We hear so many stories in our childhood, and my childhood stories have been full of legendary figures like Lord Krishna, Lord Ram and Shivaji Maharaj. I was always in awe of these people, who achieved such inhuman tasks, and yet were mortals just like us. But no one, NO ONE, can be my superhero more than him. He’s the only only who could awe me, support me, lift me, give my life purpose. The only person who could motivate me to be a better person. Even as a child, it was him I wanted to impress; his appreciations that I seeked.
I remember this one day when I had to choose between him and Shivaji Maharaj as my icon. I was as small as three yrs old and was on a trek with my parents. I reached the top of the trek only because everyone told me I could meet Shivaji on the top. Little did my little self know that he had actually passed away decades ago. I gave up all hope of ever seeing Shivaji, until I saw him sitting there. He lifted me on his shoulders, carried me to the fort, and told me about how bravely Shivaji had died. And I found my Shivaji – my dad.
He has literally saved me from wolves and cobras that we encountered during our treks. He picked me up while carrying a fifteen kg rucksack when I was about to pass out.
But the reason he is my Shivaji is because of his own horrible mountaineering accident. On a rock climbing accident, two of his friends and him almost reached the pinnacle before the rope gave away and they fell metres to the ground. One died on the spot, one got a broke shoulder and my dad’s knee tore away from his leg. Having no other option, and leaving his dead friend’s body, he pulled himself and his friend through for hours, dragging his torn leg along, before he collapsed on the side of a road. He woke up on a hospital bed in Jaslok hospital. And months after he recovered, he said he wouldn’t resume normal life till he went back to the cliff, climbed it again, stood on top of the pinnacle and came back down safe. He did that. He did it. And then resumed normal life.
Years after this, he runs multiple marathons in a year. He has trained me all my athletics years, and would race me 100mts. He took me trekking every year. He travels the world. He is the one who encouraged me to do my basic mountaineering course, and finish it successfully. He is the reason I push myself harder and harder every time. He’s the reason why I will always look at nature and smile. He’s the reason I expect more out of myself. He is my reason for everything. He’s my dad, and he’s my superhero. He will always be my superhero.
(This is a piece I had written for the college magazine in 2015. Themes- Childhood and Superheroes)