Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid
Every generation must have its heroes – someone who we can link to, someone who is of our age, someone who you can look up to in tough times. It is ok to talk of Mohammed Ali, Kapil Dev or even Mahatma Gandhi but I do not relate to them much. I relate more to Rajnikanth, Abdul Kalam, Kalpana Chawla, Roger Federer, Steffi Graf, Sachin Tendulkar….
This is because I saw their careers take shape as I was growing up, I saw them do good things as I grew up, I saw them hit rock bottom and then climb sky high. I have seen them face the music of critics and I have seen them silence ‘em all. They have become metaphors of my hope and dreams. They give me strength to face what the world hurls at me. They make life easier.
Why am I naming celebrities here? Surely, there would definitely have been times in my life when I have been aroused by the deeds of my own kith and kin – mother, siblings or friends. I can be encouraged by those deeds, but a third person may not be motivated quite as much. It is for this very reason that we need ethical celebrities of our own generation. Those geniuses who enthuse us into performance, those outstanding individuals who stimulate us to move forward are essential for any society that is looking to progress.
It is ok to ask a person to look inside themselves for inspiration, draw courage from within, etc. All this can be done very easily if the going is good, in happier times. When all is well and merry, you can sit calmly, analyze yourself, weigh the pros and cons, and make decisions, whatever. When times are tough, looking inside is not only difficult but also dishes out tons of misery in the form of tears, anger and the like. It is definitely a better idea to look outside to gain grit and gather guts.
When all else is at an ebb, your heart and mind spin very fast. That is good for nothing. When I am down and out, I need to believe that I can come up. I need to understand that this is not the end of the world; that life has to go on. I need to know that I am capable of facing the given situation and coming out of it properly. For this belief to take root, I need to preferably see some instances of people coming up after a fall, some instances of boldness. The mental strength and courage has to come from outside, by seeing someone who has been through worse and come off better. More often than not, seeing is believing. If you told me that someone could bowl in a match with a fractured jaw, I wouldn’t believe you. But if I see Anil Kumble do it, I would. If you told me that a child from a fisherman’s family could become the President, I would laugh at you. But when I see Abdul Kalam, I believe it. Let me give you another example. My grandmother has been listening to music for the past 70 odd years and she can sing well. She cried after one of the performances on Airtel Super Singer Junior show on Vijay TV. When I asked her why, she said that she feels bad for not being able to sing as well as that child! My grandmother is 82. This feeling did not come to her after listening to MS, GNB, KBS, DKP et al; it came to her when she SAW the kid singing on TV. And when my cousin attempts to sing, she tells him to sing like that kid. The kid has become her hero.
The closer the celebrities are to you, the better. The world war heroes do spur me on, but not as much the Kargil heroes – they give me goosebumps. And, the more recent the event, the better its impact. I was talking to a friend a couple of days earlier telling him that I am unable to hold on to my nerves. And he told me, if you want inspiration on that front – watch Dhoni and Gambhir in the 2011 World Cup finals. The doings of Steve Waugh in 1999 are long forgotten.
When I am hungry, all I need is food, not questions. When I am lost, all I need is a map, not a soul search. When I fall, all I need is a helping hand, not some pop philosophy. All I need is the feeling “Yes, I can.” [Of course, I borrowed this from Obama.] And to feel this, I need heroes – people who have been there, done that!