Humanity’s Strongest Weapon- Hope

What does the word hope mean to you? Hope means many different things to different people. For some, hope is about expecting to get promoted. For some, hope is about living in better conditions, or the next day being better than today. Hope is an optimistic state of mind which is based on an expectation of positive outcome. Hope is humanity’s weapon against suffering and doom. You might have heard about the ‘Pandora’s box’. In Greek mythology, Pandora’s box was an artifact. Pandora’s curiosity led her to open a box, which released many curses on humanity. In the end when Pandora was depressed and regretted her decision, Hope came out. This tells us the importance and power of hope. Hope stands alone against all the evils. 

Hope gives us the strength to stay strong and face the challenges. But why are we talking about hope? During the pandemic, when we feel that we are lost, doomed, bent to suffering, hope can lift us up. The hope that we will make it out, the hope that these days too shall pass, will surely enable us to sail through these dark times. 

Emily Dickinson once said- “ Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” 

I believe this is a very beautiful way to express the meaning of hope. Hope lifts our soul when we feel low. To further our understanding of hope, I wish to share a story.

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Long time ago, there lived a poor orphaned girl, Belia. Only once had she seen her parents, that too when they left her in the hands of mother nature at the age of 4. She lived in an old hut along with another girl, Susan, who too had been abandoned by her once mother. Now they lived in destitute conditions in the lonely woods. 

“Susie! Come.” called Belia. They headed to the river to gather some berries, if there were any left. Day by day, man was growing fond of exploiting nature. Last year, they strolled in the meadows and made beautiful garlands. But now, the meadows were cleared, leaving hardly any flowers for the girls. As they walked past the cleared meadow, Belia said, “I tell you Susie, one day, we will have our flowers back.” Susan sighed and replied, “Lia, please stop dreaming. They are gone forever. They are never coming back.” Belia smiled and rushed to the river. “I don’t know how or when, but I know they surely will, Susie.” said Belia. 

Seasons changed, the girls found themselves famished. There were hardly any berries left, or money. They became fragile and lethargic due to starvation. Susan burst out into tears, ”No one cares if we live or die. I can’t bear this anymore.” Belia consoled her, ”Susie, don’t worry, someday soon we will have lots of food. Let’s go to the town to see if we find any.” Susan had lost her strength, ”No! We will die of starvation. I no longer wish to survive.” Saying this she lay down. Belia was too hopeful to give up, ”If you are unable to walk, I will go and bring some food. I know, I will find some.” Belia set out to the town. She sang merrily in her journey, as if she was a princess. She came by a big house. There she requested them to give some bread. After a long while of seeking their charity, the house Mistress gave her two pieces of bread. She rejoiced and turned back to her hut. 

Unfortunately, while crossing the river back home, her foot slipped and her basket fell into the river. She put in all of her remaining energy in chasing it. It was futile. She was panting, and fell to the ground with despair. She looked at the sky and begged for food. She heard a dulcet melody. She followed the song. The melody was coming from a few miles away. She walked and walked. Whenever the thought of giving up came to her mind, the melody relit the hope within her. Finally, she reached a pond, surrounded by trees, from whose branches hung red apples, however the melody had stopped. She jumped with joy and plucked an apple. She relished her apple. Then plucked a few more, tied them in her frock and hurried to the hut. 

Susan lay there on the cold ground. Belia tried waking her up. However, Susan lay there still. She truly had given up.

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