Home 2021 Foreword

Illustration by the author

A story well told can lift up your hearts
And help you forget all your sorrows
It can give you the strength and the courage to stand
And face all your troubles tomorrow.
For there’s wisdom and wit, beauty and charm
There’s laughter and sometimes there’s tears
But when the story is over and the spell it is broken
You’ll find that there’s nothing to fear.

~~Mike Jones, The Storyteller

It is April 2021 and we are still trying to come to terms with Covid. A year of living with masks, a year of living with restrictions we never ever dreamed could be imposed on us. Some of us have experienced the virus, some of us lost loved ones; the atmosphere around has been one of gloom and despair. But live we must. While the past year has had many negatives, there have been positives aspects as well. Parents have got the opportunity to work from home and a chance to spend time and get to know their children. Many made use of the time and discovered talents they never knew they had. And everywhere the tribe of hope whisperers has been busy at work trying to see the silver lining and giving hope to us all, that these times are but a temporary phase and we will get through it together.

Look around you. Have you seen a hope whisperer?

The hope whisperers are shape shifters who take many forms. Sometimes they are “Hope-finders.” When all else looks miserable, these look within themselves and around them. They find hope in tiny little things one cannot imagine.

Then there are those who “Live with hope”.  They are hopeful that times and situations will change for the better.

And then, there are those who are the “Spreaders of Hope” or givers of hope. They are the ones who gently keep chanting “this too shall pass, this too shall pass…”

This tribe of hope whisperers or storytellers has been working silently to bring cheer. In this edition, we bring you a medley of stories and experiences from the lives of a few such whisperers of hope.

Table of Contents

The Race to the Vaccine!

Big changes can only come when one is only willing to take that leap of faith; a first-person account of the Moderna Vaccine trials to illustrate that maxim.

It’s All About Telling Stories

The life journey of a master storyteller who has taken his love of stories to all forms of art.

Pandora’s Box

A world of schisms and the choices we may make.

The Toast Doesn’t Always Have to Fall Buttered Side Down!

The essential survival tool, therefore, has been pessimism, and do we love it! Even when its “use by date” is long gone.

A Game of Stones

Sometimes the inspiration for creative work comes from the most unlikely places; in this case a casual chat with a stranger on a bus heading to Hampi.

Driven by Hope: Engineering, Economics and Strategy

An inspiring account of how sound engineering, economics and strategy, driven by hope enabled a struggling Indian company to survive the international competition and emerge triumphant in the post-liberalization era.

Finding Silver Lining in a Cloud

One of the positive changes that 2020 wrought – an increased consciousness about good health and a willingness to do something about it. The authors’ journey to better health, and his efforts to share what he’d learnt with a wider audience in 2020.

The Love of Reading

About an 18-year old vibrant book club in Pune who continued to meet virtually in 2020 and expanded their reach too!

The Master’s Mantra

A story set in Venetian lagoons that looks deep into the question of what constitutes true inspiration in art.

Turbulent Times

A poem for those who work with words, who know tears and tear-jerkers, and for those who understand what it is to weave aspirations with temptations.

The Stranger In Your Mind

Our zany illustrator takes to poetry this time, to explore themes of truth, identity and attitude.

#AnEveningWithoutHashtags

On mobile phones, hi-speed Internet and why we need the occasional Internet Sabbath to reclaim our lives.

Caterpillars Can Fly

A start-up travel company’s journey of metamorphosis during the pandemic. A story not just of challenges but the overcoming of them too.

A COVID Tale from Melbourne

Glimpses of 2020 from a land down under; the changes in daily life and in one’s emotional landscape, the habits cultivated in order to keep going on.

Learning at Dawn

A thought-provoking piece by the creator of the Indian Rupee symbol that takes you through a teacher’s quest for perfection and diligence in his students.

The Bytes We Snack On

Uses an analogy of the snacks that we binge on to explore (online) content consumption habits and the impact on us.

The Same Yet Different World

Do folktales have a higher purpose? Read two folklores from two apparently disparate cultures that open our eyes to “other” worlds that lie beyond ours.

The Underdog

A bittersweet tale of a friendship between a man and a dog; the story unfolds slowly and is rich in detail, one to be savoured, not skimmed through.

The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster: IndianRaga

In the third installment of the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster column, we introduce you to Sriram Emani, who has set up the largest Indian arts platform in the world.

Birding Beats the (Lockdown) Blues

Tales of bird watching that read like a travelogue, taking you on an unplugged, no Apps journey of Mumbai.

The Pandemic: A World of Opportunities

In a year in which social distancing has been the norm, here’s an article on how music can connect people spread across geographies.

Whisperings of Hope

About hope and promise found in the smallest and everyday things of life.

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