Book Reviews

Learning determination and dedication from Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”: Mushtaq Naik Baloch

Paulo Coelho is a well-known author. He was born on 24th August 1947 in Rio De Jeneiro, Brazil. He is a good novelist who has written many novels. One of his best novels is ‘Alchemist’ which was published I n 1988 in Portuguese language. It has been translated into 81 languages and published in English in 1993. Later, it got published after 5 years of its publication in Portuguese. This book was published by Harper Collins. More than 65 million copies have been sold over 165 countries. This book also won the Guinness World award.

The leading character of the book is Santiago from a small Andalusian town. He is an advantageous young boy who is mentioned as a shepherd in this book. He wants to find a treasury in Egyptian pyramids.

Santiago is a young boy. His parents want him to be a priest but he feels unsatisfied from becoming a priest. He courageously tells his father that his aim of life is adventuring and traveling. His father becomes unhappy and tries to convince him but nothing works out. Then his father suggests him that the only occupation allows poor to travel that is of a shepherd. He gives him three gold coins that he can buy a flock of sheep to fulfill his dream of adventuring and traveling.

Santiago loves freedom. He travels from one area to another along his flock of sheep. Once, he was traveling to Tarifa in intention to meet a girl with whom he once had met in Tarifa. It was night time, so he decided to rest and continue his journey from morning. He saw an old church having a sycamore tree. He slept there and dreamed that in Egypt under the pyramid a great treasury is waiting for him. He woke up before the completion of dream. He was confused because it was not the first time he had this dream, but he had seen the same scenerio several times earlier.

This time he wanted to interpret his dream. For this purpose, he went to Gypsy, an old aged woman who was pre-eminent in interpretation. She demanded that if 1/10th of treasury will be given to her, she would tell the interpretation. Santiago accepts her condition. Gypsy told him to travel to Egypt.

He becomes upset and sits on a bench. An old man appears and says, ”My name is Melchizedek and I am the king of Salem.” He ignores him because he wis not dressed up like the king. He says to Santiago, “I can help you to find the treasury.” He thinks that he must be Gypsy’s partner. Somehow, the king convinces him and gives him two stones; “Urim” and “Thummim” which represent “yes” or “no” for the guidance of his journey.

“When you want something all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

If something is heartily wanted by someone, the whole universe takes part achieving that desire for him. Santiago is thirsty to search the treasury and path is being created itself to make him successful in his destination.

He sold his sheep as he dealt with old king that of his sheep’s price were to be given him. He began his journey on a ship from Tarifa to Africa. He reaches in Tangiers, a city in Morocco. He is robbed and he becomes mpty-handed. There is a crystal shop near. He decides to work for crystal merchant in his shop . He says to merchant that he will clean the crystals of shop and in return he just needs food. He started working in crystal shop, and suggested new business ideas to crystal merchant which could rise his business. Before Santiago, his shop did not have satisfactory income. Since he had begun working, it was far better than before.

“There is one thing that makes a dream impossible to be achieved; the fear of failure.”

For a while, he paused his journey but did not forget his goal. He had insanity of achieving. He was not scared of failure and this was his strongest weapon. He thought that hard time would pass, and thus no need to be afraid of it but wait for the perfect time and resume the journey instead of ending it forever.

The merchant became richer than before and Santiago also earned some money. Yet he had not disremembered his mission. As he came to know that a caravan is leaving for Egypt, he joined it. In departure, he met with an English man who was looking for an alchemist to convert lead into gold. Both became friends of each other and both were going to accomplish their missions. While they were crossing the desert, a rumour over-spread that a battle is taking place. The caravan scared and decided to stay in oasis named Al-fayoum till the war lasted. When they reached to the oasis, the English man started searching of the alchemist and Santiago was helping him out. In this process, they met Fatima, a young and a beautiful girl. She told them the address of the alchemist. And Santiago falls in love with her.

“One is loved because one is loved; no reason is needed for loving.”

For loving someone it is not compulsory that there must be a reason. True lovers do not search cause of falling in love. And same thing happened with Santiago.

They found the alchemist and Santiago again continued his journey. Suddenly, a thought came in his mind that oasis was going to be attacked. He told this to the chief of the oasis. Chief replied him, “We will get ready. If there will be no any attack, then we will hang you.”

Accidentally, a man attacked and they outplayed him because they were prepared. Chief became happy and made him counsellor of the Oasis, gave him some gold. For once he thought that I have a job and also gold so I should marry Fatima and live happily.

“True love does not make you sacrifice your dreams.”

Alchemist already had heard that Santiago’s vision saved the Oasis from being attacked. Alchemist suggests him to follow his dream. He companied him in journey. Santiago was robbed once again; they stole his golds which were given by the chief. They were going to kill them but Alchemist says that Santiago is a great magician and has power to convert himself into wind and destroy you all. They laughed at him and gave three days to Santiago to either turn himself into wind or die. He was scared because he did not have this ability.

Alchemist consoled him that you can do it. He tried in first two days but he failed. On the third day tried to understood the desert from the core of his heart and he became succeeded; he deserted all the tents. Robbers scared and spared them.

“Do not give into your fear, if you do you will not be able to talk to your heart.”

They reached in a monster, the Alchemist turned some lead into gold and gave them to Santiago and went on his way. As he reaches Egyptian pyramids, he starts digging, but another gang of robbers attacks him. They beat him and clutches his golds. He initiates his story and tells from head to tail. They laugh at him and call him mad. One of them says, “I also dreamed that in Spain in a church under a sycamore tree, there is a great treasury but I am not fool like him to follow dreams.”

By listening this, Santiago realises that where the treasury actually is. He went back to Spain at the location and digged under the sycamore tree where he found the treasury.

“Secrete of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

Hence, fear is the biggest source lead someone towards failure. Make decisions, be determined and do not let the fear attack on your mission. Focus on your journey, no matter how many times you have to pause due to specific reasons but the goal which you choose, never forget that.

From the above summary, we can take instances that how many hardships he faced; how many times he fell but he was determined towards his goal which he had to achieve at any cost.

Whosoever wants to understand their heat and follow their dreams, must decide their goals and have firm belief of accomplishing them. Believe on yourself and be confident. If someone starts searching for something that is not the true treasury but the true treasury is it becomes in the path or journey to destination where treasury is. The most inspiring thing if lead can be converted into gold, human beings also can convert themselves from lead to gold. Keep moving, never think of stopping, even though if you get in hot water, postdate your dream, you will gain success someday.

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