The HOPE list #3

Bite-sized hopelets to warm your soul. With Nitin, Malala, Gretchen, Jose, and Mother Earth.

A quarter of 2021 is over.

March was a blur, but I end it calmly, ready. The false-dawn excitement of January gave way to the grim-shock realisation of February then the stoic-calm acceptance of March.

We will get through this.

This was the language of my walks, waiting in street corners, on park benches, in schoolyards and grocery lines. Stay strong. We will get through.

This month’s HOPE list is a celebration of staying strong.


1.      The Next Generation by Malala Yousafzai and Gretchen Thunberg

“In case you wanted to see a picture of heroes without camouflage, combat boots, weapon belts, and carrying an M-16.” Malala Yousafzai

The subtle magnificence of this picture and caption cheered me often this month. The courage, the power of these slip-of-a-girls inspire me and gently chastise me when I’m feeling sorry for myself. In the grand reckoning, I doubt my generation will be judged well, but if our failings led to our children taking the reins from their classrooms the world will be better for it. I am happy to put the future in their hands.


2.      Immigrants by Nitin Sawhney

Nitin Sawhney is my brother. Not biologically, but in more important ways. We share history, heritage, hopes, and lost hopes. His music is the soundtrack of my soul. It slakes a hidden thirst I thought unquenchable.

When I first heard Beyond Skin, over twenty years ago, I knew it would become a lifelong friend. It was perfect. I didn’t need a sequel – I didn’t want one. But, of course, Nitin knows this part of me better than I do – I did want Immigrants. And I needed it. Immigrants has claimed a place on my sonic sofa, and like any new addition to a family, life before its arrival now seems implausible.

Immigrants has been my constant walking companion these last weeks. I always listen to it from start-to-finish so can’t tell you about individual tracks. But the breath-taking, beautiful simplicity of You Are pulls on something deep. When it starts soft tears flow down my cheeks. Strangers look at me, worried for a second, but then nod, smile, and understand.

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3.      Uncompromising Commitment by Jose Baselga

A week ago, Jose Baselga, the pioneering cancer physician and scientist died after a brief, brutal battle against Creutzfeld-Jacob disease. The suddenness of his death, the magnitude of his loss to the field darkened my days, but as the tributes flooded in the magnitude of his reach, the scale of his impact brightened me. His work, his uncompromising, unswerving commitment to curing cancer, which was palpable in every conversation I had with him, carries on. It hasn’t missed a beat.

Very few people have the tenacity, determination, dedication, and fortitude to keep on giving and giving, believing and striving, unwavering through the hard times. They are very special. They are a gift to us all.


4.      Early Evening Light by Mother Nature

One of my lockdown rituals has been to take a walk at the end of every workday. Whatever the weather, I go outside and walk. To separate work from not-work. To separate me from me.

This month, from time to time, the shimmering colours of dusk were my companion. And reminded me of the endless bounty Mother Nature gives us.

Yours hopefully,

Nazneen xxx


Yours Hopefully is a weekly experiment in living hopefully. With science and song. Why not subscribe and get a post every Sunday in your inbox?