Pradeep Mehra, a 19-year-old boy, has become an overnight sensation in India. His stars changed overnight on March 20, 2022, when filmmaker-journalist Vinod Kapri noticed the young man running speedily on the empty roads. While replying to the queries of the journalist, Pradeep, while still running unknowingly told his life story to the whole world. In this interview, CitySpidey spoke to Pradeep about his life, family, friends, and his passion.
The video which went viral made Pradeep Mehra an overnight inspiration for youth and especially for those who are preparing for the Army. CitySpidey reached out to meet this midnight superstar at his home.
CitySpidey asked Pradeep alias Midnight runner that, there is one Pradeep who woke up every day and went out for the job and returned back home daily and then this Pradeep, who is no more a simple guy whom the whole media is covering, Nation is acknowledging him, getting praised by the community he lives in or the friends you have in Uttarakhand, and other family members and relatives. What do they say after viewing your viral video? How is your life before that video and after that video?
He says, “Everyone is calling me, meeting me and telling me that yes, I am doing good work. From villages to everywhere, everyone is complimenting me on my efforts".
“My friends say to me that we are delighted to see you. They said in a weepy voice - You were doing your running practice here and you are running there also, although there are so many facilities and a good transportation system is available. We all are feeling so motivated that if we can do this then why are we not doing it. So from now we'll also start running and will try to get into the Indian Army".
What do you call it, the stars or the maa ki dua? He says, “ All I know I have to go in the Army, have to serve my nation. I have never heard of the stars, the most I have heard of is the Army.”
We asked that many people doubt your capabilities. They are finding it unfair that you are getting so much help and others are just passing their time in the wait for what you want to say?
Pradeep says, “Everyone should do their part. Even if I am not taking anything, if I am being offered help, I am not saying that yes give this to me, the one who will make efforts will reap the benefits. If I will give my 100%, clear all exams then only I want to be in the Indian Army and if another one will do then he will get into the army. This is fair game. What is wrong with this I don’t know. If I lack in my efforts I will not ask anybody for any favor. I want to triumph from my struggles. So nobody needs to feel bad for me. Vacancies are getting over or people getting overage in the wait to get in the army is not in my hands. it's all about effort.”
What is your social media account status just now, you must be getting many adding requests and follow requests on your Instagram, FB, etc?
Pradeep says, “I do not use social media much, I recently purchased a new phone and installed Instagram on this, but don’t use much, I put my village photos on my Instagram, but yes when I was checking my phone yesterday I saw some activities like I am all over and so many requests are there.”
After getting famous, are you maintaining your routine?
After this video thing, I am unable to go out for a run. I am finding it difficult to take out time for my daily job. I am managing it somehow. I am not even getting time to eat food. But yes, in the coming days, I will give time to my studies and my practice again."
How was your meeting with the DM Sir?
He says, "I am happy and feeling blessed that yes from deep heart everyone wants to help me. And they are equally excited as I am. DM sir said he will help me in the best way and that's sufficient for me. I want to achieve everything with my best efforts."
You have gained so much popularity in one night, how you feel and what you think the reason is. It's your fate, your stars or it is your mother’s blessings for you or it is the love of people for you?
He says, “Even I don’t know what it is. But whatever it is, is very good. I run daily but I don’t know how it happened that one fine day all of a sudden that sprints went viral and suddenly in no minutes I got this fame. I can say it is a mix of my stars and my mother's prayers for me, as she keeps thinking of me, and always worries for me."
CitySpidey noticed while waiting for him at his residence, that many event planners also reached him which included Marathon runners who wished to make him a brand ambassador and some other event planners who wanted to take him as a contestant in their shows. Keeping this in mind CitySpidey enquired his plans that if anyone approaches you for being either a brand ambassador or to run with them in a marathon what will be your answer.
On this, he says, “ My whole and sole concentration is only to go in the army. This I am not doing to get any kind of promotion or publicity. I will never get associated with any such thing. Because this will take me far from my target and that I will not let happen. All my stress, concern, dedication is for the Indian Army and just Indian Army”.
He also adds that “I want to join the Indian Army by giving the proper exams and clearing every step. To keep myself fit I am running so that I do not fall behind and for other things, I don’t want any jack check. I respect the officials offering me help. But truly I will only follow my heart, I will do this for my mother and on my own”.
He also adds that “This uniform is not so easy to get, it is earned by the dedication and by losing lots of sweat and blood, that I will do, only that way I want to see myself in the uniform.”
How is your mother’s health now? He says, “My mother's health is far better, currently there is swelling in her eyes, but will surely get fine soon.”
CitySpidey asked that yesterday two boys met us and said they have got a gift for you. Pradeep says, “Yes they met me, they are my cousins. But there was no gift, they met me and we just took a few pictures”. This proves that people are making so many excuses just to meet him.
We asked him to give a message to those who are struggling with their lives and are not getting any support from anywhere. How should they deal with life and what is your message for them? He says, “Struggles are in everyone’s life. And you have to handle it anyhow. If you have set a target, then even if you give a little time every day, it will give you a big benefit someday, but never quit. That’s the main point not to stop doing what you love."
One last question we know about your mother’s health. But what about your father? Why are you not able to talk to him? He says, “Due to the network problem, I am unable to talk to my father. In my village in Uttarakhand, there is a bad network, that is why I am not able to talk to my father. My friend also rushed there but due to the network, we were not able to communicate for long, just a few minutes. I was not able to share this joy with him, but I am sure till now he must have got the news and must be feeling good too.”