When I picked up this book to read, I won’t lie, the first impression was that this might come with a pinch of sadness, spiralling one into purpose-loss and the will to live life. But at the same time I had faith in Paulo Coelho. I have read most of his books which make you ponder on your life and then ignite a fire in you, which you never believed existed in you. And he didn’t fail to prove me right.
Well, before you proceed reading any further, let’s decide on one of these: either you aren’t going to read this book or you are ok to get spoilers before reading this book. If it sounds good to you, feel free to proceed.
Veronika is a young, beautiful girl in her 20s who tries to commit suicide. She swallows sleeping pills but eventually survives with a weak heart which would stop beating in a week’s time. Though she wanted to end her life in that instant, she is being given a week top up to experience a life bit more. Because of her attempt to take her own life she ends up in the mental hospital of Villette amidst all the (in)sane people.
Paulo Coelho always speaks about following one’s heart, the inner purpose that ignites the fire in your heart. Oftentimes the purpose is not accepted by the so-called society that thinks the right way is to follow the footsteps of the majority. To have education, find a secure-well paying job, get married, have children, look after the children. In return, earn well to support them and then teach/force them to follow the same road that you took years back. Also, never fail to teach them that “the road less travelled” is for the insane.
People have a defined routine to spend their weekdays. Sometimes they follow it religiously without giving a thought about the purpose and how is the routine serving them in life. Family, society or self pressure makes one abandon the light inside and follow on what is shining on the outside.
We then become prisoners of our own mind. The adventurous & curious child in us is locked away. The adult who is adored by the family or society takes up the steering wheel of life. This adult drives in line with the speed limits and traffic rules. The inner child pops up on a late Sunday afternoon, complaining about the dullness of everyday life and urges us to do something adventurous. However this child is put to silence because the prep for Monday takes priority.
Life is indeed a blessing, allowing us to explore the unique gifts we have within, to realise, to give a meaning & purpose to our lives. Though in childhood we are immature and stupid, we are in fact quite woke to life than in our teenage & adulthood. As a child, there is nothing right or wrong. Everything is allowed. Over a period of time then, everything starts falling in the “Right” or “Wrong” box. We start building our lives based on these 2 boxes, irrespective of whether we like it or not. We are living our lives however there are those unfulfilled dreams or wishes that dodge us, sometimes during a blank sleepless night or a quiet evening.
It is human to feel & express our original nature. The more we try to suppress it, the more violent is the eruption. In this book, Veronika has such an eruption because she has abandoned her real self, her dreams & desires. While she is living a life built on compromises, there is nothing exciting that she looks forward to and there is no purpose to lead ahead in life. That is when she feels that she has experienced and lived what she had to and the time is come to end this.
This book is about people like Veronika and a few more, who are jostling and loosing between staying up with the “sane” clan, while on the inside they are losing their insanity, as they are not living true to their purpose.
I spent quite some years figuring out the “right-wrong” of life and then some more years fighting and proving that my choices were “right”, where I bitterly lost. Though I never gave up on what I believed in, I wasn’t completely happy in the pursuit. Somewhere inside I still believed that I was wrong in the eyes of others. However through those rebellious years, the wisdom finally dawned upon me that the “right/wrong” is completely individualistic and it is up to me to accept my truth and live with it. No doubt I still struggle sometimes, but the wisdom gives me a shoulder touch and brings me back to MY Truth.
So, my book readers, (Sie müssen dieses Buch lesen) a well recommended book to read and for my non-book readers, (Wir werden Kaffee trinken und über dieses Buch sprechen) let’s meet for a coffee and speak more about the book.
I would like to end this post with a famous poem written by the ever wise Rumi who makes me fall in love with his work.
“Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.”