Posted by: mayankhyanki
on Dec 22, 2007
Many a times, itâ€™s the constant fear of things which strengthens us to live our life. This constant fear of failures: failure in life, love, relations, goals, helps us to understand the nature of things, events and help us know the value of our life. Anyone from outside could never have known Veronikaâ€™s state of mind. She seemed to be just the perfect woman with a good job, a caring mother and lots of friends; a pride for whoever she was with and envy of other people. I am still not very clear about why she wanted to die, was it just boredom! Her problems regarding the world and its nature seem to be so natural and neutral to everyone. She even hadnâ€™t suffered anything in particular. She lived her life the way she wanted to and always looked at the fun part of it. But probably, no matter how much we try to live, it always seems that we are missing something in life. Something which either the society around us thinks is right or we think should be there. In Veronikaâ€™s case, it is the chaos in the world, the mess around which troubled her. The world, however, is always neutral to everyone. This reason no way justifies a step like a suicide. The other reason was the fear of pain and loneliness in her future years. Even this reason seems very trivial as she is just 24, and has a long-long way to go. At first, both these reasons seem absurd and foolish to lose oneâ€™s life over. However, reflecting back, many of my problems which I always crib about also seem to be very trivial. Ideally speaking, just as Veronika shouldnâ€™t be bothered by her problems, my problems too shouldnâ€™t be bothering me. However, it practically seems to be impossible as the more we try to avoid problems, the more its worries haunt us.
People say that most of the times we fail to look at the brighter side of life. This book makes me realize that itâ€™s not that we fail to do so; itâ€™s simply that we make a decision not to look at the brighter side of the life. Sometimes we ignore to choose a better life for us; we let ourselves deep into worries and problems and let life pass by. As rightly said in the book, itâ€™s everyday that we make a decision between life and death. Death here means mere existence as opposed to living a life. A mere existence on this beautiful planet would mean missing so much of good things. Looking back I realize how I have missed on small-small wonderful moments as I chose not to look at them. Striving towards our goals, perfection and being over-conscious of the society around, what we miss most is being ourselves. I personally find it very difficult to be at peace when I feel that there are things I am doing out of pretence. This feeling sometimes gets so intense within us that we hate our state of being and start hating the world and its beautiful existence at large.
The goodness of life dawns us on only when we are at struggle for our existence. Itâ€™s quite ironic that itâ€™s the worst things in life which make us realize the value of beautiful things. The great divide between me and Veronika is in the intensity of the feeling. Although most of us wouldnâ€™t dare to take an extreme case like suicide, still we detach ourselves from our lives and just exist. The book makes me realize that we should pause at times, reflect on what we are going through and cherish the good moments. We should thank ourselves, God and those who love us for every beautiful day we have lived by. We should slow down our maddening pace and feel the beauty of little things around us.
Other characters of the book, namely Dr. Igor, Mari and Eduard also have something significant to tell us. Itâ€™s wonderful the way Dr. Igor works. His professionalism, his dedication and devotion are notable. He continued to work in the asylum in his own way even after so much criticism from the outside world. He had faith in himself and had the courage to carry out what he believed in and wanted to do. His defiance against the beliefs of the society proved to be just and right in the end. Many of us feel quite helpless and weak at times to go against the norms and the society. I think that people should be themselves at times they really feel strongly about it, but then the expectations, the rules, the society always gets dominant over us!
Eduard helplessness is that when he tried to go his way, others looked at him as an alien. Just because he did not fit into the norms, he was declared as mad, an unstable entity. This fear of non-approval by others, the society at large is what scares us to walk on our own path. This inability to explain ourselves and the constant need to justify ourselves makes us feel weak and helpless. As written in the book, being mad is like 'to be in an alien land and being unable to communicate your ideas to the people of the land as they do not understand your language'. This fear of being titled as â€˜madâ€™ holds us back from experiencing many happy moments we would otherwise love to experience, cherish and live in.
The author Paulo Coelho has taken two extreme view points in the book here. In real life, very few of us either live at these extremes or would want to live at these extremes. We stay troubled and tensed for most of our lives trying to strike the right balance between these two extreme points: 'always living to the expectations of others' and 'always following our own heart'. The truth probably is that there is no standard balance point, there exists no equilibrium point. Every person on earth is unique and chooses his or her own equilibrium point and lives by it, there's no right and no wrong in how much preferences one gives to the two sides. People have been wasting their lives trying to figure out the 'utopian' equilibrium point. The truth is that thereâ€™s no such thing and we should be happy and live our life the way we have been doing it till date; as per the society at times and listening to our heart at other moments!
* 'Veronika decides to die' is a novel by the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. Num of pages: 191.
Posted by: mayankhyanki
on Sep 22, 2007
A few days back a thread on orkut asked about what is life and I instantaneously replied. Not because I know what exactly life is, but for the reason that I am damn confused about what it is and how am I supposed to live it! Everyone ponders over the 'mysteries of life' and so do I. Here's what I wrote in back there..
We don't live a life, others make us do so. Lucky are those who live a life of their own!! As I look back at my past, I see that whatever I have done was out of expectations, mostly. My parents expected me to study and so I studied, my elders expected some regards from me which I duly gave them, the beggars on the street expect a few coins which again I give them (mostly), my friends expect me to go out for a movie with them - which I never miss :), you expect me (or anyone for that matter) to post a reply here which I do.... and these are very very very few of the thousands of examples which can be stated in the same context. True that you too wanted to live many of these moments, but then most of the times you did it only because it was expected out of you, either explicitly (someone saying it) or in an implied manner (like you just know what's expected out of you).
Sometimes you have that crazy feeling of flying the bike high in the air, or studying damn hard or say proposing someone and then you do it. These are the kind of events which truly comes from the heart and you really live 'YOUR LIFE' 'YOUR WAY' then (the list of course, is person and time dependent). And lucky are those who get to live even a few such wonderful moments.
And yeah, the level of goodness (like people saying, " he's a very good man") in a person is a measure of how successful he/she has been able to fulfill the expectations of the society around him/her.
I end here not boring you anymore with one of my many many thoughts on 'mysteries of life'.. Moreover it's a personal opinion, you are free to change my mind with reasonable and rational statements... I would love that.
Hope you either agree or disagree with me (By the way, I don't expect anything. On a second thought, maybe I do!!)