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“For I am the first and the last
I am the venerated and the despised
I am the prostitute and the saint
I am the wife and the virgin
I am the mother and the daughter
I am the arms of my mother
I am barren and my children are many
I am the married woman and the spinster
I am the woman who gives birth and she who never procreated
I am the consolation for the pain of birth
I am the wife and the husband
And it was my man who created me
I am the mother of my father
I am the sister of my husband
And he is my rejected son
Always respect me
For I am the shameful and the magnificent one”
Hymn to Isis ( 3rd or 4th century AD )

Until I re-read this twice, I was under the impression that Paulo Coelho has written these lines.

The foreword of the book “Eleven Minutes” starts with this Hymn. And I just could not help but wonder “How could a man describe women so beautifully?”.  Ahh Sigh! The story starts with a line “Once upon a time there was a prostitute…” and it immediately catches your attention… Thas how fairy tales used to start, not the story of a prostitute!

I remember asking one of my friends with excitement, “Have you ever read Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho. Thas my favourite book.” And the excitement vanished immediately with his reply “ I do not read these kind of books” I was shocked, “kind of?”. What kind of book is that? How do you categorise books in good or bad?

Anyways I am not concerned with what he thinks, Eleven minutes, as far as I have known myself, has described woman in the perfect words possible. The turmoil that she goes through, how she decides and takes up her life. How she falls in love when she least expects it. Beautiful is an understatement for this book to be honest!

When I first read this book, I was 20, and it seemed like a usual book to me that time. Nothing so special. However, when I re read the same book in 2008, I immediately said “OMG! Maria is me!”. But how could one relate herself with a prostitute?!?! Well, I relate myself with the thoughts, the confusions, the mysteries that the character faces and not with her profession.

I have read this book four times so far, and every time I have learnt something new about life. To give you a gist of the story, Eleven Minutes is based on the experiences of a young Brazilian prostitute called Maria, whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love. When a chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, she dreams of finding fame and fortune yet ends up working as a prostitute.
As Maria drifts further away from love. But when she meets a handsome young painter she finds she must choose between pursuing a dark path of sexual pleasure, or risking everything for the possibility of sacred sex; sex in the context of love. Eleven Minutes is a gripping and daring novel, which sensitively explores the sacred nature of sex and love, inviting us to confront our own prejudices and embrace our “inner light”.

Since I myself is such an incurably romantic… I love the end when Ralf Hart tells Maria “We’ll always have Paris” It brings tears to my eyes everytime I read it 😦 *Sobs*

I am sharing some beautiful parts/quotes from the book to elevate your senses guys 🙂 enjoy guys 🙂


“If I must be faithful to someone or something, I have, first of all, have to be faithful to myself.”

“Love is not to be found in someone else but in ourselves; we simply awaken it. But in order to do that, we need the other person.”

“A writer once said that it is not time that changes man, nor knowledge; the only thing that can change someone’s mind is love. What nonsense! The person who wrote that clearly knew only one side of the coin. Love was undoubtedly one of the things capable of changing a person’s whole life, from one moment to the next. But there was the other side of the coin, the second thing that could make a human being take a totally different course from the one he or she had planned; and that was called despair.”

“Sometimes, you get no second chance and that its best to accept the gifts the world offers you.”

“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?”

“What do they expect? Having chosen adventure, shouldn’t they be prepared to go the whole way? Or do they think that the intelligent thing to do would be to avoid the ups and downs and spend all their time on a carousel, going round and round on the spot? At the moment, I’m far too lonely to think about love, but I have to believe that it will happen, that I will find a job and that I am here because I chose this fate. The roller coaster is my life; life is a fast, dizzying game; life is a parachute jump; it’s taking chances, falling over and getting up again; it’s mountaineering; it’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself and to feel angry and dissatisfied when you don’t manage it. It isn’t easy being far from my family and from the language in which I can express all my feelings and emotions, but, from now on, whenever I feel depressed, I will remember that funfair. If I had fallen asleep and suddenly woken up on a roller coaster, what would I feel?
Well, I would feel trapped and sick, terrified of every bend, wanting to get off. However, if I believe that the track is my destiny and that God is in charge of the machine, then the nightmare becomes something thrilling. It becomes exactly what it is, a roller coaster, a safe, reliable toy, which will eventually stop, but, while the journey lasts, I must look at the surrounding landscape and whoop with excitement.”

“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility”

“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”

“You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.”

“In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel.”

“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”

“Dreaming is very pleasant as long as you are not forced to put your dreams into practice.”

“I am two women: one wants to have all the joy, passion & adventure that life can give me. The other wants to be a slave to routine, to family life, to the things that can be planned and achieved. I’m a housewife & a prostitute, both of us living in the same body & doing battle with each other. The meeting of these two women is a game with serious risks. A divine dance. When we meet, we are two divine energies, two universes colliding. If the meeting is not carried out with due reverence, one universe destroys the other.”

“Anyone who is in love is making love the whole time, even when they’re not. When two bodies meet, it is just the cup overflowing. They can stay together for hours, even days. They begin the dance one day and finish it the next, or–such is the pleasure they experience–they may never finish it. No eleven minutes for them.”

“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.”

“I’ve met a man and fallen in love with him. I allowed myself to fall in love for one simple reason: I’m not expecting anything to come of it. I know that, in three months’ time, I’ll be far away and he’ll be just a memory, but I couldn’t stand living without love any longer; I had reached my limit… Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other. Generally speaking, these meetings occur when we reach a limit, when we need to die and be reborn emotionally. These meeting are waiting for us, but more often than not, we avoid them happening. If we are desperate, though, if we have nothing to lose, or if we are full of enthusiasm for life, then the unknown reveals itself, and our universe changes directions.”

“In all languages in the world, there is the same proverb: ‘What the eyes don’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over.’ Well, I say that there isn’t any ounce of truth in it. The further off they are, the closer to the heart are all those feelings that we try to repress and forget. If we’re far from exile, we want to store away every tiny memory of our roots. If we’re far from the person we love, everyone we pass in the street reminds us of them.”

‘Pain is frightening when it shows its teal face, but it’s seductive when it comes disguised as sacrifice or self-denial. Or cowardice. However much we may reject it, we human beings always find a way of being with pain, of flirting with it and making it part of our lives.’ ‘I don’t believe that. No one wants to suffer.’ ‘If you think you can live without suffering, that’s a great step forward, but don’t imagine that other people will understand you. True, no one wants to suffer, and yet nearly everyone seeks out pain and sacrifice, and then they feel justified, pure, deserving of the respect of their children, husbands, neighbours, God. Don’t let’s think about that now; all you need to know is that what makes the world go round is not the search for pleasure, but the renunciation of all
that is important.”

A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is
planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones
together; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from
embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.

Note: Self discovery does not mean khud khushi here 😐


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