It’s no secret that Buddhi Sagar, a prominent Nepali fiction-writer, poet, and a columnist, is a fan of Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho. But few know how this love affair started.
One day in 2003, Buddhi Sagar, who back then read every Nepali and Hindi book he could lay his hands on, found Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ on a friend’s shelf. Back then, reading books in English was a struggle for him, but this particular copy was translated into Hindi and he thought, why not?
Little did he know he was about to meet his all-time favorite author.
“The Alchemist is one of the most touching books I have read,” shares the 40-year-old writer. In fact, the quote, ‘When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it’ is one of his favorite lines in literature. “I find that quote to be true even in my personal life.”
Years after he read the bestseller, in Hindi, he heard people talk about how good the book was in English. By now he had started reading English novels and he picked up the book again—this time in English. “There were parts I didn’t understand,” he confesses. “But as I knew the story and had the Hindi copy with me, it was easy to look up things that were unclear.”
After finishing the book, he picked up ‘The Zahir’, another of Coelho’s books. One after another, Buddhi Sagar read all of the bestselling author’s books. The Nepali author finds simple answers to complicated philosophical questions in the Brazilian’s works. Coelho has a style tailored to untangling life’s mysteries, he says, and that’s something he hasn’t found in other authors.
Simplicity in storytelling isn’t something Buddhi Sagar is unfamiliar with. Fans often describe his novels, Firfire and Karnali Blues, as simple but heart-touching reads. But the native of Kailai district clarifies that his works are not influenced by Coelho’s writing.
“I have a passion for books, both reading and writing them,” he shares. “But it’s only when I’m reading stories that are completely different to the kind I write that I enjoy them the most. I find novels that I’m familiar with repetitive and even boring.”
Buddhi Sagar finds Coelho’s versatility, directness as well as his outlandish plots utterly fascinating. “The Zahir is my favorite,” he says. “The main character becomes a whole new person to the one he was at the beginning of the book!” A book about transforming one’s ingrained beliefs and perspectives, the 2005 novel has a special place in his heart.
Buddhi Sagar isn’t shy to flaunt his love. His Twitter bio contains the aforementioned quote from The Alchemist and much of his time on social media is spent retweeting and sharing Coelho-related stuff.
Buddhi Sagar is also an avid reader of the author’s blogs. He has been such a loyal follower that Paulo Coelho himself has taken note. The two follow each other on Twitter and have spoken via direct messages. Buddhi Sagar has received countless books, movies, and TV shows recommendations from his favorite author, further increasing his respect for Coelho.
“Being recognized by someone I’ve looked up to for such a long time is one of the most memorable things to have ever happened in my life,” he shares.
Buddhi Sagar notes that just like him Paulo Coelho also came from a family with no literary history. “Family support for our profession was something that we had to earn,” he says.
The newly quadragenarian finds it endlessly exciting that two people so far apart physically can nonetheless feel so close thanks to their common love for literature.