... and Hope lives on

24th December 1999 was like any other ordinary winter day .I was a student then in my final year .Late in the evening I saw the news on T.V. An Indian airplane IC 814 had been hijacked after take-off from Kathmandu on its way to New Delhi .It was carrying 176 passengers and  a crew of fifteen on board .There were families coming back home with  young children ,newly wed honeymooners , old people –the fate of all hung by a slender thread of hope .

For the next three days , the passengers were starved , beaten and harassed without any respite .The pilot tried to seek help from various ATCs in Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai where the airbus was forced to land by the hijackers .Finally in Dubai ,after continuous negotiations by the Indian government a few critically ill passengers and women were allowed to un-board.But the other passengers were not shown any mercy .

A young couple with their young daughter , who also happened to be our neighbors ,were a part of that unfortunate flight .They had gone to Kathmandu for a family vacation and were now stuck in mid –air with their tormentors .Our whole neighborhood sat glued to the T.V. screens and radios to get any news of the whole drama.Every evening when back from college I would enquire about the happenings of the day and we would pray to God for their safe release .I hardly knew them by face , yet I could feel a connection .They were innocent citizens of this country .Their lives were at stake , they were in living hell  for no fault of theirs .
Our whole colony had the tradition of celebrating Christmas and New year on a grand scale .The children would collect money from all households for organizing the function . We would practice for days for the New year celebrations , preparing small skits , songs ,choreographing dance sequences and so on .Every household would get a list of menu to choose from , and each one would contribute one food item for the New year eve's dinner party .That year too ,preparations had been in full swing for our Christmas party , but the news of the stranded family had made us give up any plans   for celebrations .That was a black Christmas for the whole neighborhood .We could only imagine the plight of the young girl , who thankfully had her family by her side on that black Christmas to give her hope .May be being there for each other amidst utter chaos was the only silver lining in that dark cloud that was keeping them alive .Later ,we heard horror stories of the stench, the cold and the utter darkness they had gone through.
So Christmas also went by and everybody was losing any hope of their safe return .Their aged grandmother ,Ija ( a form of address for the Grandmother),had not eaten a proper meal for days now and her health too was deteriorating.

On the New year eve ,our family was having dinner in glum silence when the news of the release of the hostages was aired .I was literally jumping up and down , shouting all over the place .We all rushed to congratulate Ija on the safe release of her family .
My joy knew no bounds and I thanked God for his grace ,for being the shining light in our hearts ,even in the darkest of times when we thought we were alone and helpless .That day reaffirmed my faith in all things positive .You are a winner if you think like one , and a loser if you lose in your thoughts.Being positive and never losing your optimism is the key to living a life of fulfilment.

“Optimism is the Faith that leads to Achievement, Nothing can be done without Hope and Confidence”- Hellen Keller .

Housing is one such sector ,where people get disheartened and give up but an  up-coming name in the housing sector,https://housing.com/lookup promises "Housing is for everyone " thus bringing hope and optimism to one and all .Do visit the website and take a look , it is a visual treat .


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