We all grow up listening to stories of the great heroes who sacrificed their lives, their hopes, their loves for the greater good. The ones who won great wars, led many people through a revolution, won us all over through their charisma and words.
Then, there are those stories of the intelligent ones. The ones coming from the poorest sections of the world and winning scholarships to Harvard or MIT. The guy next door but not really who was educated at Princeton for Literature, or at Cambridge for Econometrics. Homeless to Harvard.
There are those who are disabled, and somehow make it big in the Performing Arts, or Sports. The poor, crazy man down the street who became an artist of absurdism. That woman who had a dream and wrote a bestselling novel for teenagers.
But, what’s intriguing about them? They all had a dream? Sure! Don’t we all? What else? I’ll tell you what. Marketability. They do what everybody else before them did. They picked out the best of the bestsellers, and twisted it a little. And voila! Victory.
Be it music, or art, or literature, funnily enough there is a success formula. Repeat your chorus a couple of times through the song, and you have a hit- you don’t even have to make the chorus too different from that other artist five years ago! Boy meets girl. They have a disagreement. They hate each other. They get stuck together/Fight a monster together/Do a project together/Crack a suspense together. They fall in love. Don’t believe this for some time. Acknowledge. Accept. Happy Endings. And the moral? A girl and a guy can never be just friends. Or if a girl and a guy are sworn to hate each other, they eventually do fall in love. Same song, different chorus.
But then, have we ever seen what happens in real life? There are two possibilities: Either we love those Romantic Comedies, and believe that’s life. And then we set out in the pursuit of that perfect man, or the all too hot woman. We fall for those stereotypes, which get reflected thorough our behaviour. I know and I think we all know that one guy who is ready to delve into doing the masculine task of fixing the light bulb, or cracking the code to that new version of GTA 5, for the girl. And if we end up knowing the answer to the ‘intellectual’ questions, like Programming or Math, it is, ‘Oh. Brilliant. You’re smart for a girl.’ Yes, thank you! Because all of us are still apes, and you alone are the evolved human, who we all depend on. Thanks for taking the human race forward with your smartness! And there is the eternal Damsel in Distress.
Then, there are some who don’t believe it is true. And we try not to fall in to the trap of popular culture. Live life dry. By the books. And what happens? First things first, we don’t understand 99% of the jokes. And then, we are labelled asocial, because we couldn’t enter that conversation. We tell ourselves we are unique, and there would one day be someone who might understand us. But till then, we become that Wierdo with no friends. Looney. We might even feel bad for ourselves, and let go of who we are, in that desperate need of social support.
It’s funny that we all believe we are unique, and are destined to be someone special. Meet the right person who we connect with. It’s hysterical that we want to be in a group, and want to belong there, and still want to do our own thing, without being judged. We want it all: The space to be who we are, and also the need to be one wanted. To be one of them, and to be a little different. The need to be liked, and the need to be right.
But then again, the stories of those who are somewhat average don’t get told. The boy who was brilliant at his academics. He got demotivated. He fell in love with television. He got the average grades. He liked this girl. She never liked him back. He liked the other girl. She was a bitch to him. Now, anyway, he isn’t a fan of himself, so he doesn’t dump her, because can he honestly get another girlfriend? She dumps him. Time passes. He likes another girl. She likes him back too. The problem? They don’t think they’d be great at relationships. There are better things to do. It’s never going to work out. They part ways before anything happens. He gets a mediocre job. He gets married, and lives his life lovelessly. His job sucks. Then one day he meets his childhood friend who tells him, they always thought he was brilliant. He was, as a kid, wasn’t he? And he was going to be a great man, someday. (If this were in a movie, he’d have taken in to his heart, and as luck would have it, he suddenly becomes brilliant again, and rich again, and meets the old friend who he liked and whom she liked.) But that makes him all the more sad. He tries again. But where does he have the time or energy to follow the course? He’s struggling to make both ends meet. His kids go to public school, and hate him. His wife works, and earns to supplement the family income. He is in a rut he can’t get out of! That, is the average man.
Those success stories? Give you hope. They do. But we don’t always have it our way. We might have the perfect job, but we also get burnt out. We might meet the perfect person, but we fall out of love. We might have the most loving friends, but they have their own lives. We might have the perfect children, but they grow up.
There are always heroes. But the news changes. And before you know it, the child actor we all loved is in rehab. The pop star at 50 has a pathetic personal life. The perfect beauty queen has an abusive partner. And we still strive, but the truth is we aren’t all unique. We aren’t all going to be successful and rich. And sometimes, when reality hits you, it hits you hard. You’re as affected by it, as deep your daydream was.
Because, not all returned as heroes who had fled. And there are dirty, disguising things behind the beatiful forevers.
I need to tell you all a big thank you for the follows and the likes. It makes me feel awesome, and warm and fuzzy inside. 🙂
Also, the quote, Not all returned as heroes who had fled is courtesy of this poem called Case Study, by Nissim Ezekiel. Sadly, I can’t take credit for it. But I loved it anyway, and motivated me to write this post. Do let me know what you think about it!
The Black Wallflower.