We often scour amongst cricket stars and Bollywood celebs to look for a stable source of inspiration. Alternatively, we seek inspiration in an unprivileged but unordinary man/woman who has defied all odds to win a personal race. But it is how surreptitiously strange to note that we often overlook figures who are such an intimate part of our routine lives but so unassumingly rooted and calm that they are no less inspiring. They, in spite of their apparent ordinariness, stand tall and unperturbed even when we collapse into rubles of melancholy when a gravely upsetting incident occurs in our lives. It can be a great learning experience to just be present by the side of such people during their own lean phases, not to put a comforting arm on their shoulders but simply to witness the magnitude of their calmness and to make this disturbing discovery that they don’t need an arm at all. At a juncture when you may find it impossible to maintain a calm composure, they can absorb their disappointments and agonies into their system brilliantly well and get along with their life as if nothing significant has transpired. Even if the incident keeps playing at the back of their minds, they are audacious enough to feign happiness, concealing their inner turmoil and still managing to radiate joy in a monk-like sincerity.
That inspiring figure in my life is my everyday friend and batchmate Soumyodeb Bose. A man of great modesty and humble background, he hails from a small hamlet called Dankuni and commutes to Kolkata everyday to pursue a postgraduate degree from JU. Barely in his mid-twenties, he has the tranquility that is fast becoming a rarity in today’s urban-bred youth. In our internet-driven, breakneck-paced life, we have (perhaps unconsciously) internalized the habit of yelling and frowning at almost every animate and inanimate thing- right from a wireless mouse that has slowed down on its battery to our ageing parents who don’t even know the meaning of LOL.
But this guy, like I said despite all his seeming ordinariness (and academic mediocrity) shines like a Taj amidst black fragmented rubles. Of course, he lives his life almost like a shadow with not much academic or professional repute to boast of and entailed only by his handful intimate friends, but anyone who has spent a few months with him is bound to get infected by his ebullient and high-spirited nature.
No, he is neither an alms-begging mendicant nor a muscle-flaunting model or star. He is just a middle-class nobody. But even his story, no matter how insignificant and commonplace it may sound, deserves to be chronicled. He may never make it to headlines, having done no ‘miracle’ to warrant a place in the coveted list of “inspiring Indians”. But to those who are blessed enough to share his acquaintance, he serves as a philosopher who silently inspires; sometimes without our own knowledge.
So, when I face an odd situation in my personal life, I ask myself- “what Soumyodeb would have done in my place”- and finding my call answered by an inner voice, I act accordingly.
I write this because such people often exist in each of your daily lives. You only need to discover these gems in your own cellar. There is really no need to go looking for a diamond in some far-away treasure trove.