The title of the post may sound as if J Jonah Jameson of Spiderman infamy got into the Superman strip, courtesy a copy-paste error ,or “printing mistake”, as is the latest political term for it, but hang on, and you will know what I am trying to convey here (hopefully).
I was watching “Batman Begins” a few days back, when I happened to subconsciously go over all the superhero stories I have seen/read/heard over the years, right from the days when I aspired for a cape and a body-hugging suit of my own. For all the variety in their wizardry, strengths and rationale for existence, one binding factor firmly remains in place – each one of them has a weakness. Some or the other chink in the armour (so to speak) which allows their nemesis to get a move on them, claim (a bit) more screen-space and in general, to remind us that no one is perfect, not even a superhero. This can also be a marketing gimmick to keep the people coming in, as a good adversary always makes a combat more interesting, and marketable (If you have any doubt about that – go watch a Bangladesh vs. anyone (except Kenya/Zimbabwe) series 😛 ). But anyways, I digress. Let me hit home before I stray too far.
So, coming back to superheroes and their weaknesses, every superhero of note seems to have one. For Spiderman, it is Mary Jane…for Superman, its Lois Lane (Kryptonite, in my opinion, is a lesser weakness) and for the Dark Knight, its his fear of bats and the cross of having to live out a dual life, alternating between a do-gooder and a spoilt billionaire playboy.
So what I am really trying to say here? That every superhero has his nemesis and is human, just like all of us, in the end? Naah…look at it this way – rather than thinking that all superheroes have weaknesses, can we not think that at least some of us, can overcome our weaknesses and capitalise on our strengths, and be our own hero? Agreed that we can’t be superheroes, all-achieving, all-powerful, but we can definitely make our own (and possibly, someone else’s) life better with a little genuine effort. All it takes is a little effort to make the change, and a lot more willingness to see the scope for change in the first place. We can go through our lives cribbing that we don’t have a perfect body, a good job, successful relationships, but we never pause to think if we have taken the pains to hit the gym, put in those intense work hours, or bothered to prune out the wrong kind of relationships from our life and nurture the right ones. Do we even bother to check how things have gone wrong and how they could be set right, instead of just being an armchair critic of our own life? The answer – in many instances (including mine, at many times) is a definite no.
It is so very effortless to just clap at the achievements of a superhero and shed tears on a fallen one. What we never bother ourselves with is to actually sit and think through what it is that really turns a normal human being into an idol of sorts, apart from being bitten by a spider or having to witness the untimely trauma of his parents’ death. Superheroes go through exceptional circumstances in their lives, but not everyone has to be subject to such happenings to be their own hero. I believe that whatever I have managed to learn from and about life, has not been sparked by any out-of-the-ordinary impulses, but fairly common situations and disappointments, which I managed (albeit, after lots of time/effort) to look at from the right perspective.
And what I have been doing for this to happen? Nothing much, apart from some intense observation/introspection, a willingness to “suffer” today for a better tomorrow and some good old-fashioned hard work. Also, I have been lucky enough to have friends who don’t believe in just saying good things about me, but are equally willing to kick my behind whenever required. Not that they succeed always, but it’s mostly quite effective 😉
So, instead of just idolising the hero on screen, why don’t we just devote a few minutes today to being our own hero? Why not be a creator rather than a spectator? I know its not an easy path to walk, but then, rarely anything actually worth doing is easy to do. I won’t go on about what you need to do to be a better person – you are the captain of your own ship, you know better how to steer it. And I am certainly no “Life Coach”, at least not right now. All I will say is – go ahead, don’t just look at the screen, work towards blazing your own trail across it.