I like people-watching. Not in a creepy, voyeuristic way but i like watching people.
And i like watching people pray. It’s amazing to see fervent hope, helplessness, faith and vulnerability rolled into tightly-shut eyes and hands folded in prayer.
I wonder what their story may be. Maybe he wants a better-paying job to pay off his loans and give his wife and children a comfortable life. Maybe she wants a good husband and more importantly, a good mother-in-law. Maybe she wants to win the lottery. Maybe he wants to grow up to be Superman.
Maybe they just want a day of peace.
Then i go on to say a small prayer that their prayers are answered.
Watching them gives me hope. Hope in the power of prayer. Hope in the insurmountable faith that belongs to each person — be it in anybody… themselves, their God(s), their children, their love, their will-power, their teacher, their parents — and cannot be taken away.
Hope in that overused phrase, “Faith can move mountains”. Maybe it cannot. But it can move people to tears and that’s just as colossal.
I’ve visited churches and temples and Hope is the thread connecting everyone, irrespective of religion or region. Hope is the thread we hang on to. Hope is the anchor that gives us stability and shows us a shimmer of light in a seemingly dark world.
I do not photograph people (whom i do not know) as much as i photograph coffee, Nature and food because i do not want to encroach their space, their privacy. I like to ask for their consent if i can and sometimes they just smile willingly at my camera (and me, i’d like to believe) and then i go “click”. Their shy joy on seeing their own photos (i like to show them their portraits – if they are willing or curious – after clicking them) is delightful.
Today, as i was waiting for an order of kebabs (grilling on their skewers in no hurry whatsover) to take home, i saw a vision of Hope in a tiny shop next door.
Holding a little prayer book, a gentleman was saying his Friday prayers with so much concentration, devotion and peace that i felt a surge of positivity and smiled to myself. I did not want to disturb him but i wanted the memory – of the praying man in the minuscule shop – to remain.
And so, this:
Nothing can deter Hope. It is bigger than the constraints of space, mightier than the fraction of doubt and vaster than the world each one of us has built for ourselves.
Hope gives us strength to believe that those formidable mountains can, someday, be moved.