All about The Alchemist

Who hasn’t heard about this bestseller book? The Alchemist, written by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, is a book originally published in 1988 and translated in English and published again in 1993. It’s a book that urges its readers to follow their dreams. A book which says to never give up on your dreams, to follow what the heart says and to trust your instincts.

Whenever I have asked somebody to suggest me a book to read, The Alchemist is one of the most common answers I have received. I have heard people say that the book is extremely motivational, is an eye-opener and a must read. And I agree to that to some extent, but not completely! Had I out of nowhere come across the book on my own and given it a read, I too would have said that I loved it. But the reviews that I always received were so good that my expectations from it were already very high. Is the book worth a read? Let me help you decide that.

Paulo Coelho convinces the readers to be aware of their personal calling, the path that God chose for you here on Earth. He goes on to say that even if you become aware of your dream, you face four obstacles. The first is that you are always told that what you want is impossible to achieve. The second is love. Coelho says that we consider love to stop us from achieving our personal calling or our dream. However, the truth is, that if the love is true and genuine, it pushes you towards achieving it instead of holding you back.

The third obstacle is the fear of defeats you will meet on the path. To overcome this obstacle, he tells that the secret of life is to fall seven times but still get up the eighth time. The final obstacle comes when you are just about to achieve your dream but miss the bullseye because you do not consider yourself worthy enough. However if you realize that it isn’t true, you successfully overcome it and thus achieve your dream.

Most of the book is written in an easy-breezy language (However it gets a little monotonous and complex to read in the end.) It’s the story of a boy Santiago, whose parents educated him to become a priest but he wanted to travel and see places and hence decided to become a shepherd. Santiago has his plans clear in his mind. On a round of the place with his sheep the previous year, he had met the merchant’s daughter and in his mind had decided to ask her to marry him this time when he visits the merchant’s shop.

However, a recurrent dream has some other plans for him. He had dreamt of a child playing with his sheep, then holding his hands and spinning him to an unknown place. Santiago became curious to know more about the recurrent dream. He gets his dream decoded by a palm reader who tells him that a treasure is waiting for him in the Pyramids of Egypt.

Does Santiago follow his dream or continue his journey to meet the merchant’s daughter is the next question which pops in the head.He gets convinced by a king to follow his dreams and begins his journey to find the treasure. What happens next is exactly what the book is all about. He undertakes the journey which is full of learnings and life lessons. And the book is full of these lessons and quotes to live by. (Sharing a few of my favourites but trust me there are so many!)

On his journey, he meets a person at the bar who convinces him to take him to the Pyramids but gets robbed instead, a crystal merchant shop owner who helps him make enough money for him to go back to his shepherd life, an Englishman who is in search of the Alchemist, the Caravan driver whom he meets in the desert and imparts him with many life lessons, the Alchemist who guides him to his treasure and the love of his life, Fatima. Does he finally find his treasure? Let’s leave that for the readers to find out.

Did I love the book? It’s a mix of both yes and no. Yes, because I think the book is way ahead of its time since now in the present can I see the concept of “follow your dreams” being normalized. I think this concept must have been a big thing when the book came out. No, because I think there could have been many more possibilities and also, when a strong concept is explained, one must try to explain it in an even more easier manner so that it’s easily understood by all.

The word “Maktub” is the charm of the book and the ending doesn’t disappoint you. The book conveys what it wants to and has been written beautifully. Have you read this bestseller book yet? Do let me know your views on it in the comments section. Keep reading and sharing my blogs, it keeps me going!

Link to buy the book on Amazon :

A show that changed my perspective towards life

These days there are so many platforms on internet that offer so much content to watch online that one can easily get confused and spend most of their energy searching for the right content to put their time on. So here I am, giving my suggestion on a show that you can watch and which will definitely leave an impact on your life.

Zindagi Gulzar Hai, is a pakistani drama which you can watch online on Netflix. There are 26 episodes in total, each of about 40 mins. (I think the show is also up on YouTube but I am not very sure if all the episodes are present or not.) I watched the show for the first time when I was in 11th or 12th standard, on TV when it was aired on Zindagi channel. However I watched it again recently on Netflix when I suggested my friend to watch it and to convince him to watch it, I had to watch along.

The question which pops to the mind is, out of so much content available, “drama”, “serial”, seriously? Well, I like the show for so many reasons and would love to share my take on it with my readers.

The biggest thing which sets apart this show from most of the shows aired on the Indian television is that it has a finite number of episodes. The show starts with a point, conveys what it wants to and ends meaningfully. Not even a single second while watching the show you feel that it has been extended senselessly. Yes, I would like to admit that you may find the show a little slow but that isn’t much of a problem when you are fully engrossed in it.

The drama revolves around the two main characters, Kashaf Murtaza (played by Sanam Saeed) and Zaroon Junaid (played by Fawad Khan) shown below.

The two main leads, Kashaf and Zaroon are shown poles apart, Kashaf belonging to a lower middle class family while Zaroon belonging to a rich one. The serial continues by showing the lives of both in parallel. Both of them are seen journaling; Kashaf in her diary always complaining god for making her life full of struggles while Zaroon on his laptop with the thoughts that go on in his mind.

On one side is Kashaf, whose mother has been left on her own with her three daughters as her husband decides to get remarried because she could not give him a son. Kashaf’s mother is a school principal having strong morals of working with honesty and diligence. The four ladies in the house work hard, support each other to make both the ends meet.

On the other hand is Zaroon’s life full of comfort and luxuries. However there is only one thing that Zaroon misses in his life; his mother’s due attention in bringing her children up hence failing to maintain a proper balance between her work and family.

The two meet in University and do not get along well. Kashaf’s father is shown to be always criticizing her wife for wasting time and money on her daughters education instead of being inclined on getting them married.

Fate takes a turn when after facing so many hardships in life, Kashaf becomes an administrative officer. A change of attitude is seen in Kashaf’s father when he witnesses his daughters turning out to be capable enough to stand on their feet and he himself covering his son’s failures.

Kashaf and Zaroon’s paths eventually cross again. Zaroon is inclined to get married to a woman who does not misuse her freedom in the name of equality, who manages both her family and work and doesn’t end up giving less importance to any of the two. Having this conversation with his friend, he realizes it is a girl like Kashaf he wants to get married to.

Zaroon eventually convinces Kashaf and then both their families and the two finally get married. There is love, there are fights and there are adjustments and compromises from both ends.

The serial ends on a happy note where Kashaf is seen thanking god for blessing her with a good life and for Zaroon, who turns out to be a good husband and father, overcoming her fear and proving that all men are not like her father, brushing off and running away from their responsibilities.

Concludingly, I am sure there will be so many more things you observe and realise if you yourself see the show and there will be multiple instances where you find the story’s characters or scenes relatable to your own life. Also there are other characters and their stories which make the show even more worth watching.

I am thrilled to share this fact that this show is included as a part of the course studies in some universities and is used to highlight the social and gender issues faced by people all across the globe.

Well, as the title track goes :

“Zindagi gulzar hai

ye ishq ka darbar hai

yahan ghamo ko paalna bekar hai”

(Life is beautiful, it is full of love, it is useless to raise sorrows here)

Let me know in the comments section if you have already watched the show and how you found it. Also let me know any other show or movie that changed your perception towards life.