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Hope: The Flame in our Heart
|by P. G. R. Nair|
Have you seen the glitter in the eyes of an expectant mother? Have you glanced at the glimmer of hope in the face of a destitute? Have you not experienced a flutter when your eyes timidly scan for your number when exam results are published? How often have you waited for the postman to arrive when you battled for a job?
Hope is a long lane that has no turning. Hope is the eternal spring in us that pushes forth a bud even in our autumnal sorrows. Hope makes each day of our mundane existence colorful. It gives us the power to dream, fulfill our ambitions, seek greener pastures and revel in our joys. Hope is the engine that drives us forward. Hope is the conviction that tomorrow we will see the sunrise and greet each other in Boloji.
An execution by hanging is about to take place at Owl Creek Bridge. A troop of soldiers brings a convict to the bridge. The bridge is situated in a mountainous terrain. A river placidly flows underneath. Vigilant soldiers armed with guns are stationed at various points to shoot the criminal in case he attempts to escape. A soldier brings a stool to the middle of the bridge and places it close to the railing. The executioner ties a rope to the beam at the top of the bridge and makes a perfect noose at the other end. The convict is then asked to climb the stool. The executioner then slips the cord over the face of the man going to be hanged. His eyes are vacant and expressionless. While the soldier is adjusting the noose around his neck, he takes a glance around and silently looks down the bridge. He sees a wooden raft floating in the river and approaching the bridge. The man then lifts his face up and closes his eyes as if to compose himself to face the finality.
Bravo! He has broken the noose and is jumping into the river. He is swimming faster and faster down the river. We can hear a volley of shots being fired from different directions at the man escaping the execution. The man swims, spins, swirls and ducks to avoid being shot at. We are really amazed at the man's dash and deftness in evading all those shots. He must be a superb swimmer. Slowly, we see him moving out of the shooting range of soldiers. He swims and swims and finally reaches a shore. By this time the man is at the tether end of his energy, he is dead tired and lies there on his back.
The man now looks at the sunny sky and starts to giggle. He digs his fingers in the sand, clenches it in his fist and throws it into the sky with his never-ending laughter. His face becomes an exploding volcano of joy, spurting out all the emotions it can contrive of. We then see a road facing the shore with an endless view of tall pine trees on either side. Gaining a new lease of life, he gets up and starts running along the road. He runs and runs and runs along the road with the same sight of trees on either side.
We now see his home nestled in a garden. His sweet wife sits rocking on the swing on their portico. Her eyes are riveted on the road ahead of her heart. Ah, how beautiful she is! - Clean, cool and cute. She sees him and now springs towards him with her arms outspread floating in joy. The man is rushing to reach her. Look! He is about to clasp her. Look! He is going to melt in her arms in a moment. Why? Why? Why this delay for their consummation.
Thud! The stool creaks and we see the man hangs and rocks on the noose jolting us back into reality. We are devastated.
Hope is the unsinkable raft we cling to in our tragedies. Hope is the last thing that dies in a man. We always look for that silvery speck in every storm, every black cloud. It can survive an earthquake in Gujarat or a tornado in Texas. It drove a nation from smithereens to superpower after a nuclear debacle. I saw it writ on the face of my mother when cancer clutched at the age of 50. It is the elixir of hope that keeps my cousin hale and hearty even after a Kidney transplant at the age of 21.
We are passing through turbulent times where weather forecast is rain of tears and tintinnabulation of tragedies. If we extinguish that lighthouse of hope flaming within us, we die long before we are diagnosed dead.
As Emily Dickinson sang:
So nurture your hopes into a mountain and never ever shrink it to a grain of sand in your best times and worst times. May it remain as the anchor of your soul, the stimulus for your action and the incentive for your achievements in life.
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