Karma Castilho, the creator of the painting on the book cover, despite having experienced a day of considerable challenge, was imbued with a subconscious desire to express her interpretation of the events that transpired on that day – a creative journey. She expressed her life weariness by dabbing, in circular motion, sombre colours onto a canvas. Gradually, as she circled inwards, she applied brighter colours, an expression of an emerging and strengthening light beam within her core. The randomly applied, shadowy, white patches and lines simulated the light beams penetrating through the darkness. Karma’s discourse is truly profound: amidst the storm of tumultuous events in our lives, should we choose to recognise and utilise it, each of us has a safe, positive, and life-affirming place within our psyches. This powerful recognition enables you to see positivity and possibilities in events in the external world, which seem dark and intimidating.

The painting that appears here is the original version. The painting on the book cover has been deliberately rotated 90 degrees to the left.


A painting, ‘Rejuvenation’, by Karma Castilho.

The sunlight’s energy and warmth nurtures the earth. A seed of the parent tree has burst through. A new life is ignited. The roots are anchored deep into the earth. The seedling will grow and mature into a strong tree. The painting is a metaphorical representation of the deep belief of the members of the police negotiation cadre that after darkness and seeming hopelessness, hope, optimism, and joy can emerge and prosper in the human psyche once more.


Bamboo, by Karma Castilho.

This bamboo woodland symbolises a community. People from all walks of life gather in this agora. The variations and idiosyncrasies that characterise the individuals are represented by a kaleidoscope of colours. They may be people of different race, nationality, cultural, and religious background and affiliation. They embrace and accommodate each other’s differences. They support each other’s uniqueness and aspirations. The side branches stretch out to connect with other bamboo trunks. Together, they build up strength and resilience against the storm. This is an allegorical representation of the human potential, through empathy and a recognition of the oneness of the human experience, to forge a powerful armour to temper misery and loneliness in the diverse societies of our world. In summary, this agora of bamboos is an exemplar demonstrating the power of connectivity and mutual support. Everyone in a community can play a part in helping friends or family members around us—indeed, even the strangers we meet in our journeys through life. Being a non-judgemental listener and offering a supporting hand imbues troubled souls with new hope, a way to penetrate the darkness which encircles them, and a way to find their way through the shadows into the light. That is the birthright of every human being.