Friday, June 1, 2007

Eleven minutes

In these holidays, I’ve been indulging myself – no, I don’t mean “binge eating” :D . I mean to say, I’ve been indulging in one of my passions – Reading. Finished a few books – ‘The Namesake’ [just ok, nothing extraordinary, usual NRI-identity crisis stuff], ‘The Sleepers’ [damn good, hard-hitting], some novel by Rosamund Pilcher [crappy sloppy love story :D], ‘A town like Alice’ [really good, and again, hard-hitting, but felt it slightly dragging and, in places, wandering away from the main focus, which slackens the grip it has on the reader].

Now, reading this really awesome book called “Eleven minutes” by Paulo Cohelo. One of the best books I’ve read in recent times, and, after a really long time, it’s been one book which got me so involved that I could almost feel the protagonist’s emotions as I went through the book. The protagonist is a prostitute and the book speaks about sex [“Eleven minutes is all it takes” to quote Maria, the protagonist]. But, there’s none of the taboo that generally accompanies it. Usually, the books which speak about sex – project it as either sinful [esp. religious texts do so], else, in a technical manner [as in all the “guide” books], or concentrate just on it, missing out on other accompanying emotions [as in the M&Bs]. Here, the treatment of the subject is entirely different. It is a male author, speaking through a women protagonist, so, I guess, both men and women can relate to the book. Maria is portrayed as a really strong woman. Her very positive attitude towards life strikes you as you go through the book. It is all about where life leads her. Her quest for love, the repeated disappointments, her utter frankness [and lack of shame] about getting into her profession for the money and the adventure, the occasional qualms she has – all have been brought about in a simple yet touching manner by the author. Though she is business like, and very professional in her attitude, there’s a woman within her who is a romantic and hopes to find the “Love of her life”. Though she faces hardships, she takes them positively, takes home lessons from them, and moves on. It portrays her journey, her growth as a person, her views on sex and love, and how these vary with her experiences and as she grows as a person. Here’s an excerpt from one of her accounts about love :

“All my life, I thought of love as some kind of voluntary enslavement. Well, that is a lie: freedom only exists when love is present. The person who gives him or herself wholly, the person who feels freest, is the person who loves most wholeheartedly.

And, the person who loves wholeheartedly, feels free.

That is why, regardless of what I might experience, do or learn; nothing makes sense. I hope this time passes quickly, so that I can resume my search for myself – in the form of a man who understands me and does not make me suffer.

But what am I saying? In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each of us responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel

It hurt when I lost each of the various men I fell in love with. Now, though, I am convinced that no one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone.

That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.”

1 comment:

Gauri said...

"....no one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone...."
Its been 2 years that I read that book and forgot this one line which back then had impressed me a lot. I found the book very boring and no where near comparison with his other title's.
I do believe however that Maria is a very interesting character. She is one of the rare kinds who see only black and white and struggle within themselves when they have to confront a gray(so to speak).