Monthly Archives: January 2009

An excerpt from The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

Here is a wonderful excerpt from The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho:

In the desert there was only the sound of the eternal wind, and of the hoof beats of the animals. Even the guides spoke very little to one another.

“I’ve crossed these sands many time”, said one of the camel drivers one night. “But the desert is so huge, and the horizons so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent.”

The boy understood intuitively what he meant, even without ever having set foot in the desert before. Whenever he saw the sea, or a fire, he fell silent, impressed by their elemental force.



Excerpts from The Foundtainhead, Ayn Rand

His face was like a law of nature – a thing one could not question, alter, or implore. It had high cheekbones over gaunt, hollow cheeks, grey eyes, cold and steady; a contemptuous mouth, shut tight, the mouth of an executioner or a saint.

His body leaned back against the sky. It was a body of long straight lines and angles, each curve broken into planes. He stood rigid, his hands hanging at his side, palms out.

He walked swiftly, with a loose, lazy expertness of motion.

People turned to look at Howard Roark as he passed. Some remained staring after him with sudden resentment. They could give no reason for it; it was an instinct his presence awakened in most people. Howard Roark saw no one. For him, the streets were empty. He could have walked there naked without concern.

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He stood looking at her. She knew that he did not see her. No, she thought, it was not that exactly. He always looked straight at people and his damnable eyes never missed a thing, it was only that he made people feel as if they did not exist.

For once, she expected some emotion from him; and an emotion would be equivalent of seeing him broken. She did not know what it was about him that had always made her want to see him broken.

Excerpts from The Zahir, Paulo Coelho

Few excerpts from The Zahir written by Paulo Coelho:

One day, a journalist comes to interview me. She wants to know what its like to have my work known all over the country, but to be entirely unknown myself, since normally its only the singer who appears in the media. We meet again at a party, where there’s no pressure of work, and I manage to get her into bed the same night. I fall in love, but she’s not remotely interested. When I phone, she always says she’s busy. The more she rejects me, the more interested I become, until at last, I manage to persuade her to spend a week end at my house in the country.

We spend three days alone, contemplating the sea. I cook for her, and she tells me stories about her work and ends up falling in love with me. We come back to the city, she starts sleeping at my apartment on a regular basis. One morning she leaves earlier than usual and returns with her type writer. From then on, without anything being said, my home becomes her home too.

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I sit down at the typewriter, just to show Esther that I am typing, honestly trying to work.

And suddenly, the miracle happens. I look across at the woman who has just made some coffee and is now reading the newspaper, whose eyes look tired and desperate, who is her usual silent self, who does not always show her affection in gestures, the woman who made me say ‘yes’, when I wanted to say ‘no’, who forced me to fight for what she, quite rightly, believed was my reason for living, who set me off alone because her love for me was greater than even her love for herself, who made me go in search of my dream; and, suddenly, seeing that small quiet woman, whose eyes said more than any words, who was often terrified inside, but always courageous in her actions, who could love someone without humbling herself and who never ever apologised for fighting for her man, suddenly, my fingers press down on the keys.

The first sentence emerges. Then the second.

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Zahir: something, which, once touched or seen, can never be forgotten and which gradually so fills our thoughts that we are driven to madness.

I accept the Zahir, and will let it lead me into a state of either complete holiness or madness.

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The acomodador or giving up point: There is always an event in our lives that is responsible for us failing to progress: a trauma, a disappointment in love, even a victory that we did not quite understand, can make cowards of us and prevent us from moving on. As part of the process of increasing his hidden powers, the shaman must first free himself from that giving up point and, to do so, he must review his whole life and find out where it occurred.

The thing with writings

When you read something you’ve written long back, you read it with a whole new perspective. You’ve shed the baggage of thoughts that come with it. And then when you read it, its like its written by someone else. And you begin to understand it all over again. And sometimes you’re shocked at your writings. And sometimes, you’re yet to decipher its meaning.

Please note: I do not exactly recall where I got this excerpt from, but I would bet my money on Richard Bach’s The Bridge Across Forever.

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