Indians who follow Paulo Coelho on twitter were in for a pleasant surprise on Sunday.
The Brazilian, who is famous all over the world for his popular novel 'The Alchemist', has tweeted a photo of an autorickshaw with the names of Paulo Coelho in English and Alchemist in Malayalam, plying on a Kochi road.
The tweet went viral quickly, leaving many wondering about the driver and owner of the three-wheeler.
But those who know K A Pradeep in Ernakulam are not amused.
They consider it as a perfect recognition to a bibliophile who devours all Paulo Coelho books available in Malayalam.
Pradeep hadn't seen the tweet until one of his friends informed him about it on Sunday afternoon. "It was a huge surprise. I am excited to know that my beloved writer tweeted my auto rickshaw," Pradeep told Onmanorama.
Fifty-five-year-old Pradeep fell in love with Coelho after he read the Malayalam translation 10 years ago. "I was fascinated by his storytelling method. Since then, I used to grab all his books available in Malayalam. I had taken a break from my work to complete reading the books at one go. I would say Coelho is a person with a magical pen," Pradeep said.
Pradeep has already read Ceolho's 10 books that are available in Malayalam, including Veronica Decides to Die, The Pilgrimage, Fifth Mountain and The Zahir. "I have just completed reading The Adultery and Eleven Minutes," he said.
Pradeep has been riding the auto rickshaw in Ernakulam for 25 years. He will come to Kochi every morning from his home in Cherai and return home by night.
He decided to name his vehicle 'Alchemist' 10 years ago. It was quite uncommon in Kerala, where drivers used to name their vehicles after their children, film actors and their characters,
"Many wondered whether I am insane when I decided to name the vehicle after my favourite writer. But it gave me good companions," Pradeep said.
Writers, voracious readers, film directors and musicians prefer to travel by Pradeep's vehicle when they come to Kochi. They will discuss books and social issues with him during the trip.
"The Alchemist is my preferred vehicle when I am in Kochi. It is a pleasure to travel with Pradeep. We used to discuss a lot of things during the trips," said popular music director Veetrag.
Such trips with eminent personalities, said Pradeep, always enlightened him. "They used to gift me books too," he said.
After Coelho's tweet went viral, Pradeep hopes that his dream of meeting his favourite writer is not too far. "I would like to meet and thank him for his books. I hope it will happen soon."