He wasn't trying to control what lies in future. If it had to be put in the words of the alchemist, it would be -  "They were looking only for gold. They were seeking the treasure of their destiny, without wanting actually to live out the destiny."


The book also talks regarding the language of the world, which couldn't get more fascinating having seen the movie Arrival a few days back. It's true that words don't hold any meaning of their own, and yet we rarely ponder over this. It's all our emotions!

Language, indeed, is very interesting in itself.

There are many other things in the book, that I couldn't get my head around for now. Especially the part where Santiago talks with the desert, the wind and the sun; and also the piece where the alchemist talks about the matters of heart, and of the Soul of the World with him, while on their way to the Pyramids.

The only thing I could understand a bit is the last line of this piece of fable and that is, the soul of God is my own soul. That I could perform miracles!

Perhaps the fellow flight passenger was right in what he said. Understanding all this will take time, just like the shepherd took his time. Perhaps years from now, on my journey to some of my very own Pyramids! :)

But one thing is for sure. The winds will never feel the same again! ;)

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