Books I chose to read had almost become predictable, the narration repetitive and kind of boring in general, and then Dreamcatcher suggested this book called “Eleven Minutes” by Paulo Coelho. I had never read Paulo before, I know Alchemist is very famous, and have heard very good too, but had read only one book so far of him, “By the river piedra I sat down and wept“. I had not liked the book so much, and was not planning to buy another book soon, but when dreamcatcher suggested this, I decided to try, I consciously didn’t read the preface nor the reviews before buying this, probably would have not bought it if I had. This book was a real change from what I read in general, It made me think about things which I would have never imagined or developed opinions about, most importantly changed a long standing myth in mind about women.
Some gems from the book,
Paulo writes about when Maria loses a boy for which she blames her stupidity, “At that moment, Maria learned that certain things are lost forever, She learned too that there was a place called ‘somewhere far away’, that the world was vast and her own town very small, and that, in the end, the most interesting people always leave“
As Maria grows up her attitude towards love also changes, Paulo gives a beautiful picture of the change here, “She associated love more with the person ‘s absence than with their presence.“”How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanish quickly“.
Maria learns about the false world, and its people. Paulo writes about how she discovers people who talk a lot without knowing stuff. “People talk as if they know everything, but if you dare to ask a question, they dont know anything.” . Paulo talks about Maria’s decision one day “She decide that, for the first time in many years, she would devote the entire day to thinking about herself“. Now many may find that selfish, I wouldn’t, its something really difficult to do, and glad some people can really do it.
Paulo talks about how common the profession of prostitution was and how it was like any other profession. He says, “Once you had got past the barrier of the first or second night, it was a profession much like any other, in which you work hard, fought off competition, tried to maintain standards, put in the necessary hours, got a bit stressed out, complained about your workload, and rested on sundays.” This looks so much like my work schedule.
Paulo talks about how Maria felt about men, he opines “Men are very strange, all the men I’ve ever met, they can beat you up, shout at you, threaten you, and yet they’re scared to death of women really, perhaps not the women they married, but there’s always one woman who frightens them and forces them to submit to her caprices, Even if it’s their own mother.“
There is this part where Maria walks with the painter around the lake, and then when she is back she writes this into dairy, I cant put the whole thing here, but few sentences which are just amazing. “The man who was with me, a painter, threw a pebble into the water, small circles appeared where the pebble fell, which grew and grew until they touched a duck that happened to be passing and which had nothing to do with the pebble, instead of being afraid of that unexpected wave, he decided to play with it“. He compared God the pebble thrower, people the duck and the pebble, “There is a name for that pebble: passion. It can be used to describe the earth-shaking meeting between two people, but it isn’t just that, it’s there in the excitement of unexpected, in the desire to do something with real fervour, in the certainty that one is going to realize a dream. Passion sends us signals that guide us through our lives, and its up to us to interpret those signs.“
Idealistically speaking about bodies and souls, Paulo talks about “Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before bodies see each other. These meeting are waiting for us, but more often than not, we avoid them happening.“
Yet another beauty from Maria’s diary, “When I had nothing to loose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself. When I expected humiliation and total submission, I was free, I don’t know if I’, all, if it was a dream, or if only happens once. I know I can perfectly well live without it, but I would like to do it again, to repeat the experience, to go a little further.” Maria is talking about sadomasochism here, but if you think deeper its applicable to so many things in our day to day life.
Talking about love and the genders Paulo writes. “Perhaps thats the only reason that they loved each other, because they knew they did not need each other. Men always take fright when a woman says: ‘ I need you’, and maria wanted to take away with her the image of a person who was ready to do anything for her“
All in all a good book, and a for a person like me who has not read many of this genre, it was excellent read.