I completed reading the book for the second time in the last few hours. I read it at a stretch. I couldn’t put it down even for drinking a glass of water. Just like we take breath every moment without realizing how beautifully it is organized, being controlled, and regulated by our mind, I read that book without realizing what’s happening around me or, as a matter of fact, inside me.
I read it with the same curiosity as a two-year baby looks at his new toy train; not knowing how it moves when his mother does something with the key, and put it on the tracks. Just like the baby holds the toy train and stares at it in astonishment and awe; not knowing why it amuses him so much even though he doesn’t know what it is. And finally he puts it in his mouth, perhaps, not knowing what else to do.
Just like a baby, I kept staring at that book; not knowing what to do. If not for my acquired knowledge that forced me not to, I would have cried; just like a baby. For the second time in the last few hours, I was experiencing a trance-like situation; the whole world spinning around me or maybe I was going round-and-round, I wasn’t sure. I was perplexed and ambivalent, as if all my emotions and logical sense were kept in a bottle, lid closed, and shaken like a bottle of Champaign. Stirred and shaken upside down.
“The Alchemist,” that’s the title of the book. Written by a person who stays thousands of kilometers from my place; who doesn’t speak my language; and who has never been to my country. Still I felt as if he was sitting by my side explaining to me lucidly every detail of my life and telling me, “Hey! No matter how long you go on a wrong road, turn back.” I felt so close to him because he told that he loves me; just like he told millions of the readers of that book. That didn’t matter. He did not tell me something new. But he brought forth feelings and lessons that I was trying to ignore.
I was not hearing his words through my ears, but I was clearly listening to him. His words were acting like freezing-cold water on hot melting rock; causing disastrous and multiple explosions inside me. My heart was telling, “I have to trek the path I believe in.” But my logic was saying, “May be you should wait for some more time.”
A dialogue, one that hitherto never occurred, started in me. Perhaps, this dialogue was there forever since I was born; but this was the first time I became aware of it. Till now, it did not bother me because I did not accept its existence. But now it was staring in my face and the sound of the conversation was getting louder and louder.
I was always thinking that my logical sense was a bit poor, as I was a poor student at mathematics (what a poor association!) However, after listening to this dialogue between my heart and mind, I realized that my logic was indeed very strong. Maybe it was against my heart, but very strong. It flaunted the virtues it achieved from years of acquired knowledge.
It is strong and stubborn.
It is stubborn and arrogant.
It is arrogant and insecure.
It is insecure and afraid.
Suddenly, my heart asked in distress and in dismay, “How long has it been since you saw the sunrise?”
My mind did not hesitate. It had a definitive answer, “I have to work late in the night and I can’t get up so early. Don’t you think I have responsibilities to fulfill?”
“When was the last time you found yourself in peace and harmony?”
This time, the answer from my mind was even more concrete as if it was well prepared for such a question, or perhaps, already knew that such a question existed. It replied, “That is what I am trying to achieve. If I work a bit hard now and secure and settle my life, then, I can be at peace.”
“When was the last time you had a chit-chat with your soul?” the anguish was now more apparent in the voice of my heart.
“What soul, I am the soul?” straight came the reply from my mind. My heart did not say anything. It went numb with a tinge of pain and agony.
Subduing its voice, my heart said, “I thought you were just ignoring me. Now I know you deny my existence itself.” Saying this, my heart stopped talking but kept a grin as if it has decided something. The look resembling the dialogue, “Enough is enough! I am going to take some action. Words will not do any magic anymore.”
I couldn’t tolerate this conversation anymore. My brain was blocking out. Just like two high-speed asteroids colliding in space without any noise, I was having big-bangs in my head and heart without any sign on my face.
By now I gathered the courage to let my struggling-tears come out. I got up, closed my bedroom door, fell back on my bed and started crying. Only the first move was in my control. The moment the first tear was out of my eyes, my emotions took the reins in their hands and I was sobbing hopelessly and helplessly.
Slowly, I drifted into a sleep; a sleep that was more like trance. I did not feel the monotonous emotions or routine unnecessary thoughts about tomorrow or the day after that. At that time, all I was concerned about was living that moment. I wanted to sleep forever. I was hoping that I sleep that night and never wake up to see this stupid, boring life again. I didn’t want to get into a control-less situation where I am driven by my surroundings and events which do not allow me to do what I dream of.
I didn’t want to get up because I knew that the next day is going to be the same. I knew that when I get up, I will pacify my heart and convince it to wait for some more time before I can trek the path of its dreams. I knew I will be able to ignore my internal conversations, because I knew my “acquired knowledge” is powerful enough to push away the floods of inner talk. I knew that the next day is going to be the same, unless I free myself.
This rang bells in me. Yes, freedom. What if I was free? Then, tomorrow isn’t going to be the same. If I was not controlled by anything or anybody, will I allow tomorrow to be the same? Hell, no!
Yes, freedom! I kept repeating these words until I peacefully glided into the world of my dreams. It was like switching off the black & white monitor and viewing the color one. It was like going from an 800x600 resolution to an amphitheater. A dream where I was sure that tomorrow is not going to be the same.
The next day when I woke up, I realized it was not the same! It does not have to be same! Then, I explored the meaning of freedom and ways to achieve it.