Books

Zahir by Paulo

Zahir, means, that which is incapable of being unnoticed. The story seems to be similar to the author Paulo Coelho’s life. It is also said that this book in actual sense is a semi-autobiography work.

I like the way Paulo tells a story and in between engages the reader with various serious issues and aspects that require one to think. With his book Eleven Minutes, he tries to explain true love and physical love. He discusses and gives convincing answers on the topics that he chooses to discuss. That’s the very reason I think why he is such a renowned author.

Zahir is one such novel that talks in length about obsession, finding one’s Zahir. It is not about the story that has to be talked about but about the journey that the protagonist takes for finding his lost love, wife. The protagonist of the novel is a famous writer who heals people with his books and thoughts but unfortunately fails to understand his own life. When his wife, a war correspondent, suddenly seems missing, he follows her words and path to know her and more importantly know himself. Though at first he doesn’t seems to be bothered about her absence he gradually and sub consciously starts thinking about her and finally can’t imagine anything without her. This state is what the author calls as – Zahir.

Though there is nothing much to discuss about the way he finds his wife and love, there are certain interesting aspects that the author discusses which makes this book truly worth reading. Like the ones below:

“ Marie, Let’s suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterwards, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, While the other man’s face is completely clean. My question is this: which of the two will wash his face?”

‘That’s a silly question. The one with the dirty face ofcourse.’
‘No, the one with the dirty face will look at the other man and assume that he looks llike him. And, vice versa, the man with the clean face will see his colleague covered in grime and say to himself: I must be dirty too. I’d better have a wash.’

Have a look at the way he relates this:

I came to realize that I was always looking for myself in the women I loved. I looked at their lovely, clean faces and saw myself reflected in them. They, on the other hand, looked at me and saw the dirt on my face and …thinking that they were worse than they were. Please don’t let that happen to you.’

Another interesting aspect that I loved: ( I beg to differ from author’s perception towards marriage though!)

…..I learned that the distance between railway tracks is always 143.5 cm. Why is this absurd measurement?……It was Romans..who decided to make their roads that width. And why. Because their war chariots were pulled by two horses and when placed side by side…took up 143.5 cm….and it stayed as it is…But what has all this to do with marriage?
…when two people get married….move along side by side like two tracks, keeping always that same distance apart… Your purpose is to allow your train bearing the survival of the species to headoff into the future: your children….

I absolutely love his books.

Books

Eleven Minutes by Paulo

Eleven Minutes is a story about Maria, a prostitute by choice, who lives in Brazil and dreams of leading life on her own terms. When the opportunity comes she moves to Switzerland only to realize sooner that she has been dragged to prostitution. She prepares herself and then enters into the dreaded world for money and finally succumbs to loneliness and sadness. One fine day she falls in love with a renowned painter and then understands the meaning of true love. When Ralf Hart, the painter and her lover, wants to be with her, she refuses to accept for the fear of ending the relation someday. Maria, with much hesitation, finally leaves for her home town missing him intensely and to her amazement finds Ralf at the receiving end. And that’s the end (or rather a start) of this fairy story. Eleven Minutes explains in detail about the aspects of true love (sacred love) and physical love. I liked the way the story has been dealt with. It gives daring and bold answers to some hushed topics of the society. I also liked the ending of the story, though stereotypical, is perfect for the story. Sad story with a Happy ending

Books

Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair

I simply can’t resist a book if it is written by a female author and/or deal about women in particular. Though, not a feminist, I’m naturally inclined to read women oriented books. It just so happens that every time I read such novels I get an overwhelming feeling to be born a woman, even though the characters endure suffering, face intense humiliation, and are just there revealing their story. I would be attached to the character and sympathize with them (while my mind calculating as to what to be done next). I take pride in knowing them and truly believe that the characters are real.

Ladies Coupe is one such novel I thoroughly enjoyed reading as the protagonist Akhila speaks of one’s freedom, limits, responsibilities, traditions, and desire. Born in an orthodox family, she falls prey to loneliness and boredom when all the responsibilities surround around her. While she plays the role of a sister and a dutiful daughter forgets the role she is supposed to be in, herself. At 45 (and still single) she sets on a journey to be all by herself for the first time. She boards on Ladies Coupe and get to know her fellow women travelers, their lives, feelings, and difficulties. Akhila also crosses her traditions and customs that binded her till this age and follows her desire sleeping with a young man.

I didn’t understand as to what made her cross this path: to satisfy her desire, to prove her freedom, an attempt to outcast the traditions, or just there giving hardly a thought to it. What does that one-night stand tell the readers?. The novel also does not answer directly the question it raises…. Can a woman stay single and be happy, or does a woman need a man to feel complete? But apart from that it gives a perfect picture of a woman in India. I simply loved this book.

Books

The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene

The novel, set in Argentina, tells the story of honorary Consul, Charley Fortnum, who mistakenly is kidnapped for American ambassador and the way they get out of it. The book describes the nature of Fortnum and Doctor Eduardo Plarr in a lucid way.

All the characters are very original in the way they think and react. As such this is not a story that has plots and twists, but describes about relations, love, adultery, and preaching’s at Church. Many interesting dialogues and phrases make it a sure classic, particularly the ones about the relation with God and about love.

Love to share one such dialogue:

When a man leaves a woman, he begins to hate her. Or is it that he hates his own failures? Perhaps we want to destroy the only witness who knows exactly what we are like.”

At times the novel seems to be dragging as the story completely revolves around the kidnap trap and talks at length about the two characters in particular, Eduardo Plarr and Charley Fortnum and how their lives are interlinked.

Books

Zahir by Paulo

Zahir, means, that which is incapable of being unnoticed. The story seems to be similar to the author Paulo Coelho’s life. It is also said that this book in actual sense is a semi-autobiography work.

I like the way Paulo tells a story and in between engages the reader with various serious issues and aspects that require one to think. With his book Eleven Minutes, he tries to explain true love and physical love. He discusses and gives convincing answers on the topics that he chooses to discuss. That’s the very reason I think why he is such a renowned author.

Zahir is one such novel that talks in length about obsession, finding one’s Zahir. It is not about the story that has to be talked about but about the journey that the protagonist takes for finding his lost love, wife. The protagonist of the novel is a famous writer who heals people with his books and thoughts but unfortunately fails to understand his own life. When his wife, a war correspondent, suddenly seems missing, he follows her words and path to know her and more importantly know himself. Though at first he doesn’t seems to be bothered about her absence he gradually and sub consciously starts thinking about her and finally can’t imagine anything without her. This state is what the author calls as – Zahir.

Though there is nothing much to discuss about the way he finds his wife and love, there are certain interesting aspects that the author discusses which makes this book truly worth reading. Like the ones below:

“ Marie, Let’s suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterwards, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, While the other man’s face is completely clean. My question is this: which of the two will wash his face?”

‘That’s a silly question. The one with the dirty face ofcourse.’
‘No, the one with the dirty face will look at the other man and assume that he looks llike him. And, vice versa, the man with the clean face will see his colleague covered in grime and say to himself: I must be dirty too. I’d better have a wash.’

Have a look at the way he relates this:

I came to realize that I was always looking for myself in the women I loved. I looked at their lovely, clean faces and saw myself reflected in them. They, on the other hand, looked at me and saw the dirt on my face and …thinking that they were worse than they were. Please don’t let that happen to you.’

Another interesting aspect that I loved: ( I beg to differ from author’s perception towards marriage though!)

…..I learned that the distance between railway tracks is always 143.5 cm. Why is this absurd measurement?……It was Romans..who decided to make their roads that width. And why. Because their war chariots were pulled by two horses and when placed side by side…took up 143.5 cm….and it stayed as it is…But what has all this to do with marriage?
…when two people get married….move along side by side like two tracks, keeping always that same distance apart… Your purpose is to allow your train bearing the survival of the species to headoff into the future: your children….

I absolutely love his books.

Books

Objectivism

Fountainhead, Ayn Rand’s classic portrayal of her theory “Objectivism”
Fountainhead is a story of an extreme idealist Howard Roark, the hero, one who never compromises on his thoughts, his principles of life, and above all his work. The passion towards his work that is beyond the conventional standards and the way he tries to put forth his work in the society against all odds is what makes the novel a classic.
In his struggle he encounters people like Gail Wynand, the news paper tycoon; Ellsworth Toohey, who plays on his power to manipulate masses around; Dominique Francon, his true love;
The story has an interesting comparison of Howard Roark with a less than perfect Peter Keating. Peter Keating though the king in the world of architecture, recognition for him always seems to be hollow as he works on cluster of borrowed ideas.
Though certain elements of the story seem to be like hammering the reader with exaggerated Objectivism, there are certain true elements which make the reader ask his own self as to what is really applicable to him, what really matters him. She explained many true to the core questions with beautifully framed words…..like
“Look at everyone around us. You’ve wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. If any man stopped and asked himself whether he’s ever held a truly personal desire, he would find the answer. He’d see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions, are motivated by other men. He is not really struggling even for his material wealth, but for the second-hander’s delusion-prestige. A stamp of approval, not his own. He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded. He can’t say about a single thing: ‘This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me’. Then he wonders why he’s unhappy”.
Ayn Rand no doubt has the nerve to put her ideas straight out of her heart but sometimes mixes so much of perfection into the characters that we get off hold feeling that this character can’t be real, can’t be human. Such is Dominique Francon, whom the reader finds it hard to understand and associate with.
I would accept much of her theory, though at my convenience, but would differ with many of those……..like when she says…in her book…
“ Our greatest moments are personal, self motivated, not to be touched. The things which are sacred or precious to us are the things we withdraw from promiscuous sharing”.
It can’t be always true…..as we all experience that happiness is enjoyed the most when it is shared. The complete life cycle process is surrounded around people and can’t deny the fact that other person’s life and his reasons do come our way…sometimes worth by our side and sometimes not. But that doesn’t mean a self-sufficient ego is what matters and everything else is like living a life second-hand. Definitely not.
All said and done. Fountainhead is a fascinating novel with specially carved characters. A novel that opens up your thoughts and makes you think. I would highly recommend this book to all those who have passion for their self.

Books

Screw it…Let’s Do It…..Richard Branson

Richard Branson’s life story is so adventurous that I can’t miss reading his books…This book is the jist of what his autobiography tells…and as a key notes, some of his quotations on what he believes in. A wonderful short book that can be carried for instant boostup. I just loved it. I’m also reading his autobiography…Losing My Virginity…..

Some Excerpts worth mentioning:

“You don’t have to go to art school to be a fashion designer. Join the fashion company and push a broom”

“Hard work and fun is what life is all about. As soon as something stops being fun, I think it’s time to move on. Life to too short to be unhappy. Waking up stressed and miserable is not a good way to live.”

“If you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win.”

“Challenge is the core and mainspring of all human action. If there’s disease, we cure it. If there’s an ocean, we cross it. If there’s a wrong, we right it. If there’s a record, we break it. If there’s a mountain, we climb it….we have to continue to challenge ourselves….James Ullman”

“My grandmother lived life to the full. At the age of 89 she became the oldest person in Britain to pass the advanced Latin American Ballroom dancing exam. She was ninety when she became the oldest person to hit a hole on one at golf. She never stopped learning. In her mid-90’s she read Stephen Hawking’s book: A Brief History of Time, which may make her one of the few people to have read it all the way through. Shortly after her death at the age of 99 she went on a cruise around the behind in Jamaica wearing only her swimming costume. Her attitude was that you’ve only got one go in life, so you should get the most of it.”

Screw it……in brief

1. Just Do It

Believe It Can Be Done,
Have Goals ,
Live Life to Full ,
Never Give Up ,
Prepare Well ,
Have Faith in Yourself ,
Help Each Other ,

2. Have Fun

Have Fun,
Work Hard and Money Will Come ,
Don’t Waste Time – Grab Your Chances ,
Have a Positive Outlook On Life,
When it’s Not Fun, Move On

3. Be Bold
Calculate the Risks and Take Them,
Believe in Yourself ,
Chase Your Dreams and Goals ,
Have No Regrets ,
Be Bold ,
Keep Your Word

4. Challenge Yourself
Aim high,
Try New Things Always,
Try Challenge Yourself

5. Stand On Your Own Feet
Rely on Yourself,
Chase your Dreams but Live in the Real World,
Work Together

6. Live The Moment
Love Life and Live It To The full,
Enjoy the Moment,
Reflect on your Life ,
Make Every Second Count ,
Don’t Have Regrets

7. Value Family And Friends
Put the Family and the Team First,
Be Loyal,
Face Problems Head On

8. Have Respect
Be Polite and Respectful,
Do the Right Thing,
Keep Your Good Name ,
Be Fair in All Your Dealings

9. Do Some Good
Change the World, Even if in a Small Way Make a Difference and Help Others
Do No Harm
Always Think What You Can Do To Help.