The Alchemist

There is a line of distinction between beast & mankind. The former is the simplest giver and taker of the world, requiring nothing except the fulfillment of basic instincts. Most follow in a herd. But mankind has been named so because of its difference.

It is with this symbolization that ‘The Alchemist’ begins and builds up on, which I feel is the most unique asset of the book. The interesting comparisons, the unsaid truths & the perfect usage of objects are simply fascinating. Humans can learn from animals, but they must remain on a higher plane due to their intellect.

The book is fairly paradoxical; you could read it in a bus and feel miles away, it may irritate you, it may enthrall you. But it so gripping, that you will not put it down.

The world’s greatest lie is that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what is happening around us and our fate controls our lives. This is only superficial, because it is in such trying circumstances that we learn to take our decisions wisely and create our true destiny.

The concept of Urim & Thummim suggests much more than has been said. The fact is that every decision can be made, every action done & every challenge can be faced. If we chose to inhabit a life of grey, we cannot blame anybody for the stress and boredom in our lives. No external power can distinguish right from wrong. It is only the heart that can do so.

The book describes the special role that omens hold in our lives. Omens are nothing but signs that instill confidence in us and provide us with the spirit to continue. I am personally a strong believer of beginner’s luck. Omens prepare our minds for both success & failure.

The choice of cleaning crystal as a means of livelihood for Santiago was deliberate. Both crystal and the human consciousness are pure in nature. The brilliance of crystal signifies their beauty and energy.

The book also arouses the vital role of passion and sincerity in our everyday actions. It is only when our mind is calm and the heart pure, that we can realize the oneness of our soul with that of others whom we do not know or understand. It connects us to nature & life.

The most significant comparison is that of Santiago’s journey running parallel to our lives. The people that we come across, the new things that we learn and the situations that we meet, are all the elements of Santiago’s journey.

There were some thought provoking concepts of the book. The Arab phrase Maktub has been used throughout the book & echoes our own philosophy, but leaves the difference between question of fate and destiny unresolved.

Somehow, the epilogue of the book unfolded some of the magic that could have been created by the story. The treasure, according to me, was that Santiago had seen the marvels of the world, reached his destination and mastered the secret of happiness. His soul was now at the same pedestal that of the universe and he had also found the love of his life. The gold brought the entire book to a material plane.

The alchemist gives us inspiration to follow our dreams by seeing the world through our own eyes and not from those of someone else.

So if you’re looking for some soul searching, a sort of companion when you have lost something, this book is a must-read. Despite its flaws and drawbacks, which are only human, ‘The Alchemist’, in short, is soothing, abstract and fluid.

Ahana Dutta

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