Since I did not have an elder brother or sister, the role models when I grew up were mostly my seniors and peers. I am talking of a time when there was one TV in a colony and that too courtesy, the Asiad of 1982 when “Appu” reigned supreme. And hence, there was very little exposure to role models beyond the immediate milieu in the form of superstars like we have today.
While studying at my school I used to scamper on to the ground after having a 5 minute lunch, not to miss seeing my seniors play cricket with a make shift bat and a tree as the wicket. Once I had just come back from a visit to my native place, and argued with my parents to ensure that I was on time to go to school just at the nick of lunch time. This was to see my heroes play football in a crowded field! Incidentally I was hit on my right arm by a hard hit swirling football that day, and had to live with a dislocated wrist for the next one month!
While growing up I even started running with a forward angled shoulder just because the senior who was the best in running did that. Then there were the famous dialogues of Dr Faustus. This oft repeated declamation was another attraction to me, and I have practiced this in front of a mirror and closed doors, as I had seen my senior deliver the performance and the audience hearing with rapt attention. I tried doing the same speech in a later competition, thinking I had perfected my senior’s skills but realized the perils of aspirations without adequate competencies.
My peers were another big source of inspiration for me. I remember having changed my handwriting while at school at least twice trying to copy the style of two of my classmates, which I liked. At times, even for dressing etiquettes, there were influences of my peers and seniors. I have at times used the old sling bag, the kolhapuri chappals and the Carona canvas shoe in a certain way, wanting to copy people I saw near me.
I think this trend of imitation based on your seniors and peers, stopped sometime in college, and when external mass media started to have a more deepening influence in my life. This could also be attributable to the lesser age gaps between batches at college and the fact that we had also grownup into adults by then with numerous inhibitions. But to think and recognize that our seniors and peers have been indelible influences when we grew up is remarkable. And like me, there would be numerous others who would have been influenced as well. To think that I myself would have been a role model to many (in whatever way), imparts a greater significance of the roles all of us play while growing up. It will be interesting to talk to my daughter and find out whether the same streams of thought flow in her mind as well or does the current generation only look at global role models and heroes.