New Delhi:For many across the country now there is no such thing as a 'small town mentality'. From cricketers to IAS toppers to film stars, India is shining because of their leap to the center stage.
"Small town guys are tougher," said M S Dhoni, Captain, Indian ODI Team.
If there's one thing that everyone noticed about this young team that brought home the world cup was their hunger to win.
It was there in Joginder Sharma's willingness to bowl the crucial and potentially fatal last over.
It was there in Yuvraj Singh's wanting to get even for the merciless battering he had come in for as a bowler with six whopping sixes.
It was there in R P Singh's lethal confidence against some of the best in the world.
They were still nice guys but unwilling to finish second. Watching them in action, it was difficult to believe they were largely inexperienced rookies.
So where was this truckloads of confidence and oodles of attitude coming from?
As one makes way through a narrow street in Rohtak in Haryana to Joginder Sharma's modest house, its evident that the celebrations haven't stopped.
Joginder Sharma has been born and brought up in a large family in a small house, spilling over with proud relatives at the moment.
"He didn't ever let us worry. He used to study and play and was very sure of what he wanted. He played for college, companies, banks, whatever came his way," said Shashi Devi, Joginder Sharma's mother.
His father, who runs a local paan shop is adamant that he'll continue with this work despite all the stardom and money Joginder's win has brought.
"Its important we don't forget our background and remain rooted," said Om Vir, Joginder Sharma's father.
An almost identical house on an identical street except that this is Rae Barielly in UP. It has become a landmark in this town ever since RP Singh found superstardom.
It was at this very ordinary school ground that RP practiced his bowling preparing for cricket at the highest level. He played while his father looked on in disapproval, wanting him to study to become an engineer.
Today the entire college where his father works is on its feet, congratulating him on his son's achievement.
"Its his hard work that's paid off. He played even though his father wanted him to study," said R P Singh's mother.
People like Jogi and RP perhaps realized that cricket is one of the few areas where talent and hard work pays off. Background, family connections and money don't affect your fortunes.
A galore of oppurtunities
There may not be enough opportunities but small towns are brimming with the kind of drive and confidence that Jogi and RP have.
This hunger to throw off the anonymity of small towns is apparent even in the civil services, which still qualifies as the most prestigious job in the country for many.
The city born and bred today are chasing the IIM MNC dream. Data shows that three out of ten getting into the civil services in 2004 were from villages and about half from districts and tehsil towns across the country.
All of a village next to the Bay of Bengal came out to celebrate M Raju Revu's success in the civil service exams last year. Their boy had done the impossible, topped the most prestigious exams in the country.
His father and two brothers are farmers in the remote Andhra village and had to borrow to pay for his tuitions in Delhi.
Govind Jaiswal, IAS batch of 2007 is a probationer at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy for administration. The son of a rickshaw puller from Varanasi, he is not overawed by his illustrious surroundings.
"Even now my parents don't know much about the civil services. They are just happy that their son is set in a sarkari job," said Govind Jaiswal, IAS.
Cracking the UPSC exams and getting that coveted government job is clearly much more a small town, middle and lower middle class aspiration today.
22-year-old Ekta Sharma had never stepped outside her hometown of Bareilly. Now she is getting enrolled at a coaching center in Delhi, determined to make it to the profession that'll bring her glory.
"Name and fame for my parents. Nothing in the private sector compares to the IAS. The DM is like the PM," said Ekta Sharma, IAS Aspirant.
The film Bunty aur Babli perhaps best captured this hunger to get out there and make it big. Bollywood itself has begun to reflect this mobility.
Unlike the past now small town girls like Priyanka Chopra, Preity Zinta and Kangana Ranaut have created a name for them and are not embarrassed by their origins. And clearly Jogi and RP bhaiya's achievements are having a ripple effect, fuelling big dreams in small towns.
"I want to be a cricketer. People call me Joginder Sharma," said one enthusiastic aspiring cricketer.
"I want to be an actor. I'll have to go to Mumbai but my parents say they'll be happy," said another aspiring actor.
With the light of eternal hope shining in their eyes, this is the India that is raring to go and catch hold of their aspirations.