Book: Like The Flowing River
Author: Paulo Coelho
We’re out of magic. This world, which is at the zenith of scientific advancement, is devoid of magic on the surface. We seem to know everything; how far it is to the moon, how to get there and back, how it makes the seas rise, and how it’s actually full of craters. Yet we forget that we don’t know everything. We don’t know how many lost travelers have found their way back under the moonlight or how many lovers have kissed and made peace after a fight under its gaze or how many children have wished to the fairies on the moon to send them play things. We don’t know everything.
We don’t know how far a kind word of ours can travel or how much damage a rude remark directed by us can cause. Yet, largely, we aren’t careful as a race. There’s always a deadline, always a goal to be reached, and always a need that can’t be satisfied. In this multi-variant journey of life, I read a book that compels us to slow down and examine the life we’re living. A book that gently demands we ask what we’ve made of ourselves. A book that prods us to love more, forgive more and be more instinctive.
Like The Flowing River is a book full of magic. The kind of magic that humans can create by being true to themselves and responsive to what is extremely necessary. It’s not a novel, but a collection of essays and stories brought together by Coelho in this book. This anthology is filled with stories that make us proud to live in a world with so many wonderful people around us. True stories that not only rekindle our faith in mankind but also renew the meaning of the word mankind thus making it man kind. The book has anecdotes from all over the world. The stories cut across religion, culture, countries and even ordinary comprehension.
One of the stories that stayed with me was of the woman who wanted to travel the world, saved money for it, but fell prone to a terminal illness. As her last wish, her ashes were sent to the postal offices of all countries to be dispersed. Not only did people all over the world disperse her ashes, but they also sent back postcards to her son, photographs of prayer congregations for her and gifts from their lands. The arrival of this woman to every country in the world was a celebration of sorts. And who could ask for more?
There is also a story about how Coelho just sat on his porch one day and battled his restless self to sit still. He had so much to do, supplies to buy, emails to answer, but he decided to just sit and listen to the beating of his heart, While this seems like an easy thing to do, I tried it, it’s very difficult. To suspend the need to do something and sit in one place trying to harmonize with nature is not as easy as it sounds. Try it.
Coelho’s claim in the prologue is that each story would take less than 3 minutes to read, and it is true. I haven’t counted the number of stories in the book, but after a point of time you wish that they never end. I would highly recommend this book to everyone. In fact, I gave it to my dad after reading it. And I would urge you to pick a copy. Even the most skeptical Coelho readers would like it. Because this book is about all of us, and demonstrates how all of us are so much more wonderful than we think.
Go ahead, grab some magic. And don’t forget to pass on kindness on your way out.