There are Heros in our midst The year 1956.A fully crowded Telegu Brahmin Street in Coimbatore..Families share accommodation in one premises called cluster living or call it dormitory type..One side of the courtyard is occupied by two families and the other side by another family,The accommodation consists of a kitchen and a hall and bathroom is outside in the backyard.This is called ondu kudithinam[ cluster living].People manage privacy though everybody participates in celebration and quarrels of occupants without any family boundaries..Able bodied men sleep on the elevated concrete resting place outside called thinnai.The main door is closed but not latched. Off and on thieves and robbers get caught by the decibal power of the women and numerical superiority of the thinnaiwallas.They tie the thief to a lamp post and shout, call Subbu mama.There will be a chorus subbu mama,subbu mama.This gentleman in his early forties takes his time to get ready as he believes appearances have a salutary influence on the victim as well as the cheering community.Have you tied him up properly? Before any one can answer ,his enterprising son makes sure that the rope is strong and gives the go ahead for the heroics of his father.Subbu is in action with every question followed by slaps and kicks while some one makes sure that the rope has not loosened.We are fortunate to have Subbu in our midst-none of us can handle such a situation deftly.No one acknowledges the role of the rope in Subbus heroism.The regular policeman comes and says to the dumb fellow-You are foolish to choose this street as six thieves have been caught in the last one year ant takes him away.. Subbu is the undisputed hero of the street . The scene shifts to cuddalore.The year 1962.We are staying in an old house with lot of open space in the back with two coconut trees not in their prime,wild growth all around but interspersed with coriander and chilly seeds ,sown by my mother and sprouting to have a ring side view of our house.Now and then and particularly on festival days,Bandicoots join the celebration by managing to sneak into the kitchen.On one such occasion my mother closes the kitchen doors and shouts Bandicoot.There are shrieks from my sisters two of them shut themselves in the bedroom. .Call Rajamani[my immediate younger brother] shouts my mother. One sister asks-Shall I call Kannanna?[that is me]Useless fellow my mother replies-he is just a wordsmith-Rajamani only can match the bandicoot in its adroitness.I feel relieved that I did not qualify for the encounter with the bandicoot in an alien environment.My brother quickly solves the problem after a lot of jumping,running around,things breaking etc .Girls rush to fan him and mother joins by handing over a glass of butter milk spiced with ginger,green chillies,coriander etc. My brother gives me a triumphant look. He is the celebrated hero of the house as far as the animal kingdom coexisting with us are concerned. The year 1994.Marriage proposal for my nIece has been finalised...Everybody in unison says –Kannanna is the right person to handle this.Not without reason.-I have facilitated and conducted twelve marriages by handling perception issues ,ironing out the differences etc..We have a group discussion for different activities in the marriage.Budgetting is my forte.Kitchen store will be taken care of by A.B will take care of the bridegrooms side.Cash will be handled by a tough person who asks for receipts and balance.One sisters FIL will be in charge of the purohits and rituals.None can beat Kancheepuram chaps in this skill. Ensuring good taste of the food is outsourced to my neighbour Rangachari.He is a connoisseur of food and when his palate is satiated he says “the food had celestial flavour and divine taste”. To summarise,there is consensus and clarity in identifying the activities and the right person to handle the activities. Brothers,sisters ,their in laws,all join happily and try to excel each other in their commitment and execution of jobs. My mothers responsibility is to sit tight in a room and keep a watch on the suitcases,handbags and valuables .She at 72 has also a role to play. My father used to say that guests will overlook all other blemishes and call the marriage a success only if the food is good. It is therefore appropriate that even though every one contributes for the trouble free conduct of the marriage Rangachari is the unanimous choice as the hero of the function and the satisfied look on the guests who had taken food is an eloquent testimony to his commitment, skills and supervision. Today the thrill has been taken over by catering contractors and the organisers of the function also relax and behave like guests,.Community sleeping in the marriage hall with music,jokes etc are no longer there.Close relatives join the queue for giving gifts immediately after mangalya dharanam After the ritualistic hand shake,they also rush to the dining hall and disappear after taking food.In a few recent marriages I felt that the spirit was missing and everything was done looking at the clock.Even brothers and sisters come to know of the finalisation of marriage only after everything is finalised.Sometimes these are done secretly. In the earlier days,community decision making was the order of the day.Identifying the strength of an individual and delegating a job to the concerned person contributed to the results.In addition there was better bonding and bonhomie among the members,cousins etc as they had a role to play.Some one or other emerged as a hero and every one cheered for the Hero. With nuclear family the only community affair is the clumsy dancing which appears to have become mandatory in marriages nowadays. Identify and build on the strength is a management philosophy but is equally applicable in a home or for activities involving collective efforts.Today this is missing and replaced by flamboyance and money power.The heros are missing in the process.