I oh-so-proudly belong to one of the richest mythologies ever known to the mankind. Being brought up amidst these mystical stories in everyday life, Ms. Lil Right Brain has been very artistic in ideas. Imagination saw no boundaries, my head explodes with images, events of the epic being told, I’ve always had a version, probably the most beautiful one in my thoughts. As I see, as I listen to these - fantasies or fables or even simple folktales, I delve so deep that I become an integral part of the story, hence they sure had (…and continues to have) a profound effect on me.
The Goddesses, Gods, wars, warriors, triumphs and trails, good vs. evil, sages and ascetics, plots and laments, the list is inexhaustible, and never fail to mesmerize me. One thing always strikes me the most is a Hero, his/her Bravery. The immense courage, absolute fearlessness displayed with infinite poise. A real hero, his grit, the very valor he harbors is heart-throbbing. I am so in awe with the heroes, well the real ones. One of the scenes in the recent movies I watched - Bahubali2, intrigued me, to question this - Where are the heroes these days? Sure, not the ones fighting with the swords, not those exalted warriors on the battle flied, not that charming prince riding an Unicorn, not the one who has the ability to throw a weapon into the seas to create serene backwaters, not the ones who can tie Holy Ganga with his hair, but in today’s ever changing world, who is a HERO? What does bravery mean?
On one of my recent journeys, while traveling there were a few incidents I witnessed. With common sense and no judgements, now if I think back on the subject of Bravery, I am so intrigued to know, where are the brave men these days?
#1. On a overnight train to Kerala, in India, in the middle of the night, a girl raises her voice warning a fellow passenger who kept reaching for her even after several requests and warnings. She couldn’t take it anymore, so she came down her top bunk and started to question him. Then one person stood by her, confronted that freak, then came another, then it looked like the whole compartment supported her, fetched the police and got the evidence from his phone where he was trying to take this girl’s pictures when everyone were asleep in the dark. All these men were awake till he was taken out to the police station in the next stop. I was in tears, felt so happy for she stood for a good cause.
Only now I realize this strange thing - she was with this guy and they were a couple from what she said, but he never showed up during the whole saga. Neither did he actively participate to encounter that middle aged pervert nor did he stand by her. Wow! I am super stoked. Sure he was not a local, but I can’t wrap my head thinking if he was a coward to retreat in the lower bunk, or just too faint hearted to come out? I will never know.
#2. Holi 2017, Varanasi, India. As beautiful as it is depicted by authors/movie-makers in the books/cinema/on-screen, it is also as brutal, at least for a girl to experience this with the essence of naked goodness. The guesthouse where I was staying had warned us about girls going out alone on the streets, suggested to take necessary precautions and boys to accompany girls, if that is available. Morning of colors, in the bright sunshine, I didn’t go too far, I was mostly sticking to the ghats, and there I saw this couple who also resided in the same place. After a while, I only saw the this girl, she was laughing and playing, but again and again, there would be a gang of guys who would come wishing “Happy Holi” and try to misbehave right there on the streets in the broad daylight. A couple of really good men, who were protecting me, who advised me to stay behind them, were acting as moral policemen while the actual policemen sat smoking and and watched all the deeds. After about an hour, this guy from the guesthouse comes around, then the girl sees him in the crowd, and requests to accompany her till the house. While tracing their way back, again people come in troops to wish the girl with a evident motives to mistreat her, she managed to getaway after agitation but I kept watching the guy who just witnesses all this, doing absolutely nothing. Sure, no need to go bash them up, but at least show up, let her know that he is there in the moment when needed? Make himself visible, make her feel he is the man? wow! Really? It blows my mind, whatever happened to the chastity of bravery.
#3. Yoga retreat in Rishikesh, India. I met a girl who was wearing an interesting bracelet, when asked, she just smiled. She blushed. I got curious about it and probed. She got super excited and told that it was handmade by her soulmate, and she never takes it off. She would talk about all the daunting tasks she did, because she so wanted to align every experience for them for some history they had. When connected with her, she would go on about how much she was in love and how she began to love not just that a person, but the whole race, because of this one wonderful guy she met sometime ago. All the efforts she put in from planning, flights, trains, buses, hotels, home-stays, friends, places, timing, logistics was one thing but it was first time in her life she was taking a trip this long and with somebody so special, everything she did to make it an incredible reality, she was full of life. She was full of love. After a couple of days, I got to meet the guy. While I spoke to him, it was hard for me to relate this guy with the same “soulmate” that she described so vividly. Gratitude was a far-off thing, but he was no where in the same frequency as she was. I was surprised beyond what my mind could comprehend, as I imagined a person to be something so phenomenal to deserve all that.
So, again, what does bravery mean in today’s world?
The one who can stand up to the truth.
Bravery is all around, countrymen who fight for us in the harsh borders, people who pray for their safety, back home.
People who protest on the roads, who sign petitions to defy foolish laws, who can go out there to bring about a change, who can live out of their heads and speak their hearts.
Change of perception in the above stories. Isn’t it sheer bravery for
#1 - The whole train who awoke to stand by a girl
#2 - Those 2 men who volunteered to protect all the women on the streets amidst chaos
#3 - The girl with her unconditional love for her soulmate
These are real heroes. A hero in me salutes the hero in You!
Courage is everywhere. Aren’t we all born with it?
We just have to ensure we don’t kill it. Thats all.
PS: I once knew somebody who enlightened me about “Whole Truth” How an oath in a certain country in taken, how he likes to standby his truth, but just partly. Irony, as I know it, is he is living his whole life a whole lie, as 1/2 truth, 3/4 truth, 1/4 truth, 1/3 truth is never really the truth. Ah! If only people practice what they preach, world would have been a much happier place.
Truth is only true when it is whole.