Among my many 'new' personal aspirations, I began this year with ONE renewed hope, that I have held onto for over a decade - a fervent unending hope that that the world around us be less divided; that the incessant wars, in far corners of the earth, come to an end; that religious and political leaders in every nation wake up, to realize that the lives of innocent people are too valuable and too precious, to lose over religious beliefs or geographical borders.

I look around and see fear still rules; knowledge is abundant but alas, not free; the ignorant continue to allow themselves be victimized by almost everyone out there - be it religious extremists, pharmaceutical experimentalists, media reports or politicians with promising campaigns!!
And yet, I smile...because there is hope! I see the sun rise and put up the most beautiful show on earth, every morning. The mountains continue to exhibit their stoic poise, with rivers playfully running around them. No matter where, Mother Nature never fails to begin her day with the rooster crowing and birds chirping! Dogs and cats are still world's most adorable pets! And kids, still carry an irresistibly innocent smile on their faces; Of course, there is hope...
And while this hope lightens my heart, I offer a prayer - to the undying spirit within me - a prayer written by Tagore, Nobel Laureate and native of India. During my years in high school, I was asked to lead my school assembly with this prayer, every morning - it has stayed with me, ever since. Allow me to share this with you ...

Where the mind is without fear, and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments, by narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depths of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way, into the dreary desert sands of dead habits

Where the mind is led forward by Thee, into ever widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake...

(part of the Nobel prize winning Gitanjali (meaning, a collection of songs) in 1912, also translated into English by Robindranath (pronounced as robin-dra-nath) Tagore)
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