By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
It is said that there is a small difference between fiction and reality – the former has to make sense. Dwelling into the cryptic reality, which itself is a vague concept, fiction has to choose precious gems to stand guard of its very own purpose. Given the boundaries and possible temptations, fictional sayings often tend to digress, and hence go redundant into the literary paraphernalia. The mid way between the extremes is the only path to ‘Santiago’, to salvation. And the one who knows the limits writes great fiction. One person of such kind is Paulo Coelho. Touting the need to stand by one’s dreams and the true path of one’s heart, he sounds, sometimes, didactic but his writings, always, go beyond inscribing trivial thoughts. His writing has the power to inspire nations, as The Times garnishes.
Though, the ideologies wander more or less around his previous works, he successfully maintains a peculiar kind of freshness while he deals with dreams, destiny and universe. “To love is to loose control”, he says appending a doubt “to whom?” which drives the book through the labyrinth of desire, hope and purpose.
This time, he goes beyond destiny and teaches us how to build up our past – not in fantasy but in the need of urgency. “The superior told me that if I believed that I knew, then I would in fact eventually know” says the protagonist who is trapped into the ethnic spirituality and arcane love. His love, Pilar, is grown up into a self oriented valiant woman for whom life is all about business – a kind of a commerce. She has buried the inside child of her and now, is indifferent, if not callous, to the universe emotions. They meet after 11 years, both in search of solace, but their moves are fixed with the prejudices they, themselves, had reaped. And then, the journey begins. A journey that had a lot to tell them not about the external world but about their inner existence, leading them to the river Piedra, in a small town in French Pyrenees, where they met their true metier and understood the reason and importance of their being together. Until then, the conflict prevails, shaping their paths, thoughts and emotions.
The web of words tinged with spirituality and inner conflicts that Paulo weaved around them is as exciting as the events running parallel to it. More than a love story, this book has life and faith. “Our dreams are our own and only we can know the efforts required to keep them alive” seems to be the driving fuel of Paulo’s philosophies. He talks of dreams, love, faith, god, soul and self and says that everything is connected to the soul of the universe and every act is written by one hand, hence there is nothing called coincidence. Something happens because it was destined to happen in order to fulfill a purpose. He doesn’t discuss love because “love doesn’t need to be discussed; it has its own voice and speaks its own language.” Rather, he intends to unveil the canopy that was erst put on it.
Love remains the same; its facets, however, do change. Childhood imbues innocence while adolescence brings another hue of reasons to it. And the path of change suffers dramatic reincarnations in its purpose. This book gives us an insight to such rekindled births.