I come from a village which cannot be traced even in a taluka map and I am now in one of India’s biggest metros. I was an employee and now I am an employer. I have seen poverty and experienced riches too. I am a son of a poor man, now I am a father of rich children. I have read about empires being made and empires being lost. But my conviction about what contributes to strength and stamina has not changed.
This statement will be more meaningful in context of the following narration. As I stated in the beginning I am from a small village, born to parents who had struggled to feed a family of six. Neither had I owned a pair of slippers, nor a full length trousers till I crossed my teens. I used to have friends who liked me to pedal the bicycle for them, because they wanted to eat masala dosa or watch movies in a nearby town which was about a 10 km distance from my native village. With a dynamo on (for light of the cycle) balancing 60 kilograms weight of my rich friends, I have driven that 100 km distance in late nights from a theatre just because I was provided with a free movie ticket. I have walked barefoot, 100 km in three days for 10 continuous years in the name of worship, when I was in my teens. All these years I often used to tell my friends, colleagues and relatives, and it was not to make them think that I was great, but was to impress upon them that all these experiences built up my “Strength and Stamina” which I have cherished in these last 20 years of my life. It was important to me that my relatives and friends, and their children learnt the importance of hard work and exercise in the present age of sedentary lifestyle. To me, a sedentary lifestyle is the worst killer. The inability to walk a stretch of 10 km to me is totally unacceptable.
This is how most teens of today manage their lifestyle: Grandmothers run to get them a glass of water while they are riveted to a sofa watching a soap opera. Mothers run to get the remote for them to change the channels. Fathers run to get them the photocopy of the ‘rivers of India map’ for their homework from a street corner shop. It is an era where “rickshaw” and “call taxis” and also “parents and servants” are helping a child to avoid even walking 10 steps in a day. It is an era when parents in their early forties take a high end car to the nearby “fitness centre” to lift a leg for which they pay heavily. They don’t realise that this attitude will ensure that their children reach their twenties! So when I question and analyse what is happening to our next generation, I am told, ‘gone are those days, ‘world has changed’, ‘why do you want to harass your children just because your father was poor?, ‘what is wrong if the loving grandmother brings a glass of water for the pet child?,’ my employer pays for unlimited petrol, so why not let my child benefit?’.
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