Opus to the Evergreen Beacon of Good Hope


A lighthouse - a beacon of hope!
A lighthouse – a beacon of hope!
The stormy sea, raging winds and treacherous cliffs.
The stormy sea, raging winds and treacherous cliffs.
Nickel Creek
Nickel Creek
Map of the Cape of Good Hope.
Map of the Cape of Good Hope.
The Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope

The Lighthouse’s Tale – Nickel Creek

I am a lighthouse worn by the weather and the waves
I keep my lamp lit to warn the sailors on their way
I’ll tell a story, paint you a picture from my past
I was so happy but joy in this life seldom lasts

I had a keeper, he helped me warn the ships at sea
We had grown closer ’til his joy meant everything to me
And he was to marry a girl who shown with beauty and light
They loved each other, and with me watched the sunsets into nights

And the waves crashing around me
The sand slips out to sea
And the winds that blow remind me
Of what has been and what can never be

She’d had to leave us; my keeper, he prayed for a safe return
But when the night came, the weather to a raging storm had turned
He watched her ship fight, but in vain against the wild and terrible wind
And me so helpless, as dashed against the rocks she met her end

And the waves crashing around me
The sand slips out to sea
And the winds that blow remind me
Of what has been and what can never be

Then on the next day, my keeper found her washed up on the shore
He kissed her cold face, and that they’d be together soon he swore
I saw him crying, watched as he buried her in the sand
Then he climbed my tower, and off the edge of me he ran

And the waves crashing around me
The sand slips out to sea
And the winds that blow remind me
Of what has been and what can never be

I am a lighthouse worn by the weather and the waves
And though I’m empty I still warn the sailors on their way.

The Cape of Good Hope s a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. It was believed to be the southernmost tip of Africa but the southernmost tip is, in fact, the Cape Agulhas. As one of the great capes of the South Atlantic Ocean, the Cape of Good Hope has been of special significance to sailors for many years and is widely referred to by them simply as “the Cape.” The Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias was one of the first Europeans to reach the Cape in 1488 and he named  it the, “Cape of Storms.” Later, John II of Portugal changed the name of this cape to the “Cape of Good Hope” because it engendered great optimism and high hopes by the opening of a sea route to India and the East.

Nickel Creek (formerly known as The Nickel Creek Band) was an American progressive acoustic music trio that was founded in 1989 and they released 6 albums in their time. They have won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 2003. Nickel Creek disbanded in 2007.

A lighthouse is a building or tall tower or any other sort of structure that is used to emit light from a series of lamps and lenses. It serves as a navigational aid to maritime pilots out at sea or inland waterways. Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, mark safe entries to harbors, and can also aid in aerial navigation. Lighthouses used to be widely used at one time but today there are very few operational lighthouses in existence because they tend to be very expensive to maintain and they have been replaced by modern, electronic, digital and highly computerized navigational systems, in the contemporary world.

In this eloquently beautiful song by Nickel Creek, the Lighthouse is the protagonist who is telling his tale, in the first person and from his own point of view. It speaks of the story of a lighthouse who always imagined himself to be a dependable, reliable and faithful friend and loyal navigational aid to the sailors whose ships were tossed around on stormy seas. The Lighthouse imagined himself to be the epitome of a Pillar of Strength and Support to others in their time of need. He was so happy and led a complacent life without any real cares or woes and he was aided in his job by the Keeper of the lighthouse. The Keeper became the lighthouse’s dearest friend and soul-mate and the lighthouse was quite sure that their joy of enduring friendship would last forever. But joy never does last forever, does it? The Keeper of the lighthouse had a  fiance and they were due to get married soon. She was a woman of great beauty and simplicity – she brought rays of bright sunshine and love into the lives of the Keeper and the Lighthouse, in no small way. The Keeper and this woman were madly in love – as only true lovers can be. They used to join the lighthouse, every single evening, in watching the lovely sunsets turn to dark night. They were ever so happy together.

Then one day, the Keeper’s fiancé had to leave the lighthouse to undertake a journey, probably to her hometown, when her ship encountered a violent storm and a raging gale that was so strong, that despite the guiding light of the lighthouse, the ship dashed against the rocks and capsized. The Keeper went down to the shore the next morning and saw that the only woman that he had loved, with all his heart and soul, was dead  her corpse washed ashore by the incoming tide. He touched her pale, cold face and wept in inconsolable grief. He swore that they would be together till Eternity. The Lighthouse was bereft and grieving too but he was completely at a loss about how he could help his best friend. Then the Keeper ‘ran off the edge’ of the highest point of the Lighthouse, in utter desolation and despair. He met his death on the craggy rocks, sand and sea that had eroded the walls of the lighthouse over a period of time. The Keeper committed suicide because he could no longer live with the intense guilt and remorse of being unable to help the ship of his beloved fiancé, even though it was his sworn duty and job to do so. The Lighthouse states that he continues to guide innumerable other vessels in making a safe entry into the treacherous harbor but he felt himself to be a failure in every possible way imaginable. The Lighthouse had failed his only and dearest friend, the Keeper and the woman who was the love of his Life. Even though the grief-stricken Lighthouse endeavors so valiantly to help so many other unknown strangers and strange vessels navigating the sea at night, he finds himself inevitably helpless to help HIMSELF. The waves, the sand and the sea unceasingly remind the Lighthouse every single day ‘of what has been and can never be.’

Now let me, as the author of this blog, tell you something from my side – a word of strong advice that you would do very well to remember till the day that Death comes to claim you from this Earth. It is not fictional – EVERY WORD OF IT IS TRUE. Have you ever entered a huge book-shop – one that occupies several levels of a tall building – and noticed how they have a whole section of many shelves crammed with books on “SELF-IMPROVEMENT?” Have you ever wondered why the authors of such books/blogs tend to be successful people in their daily lives and as writers, as well? Well, let me tell you why. It is due to the fact that these selfless authors have taken into account the wisdom of changing themselves for the betterment of humanity BEFORE they reach out to the world, at large , to do the same. If you enjoy reading such inspirational literature, let me tell you that it is because you are reading, for all intents and purposes,  about the character traits and of the basic, benevolent personality of the author himself/herself. These authors are good people – highly principled and high-thinking people who strive their entire lives to be better people. They are strongly driven by the courage of their convictions and strength of character. They have  great persuasive power because they speak and advice on matters that they have endeavored doing themselves and because they have succeeded in that particular venture. They do not talk ‘out of the top of their hats’  just because they are intelligent and insightful people, with a good command of language, vocabulary and articulation. Let me tell you that these writers are no more intelligent or insightful than any other mortal that walks the Road of Life. They have learned through trial and error; they have made many mistakes in their life but they try to do better than their best because they are aware that they are fallible and far from perfect themselves. It is this humility and modesty that makes them world-renowned. If they advice you to do something, it is because it has been a tried and tested method  likely to succeed despite the many ordeals and obstacles that Life brings our way. They will never ask more of you than what they themselves are capable of doing. If I could do it – believe me, with a little discipline, a little selflessness, a little humility, a little time and a little effort, so can you!

I remember that when I was a school pupil, barely 7 years old, we used to have, every morning in school a period devoted to “assembly”. We sang a hymn, accompanied by another student on the piano and then we were expected to listen to various inspirational tales from the Bible. My family and I are Paris Zoroastrians to this day but I recall vividly listening carefully to all the nuances of those biblical stories and storing its wisdom somewhere at the back of my mind, while most of my other classmates smirked, giggled or played pranks as a form of mischief and to create a moment of distraction in that daily ritual. I used to be a very quiet, diligent, serious, shy and withdrawn child – fearful of the various consequences of disobedience from either my teachers or parents. As the years have gone by, I have grown to be happy, cheerful, extroverted and confident – though I am still quiet, soft-spoken, diligent, kind and caring. I have made many mistakes in my life and I am far from being perfect but I can assure you that I consciously and actively try to practice what I preach every single day of my life. If you feel that whatever I have tried to teach you in all my blogs till now has been even of a bit of wisdom, worthy of enumeration, then please don’t thank me – you should thank my parents for the wonderful and enduring legacy that they have left me. If this author can use this legacy to influence even a meager 01% of the world’s total population to change their ways, attitudes and behaviour for the betterment of civilization, as a whole, then she will consider this birth of her  Life’s Journey to have been fruitful indeed!

My Dad had been sent to England, by his parents, as a young, sheltered boy, many years ago, to pursue his higher studies and degree in electrical engineering. He stayed there for 7 long years. It used to be bitterly cold and he was so young, so lonely, so sad and so homesick that he used to cry his eyes out every evening, in the privacy of his bed sit. As a means of some sort of comfort and solace, he used to attend the daily meetings and sermons of the Church regularly. He remained a deeply religious man and a devout Parsi Zoroastrian till the end of his life but his humility made me understand in no small way that God is ONE – what path/religion you might use to reach Him is of little consequence.  It is not religion that creates issues – it is the disparate social and cultural differences that cause a problem, especially when a couple – each from different religions – decide to marry each other. My father expired in 2002, within 2.5 months, of a malignant, cancerous  tumor in his brain. However, all the finer traits and characteristics of my personality come, to this very day, from emulating the behaviour and principles of my Mum – she has been, in every possible fashion, the memorable milestone that has made me into what I am today. My Mum continues to impart her high  principles of integrity, honesty,sincerity and loyalty in me and my siblings, till this very day. I would like to use this opportunity to thank BOTH my parents most fervently and sincerely for making me the person that the world sees today.

Many years ago, when I used to teach, I recall a new, young, Assamese college student of mine; I barely knew her. She blurted out after barely 1 week of class that she was planning to commit suicide. I was barely in my twenties myself at that time and I can assure you that I got the fright of my life. Anyway, I listened to her and counseled her as best I could and when she left, I was desperately crossing my fingers, hoping that my advice would be good enough – to one who was so depressed and despairing. The next day, this same student came to visit me with a beautifully worded thank-you card and a gift. She told me that she didn’t really want to kill herself – she expressed immense gratitude and sincere appreciation to me for giving her the right advice that made her feel that Life can be beautiful, despite its many obstacles – that Life is worth living and enjoying and that it is only a coward who chooses to run away from her troubles and woes. I’ve not had any professional training in counseling people but as a teacher, over the years, I had heard a lot of things from my students – stories told to me in confidence – just as one feels comfortable talking to a good friend.  I learned to advice my students through my many years of experience and through basic common sense. These events that I have just recounted to you are all true – they are not figments of my imagination.

So let me teach YOU now how you too can become a BEACON OF GOOD HOPE to a person who is desperately in need of a friend in his/her time of need. It comes from being humble enough to accept that changes in opinions, prejudices, attitudes and behavior need to come from WITHIN ONESELF first – long before we can expect others to do likewise. If not, it is like being an aimless, unreliable boat without a rudder, a mast,  a sail or any dependable anchor – one that drifts with the waves and tides, without direction and a mind of its own. One that is easily swayed by external forces – one that is more likely to sink than float, at the first sign of trouble. It comes from realizing that there is life and a world beyond the end of your nose. It is the appreciation of the fact that everything in Life is NOT about you – other people matter too. You don’t need to be seen or heard to be noticed – a lot of fruitful time and energy can be spent in silence and in careful observation. I am not talking of fickle observations – such as – “Oh, look at his shining, polished Salvatore Ferragamo shoes; Oh, her Jimmy Choo stiletto heels are so elegant – they must have cost a bomb; Oh, was that a genuine Louis Vuitton bag that I just saw?”  It is not such useless, superficial observations that ought to concern you – it is in observing different character traits and behaviour of people – attitudes, opinions, prejudices and behaviors that you would strictly want to avoid or emulate.  As from the days of our childhood and youth, even in adulthood, a lot of  our learning is simply from imitation and a strong and sincere desire to change oneself for the better.

Maybe you’ve not had the opportunity to be a Beacon of Good Hope to anyone who is desperately in need of a kind and encouraging word from you – but you can always start NOW.  Remember – “better late than never.” Sometimes, people only need a sympathetic ear and an empathetic attitude from a person who can help them through their troubled times of crisis and disillusionment. You don’t compulsorily need to counsel these desperate souls – unless you want to.

So, let us all fervently attempt to be FRIENDS INDEED FOR A FRIEND IN NEED – let us “BE THERE” for our family, our friends, our acquaintances, our colleagues or even if it is for a relative stranger to us – let us BE THERE for them SELFLESSLY – just as a  Beacon of Good Hope is always there and always will be there for them!

4 thoughts on “Opus to the Evergreen Beacon of Good Hope

  1. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the
    shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched
    her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know
    this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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