Sunday, August 07, 2011


Name: Sumana Chattopadhyay
Age: 29 years
Designation: PhD Student
Paper: Proliferation of Oral Cancer in Kolkata

Sumana Chattopadhyay is just like any other ordinary girl chasing her dreams. She dreams to do research in the field of cancer. She dreams of going abroad. Her house is filled with the latest articles in international journals on cancer. In fact, she has also written for some of these journals. Stephen Hawking is her inspiration. Sumana Chattopadhyay is suffering from cancer.

The realization hit her one afternoon as a lot of saliva began pouring out of her mouth. "I have to complete my paper fast. What if.. I don't get the chance to complete it later?" And that was it. While most research scholars take years to complete their thesis, Sumana completed it within three years. She submitted her paper in April, 2010. 

Her family has a history of cancer. Her grandfathers, father and even aunt have passed away due to this vicious incurable disease. This is mainly why she wanted to find a cure to this deadly disease. 

Her condition started getting worse. She went through several operations and chemotherapy. She started feeling a little better. But 7-8 months back, her condition started getting worse. She puked anything she ate and so had to be helped with a tube. Now that tube has been removed, but she still can't eat anything. She can't lie down or sit. But before her conditioned worsened, she regularly went to the library and her college for research. When she couldn't, she emailed her work to her Guide. She still dreams of going abroad if she gets a chance. And you know what? She loves eating Hilsa. In rainy days- the queen of fish adorns the plates of most foodie Bengalis. Sumana just stares at the rain, the waters perhaps bring a little moisture and life in her numbered days.

These are the facts.

I have a colleague who stays in Bangal, a relatively primitive place in Bengal. Every morning he travels for about twenty minutes to get the Santraganchi local. From there he travels for an hour or so to reach another station. From thereon he travels to get the Metro. After he gets down to the last stoppage from the Metro, he walks for twenty minutes to reach office. It takes him three hours give or take for the journey. 

I asked him, "So if you wake up at 7, you will be able to reach office by 10?"

He said, "Yes that's true. But I don't feel like getting up so early in the morning. I feel so sleepy." He gives me an innocent smile. I look down.

So does being a hero necessarily require you to be a flying alien in red shorts? Or do you have to be bitten by a spider to be extraordinary? Are Sumana and my colleague heroes? 

I think they are. Heroes are not extraordinary people, they are just ordinary beings from among us, who show the spirit to fight the most demanding wars of life. They are just ordinary people with a zest to achieve their dreams, and in doing so, they light our paths with a ray of hope. When you watch a hero, you are filled with a sudden burst of energy, you feel "I can do this too!" 

The people I have just mentioned, exist in real life. These are real stories. When I hear about them, I am filled with awe. I think they are true heroes.

What about you?


Subhrashis Adhikari said...

inspiring story...true... hero's are not extraordinary people, they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things :)

Trisha said...


aakash said...

the heroes lie everywhere...
a thousand of them lost in the crowd, lost but not sad, because they don't strive for fame, not for money but for the reason... and the reason may be different fr all of us..

Take a chance in life.. risk it, and trust me, you feel alive :)


Trisha said...