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In quest of real happiness

The review of Paulo Coelho’s book The Winner Stands Alone (Spectrum, July 5) was lucid, concise and compelling. Coelho is one of the most widely read writers in the world today. His works have the power to “change the lives of the readers forever”.

By common consent, a storyteller with the power to inspire people and nations, he seeks to change the world that is full of manipulators, puppets, pawns and stooges who, by modern values, are “markers of success”. Such people value not the real intrinsic, genuine qualities but the perceived superficial ones. In his earlier work The Alchemist, the hero comes to learn that “love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny” and that “no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams”.

Similarly, in The Winner Stands Alone, Coelho’s message is: “We are part of the solution, if we go back to the real values of life and follow our dreams”. But according to the author, the dreams are not the dreams of the “superclass”, not of the parents or partners. “We should be what we always wanted to be”. Coelho’s writing is beautifully poetic, simple, clear and natural.

He insists on listening to our hearts and learn to read the omens strewn along life’s path and above all to follow our dreams, in order to find real happiness.


Save water

Watery Woes” (Spectrum, May 31) was a telling comment on the scarcity of water in different regions of the country in typical Jaspal Bhatti style. Water is called the elixir of life but it is fast becoming a scarce commodity in this century of information and technology. The problem has been compounded as very few water resources have been explored and developed. The Centre and the states have been addressing this serious problem but not effectively. The wide gap between the demand and supply has brought the focus on conservation of water. As every drop is precious, less water should be used.

Rainwater should be stored in ponds, tanks, lakes and aquifers to be used for bathing, washing and irrigation. Recycling of water should be done on an equal footing. If countries like Israel can remove salt from seawater to make it potable, why can’t we?


A landmark in Indian cinema

Prakash Mehra’s Zanjeer (Magical touch of Mehra, Spectrum, May 24), no doubt, stands as a landmark in the history of Indian cinema.

However, I don’t think that the movie is considered path-breaking in depicting the lead character (Amitabh Bachchan) in a negative role. Its real significance lay in giving Bachchan the image of an angry young man.

Mehra, of course, gave great hits like Zanjeer, Muqaddar ka Sikander, Hera Pher, Laawaris and Sharaabi with Amitabh Bachchan. But he also made some beautiful movies with other heroes too. Among such films, Samadhi (1972) and Haath Ki Safai (1974) stand out.

In Samadhi, which he directed for producer G.L. Khanna, he cast Dharmendra as a dacoit as well as a romantic hero. His role as a dacoit who accidentally ends up causing the death of an innocent child came in for high praise from critics as well as the masses. The movie turned out to be a blockbuster at the box-office.

Haath Ki Safai which Mehra directed for I.A. Nadiadwala starred Randhir Kapoor and Vinod Khanna.

The movie, which minted money at the box-office, stands out as a landmark in the careers of both the actors.


Laudable act

Lata Mangeshkar (Saturday Extra, June 6) is one of the top singers of this era. No wonder that her voice moved the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to tears when he heard Ye mere vatan ke logo, zara ankh me bharlo pani after the India-China war.

When Lata Mangeshkar recorded the Gurbani in a studio, she refused to accept any fee for it. She truly is an artist with high level of dedication to her profession.n




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