A Lesson on Hope

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The little testament of hope

This picture right here aptly represents what our outlook to life should be. Just look at this picture of a plant that I had given up for dead in my balcony – this beautiful purple shoot has pushed itself out of the soil with this green green leaf at its tip waiting to unfurl like a lush flag. Until it had poked its green head out of the soil, I had thought this plant was dead and gone. But there has been so much happening under the soil, don’t you think? The roots have been taking hold of the foreign soil, making the base strong and permanent; the shoot – against all odds -has pushed stubbornly through the hard soil and has come up with this proof of life – a leaf ready to unfurl. Ah, the miracles of nature. It lays out lessons on hope to the keen observer.

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I had brought this plant from my trip to Bangalore in January, with very slight expectations of it growing in Chennai’s weather and with the varying degrees of sunlight that my modest balcony receives. This plant was said to have medicinal properties and was graciously given to us by Sanjay’s aunt from her teeming with life garden, who advocated eating a leaf a day to combat diabetes. Imagine that! The leaf had a lovely sour taste and was not hard to eat, so I brought it to Chennai.

The plant promptly dried up as expected but we continued to water it regularly. There were no visible signs whatsoever that the plant would grow back, but we still watered it. After six weeks of no-show, of lulling us into believing that it was dead, this beautiful purple shoot pokes its head out of the soil! Oh the joy I felt to see .. of life.

I immediately got hit by an analogy of how some of our dreams may take time to unfurl or to come true even though we invest our energies into it. The key to knowing if it is worth the trouble or not is not let go of one’s belief in it, but to persevere and nourish the dream. This happens to be true in my case. I have been busy trying to get a room in our flat ready for Airbnb and have invested money and time in getting the place tip-top to receive guests. It was so thrilling – this start of a new dream. I loved the idea of starting something like this and couldn’t wait to usher my first guest in. Only, it did not happen that way.

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Here are some snaps of the room. It is a nice cosy one which accommodates two guests. We got the walls and windows cleaned, painted, the bathrooms uplifted, and spent a lot of time in sprucing up the room as it needed a lot of work. The room was advertised on Airbnb and we waited, and waited. For two months we waited before our first guest came in. On hindsight it looks like less time, but at that time I started having a lot of doubts about the prudence of this decision. Nothing seemed to happen. We tweaked the prices and the description a bit and waited some more. Meanwhile formalities from Airbnb was completed and a couple of our annual trips made, I didn’t realize then that my dream was taking hold, spreading its roots and absorbing nourishment from the love and care we were showering on it. The shoot was coming up.

Now with a couple of bookings done and people hosted with great vigour, I am starting to understand the similarity to that sturdy shoot pushing its way out of the soil.¬†With the right amount of attention and work, I think any dream is ours to fulfill. Isn’t it right? More often than not, after investing time and energy, we feel like giving up when things don’t work out. But nature tells us to be patient… to believe, to give time for it to mature. When the time is right it would take off surely. The trick is to protect it, nurture it and never give up on it even when there is a no-show.

Of course, like our Night Jasmine plant which has dried up to nothing after giving us so many many portions of medicinal tea, sometimes we may need to let some dreams go. Those that have been milked for what it’s worth and whose benefits have been enjoyed by all. It is prudent to let that go, the way I had to let my Parijat/ Night Jasmine plant go.

But for now, with summer extracting the very essence out of all these plants, there is growth everywhere. Small, tiny leaves tremble in the summer breeze waiting for the nourishment to reach them from below and with the right mix of elements the magic occurs…a promise has been born.

 

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