Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The 21st Century Hero

Courtesy - Clipart
Yesterday a friend forwarded a home-made music video on Whatsapp . It has two women on the guitar.  Watch it. If you are a Kannadiga, you will go on karaoke mode for sure.  I was enraptured. It is a piece of music that you will listen to over and over again.

Please note: I don't know who owns the video since it came as a forward. 

More than the music, those two ladies made me indescribably happy. Clad in crisp salwaar kameez, they are truly the ladies-next-door you’d discuss mundane stuff over coffee and Mangalooru store kharaseve.  They are so wonderfully unassuming and understated despite their explosive talent. What’s lovely about the video is the lack of fuss; the sheer everyday-ness of it... what a breath of fresh air in the age of sickening social media drama! “Watch this advert and you will cry!” “Watch what happens when this puppy meets the kitten!” “Watch what the old man does...faith in humanity restored!” And on and on...endless tracks of barf-inducing  nonsense.

I have lost count of the number of times when I’ve sensed a disturbing restlessness in individuals – a mild sort of panic of not being needed all that much, at least emotionally, by family members.  Both men and women feel a sense of vacuum; of being taken for granted. To make matters worse, since most “education” happens on social media these days, the message that is constantly bombarded on hapless men and women is this: If you want a sense of purpose and identity, you have to become a hero. Nothing less will do. It’s simply not enough if you work till your retirement and bring up decent children. You have to go out there, into the world, crusading about something or the other. Sweep the roads, clear dustbins, hug trees, plant trees, gather the homeless, gather the orphans, gather stray dogs, save prostitutes...whatever. But you have to do something that is worthy of social media attention.  Perhaps 21st century will go down in history for amassing the most massive pile of bullshit.

If you are one of the “lost” souls, constantly bewildered by the lack of acknowledgement from your family; constantly enveloped by indescribable anxiety because you feel this sense of loss of self (“I used to do this, this and this before marriage...now I  am talent-less”), the answer is right there when you watch these two amazing ladies. Somewhere, between endless cooker whistles, the fermenting of dosa batter, the kneading of chapathi dough, the packing of lunch boxes and a million other things – they have not compromised on the time or priority directed towards themselves. The result shows. The practice, the dedication and commitment.  And that’s your answer. Invest time for yourself. Even if it is as simple (or difficult) as taking thirty minutes off to read a book. Or to go shopping by yourself. Or to listen to music. Or even to just have a quiet cuppa. Whatever you do, do it for your pleasure only. You don’t have to live up to any predefined stereotype – of "looking the part". Don’t get into the trap of acknowledgement –“I embroidered this handkerchief but I got only 2 likes”. When you begin to focus on yourself in small doses, you will find yourself less in need of validation from others. When you nurture yourself, all these acknowledgements will come through automatically. Raising a family is no doubt the most demanding task on earth.  It means you take on new life-roles, learn new life skills, and develop new interests. All this should be in addition to whatever already defines you as an individual...not in replacement.

But remember, the first step is a change of mindset within yourself - stop thinking you are indispensable and your family can’t hold it together without you.  That’s a huge myth.  Everyone will be perfectly fine in their own way. If not anything, you will be doing them a favour by giving them an opportunity to assume responsibility. Start now and pick up where you left off 30-40 years ago.

In this day and age, when there’s so much crap going on around the world, I’d say a hero is someone who is happy, contented and radiates positivity - a well-nurtured soul. 

© Sumana Khan



  1. Hi Sumana... Beautifully articulated on what the "youth" need to do instead of just being socially conscious on achieving something.

    1. Thanks Yash. I think it applies to everyone...even older folks.

  2. This is beautiful Sumana. Both the video and the post. Though I've wasted a bit of time realising this, I have now started making time for myself. It is hard stop seeking validation from others when you've been doing it all your life. But it has to stop somewhere.

    1. Hi! I agree. Giving and receiving acknowledgement is an important part of relationship-building. I don't think we can live completely independent of expecting acknowledgement...after all we live in communities - acknowledging someone is most basic form of social interaction. But as you rightly mentioned, when it is always one-sided, it is time to stop.