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A HOME RUN

An Indian teen’s viral video is taking him closer to his army dreams

Youths run during recruitment drive for Indian Army in Mathura
Reuters/K.K. Arora
Pradeep is preparing.
  • Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter

Published Last updated

Filmmaker Vinod Kapri, over the past weekend, shared a video of 19-year-old Pradeep Mehra running 10 kilometres back home after working late-night hours at a McDonald’s in Noida, near Delhi.

The video instantly turned into an internet sensation. By noon today (Mar. 24), Kapri’s tweet with the video had garnered more than 304,000 likes and over 103,000 retweets.

What heartened the thousands of these respondents was Mehra’s goal: joining the Indian Army.

Praise for Mehra’s grit and dedication has poured in nonstop. The likes of union minister Smriti Irani, business tycoon Anand Mahindra, and cricketer and Aam Aadmi Party’s election pick in Punjab, Harbhajan Singh, have lauded the Uttarakhand native.

What’s more, this instant internet fame has also translated to offline help.

Retired army general Satish Dua is now helping train Mehra for the recruitment test. Running is the first barrier in the army’s physical fitness test. Candidates have to complete the 1.6 kilometre race in under 5 minutes 46 seconds. Successful candidates then go through balancing, 10 pullups, and a 9-feet long jump.

Photographer and filmmaker Atul Kasbekar has set Mehra up with a Puma sports kit, complete with running shoes, apparel, socks, and a backpack.

Mehra’s spirit is paying off. On to the tests now.

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