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‘Some books make us dream, others bring us face to face with the reality.’

                                        Eleven Minutes

                                                  ~Paulo Coelho

Eleven minutes confronts us about our dreams and reality in the most daring plot. This world seems so perfect around us that we tend to forget about its dark secrets that they hold. And even if we get to know about their darkness,we tend to ignore it and its consequences. Darkness surrounds us whether we like it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not, we just ignore it until it becomes unbearable.

Paulo Coelho beautifully wrote the most taboo yet anticipated story of Maria. A sweet, curious and adventurous brasileira. She craved for adventures and lived her life only for adventures. Her curious and adventurous nature often put her on to wrong and dark path to which she knew what would be the consequences of her decisions. But despite all the darkness she never lost the hope of having a happy and peaceful life. She entered the real world way too soon just because she was craving for an adventure.

At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and other in the abyss. Abyss snatched every rational-irrational thoughts from her and made her numb but her hope for a fairy tale gave warmth to her soul. The author beautifully brought out a very prominent nature of the humans, that is, to never have the feeling of satisfaction. Its a human nature, even if we have every thing placed on a silver platter, we always have an urge for golden platter. Even when we know that it’s not possible. There is no doubt that we should always try to achieve more than what we have but why not first appreciate what we have, then going further? Our urge for golden platter often results in losing the silver platter and we go from having everything we deserve to nothing.

Maria consciously made decisions which she knew, would result in losing her sanity. So what made her go further with her decision? Simple. She was never satisfied with what she had, she always wanted more, more of everything. Her journey from her small town in Brazil to Rio and then to Geneva completely changed her outlook towards the world. She was thrown in the abyss of numbness and insanity.

We all wear masks. A mask of ‘happiness’, mask of ‘being strong’, mask of ‘everything is fine’, a mask of ‘nothing can hurt me’. But why there is a need for these masks? Again it’s a simple answer. This ‘ so called society’ doesn’t even take one second to judge, even when, they don’t know what a person is going through. A person feeling weak? They judge. A person feeling sad? They judge. A person feeling vulnerable? They judge. Whether we accept it or not, judgements are the sharpest weapons to kill all the hopes,dreams and peaceful life of someone. Maria was judged yet she never judged anyone. She met a lot of people in her jouney. Every one suffering. Some from society’s pressure, some tired from always putting up the mask, some fighting their inner battles or some simply because of other’s expectations. There was no end of it. She listened, understood, gave her views if it was necessory but never judged. She was a good listener because she knew that everyone needs a listener. It’s not important to give advise, sometimes listening is enough.

There comes a point, when opportunities feels like a trap, truth feels like a lie, joy feels like sorrow and freedom doesn’t feel like freedom. Every road seems like darkness. Same happened with Maria. She became so used to darkness that even when she was brought into the happy world, she had a hard time to believe it – to believe if it was really happening. It was too good to be true for her.

We all need someone who can see our inner beauty. And Maria was lucky enough to find that person. A young painter, Ralf Hart, who was just like her. Tired of being judged by everone. When everyone was busy looking flaws and mistakes of Maria, he was busy observing her ‘inner light’. Both tired with the world, both tired of being strong,both wanted to be understood and they both had diffrent yet similar outlooks towards the world. They found peace and serenity within each other and made each other feel alive. Ralf Hart gave warmth to her soul and Maria gave warmth to his thoughts.  Both broke each other’s barriers to let go of the darkness.

Ralf Hart played a huge role in Maria’s life. There is no doubt in that. But Maria’s fairy tale happened not because of Ralf. It happened because she believed that life would at least give her the happiness which she truely deserves. Mistakes and regrets are part of the life but we must never forget that struggle and hardwork are above all and their fruit is always sweet even if it’s not big.

Eleven minutes isn’t a love story of Maria. It’s a compilation of one’s strrugle to survive into the real world where hope is the only happiness, peace is just limited to books and satisfaction doesn’t exists. It’s a roller coaster journey of Maria’s emotions which took thousand of turns just to find her ultimate treasure- Peace and Happiness.

Review By

– Sanskarika Raj

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