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EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE A HERO

We grew up watching movies where the protagonist fights off 20 burly men, saves a damsel in distress and sometimes even sings a damn song before wincing in pain from the bullet that was lodged in his throat the whole freaking time. Over the top heroics has been hardwired to our genes and men will go to the most flabbergasting extents to impress a girl. Considering this, you can’t be too surprised to see a guy slaloming through heavy traffic like a maniac to impress an unknown girl walking on the street.

But it doesn’t end there. We will show off to anyone, regardless of their willingness to suffer through our antics. Woman, man, child, the elderly; no one is spared. Don’t deny it, you know it’s true, you’ve acted smug after fooling a kid into thinking you can detach your thumb from your hand.

However, such situations tend to escalate into more serious matters at times. There have been many cases on the streets when minor fender benders have been blown out of proportion due to a few hot heads seeking glory. This is when sensible thinking takes the back seat and we’re up and at ‘em with fists a-blazing. It may just be the ape inside us acting out in sheer primal rage, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, we just can’t help and lunge out eagerly praying the girl in the scooter noticed your fist of fury (and hoping to hell someone breaks it up before the other guy swings back). If it weren’t for the crowd gathered to witness the street show, we’d probably settle it like adults instead of feeling compelled to Tyson it out.

It would be one thing to put yourself in harm’s way from your brazen heroics, but at times it’s someone else’s neck on the line. Quite recently, I had to take a short ride as a pillion behind a certain somebody, let’s call him Ramesh for the time being. For some unknown reason, Ramesh found it utterly important to show off his riding skills (what I will refer to as skills as I am not allowed to use the words I want to on a public platform). Long story short, I had to put all my efforts to put on a brave face without squealing like a little girl as I held on to what could have ended in a fiery ball of mangled body parts. I couldn’t comprehend Ramesh’s need to boast his lack of want to live on the face of the earth. I certainly was not going to get off and applaud the death ride. And the last time I checked, I was the incorrect gender if Ramesh was trying to impress me with other intentions in mind. On the flip side, I was also putting on a brave face when I could have asked him to slow the f**k down. A few more minutes on the bike and the wet patch on my pants might have given away my bravado. Like I said, none of us are spared from the need to show off our heroics.

Over the top heroics has been hardwired to our genes and men will go to the most flabbergasting extents to impress a girl.

But we can’t ostracize heroism as vain flamboyance; in fact we owe a lot of what we have to heroes who shook things up for the better of the world. There were the brave Gurkhas who sacrificed their lives to unite Nepal as one, heroes no doubt. More recently, Anuradha Koirala played the protagonist to so many girls who owe her their lives. And there are those everyday unsung heroes who just go by unnoticed.

Heroes come in so many forms: a soldier at war willing to give his life for the country or the father who works day and night to sustain his family. But the fact is these heroes would rather be doing anything else in the world. A soldier in battle would rather be at home with his family the hardworking mason wishes day and night for something to come along and change his life. Most just want a brief moment of glory, a sense of unsurpassed accomplishment that probably means nothing to anyone but themselves. Being a hero is not a choice, being a real hero may not be as glorious as one may perceive. When the time comes, a few will rise above the rest, not by choice but by compulsion, and they are the true heroes that come by ever so rarely.

Words: Ankit Shakya

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