I love reading. I find the most enjoyable books are those that are written for us – where it feels like the author knows us personally and wants to send us a message and the only way to do this is through a story. Below are a few quotes that have stood out for me from a couple of books that I’ve read over the years. Below are the reasons why these quotes stay with me.
1) ”We will always ask ourselves the same questions. We will always need to be humble enough to accept that our heart knows why we are here. Yes, it’s difficult to talk to your heart, and perhaps it isn’t even necessary. We simply have to trust and follow the signs and live our Personal Legend; sooner or later, we will realise that we are all part of something, even if we can’t understand rationally what that something is.”1 – Aleph, P Coelho.
I read this book in 2012 when a lot of change had happened a few years before and change was continuing to happen in my life. Many larger-than-life decisions were being made or had been made and I was struggling in deciding if these were the right decisions.
This will always be a thorny issue and following our gut; our hearts; our instincts is not as easy as it seems for those of us who strive to be objective. Once a decision is made it will haunt us until we either accept it or change it – either route leading to yet another difficult decision.
2) “Oftentimes you give others the opportunity to create your happiness, and many times they fail to create it the way you want it. Why? Because only one person can be in charge of your joy, of your bliss, and that’s you. So even your parent, your child, your spouse – they do not have the control to create your happiness. They simply have the opportunity to share in your happiness. Your joy lies within you.”2 – The Secret, R Byrne.
I read this book more recently and it has assisted in helping me focus on my goals. While I believe that we need to make others happy in order to make ourselves happy, we should not neglect ourselves in the process. The way to be happy and make others happy is to decide what is right for us and we cannot expect others to know this. We cannot depend on others to make us happy. Continuing on this journey that we are currently on means learning to be happy along the way and not just expecting it to be at the end.
3) “The music of Africa is too wild, too free, too accustomed to death for romance. Africa is too crude a stage for the small scratching of the violin, too majestic for the piano. Africa is only right for drums. The drum carries its rhythm but does not steal its music. Timpani is the background, the music of Africa is in the voices of the people. They are its instruments, more subtle, more beautiful, infinitely more noble than the scratching, thumping, banging and blowing of brass and wind and vellum, strings and keyboard.”3 – Power of One, B Courtenay.
I read this book in high school and it was and continues to be one of the most beautifully written books I have read. It spoke to me in volumes and made me realise that as much as people tried and continue try to place me in a box because of my “Indianness” I refuse to fit. I grew up away from my blood-related family and Indian communities and when I went to visit I did not feel comfortable or at home, surrounded by people that looked similar to me. I did not understand any other language other than English and did not follow many of the customs. I was happy growing up in a place where my friends did not care that my hair was different or that the way I washed dishes was odd; yes there were many discussions about this but no judgement. I learnt about so many amazing cultures and understood people for who they were, not who they should be. Moving to a country where I am continuously categorised is nothing short of frustrating. So let me be clear on how I see myself: I am African. I was born on this wonderfully complicated continent and it is all I have ever known. I may be of Indian heritage but it is just that. A heritage.
One can either accept it or not accept it – this is not my decision. It is yours.
1.Coelho P. Aleph. HarperCollins Publishers (2011)
2.Byrne R. The Secret. Simon & Schuster UK Ltd (2006)
3.Courtenay B. The Power of One Penguin Books (2006)