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Journey to the centre of oneself

Sanvedi Devanand Bhaisare, a class 10 student of SM Shetty High School and Junior College, Powai, reviews Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

Updated: Nov 28, 2019 01:39 IST
Sanvedi Devanand Bhaisare
Sanvedi Devanand Bhaisare

Renowned author Paulo Coelho, in his book The Alchemist, said that if one really wants something, the universe conspires in helping them achieve it. Taking the essence of his words, if we wish for something that lights up our soul, ambitions from the bottom of our heart, the forces in the universe will unfold it and make them come true.

The book’s title may suggest it is about a student of alchemy who can turn any metal into gold, but it is actually a metaphor for a person’s purification in pursuit of their goal.

The story is about the journey of a shepherd boy, Santiago. About his dreams, his spiritual quest, the people he meets, the omens he encounters and the nature he speaks to. These are the things we can relate to, things that we have either forgotten or simply dismissed as childhood fantasies. It is about finding your purpose, pursuing your dreams and about being spiritually connected to the universe. Following our personal goal, we can perform the same magic. Achieving our goal through the obstacles in the journey without giving up, we can turn our dreams and life into gold. It symbolizes that all elements in nature are essentially different forms of a single spirit. Coelho strongly portrays about following our dreams.

The motif of omens reinforces the book’s theme of the unity of nature. Omens offer guidance to Santiago and reassure him that the ‘Soul of the World’ has endorsed his journey. He meets various people who serve as a beacon guiding him on his way. Coelho expresses that the journey of life is a book of lessons, where one learns more about oneself and his abilities.

The value of one’s journey does not lie in the treasure at the end but in the knowledge and experience one gain from the journey itself. Time is a part of our journey rather than an obstacle. We are bound to face setbacks and obstacles in the safari of life but we must continue fearlessly. The term ‘Maktub’ used in the book denotes ‘it is written’.

The writer stresses the inevitability of fate, the interconnectedness of the world and anything that happens is meant to happen but God can also choose to reveal it on an occasion in order to change it.

The Alchemist acts less as a personal story about the adventures of one character and more as an allegorical fable with universal implications. The narration is strong, vivid, and enchanting and bursts with optimism.

The emotions portrayed are soul-stirring. The book is written in a unique way to perceive as if it is the narrative of our lives finding our ‘personal legend’.

It can also be read by those looking out for travel inspiration, spirituality and those going through the stage of finding their destiny.

The contributor is a Class 10 student of SM Shetty High School and Junior College, Powai

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