Role model

Ramana sir rightfully reprimanded me for being a terrible role model for the LBC group. What can I say, except that I am sorry 🙂

If I advertised something, law practice is a test of character. As I grew up, some of my first role models were fictional- Batman, Jake Brigance (“A Time to Kill”),Alan Shore (“The Practice” and “Boston Legal”) and Atticus Finch. Then, I read non fiction, about U.S. State Department Attorneys like John Doar who did not flinch in their dedication to civil rights, even in the face of angry mobs outside of Ole Miss University or Somali Mam, who walked away with a child prostitute in Cambodia without a care for the guards carrying Ak-47s outside the brothel. I always wanted to be Batman or John Doar or Somali Mam. But, we don’t realise, when we read these stories, the kind of effort required to build those nerves of steel, which became the foundation for a life of courage.

I don’t know courage, but I have felt fear. In fact, I suspect courage cannot exist without fear, even paranoia. Fear follows you like a shadow. Every time you stop at traffic signal with the window open, your mind goes back to the threats and you begin to wonder who the gentleman on the bike next to your car is. Every call from an unknown number makes your heart skip a beat. You wake up a few times every night, at the smallest of noises. You, in fact, develop an over cautious sixth sense that screens every individual for anomalies worth red flagging. I suspect this fear is a construct of my mind and not based on anything substantial, but doesn’t make it any easier.In fact, it only makes me realise how shallow my understanding of my role models are.

More often than not, fear is like a wave, coming and going in different intensities. In the face of sudden adversity, you keep fear aside and let adrenalin do the talking.But once the adversity passes, the adrenalin wanes and then the fear of consequences begin to emerge. Questions like, “was it really worth saying what I did?” and “maybe I shouldn’t have been so cocky”, begin to repeatedly play over and over. The body shivers uncontrollably and the temperature drops in one’s mind. It is a surreal experience. With each stint with fear, you learn to handle it better, but the body’s propensity to feel a scare never truly disappears. Survival Instinct I suppose. Fear is dangerous, it leads to anger and hatred. It is one of the most annoying impediments to growth and development.

Anyways, you can’t truly appreciate your role models until you have felt that fear, just to get a sneak preview of the internal conflict that the likes of John Doar must have braved to become who he finally became for the civil rights movement in America. And that’s where we go wrong. To be inspired by a role model is not to worship. Rather, it is to understand that values are not mere ideals and concepts, but workable practices on the ground and that, role models, no matter how extraordinary, were made of the same make as the rest of us. The objective is not to ape these individuals, but merely to remind ourselves about what we can do and what is probable. Lastly, it is to take their body of work, as a framework for newer ideas that can impact more people and will become more relevant for our times.

Being inspired is not just a state of high, but an invitation to be dedicated and hard working towards something. Without this understanding of role models, one simply becomes a hero worshiper and frankly, hero worshipers are annoying and counter productive.

This post is part of my writing endeavor as a member of the loose blogger’s consortium. The other bloggers are as under. Give them a visit, they are bunch of hell raisers you wouldn’t want to miss 😉 RummusergaelikaaMaxiThe Old Fossil and Shackman


2 thoughts on “Role model

  1. One of the quotes that had a permanent impact on me in my working years was the definition of maturity – Acting with courage but with concern.” Today we see more of immature action than mature action in all aspects of life because there is a lot of courageous action, particularly in material pursuits but almost all of them without a trace of concern. It is very difficult to find the kind of role models that you and I have had in today’s world because even if we do find them, societal values usually are in conflict with them and they are almost always ridiculed.

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