Illustration by Harshita Bandodkar
Hope is a nebulous feeling curled up inside me,
A pair of wings that has not yet taken flight,
Elusive on most days and palpable on others,
Like petrichor after a rainstorm.
On some days, Hope is a raindrop caught in a gossamer,
Or, the soft crunch of seashells beneath my feet.
On other days, it is a tiny leaf coaxed out
from a plant given up for dead.
Or, the smell of mothballs in a hallway,
A silent tear shed during the immersion,
The Goddess will return next year, Hope whispers.
Hope is symmetry achieved on a canvas,
Or, a stray penny discovered on the sidewalk.
The snatches of a once-loved Bollywood song,
Or, an empty bookshelf waiting to be filled up.
The alarm that I set at night to ring in a new day,
Or, a glimpse of my city’s skyline
when the plane is touching down.
On another day, Hope is holding a conch to my ear
to hear the ocean roll within it.
Hope is all of these:
A thought, a smell, a touch, a person.
And yet it is nothing at all.
An amorphous presence
A whistle in the dark.
An ever-receding mirage on the horizon.
Will all turn out well?
I cannot say,
But, Hope tells me not to give up.