Few years back I was a frequent traveler in search of Tigers in Central India. My journeys would last for weeks as I traversed through some unknown yet beautiful places. A few locals spoke to me about their encounters with the big cat. Some of them had bruises on their thighs and arms. Their bravery inspired me and also instilled sheer respect in my heart for the ones who fought hard and did not kill the endangered one in retaliation. I questioned myself ‘What was it that compelled them to fight and save the assailant at the same time?’

While on our way to one of the Tiger Sanctuaries, we stopped for a cup of tea in an unknown village. Fascinated by their simplistic approach towards life we resumed the drive until our driver screeched to stop and make way for school students to cross the road. I got down impatiently and walked towards the congregation. Much to my surprise they were not crossing the road. They were blocking it. Why? I exclaimed. A young child without limbs crawled slowly towards the school gate. I got back into car submerged with the thought ‘What makes the kid crawl every day to the school. What is her future in this over competitive world?’

One of my best friends was diagnosed with a ruptured vein around his Spinal cord and was operated immediately. After having spent three weeks on the bed and a huge fortune on the bills, it was observed that his lower body had slipped into paralysis.  Off course, I had all the reasons to blame the doctors for messing it up. With a few more rounds of post diagnostic surgeries, he was asked to rest and recover on his own. Every time I would meet him my anger would amplify for the doctors who put him in that condition. The reaction was a bit different from my friend. Every time he would appear more patient and calm. He would speak as if nothing happened. Every time I would ask ‘How can you instill such tranquility in your mind?’

With multiple rounds of Chemotherapy my cousin was reduced to half of what she was a year back. She fought a huge battle against herself every day while she cleansed her body full of blood and waste. She did not beg for support and mercy. She stood still and underwent torturous medication for months. As she recovered, she reclaimed her faith in everything that happened and was happening to her. May be it was for the greater good. Maybe it was beyond anyone’s rational understanding. I still stood by my pursuit to find the answer ‘Where did that determination come from?’

I befriended an estranged cabbie who would drive quietly and look outside window vulnerably during traffic halts. I assumed he had a story to share. He lost his only child two years back. He couldn’t save him with all the little resources he had. The only saving grace to offset medical bills was his cab, but to no avail. Each day he drove across the graveyard with moist eyes and a heavy heart. He did not curse God. Neither did he challenge fate. He looked ahead with optimism. He began donating one fourth of his income to an orphanage. As distinctive as it appeared, he had a liberating belief in something. What was it?

If the world did not have it, we would have been in an unevolved state of being. As exaggerated as it sounds, we depended on this intangible subject right from the time humanity was conceived as an idea. As we transcended from the Ice Age to Stone Age and now, the modern age, we realized that Hope was the binding factor behind our evolution. Hope prevailed as a substance of affirmed belief in what was later symbolized as Religion. Being a man with limited intelligence I never the questioned the psychology behind this subject but I was always intrigued in understanding what looped the human race so close to Hope.

Hope prevailed in their hearts while the world thought otherwise. The villagers survived and had amazing stories to share, the little child crossed the road and inched towards becoming the next scientist, my friend freed himself from the crutches of melancholy and raced towards triumph, my cousin now counsels’ people and works towards funding cancer institutes, the cabbie is blessed with a daughter. He still donates to the orphanage.

Hope transcends all forms of human emotions. It supersedes everything that causes pain, everything that dwells in misery, everything that dominates failure and everything that propels anger.

Hope. It’s a precious emotion. Never let it go.

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