“There is nothing on earth that you cannot have-once you have mentally accepted the fact that you can have it.”

-Robert Collier

Introduction

What is life? A journey from birth to death, or living every moment of everyday to its fullest? What makes it interesting is we never know what the future beholds. Reality always does not match what we imagine it to be or wish it to be, when that happens we find ourselves out of our comfort zone, but life has to go on. In many aspects of life we have limited or no options: the family we are born to, the economic strata that we are born into, our genetic physical traits and deformities is any. We can choose to be bogged down by such circumstances, and blame fate or the almighty for our predicament, but human history is full of instances of people who were born in worse circumstances but like the proverbial phoenix they rose from the ashes of their despair and charted a life full of meaning, happiness and success. The question is what these people have that helped them overcome adverse situations and disadvantages. What was the secret mantra that enabled them to think and work towards a better life and success for themselves in spite of being in situations that were clearly unfavourable?  The answer is a single word: Hope. Hope is the secret sauce that has helped people overcome impossible obstacles and insurmountable odds throughout human history.

Inner conflict in intrinsic to human nature. We are creatures of emotions. Prone to doubts, fear, misgivings and self-pity. Life had a way of throwing challenges in our path, be it in our personal or professional spheres. May be the promotion you wanted and worked for went to a colleague or your family life is not as peaceful as you would like it to be. It is often said that tough times do not last but tough people do.  When we say tough people who do we mean exactly, are these people some kind of extraordinary human beings who are immune to fears and self-doubt, the answer is surprisingly no. These are the people who like all of us experience all the human emotions that comes with facing adverse situations in life, being thrown out of our comfort zones. However, what distinguishes them from others is their inimitable desire to succeed, their unflinching single minded devotion to the realization of the dreams they have conceived for themselves, their ability to see the light at the end of the darkest tunnel. Above all else they have hope. Hope that the dawn will bring sunshine no matter how cloudy and moonless the night is. It is hope that gives birth to dreams and dreams fuel the desire to work towards a better future.

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Hope is the ember that refuses to subside even when things all around it has turned to ashes.  It is this ember if nurtured will grow into a full flame that will show us the light in the darkness.  Hope helps us go through the darkest moments in our life, it gives us the courage to see things through. It instils in us positivity of thought. It makes us believe no matter how bad the situation we are in, if we continue to work towards our goals and believe in our hearts that the work will bear results , we are bound to achieve what we set out to do. Hope provides us with the resolve to weather the harshest storms, it gives us strength and the power of perseverance. There is a saying in Hindi that roughly translates to: ‘The world runs on Hope.’ (‘Ummed pe Duniya Kayam Hai’). It can be argued that human evolution both technologically and culturally was achieved on the bedrock of hope. It is hope that has inspired people to dream big, think the unthinkable and conceive the inconceivable in spite of facing ridicule from society and naysayers. The great works of art and the technological advancements throughout history were the result of the indomitable spirit and passion of their creators which sprang from their hope that no matter the circumstances they would be able to realise their dreams. Pessimists did not build the world, and optimism is impossible without hope.   

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” ― Pablo Neruda

The only thing constant during our lifetime is change. With change, life can take a turn for the positive where we are happy and things are going our way, but surely as the day turns to night, good times will not last for ever, not even for the most powerful and wealthy among us. The key is to realise this reality and accept it without becoming crestfallen or despondent.  Here the power of positive thoughts and actions play a major role. If we are able to realise that times no matter how adverse is temporary, and focus on the positive aspects of any situation and have the hope that no matter what this too shall pass, it will pass. When times are hard it is easy to give into despair and pessimism. The trick is to look at the situation not as some sort of ordeal or punishment but as a learning experience. There can be no better teacher than a tough time. It is in these situations we face that we discover a resilience and strength in ourselves that we did not know existed. It is in these times that we discover our capacity for hope and belief in ourselves. In is in these situations when we are forced out of our comfort zones that we discover opportunities we did not know existed because we would never have looked for any alternatives if things have been pleasant all along.  For example : Let us say if we lost our job one day due to downsizing at the company and instead of falling into despair , we took this opportunity to nurture some skill within us like painting that we had long ignored or forgotten about due to the work pressure and the daily grind. Now instead of looking for a similar job that we were in, we develop our artistic talents and painting skills and start a small gallery, down the line as our business grows and we are appreciated for our art, we may realise that losing our job was in fact a blessing in disguise and we are happier in our new venture working for ourselves instead of being an employee. 

Life has a way of teaching us that when one door closes, another opens. To be aware about the proverbial another door requires belief in oneself and knowing that we are tougher than our circumstances. This awareness arises from hope, hope for a better tomorrow, and hope for a better us.  In this book we will go through the lives and times of people who never gave up hope and how this hope enabled them to realise their dreams when their dreams seemed impossible, especially when their dreams seemed impossible.

Instances where people tend to lose hope

We live our lives surrounded by uncertainties and complexities. Our expectations from friends, family, and colleagues at work, government and life in general can increase our sense of unhappiness and sometimes despair. When things are not going our way, our best laid plans come undone, or general social or financial circumstances force us to compromise our ambitions, put on hold our dreams or maybe even forget them, we tend to fall into despair and start to lose hope. This builds a general sense of pessimism within us which gives birth to negative thoughts and emotions. We start to feel the pressure of circumstances, feel dejected and forlorn. Instead of trying to find solutions or alternatives, our pessimism turns our focus to the misfortune that we are suffering, blind to any avenues that might help us. As human beings we are creatures of our emotions. Notice if you are in a happy mood the day seems brighter, nature seems more beautiful. The exact opposite happens when we are encumbered by negative thoughts and emotions. We tend to see the dark side of everything, be it innocent casual conversations with friends, happenings in the world or newspaper stories, we focus on all the negatives, magnify all the wrongs in our minds and feel bogged down by the happenings around us. This goes to such an extent if we continue on the negative trajectory of emotions that a time comes when we give up trying to do anything positive and fall victim to the circumstances. We blame our luck, the circumstances, and the people that have wronged us (real or imagined hurt) and suffer from an acute sense of being victimized, which may or may not be the whole truth. We never stop to think whether there was anything we could have done differently, whether the circumstances were really impossible to overcome, did we do our best to come up trumps? Was there really no other way out of our predicament?

Let’s look at the instances that generally leads to loss of hope:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

Being born in an economically weaker / poor family with many siblings.

The initial years of our life require proper nurturing and care. If our first experience of life is one of neglect and apathy it builds in us a sense that perhaps this is what is to be expected from life. Instead of taking proper care of us our parents are busy making ends meet. On top of that being saddled with so many children (as usually seen in our weaker sections with improper family planning and birth control measures) without the financial means makes individual care well-nigh impossible.  For the most part we are left to our own devices. Instead of being looked after, we have to take care of our younger siblings. We do not receive good schooling, if any. It is generally free government schools, where the dropout rate is very high. The clothes we wear are hand me downs from elder siblings or discarded ones given to charity by the richer families. We are not allowed new toys as they are not affordable. The meagre amount of money earned is used on basic needs and none is left to cater to ‘fancy’ cravings of a kid.  As we grow a little older we are expected to contribute to the earnings of the family. It is generally at the cost of education which leads to a high dropout rate. Throughout our childhood we see the kids from richer families wearing new clothes, playing with toys we cannot even dream of having, going to good private schools, and their parents being extra caring and attentive towards them. It may gradually leave us with a feeling of disenfranchisement and resentment.  It may lead to a gradual sense of hopelessness where we do not expect anything good to happen to us. We may start to accept life as it is, never looking to improve our position or stature. We may struggle every time life throws a challenge at us, never looking for ways to overcome it. 

Being abused as a child.

We might be unlucky to have abusive parents or elder siblings.  Being abused and told that we would never amount to anything leads to low self-esteem.  It stops us from identifying and realizing our own potential.  Growing up in an abusive household hinders our natural mental development as confident individuals. We live in fear of the next round of beatings and/or verbal abuse.  It plays havoc with our inner psyche and peace. Our self-esteem may never get a chance to develop and grow to make us well-rounded individuals. We may suffer from an overwhelming sense of fear of things real or imagined. Our capacity to hope may get subverted by our propensity of being afraid of new experiences and people. As we keep hearing negative remarks and general statements of how worthless we are growing up, there is a very real danger that we might start believing the same.  Once we start to do that we gradually fall into the pit of despair and give up hope that we can achieve anything worthwhile in life. At one point we might also stop dreaming of things we might want from life. This leads to a life without hope, a life of being a victim of circumstances where we have never gathered the strength or courage to rise above.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein

Unrealistic expectations and undue competition growing up.

One of the most common examples is having a sibling who is a topper in class. Many of us have grown up with brothers or sisters who exceled at studies, far better than what we managed. Every time the test results would come out, our parents, relatives and even neighbors would compare our performance vis-à-vis our ‘genius’ sibling’s. They would remark about how underwhelming our marks are compared to our sibling’s, how we being their brother / sister we could be so mediocre. We would be left feeling denigrated, belittled and ashamed. Our every action would be measured by the yard stick of our sibling’s achievements. We might be good at some other endeavor, say painting, but we would never receive sufficient appreciation for our efforts in that area. Instead, since our sibling scored a perfect 100 % in Math we would be expected to match their performance no matter our own like or dislike of the subject. We would be made to feel that though we are good at painting and the creative stuff, scoring good in Math is far more important. Thus we might grow up not knowing our own worth and potential, always looking up to our sibling and feeling inferior. This has a real danger of stunting our self –esteem , and making us lead unhappy lives, stuck in a job that is not complementary to our strengths and potential.  We may develop a pessimistic outlook of life where hope has no place.

An environment filled with negativity and narrow-mindedness.

If we are surrounded by people with negative thoughts and outlook, it casts a profound effect on our overall development and emotional width. We are exposed to their frustrations, complains and general antipathy towards things. Influenced by such negative emotions we may develop a bleak world view where we are automatically attuned to view things and happenings around us in a darker light.  We fail to see the beauty in things. Burdened by the acquired negative emotional aura we may be blind to the opportunity that any situation may present to us. No matter what we may endeavor, we would be discouraged. The risks would be magnified and pointed out to us. We would be told that it is not worth it. Failure would be presented to us as a given certainty. We would be encouraged to view other people with suspicion. Instead of introspection and self-improvement we may become partial to wallowing in our misfortune and blaming everyone and everything else. Instead of taking responsibility for our doings we may fall in the trap of shifting the blame and start to look at ourselves as victims. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, instead of seizing it, we might succumb to fear borne out of our prolonged exposure to negativity and pessimism. Eventually we may even give up trying become the ultimate victims to negative emotions and thoughts. Hope is a beautiful emotion which is the font of all positivity. An environment laced with negativity and narrow mindedness is the graveyard where hope is buried every day.

Death of close relation or friend, divorce.

Death of a parent or a close relative can be a catastrophic event in our lives. Especially if we were close to the departed. Coming to terms with it can take a while and take a toll on our mental frame.  We might not be ready to accept the loss and retreat into a shell. When we start to wallow in our grief and shut out the world, we may fail to see the meaning of life, that it is a journey and must go on.  We might start to feel abandoned and forsaken. We might stop believing that every cloud has a silver lining and succumb to our sorrows and loose hope. Going through a divorce is also a traumatic experience which might have long term repercussions on our view of our own self-worth. We might start seeing ourselves as lacking in qualities we thought we possessed. We might start to see faults in ourselves which may or may not be factual. We may also lay all the blame unjustly at the door of our now ex-fiancée for not making the relationship work. We might start feeling unworthy or a victim which gives rise to negativity. Friends and family can act a cushion but if we do not have adequate support system, we might fall into vicious circle of negativity, pessimism and blame game. We start to lose hope for a better future and run the risk of becoming bitter individuals eventually.

Huge set-back in a business venture.  Substantial loss in stock market. Loss of job. 

Sustaining huge loses in business, which drains our accumulated wealth and renders future venture improbable, deals a huge blow to our confidence. Not to mention the fear and troubles arising out of the consequences. We might have pinned our hopes and dreams on a particular business idea. Suffering setbacks in the execution of that business venture and sustaining losses might cause us to lose hope and be fearful of trying anything out in the future. Here our past failures may act as a hurdle in hoping for success with our future ventures. We might become dejected, and pessimistic and give up on our dreams. We might start thinking that we are not cut out for a particular endeavor and might resort to more mundane albeit safer avenues. In the process we give up hoping and dreaming and ultimately forego any opportunity that life may present to us. Losing one’s job due to company downsizing or any other reason can be a very traumatic event. On the one hand we are saddled with our family expenses including EMIs of loans we had taken that we are suddenly unable to pay. On the other hand there may be some sense of shame associated with being laid off.  The mounting pressure of our household expenses and committed monthly payments may create tensions in our family which certainly does not help our situation.  In this scenario our primary aim shifts to survival. We frenetically start looking for employment opportunities and failure to secure that only increases our sense of fear and hopelessness.

Unbridled greed.

We might set up unrealistic goals for ourselves not being mindful of our capabilities and circumstances. The goals can be personal or professional. If we succumb to greed and covet things which are beyond our reach, the eventual failure to achieve it can lead to huge disappointments. If we do not know how to balance our greed and confuse it with hope, it may lead to life filled with despair, jealousy and bitterness. Unbridled greed can led us to taking short cuts and try to find easy solutions which may not be there. For example we might covet a bigger car than our neighbor. But instead of working towards improving our professional credentials and thereby raising our income capabilities, we buy a lottery ticket and hope to win big money from it. Failure to win the lottery can lead us to feeling dejected and feeling even more jealous of our neighbor.  Alternatively we might try our hand at gambling to get rich quick and contrary to our plans lose all our money and become poorer than when we started. We might also fall prey to get rich quick Ponzi schemes and lose our savings overnight. Unchecked greed without proper pragmatism can cause us to fall into despair and lose all hope.

Victim of natural and/or manmade events.

Natural disasters like floods, droughts, cyclones disrupt normal life and leave a trail of destruction in their wake.  Being a victim of any such calamity can be life altering. In the stroke of a day, days or a few hours we might lose our livelihood, homes and near and dear ones.  Life becomes bleak. Our hopes and dreams are quashed in a single fell swoop: the house of our dreams that we had built, our plans for our children, our savings, and our sentimental possessions and family heirlooms. Panic sets in. No matter our station before the event, we may be reduced to scrounging for survival. Picking up the pieces and rebuilding our life may seem a very tall order. It may become very difficult to envision a turnaround in our fortune at the time. When we are surrounded by death and destruction all round us it may be very easy to succumb to pain and despair. In the absence of adequate support from the government or relevant agencies we might lose all hope of rebuilding our lives and give into despair.

Living in an orthodox/ close-minded society.

If the society we live in is riddled by, casteism, religious bigotry and patriarchy, we might never be able to spread our wings to live up to our potential and realize our dreams. Every aspect of our lives may be dictated by the diktats of the society we are living in. We might be forbidden to marry the individual of our choice, if they do not fall into the same caste as ours. We might be forced by our families to abort or commit the crime of feticide if the gender of the offspring is not male. We might be forced to follow all the illogical and irrelevant rituals and customs day in and day out in the name of tradition. We might not get be allowed to voice our opinions on issues we feel deeply about if we happen to be the wrong gender. We might not be allowed to pursue the career of our liking if it does not confirm with the laid down and accepted gender roles. Living in such a society, we might gradually get used to having all our hopes and dreams being trampled on and crushed in the name of propriety and tradition. If we get used to that and accept the boundaries imposed by such a society, we give up hoping for things to be different. We accept our plight and carry on living our lives bowed down to the societal ‘law’.

Awareness of one’s own limitations, understanding one’s dreams of and having a concrete plan to achieve the maximum percentage is hope. Faith and hope can lead to overcoming the despair we feel in inopportune circumstances. Targeting of achievable goals lead to hope and a sense of fulfilment which leads us to achieving further step by step in a dynamic and constantly evolving way by continuously realigning our targets and increasing our self-expectations with subsequent achievements. Hope empowers us to adapt to difficult circumstances and eke out the best possible solution from any seemingly adverse situation. No matter how many times we fall, our strength lies in rising up from the fall, and this can be done only if we have hope. Hope is like a little kid building a sand castle on the beach, no matter how many times the waves crash the castle, the kid continues to build and rebuild the castle.  However, after a few years when the kid grows in to a young adult, if they return to the beach and expect to find the same castle in place that is unrealistic expectation which leads to despair. So the key to a fulfilled life is knowing that the castle will be destroyed by the waves but finding joy in rebuilding it not with the expectation that it will last forever but finding joy in making something beautiful with the available tools.

Why it is necessary to not lose hope

No matter how black the night is, even a faint flicker of light can show us the way out of darkness. Hope is a beacon that shines even in the most desolate landscape. Life, like the ECG graph of a human being is full of ups and downs.  It would essentially be meaningless or dead if it was flat. Likewise without ups and downs life would become monotonous and boring. After a point of time it would lose its meaning. We are able to appreciate the good things in life more if we had gone through hardships. Day has to follow night and likewise, it can never be perpetual daylight or darkness. Nature demands change. In every aspect of nature as in life, change is the only constant. 

When we are facing hardships and challenges, some of it borne out of our poor choices, and some beyond our control, it is easy to get encumbered and lose optimism. It is impossible to go through life without suffering any kind of setback, be it in personal or professional spheres.  We might not always get what we want or desire for us and our family. Sometimes what we had taken for granted – be it the love of our near and dear ones or our job, gets taken away as a rude reminder that life can be unpredictable and complacency on our part may be the death knell we need to avoid at all costs. Depending on the degree of hardship that we are facing we may feel we are losing our grip on our life and destiny. Problems and challenges are an intrinsic part of life. When all the chips are down, it is easy to lose focus and believe that life has nothing better to offer us from here on. That is where hope is essential. Hope gives us the wisdom to realise that even the darkest night has to yield to the first rays of light at dawn, that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It gives us the patience required to weather the harshest storm. It helps us maintain our focus during difficult times and not waver from our goals. It keeps us aligned to the big picture. Without hope it becomes very easy to miss the forest for the trees.  

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.” Charles Chaplin

Hope is the miracle drug that empowers us to overcome our problems and expand our horizons in many ways. Hope helps us understand that problems are not permanent. It makes us optimistic about the future. Instead of getting bogged down by our troubles and feeling helpless, we start looking for solutions. Hope instils in us a belief where we know that that no matter what problem we are in, we are eventually going to come out of it. We realise that we are stronger than our circumstances. It helps us to maintain focus on our goals and work towards it, believing firmly that the work we are putting in today would yield the desired outcome tomorrow. Hope helps us to realise that though today might seem bleak and foreboding, if we put in the effort and show perseverance by continuing our endeavours, times are going to change for us and the change is going to be good.  The optimistic outlook that hope instils in us helps us go through all the setbacks, problems and disappointments that life throws at us while maintaining our resolve. It fortifies us against the perils and dangers that we may have to encounter in our various pursuits throughout life. This optimistic outlook prevents us from falling into depression, and resort to panicky measures of short-sighted quick-fix / easy solutions which may prove to be very harmful for us in the long run. Instead of falling prey to the circumstances and resorting to things which might be unwise, we brave the storm and use the fortitude granted to us by hope to emerge stronger and wiser. 

Hope makes us realise that the problems and troubles we are facing may not be totally uncalled for and unnecessary.  Instead of succumbing to the pressure of troubles, we start to take them as learning experiences. It open our minds to new learnings and insights from our trials and travesties. We start to introspect and analyse the situation to understand their genesis. Instead of blaming our luck or others, we try to find out their root causes. We start thinking what we could have done differently in the past that would have prevented our present predicament. We take our present troubles as an indication of our past mistakes and try to learn from them. We regard our present hardships as a teacher who is here to impart valuable lessons to us so that we might emerge as stronger, wiser individuals. We try to view our troubles not as hindrances but as an opportunity for us to learn and grow.  It opens our minds to new learnings and opportunities which might not have been apparent to us had we not been hopeful and taken our troubles as a learning experience. Hope instils in us a positive attitude towards life. A can do spirit that is integral to achieving anything worthwhile in life.  If we are hopeful, if we latch on to hope and never give up hoping, all our problems and trials in life will only work towards making us stronger, smarter and better individuals. Never forget that to turn into a diamond, a lump of coal has to withstand pressures of over 700,000 pounds per square inch and temperatures of over 1000 degrees Celsius.  Its nature’s way of telling us that when life throws problems and pressures at us, it is giving us an opportunity to transform ourselves into a far stronger, and far more valuable version of ourselves.

It is said that failures are the pillars of success. It means that we learn from our failures and take those lessons to chart our path towards success. The fact that we can do that relies on our hope that no matter how many times we may fail, we will one day overcome them and be successful. In fact many famous and successful people throughout history had encountered many failures and setback on their path to attaining success and realising their dreams. If we look at their individual lives, one thing becomes crystal clear, the one thing that all have in common is their hope that no matter what , if they kept pursuing their dreams, one day they were going to achieve it. Hope is the common thread that binds all people who have been successful, who have attained great and seemingly impossible feats throughout history.  Hope is the one thing that gives rise to optimism, and positive outlook towards life. Hope is required for perseverance. It is optimism, a healthy outlook and dogged perseverance that helps us to overcome all the obstacles and problems that we might face in realising our dreams and achieving the goals we had set out for ourselves. Without, a positive attitude and perseverance, life’s goals cannot be achieved.  Hope is the key to unlocking our potential. If we have no hope we will never try hard enough. And nothing worth achieving in life is easy.

In the following chapters we will look at stories of individuals who overcame insurmountable odds to realise their dreams. Individuals who never lost hope in the face of seemingly impossible hurdles. Individuals whose lives act as an inspiration to all of us and make us realise that if we can hope, then there is nothing we cannot achieve. 

The girl who waited for 40 years

Rukmini was born in the small village of Bilgi in the district of Bagalkot in Karnataka.  Her family consisted of her parents, grandmother, three sisters and one brother. She was the youngest among the sisters, and her brother Hari was the youngest among the siblings. Being the last girl child before the almighty blessed them with a son, she was her grandmother’s (‘Ajji’s’) favourite among the sisters.  Early childhood was relatively carefree, with most of the time spent running around with kids her age, getting bullied by her elder sisters, who were quite jealous of the extra affection bestowed upon her by their Ajji. Father worked on the farmland during the day while mother tended to the household chores, including taking care of their most valued possession, a goat (‘Meke’). Theirs was the only family among the eleven houses in the locality that boasted ownership of a Meke.  Their family did not own any land but they managed a modest living with two square meals a day by the money earned by their father working the farmlands and selling milk of the goat they owned. Whatever savings they were able to make was either saved for their daughters’ wedding when they come of age and on their son Hari.  Rukmini never got new clothes as she was the youngest among the sisters and had to wear her elder sisters’ frocks and dresses when they grew out of it.  Only once a year before the festival of Kambala, she would get brand new frock to wear on the day of ceremony. She would treasure that dress and would wear it only on very special occasions, like the name day of her brother. It did not bother her that the name days of her or her sisters were never celebrated, though her sisters grumbled about it privately now and then. She never felt jealous of her brother, that he always got to wear new clothes or that the best and biggest portion of any delicacy made by Tayi or Ajii would be served to Hari. Her sisters would frequently complain and bemoan about these things, expecting her to join in, but she would be busy in her own world making clay and straw dolls to play with or kidding around with her buddies. She came off as a sweet and dreamy albeit docile and timid child.

When she was six, the first major event of her young life occurred. It gave a glimpse into the will and resolve of steel that the tiny, sweet and timid looking Rukmini possessed that no one had a clue about, least of all herself. It was the year when the first Government sponsored school opened in her village. On the big day the whole village had gathered on the premises. A small dias had been built on the foreground where the village Sarpanch (‘Tale’), the school principal (‘Pradhana’) and the local MLA were seated. The Tale gave the inaugural speech, thanking the MLA and the government for establishing the school in their village and thus opening the gates to literacy and brighter future for the youngsters of the village. Taking the que the MLA stepped up to the mike and being the consummate politician, lost no time in extolling and recounting all the good deeds and actions (a few real, many imaginary) that he and his party had done for the people of the village, the district and the state, before going on to rant about the opposition party and how the people of the village had averted a great evil by not voting for the opposition. He ended his lengthy speech by reminding the villagers on which sign to put their stamp come the next elections.  Rukmini was present with her siblings among the gaggle of kids that day listening and observing with wide eyed wonder and attention to what was being done and said. It was the Pradhana who spoke last whose speech left a lasting impression on the young mind of Rukmini. The Pradhana was a diminutive man, with a soft, soothing voice and an easy demeanour. He spoke about the importance of education, the wonders of knowledge, opportunities that awaited beyond their village that only education could provide. He spoke of a world beyond their village where mankind was making great strides every day. About how the right and sincere education would open the floodgates of opportunities to each and every youngster in the village. He spoke of how education was a great leveller, no matter your back ground, with sincerity in the pursuit knowledge you could scale any peak possible. He explained how education expanded the horizons of an individual, knowledge allowed them to dream and hope for things they did not even know existed. He exhorted the parents to view the school as a stepping stone from where their children could carve out a bright future for themselves and their families.  Most of all being mindful of the social circumstances, he pleaded with the parents to send their girl child to school along with the boys.