Saturday, June 02, 2007


By Rohit Wad

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

For a long time, I've always admired the superheroes in stories and comics, those who leap to the rescue at the first sign of trouble and save the day. More often than not, they tend to lead dual lives, wearing masks at "work," then reverting back to their own selves after the danger is over. It always made me wish that I had superpowers, be it X-ray vision, super-strength, enhanced agility, etc.

I always will admire these superheroes, no matter what my age; doing heroic deeds probably does wonders for one's own conscience, if not ego. However, my view on superheroes has changed somewhat, especially after listening to the song "Superman," by the music group Five for Fighting.

I've come to look at the lives of superheroes differently, at the trials they have to go through everyday. These people have to fight not just to maintain not only peace and justice in their surroundings, but also for the stability of their personal lives, which have been made more complicated because of their newfound powers. It makes me wonder how drastically my life would change, if I were a superhero. For example, new questions would arise.

How will I be able to keep my identity secret? If people knew who I was, how will they behave? Will my friends still be my friends? Will my loved ones be in danger, now that I'm a superhero? Will I be able to watch over everybody 24/7? If I had kids, how will they be treated by others, knowing that their father/mother is a superhero? Do I really want all this responsibility? How can I take a vacation, knowing that there are always people who will need my help, no matter what day or time it is?

The questions probably don't end there, and probably never will. From my point of view, being a superhero will entail not so much rescuing people and saving the day, but answering questions similar to those I just mentioned, and probably a whole lot more questions than that.

On top of that, not all of those questions can be easily answered by anybody, superhero or not. Some of those questions might be answered by actions, and not by words. The rest of those questions might not even have answers at all, and will forever remain questions.

Given all this, the song "Superman" probably speaks a lot more to a superhero's true self than Brandon Routh or Christopher Reeve saving the day on the silverscreen.
William Shakespeare once said that there are three kinds of people, with regards to power. Some are born with power, some gain power on their own, and the remainder have power thrust upon them. I suppose the same thing applies to superheroes.

However, considering all that being a superhero might entail, being Clark Kent instead of Superman doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

About the author
Rohit Wad was born and raised in the Philippines, but being half-Filipino, half-Indian, he was exposed to Indian culture as well. This was mainly manifested in his frequent childhood indulgences of reading stories from Indian mythology, such as the famous epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Rohit’s love of reading continued to grow, with much of his time being spent in his school library. Fancying himself as a modern-day kid detective, he frequently indulged in Encyclopedia Brown books (by Donald J. Sobol), as well as the occasional Sherlock Holmes book (meerschaum pipe not included). In high school, however, Sherlock Holmes soon retired as science later dominated his literary tastes, Star Trek books becoming his favorite pastime, and with Spock and Captain Kirk “taking command” of his reading interests. Rohit’s personal reading interests at present still include historical fiction, although he occasionally reads general fiction novels, usually by bestselling authors such as Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy.

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