A typical Indian movie:
A pair of legs sprinting. There is a continuous build of music. Someone shouts out his name “Raja or Shiva or Karthick” (stereotypically speaking) and he turns in a painfully slow motion towards the screen and smiles his ear to ear smile: Our protagonist gives his first appearance in the movie. Everyone around( in the movie) is happy at his arrival, going into raptures over his many heroic abilities.
‘Zip – Zap’ goes the sound as the protagonist or rather the ‘hero’ of the movie yanks his hand in the air revealing a gesture of style. An introductory song follows where the hero continuously blows his own horn, singing his own praises to a dumb crowd around. Then he (or rather the stunt man) bounds and leaps in the air in an always victorious attempt to rescue the oh-so-beautiful dame from the evil hands of a group of ruffians. There goes the boy meets girl sequence. Some romantic duets follow (no never a dupe in this!) and then some drama, some action, a series of unsolicited lectures … blah and blah…and we all go crazy over this “hero”.
Try asking your fellow mate who his or her favorite hero is. The most probable answers might be Vijay, or Rajni or Shahrukh, not a surprising one though! We get obsessed with these demigods- so infatuated with their personalities that sometimes we lose our very individuality trying to imitate these larger than life characters- giving them more importance in our life than what they really deserve.
Who are these people? What do they mean to us? What have they been to us? Aren’t we supposed to just be entertained for the three hours of the movie?
Someone who has to be continuously commended and admired to keep up the image , someone who needs sound and visual effects to depict his superhuman image- We call him a “hero” -not a cast, not merely an actor but a “hero”. Fan clubs, talk shows, film-fares to add to that!
We have been so busy all our life gaping in wonder at something that is apparently fictitious, worshiping pseudo heroes that some of the real- life heroes have taken a back seat. Following is the story of a real life hero.
This person hails from a remote village of Madurai: a village the size of my college. With barely any facilities for routine, uneducated parents, a flock of siblings, education was a far cry. It happens that many a day he might even go hungry, but in the unfathomable depths of his vacant stomach there always was a fire burning- that wanted to get ahead no matter what it takes and further his ambitions, to acquire the education that was denied to his forefathers and to stand up against anything that might get in his way of realizing his dreams. And that was no cake walk, trust me.
Everyday he would cycle ten miles to the nearest school on his cycle (but for the bell every part of the cycle would have a distinctive noise of its own) and back. And then luckily got into a college (with only a couple of clothes to wear), graduated and started his life as a cashier in an insurance firm.
And then there was this problem with the exacting english language as he studied in an elementary school that was far removed from any scope of english. He would sit through odd hours in the night reading and comprehending. He would push himself analyzing his insurance subjects (and they are really vast) every available minute. Thus he climbed crag to crag, leaving his mark as he climbed, determined to reach where he is today- a divisional manager cum a top cadre marketing manager of a reputed insurance firm. He really has come a long way.
Sincere. Simple. Humble. Brilliant. Responsible. Organized. Benign. It’s nothing but an honor calling him my father. He’s the person who had taught me to walk, to talk, to read, to write, who would hold my kutty hands and walk me to school, who had given me freedom enough to enjoy but with ethical boundaries, who imparted to me the importance of moral convictions, who would ask my suggestion in every important decision that he is to make even when I was a kid, who -even now when I’m out of my teens -would feed me and lovingly watch me go to sleep.
He has never let his struggle and heavy work that was demanded by his profession, compensate his duties as a husband to my mom and as a father to two children. During the earlier days when his income was modest he would sacrifice his essential requirements to get me an extra frock and a toy. I’ve never known anything as genuine, unconditional and perfect as his silent sacrificial love. He really is a hero to me.
It’s true he cannot recite rhyming dialogues of love like our silver-screen heroes do but why should he when that abstract love though silent and unexpressed in words is so tangible? He does not sing songs of his praise but again need he do it when everyone looks up at him with respect and awe? He does not leap and bound in the air in a frenzy of action but he has fought against countless barriers on his way from a simple livelihood to what he is today. He does not have the face of a media prince, for time had ruthlessly stamped fine lines on it and age has already started combing grey streaks through his hair, but his shoulder is sturdy enough to hold and support his family and his heart pumps fresh young blood every minute. To this hero I owe my life for he was the one who had given it to me in the first place.
If we blink away the haze that the big screen has created and look around there is a silent legend- a hero living in every of our homes . Just that we are too complacent to realize it.
My dad is a hero- in the real sense of the word .And so is your dad.