The All-Season Antidote

It is Diwali. Or Diwali eve. Or Diwali weekend. And I am, all at once, in a pensive, nostalgic mood. Some happy occasions trigger memories that assume an ominous cloak of beauty and transform everything around them into a messenger of times bygone.

Last year, my mamma was with me, here, celebrating. This year, she is a little far. And while I expected a certain cloud of sadness to descend upon me at this thought, the air is clear. I do not feel sad, down or melancholic. Instead, I look forward to meeting her soon. May be in a month? Or on new year’s eve? Or even sooner? Ah yes, that little flame of hope keeps my spirits from flagging; oh it keeps them fanning instead! 🙂

This festival is, in many ways, a harbinger of hope. The loquacious, the silent, the rebellious, the submissive – all keep going with the single beacon of hope somewhere firmly secured in their hearts. Someday, they will reach where they wish to be, irrespective of the adverse situations the present offers. And in keeping this faith from wavering, at least in me, books have been instrumental. They have narrated me stories that have evoked real emotions and I have refused to leave their world despite the rolling of many years.

Today, I am reminded of some of the best stories I have read that instilled in me an uncrushable seed of hope and which I keep holding onto as if my dear life depended on it.

Dear loves, thou need an embrace, this Diwali 🙂

  1. A Thousand Splendid Suns : A heart-wrenching tale of two women in the war-ravaged Afghanistan that held me hostage for a fortnight. I heard, I bore, I wept, I sunk, I fought and I won with them.  And I have stayed with them till date. That a sun which goes down also rises and regains its color, finds vivid meaning in this radiant book by Khaled Hossieni.
  2. Love In The Time of Cholera: How can I ever forget this all-encompassing love-story of Florentina Ariza and Fermina  Daza that braves not just classes, but marriages, adulteries, failures, losses, seasons and quite literally, a lifetime, to arrive at its spring? The feeble string of hope, this love story hung from, was presented in its inundating glory and raw passion by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in a true master’s style.
  3. Letters to the Young Poet: There are few books that have lifted me, like a benevolent parent, in their arms and carried me away from all the chaos and destruction rocking my world. Letters to the Young Poet belongs to this elite category. Written in a series of letters, Rainer Maria Rilke picks every discolored leaf of the heart and tenderly brings them to breathe. And sustains the breathing. Its a meditation I have often undertaken, with nourishing results.
  4. Blindness: We cannot fathom the value of hope, and in time, resilience, unless it is snatched away from us. To me, nobody showed that better than the immensely sagacious, José Saramago. In a land where people suddenly begin turning blind, the battle of humanistic harmony and animal instinct rage like a ferocious inferno and in its fire, the jewel of hope burns even brighter.
  5. Memoirs of a Geisha: What can a hopeful heart do?  Dismantle the attacks of loss and separation, dissolve the hinges on which abandonment and unrequited affections rest. A story of a young prostitute in Japan, who travels a full circle in life with the flower of love in bloom within her but invisible to her beloved, is a testimonial to untarnished love. Arthur Golden keeps her soul from any marks, allowing her only the whiff of hope to resuscitate in.

Dear Hope, do stay.

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[Image courtesy i.ytimg.com]

 

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