“Hope is the dream of a soul awake” – French Proverb.

I stared dead ahead at my team-mate, as the calm yet condescending tone of the quiz-master echoed in the humongous hall while he read out the teams that had qualified for the final round of the Acta Mathematica, one of the main attractions of Quanta 2012. He announced that the top 12 of the 24 semi-finalists would go through to final round. Unfortunately for us, we had come 14th.
I didn’t know what to do, or what to say. The fact that we had come so far in the competition to actually turn back and go away with nothing was a tremendous blow. My team-mate tried to cheer me (and himself) by stating that getting such a high rank in the only international science and mathematics quiz in the Indian subcontinent, amongst 78 other teams (which included 22 international teams, including ours) was a huge accomplishment.

But it didn’t help.  It didn’t help because we knew we could have done better.

There is only so much a person can handle; if that limit is exceeded and if the saturation point is reached, the person falls. And falls hard, he does.  The feeling of everything you’ve ever aimed for being snatched away from you by someone else; the feeling of letting myself and my school down  had taken over me.

There are times in life when you feel like jumping off a cliff, of just letting go. But what stops us from taking such a drastic step? It’s hope. Hope of a better future. Hope that there are people who care about you, of people who would shed a tear for you; hope that one day you’ll achieve your aim.

Everyone has hope, it’s integral to our existence. The melancholy girl who’s crying buckets at the thought of her boyfriend with someone else, but still awaiting his call; the scientists who spend billions of taxpayers’ money on research in the hope that someday they’ll find water on another planet or a cure for cancer; the diligent student who awaits the day his hard work will be paid off; your neighbor’s son who’s still unemployed but still believes that things will get better for him some day – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.
Everyone has hope.

This particular experience of not getting through actually made me realize that the world is a better place with Hope.
Hope exists without any cause or reason, or justification. It soothes our soul, and gives us a reason to anticipate and believe in tomorrow.
Hope is the crux of life- we may lose everything else, but if we have hope, we can still go on. We can still win.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”.

With these thoughts running in my mind as I sat dejected in my room that day, I realized that I was just at the shore; the whole ocean ahead of me, waiting to be conquered.
And thus I penned down the following verse;

“My life hurries by like a stream,
Drown, I may, if I plunge in,
But if refused,
My soul might perish before I win.”

And with that, I plugged in my headphones and started listening to ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ by Swedish House Mafia:

“Don’t you worry, don’t you worry, child;
See heaven’s got a plan for you.”

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