Real Life Heroes and their #WillOfSteel !

#WillOfSteel is an endeavour by JSW to honour the unsung heroes of India, people who have truly proven their mettle and have unbreakable determination. Be it in sports, health care, social service or even saving the environment. These are individuals whose willpower has changed the world.

 

We all, and myself included, go ga-ga over movie stars and praise them to the moon. We spend a lot of time reading about them, watching their videos, and spending our money on their films. But are they real “heroes”?
We come across so many real life heroes in our life, and yet we hardly ever mention them on social media or in our daily interaction. So when JSW came up with this idea to honor some of our real life heroes, I just knew I had to do this. These people are so inspiring that I just knew I had to write about them. If we want people in our society to lead by example, who else could be a better example?
You can find all the nominations by JSW

here

. You can also vote for them at the same link. For a change, this would be an award ceremony where everybody would already be a winner, right?

As far as I am concerned, I discovered my inspiration in the following people and voted for them.
1) Satender Sharma : Children are always closest to my heart. So when I read the story of this

young boy

, who had to deal with atrocities like sex trafficking, drug abuse and child labour, at the tender age of 13, I just felt helpless. I know scores of children go through this, and yet we do nothing. The network is so large, we don’t know where to start. And look at this young boy! After being rescued by Salaam Baalak Trust, he is now a grown up man who instead of chasing success, has again gone back to the streets where he once lived. But this time, to make sure that no other kid goes through what he had to. I salute you Satender. This issue is closest to my heart. I wish I can work like you one day!

2) Vijayan : Travel is something that a lot of us are besotted with. As much as might we call ourselves travellers, in our heart, we really are tourists, aren’t we? We try and book the best hotels with the best view. We visit all the famous monuments a place has to offer and then head back home satiated of having visited the said place. But this

man

is what classifies as a “traveller”. He is a simple tea vendor. You can well imagine the kind of salary he would be earning. And yet, he has visited more number of countries than you and I have. He takes loans from the bank and then works doubly hard to repay it. Once he also sold tea in Zurich to be able to scour a return ticket home. Impressive, right? 

3) Pamela and Anil Malhotra : In this age of globalization, everyone of has a ton of views on why Global warming is happening. But almost none of us have any solution or the will to do anything about it. But Pamela and Anil went ahead and did what one couldn’t even imagine. They transformed 55 Acres Of Barren Land Into A 300 Acre Wildlife Sanctuary. Thanks to them the ecological condition of the area and rapidly improved over the last decade. For sure, “where there is a will, there is a way”!

4) Laxman Rao : Almost all the bloggers I have known till date nurture a dream of being a published author one day. But only a handful of them are. Some have written entire books, while a few have been published in Anthologies. But who would think a roadside tea seller in Delhi has over 20 books published in his name? I am, for one, bowled over by this information. This man has really inspired me to leave my procrastination behind and get writing with the pen. NOW!

5) Karibeeran Parameswaran & P Choodamani: For me, being a humanitarian always comes first. And this couple will always be at the top of my list. The 2004 tsunami literally washed their life away as they lost their 3 children in it. But not ones to lose hope, they rescued and sheltered many orphaned children. Today they are parents to 26 such children, making sure their future life will be brighter and better. I salute thee Karibeeran and Choodamani !

6) Tauseef Siddiqui : Dharavi, the largest slums in Mumbai, is also one of the largest in the world. Until now, it has most often been in the news for its poverty and squalor. But Tauseef along with his friend Fahim started Be the Local Tours to promote a never before explored section of Mumbai, Dharavi. A section of Mumbai that is written off as the underbelly, Tauseef shed light on the fascinating Eco system hidden within this slum and turned the image around into an international tourist attraction. Today because of his relentless efforts, Dharavi is looked at in a whole new light. Hats off to this young boy for his revolutionary idea and showing the world that India is not only a land of the poor and snake charmers. We also have the most hard working and intelligent people who are working hard to make it big in an emerging economy.

I’m voting for Satender Sharma’s, Vijayan’s, Pamela and Anil Malhotra’s, Laxman Rao’s, Karibeeran Parameswaran & P Choodamani’s, and Tauseef Siddiqui ‘s #WillOfSteel and blogging on BlogAdda to help him/her get felicitated and eventually enabled by JSW.

The day dreams turned into a nightmare!

 

They were very young then. D and M. They used to play in the evening together, sometimes in their homes, or in the park adjacent to thier house. They had their own world in which only the two of them, their brothers and sisters, their parents and their houses existed. No bad people or any evil that was associated with the outside world ever entered their world. They ran in the park or played on the swings on days when a cool breeze flew, and sat under the shade of a tree on days it was hot and humid or chatted on the terrace. They made fun of each other, discussed their funny/rude/intelligent classmates and shared their growing up stories. They were experiencing the most beautiful years of our life and they didn’t even know it. That was the beauty of it.
But it all changed in a single day. They both were playing in the park one day, and a guy came up to them. He must have been a college goer, was well dressed and came on a bicycle. He loitered around for some time, and then finding the park almost empty, approached them. He wanted to know some address that they didn’t know. They politely declined and started to move. He subtly blocked their ways and started talking about some inconsequential things. In the process, he touched them in all the places he shouldn’t have. They felt uncomfortable, but didn’t raise an alarm. After all, they were too young and ignorant. In their world, everyone was good and gave candies to kids. Not the goose bumps of the wrong kind. This went on for quite some time until one of them began to cry. He got afraid that they might raise an alarm. And somehow, they wriggled out of his grip and ran home. They recounted the entire incident, oblivious of the horrors that could have descended on them that day. The parents said their prayers to God, thankful of His mercy and everybody went back to sleep peacefully. But. Their daily park activity was stopped. They couldn’t go out and play because they were little girls, and apparently a nymphomaniac could be out there on the prowl.
Later, during their teenage years, they had their share of the butt slapping/pinching, molestation and lewd comments passed in buses, trains and market places. They shared these with each other, but what could they do? But there was an incident each in both of their lives that they didn’t share with each other. It had crossed the boundaries of the ‘normal’ indecent behavior meted out to young girls like them. They were so ashamed of themselves that they didn’t even share it with each other, let alone the parents or the siblings. They grew up scathed, scarred and abused for life. They thought that they would be considered ‘bad’ for having this brought upon themselves.

 

But a few weeks back, all of us were chatting about an incident that had happened with one of our friends and that led them to reveal ‘their incidents’ to each other after almost 12 years. They realized how ill informed they were. They didn’t even realize then that what had happened with them was a grave crime. They knew it was wrong, but didn’t know if everybody else would feel that way too. What if they didn’t believe them? What if, they stopped them from going to school/college/friends’ house just like the park incident? And they hadn’t heard these kinds of stories from anyone else too. That meant it was only them. And so, they buried those incidents deep down in their hearts and tried to believe that they were indeed wrong about it all.
Imagine if two best friends couldn’t reveal to each other a one-off incident like that, what do victims of years of child sexual abuse go through? You and I cannot even imagine it.
The reason for this post is today’s episode of

Satyamev Jayate

on

Child Sexual Abuse

. First I have to give it to

Aamir Khan

for taking up this topic that is somehow always brushed under the carpet. People turn cynical. After all who talks to young kids, aged 4-12 years about sex and what touch is a ‘right’ touch? That’s the problem of our society. They want to live in denial. They do not want to accept the fact that someday their kids could be a victim of this horrendous crime too. Because as long as it’s happening to someone else’s kid, they can always be judgmental and say, “Oh! You know it’s his/her mistake. He/She shouldn’t have gone there. It’s no place for kids.” Right! Park is not a place for kids too. The government spends the tax payers’ money on building and maintaining parks for imbecile, nut-head nymphos looking out for their next victim!

In today’s episode, Aamir talked to the

victims and survivors

 of years of abuse. It was mind numbing and very disturbing. But the best part of the show was where he took a

workshop

for kids aged 5-10 years. He informed them about the ‘danger’ parts of one’s body, and that except the parents and a doctor, nobody else had any business touching them. Even a doctor can examine the child in those sensitive areas Only when a parent is around. He explained it all in such a matter-of-fact way, using a chart and diagrams that it almost felt like he was teaching them the A-B-C. There was nothing wrong or disgusting about it.

 

Some parents feel that it is wrong to introduce these concepts to so young a child. But I think in the age and times that we live, it has become imperative that the right kind of information be passed on to young minds to save them a lifetime of nightmares and scars. And let them enjoy the most beautiful years of their life, armed with not only creative stories and dreams, but also the right information. Let them not be wronged at the hands of some frustrated distant relatives or friends. You brought them into this beautiful world and you owe them this – that the beauty of their world remains, until they grow enough to figure it out all themselves.