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Everyday Heroes April 26, 2005

Posted by espritnoir in Uncategorized.

More often than not, we seek our heroes in the realms of fiction and fantasy. Or if not, we turn to Nobel laureates, artists, men of great vision, power and wealth – with their achievements, they all vie with each other for the esteemed position of Role Models or as Channel V calls it, “Youth Icons”. Though there’s nothing wrong in turning to the world of fame or fiction to identify our models, we do run the risk of failing to recognise the everyday heroes that surround us all the time. Some of whom are people we know and interact with everyday, but never acknowledge their superhuman powers, simply because they do not hide behind masks or wear capes or well, they just can’t fly! Now what super hero worth his name can’t fly? Even Batman, with his trusty Utility Belt can wing it, when the occasion requires. So we assume, no super powers, no hero.

But, a few days back I realized that just because these ordinary mortal heroes that surround us everyday don’t have fancy powers, doesn’t make them any less extraordinary. Their inability to fly is replaced by a supernatural will to fight supreme battles with life, silently and patiently, one day at a time. Not for them the glory and power of fame, but the small comfort of their own achievements. Scars, if any, to be hidden from others, lest the world think them to be weak or indulgent. You see, a few weeks ago, I had breakfast with one of these mortal heroes of daily life.

I have known her for over 10 years now, back from the good old school days. Doctor Dee, that’s what I call her. She’s come a long way from just being the smartest kid in class, to being an intern doctor, working her way at a government hospital to becoming a DCH (Diploma in Child Health). And yet, she remains so much the same. She was and still is the one of the most amicable persons in I have ever known. Soft-spoken, funny, intelligent, she’s one of those rare breed of people that barely exist, even in fiction, today – a genuinely nice person, almost straight out of a children’s fairy tale book.

Whenever we meet up, which is say four or five times a year, she fills me in with stories of her “bacchus”, the kids she encounters daily in her hospital wards. Amusing anecdotes. How one of her patients, all of 9, announced to his family and all the doctors present in the ward, that one day when he was bigger, he was going to marry Doctor Dee. Or the “aye, kya bhailog?” and “jadu ki jhappi” type jokes that did the rounds of her hospital after Munnabhai M.B.B.S. came out. Happy stories of bacchus who had recovered from their illnesses, and excited about returning home. Others not so happy. Parents with no resources, looking up to doctors to somehow save their undernourished, underfed, and overexposed children. Mothers with TB and AIDS, dead after delivery, leaving behind crying babies. Children whom she had attended to, who didn’t make it through the night. Those who did, only to die two nights later. How quickly the joy of saving someone’s life can turn into angst as one helplessly watches another life slip away.

As she told me these things, I couldn’t even imagine the emotions that she, and other doctors, like her had to deal with, every single day of her life. I always wonder how would I react in a similar situation. And, always my reply has been, I honestly don’t know. I mean, what must it be like to play God, even in the most briefest of ways? Knowing that every single act that you do, can be the difference between life and death to somebody else. Having to remain on your toes 36 hours at a stretch, often without any thanks or any gratitude. Knowing that most people don’t remember doctors for their small, everyday victories that help their patients live to see another day, but only for their major failures. And yet, being in her ward, everyday, taking care of her bacchus, not because it’s her job, or because she gets good money from it, but just because. That’s it. And despite the pain and helplessness, making a difference in the lives of so many. And in spite of it all, remaining so humble. So human. But, I guess that’s what separates us mortals from the heroes. Any idiot can wear a cape and pretend to fly, but it takes the likes of Dr. Dee to become just another nameless, faceless ordinary Hero. One who will probably never ever win a “Youth Icon Of The Year” award, but yet makes more of a difference, than all possible Icons put together.

Hats off to you, kid! Keep it rolling. And remember, God’s on your side. All you’ve gotta do is ask…;)



1. smruthy - June 24, 2008

this is nice…

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