We are used to a plethora of Gods….all kinds, all faiths. We look up to some of them, we worship a few, we curse some…but we never really see them. And those who claim to have been visited by them are usually assumed to be delusional.
But guess what! There are Gods amongst us! Till last week, for almost 3 weeks, we saw them on our television sets daily while some lucky ones who were able to fly to London were even able to see them in the flesh.
Like the Gods of our Hindu pantheon, they come in all shapes and sizes. The beautiful ones with six and eight pack-abs, glistening skin, sinewy arms and rippling muscles. The lithe Gods jumping on crossbars, slight and small and amazingly flexible. The water-Gods, cutting swathes through across pools, or diving in coordination. The focused Arjunesque Gods, shooting targets with their rifles or pistols. The huge Gods lifting weights beyond comprehension. The tall Gods, dunking basket after basket with consummate ease. The Gods with taught thighs, pedaling away to glory. And so on…
And like the Greek or Roman Gods, they can be vain, dishonest, irritating and mean. And they come in all flavors. A God that clowns? We have Usain Bolt. A serious, focused running God? David Rudisha. A God who finally decided to relax and have fun? Michael Phelps fits the bill.
Irrespective of their imperfections, these Gods, in today’s day and age of clay-feet heroes, teach us so much. Each and every one of them is a God because of a combination of innate talent, coupled with extreme hard work, with an overlay of perseverance, focus and sacrifice and they show us the heights that can be scaled with single-minded dedication and pursuit.
Each and everyone of these Gods, including our local home-grown Saina Nehwal or Mary Kom, has sacrificed family, friends, chocolates, Jhalak Dikhla Jaa and McDonald burgers for that one moment of success and glory. While the rest of us party or watch television or go for the first day, first show of Ek Tha Tiger, these Gods are toiling away in their courts, or pools or tracks or ranges, hour after hour, getting their act together. Yes, there is a more than a large element of narcissism…but this narcissism helps and is perhaps a pre-requisite for achieving the physical and mental focus required to win.
These are the role models worth emulating, the celebrities worth cultivating and the people with substance worth bringing on stage and giving awards to. These are the Gods who need to preach to us about the kind of guts it takes to achieve glory. And these are the Gods for whom there should be daily aartis, so that they are not forgotten till the next Olympics rears its head four years from now.
Maybe I am seeing everything with rose-tinted glasses. But given the cynical world we live in, where almost everything can be bought, fixed or arranged, it feels nice to have something to believe in, to have faith in, that involves pure human sweat, blood and toil, without taint or malpractice. And which is why intuitively, we give out collective gasps when we see someone running away from the pack or lifting an impossible weight or swimming with a time that was previously thought insane. And funnily when the devotees are out in full form, cheering them on, something magical happens that allows these Gods to deliver and perform beyond their own expectations.
These Gods make a difference! And I have finally started believing in them!