Mentorship- why should we care?

“In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care.  You must care.  You don’t have to know how many square miles are in Idaho, you don’t need to know what is the chemical makeup of chemistry, or of blood or water. Know what you know and care about the person, care about what you know and care about the person you’re sharing with- Maya Angelou”

A bit of history-

It was in Homer’s Odyssey that the word Mentor first came up. Odyssey describes the ten year journey that the protagonist, Odysseus takes to reach home after the Trojan War. Before leaving home, Odysseus had requested Mentor, an older and wiser man to be in charge of his young son Telemachus. Additionally, the mentorship relationship is depicted once more in Odyssey, when understanding that Telemachus had begun to trust Mentor as a guide and trusted adviser, the goddess of wisdom and inspiration, Athena, disguises herself as Mentor and advises Telemachus to keep his focus on finding his father, instead of confusing himself with day to day trivialities of life.

Since mentorship is defined by the involvement of the mentor in the overall growth of the mentee, the word ‘Mentor’ was adopted by the English language from Odyssey at a later time, to signify the more accomplished and wiser, provider of advise in this unique but important relationship.

Why is it important?

  • Mentoring propels the mentor towards becoming a leader of their pack. No matter what a person leaves behind through their tangible accomplishments, people will always remember those who added value to their lives. A person with strong leadership qualities is oftentimes a good mentor.
  • It builds self worth and confidence in mentees and keeps them focused and aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Success of academic institutions, public or private organizations and all professional agencies depends on a mentally strong and driven workforce which can be achieved in one part, with mentorship.
  • Mentorship allows mentees to make informed choices in their personal and professional lives. They in turn make good mentors and inspire others.
  • Mentoring is especially relevant in our times, where the youth is emerging as a strong and powerful form, with a potential to change the course of our civilization, for the better or the worse.

What makes a balanced mentor-mentee relationship?

  • Mentor adopts the mentee– a mentor may have to give up their pride and acknowledge that their mentees are smarter than them. History as evidence, when GH Hardy, a mathematics stalwart, recognized the capability of a young self taught Ramanujan, instead of shunning him for fear of being overshadowed, took him under his wing and introduced him to the world. Geographical barriers, differences in upbringing, culture, and nationalities did not come in between the mentor and mentee. Hardy was himself an accomplished scientist but projected Ramanujan for the brilliance he deserved.
  • Mentor may not be from same field as the mentee but shares a common goal– A mentor and a mentee may not share the same threads of a common background and may not even agree on similar ideologies. For instance Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a revered Indian political leader who was trained to be analytical in his political views, took to mentoring and educating a young Sarojini Naidu in national politics. Naidu’s hopeful and poetic views of India’s future were farther from Gokhale’s astute thought process and vision. However, they still bonded because, although their means were different, they were united in their goal of bringing about major social reforms in India.
  • Mentee can and should seek out a mentor– Oftentimes; life may not bring your mentor in close proximity to your surroundings. It is then, important to seek out your mentor. In this case, common interests do help to bond. For instance, SN Bose, whose name is immortalized with the Boson particles, proactively approached Einstein and sent him his manuscript to review and publish. Good mentors always find time to provide advice. Einstein not only reviewed the manuscript and acknowledged its uniqueness; he took time to translate it into German and helped publish Bose’s seminal paper in a renowned German scientific journal. In quantum mechanics, particles that follow the Bose-Einstein statistics are known as Bosons.
  • Mentor helps to build a mentee’s professional focus and career– The mentor understands how to focus the mentee by firstly advising them on career goals after mutual discussions and then helping them build a road map to reach that goal. Sometimes, the mentor goes beyond and provides the mentee opportunities that can hasten the journey process towards achieving the career goal. CV Raman, a Physics Nobel Prize winner has had mentored an illustrious fleet of bright mentees who have gone on to contribute greatly in their fields. I would like to mention GN Ramachandran here, not only because he was one amongst the most promising of Raman’s mentees, but also since Raman recommended Ramachandran for possible career opportunities that could enable him to shine professionally in a very short time. No doubt Ramachandran was brilliant on his own, those in structural biology know about GNRs triple helix model for collagen and equally important Ramachandran Plot that helps understand peptide structure, but Raman’s mentorship helped him stay on the path leading to major contributions. Ramachandran was equally famous for his fluctuating temperament, however, a mentor has a responsibility to keep their mentees focused on their passion and perhaps Raman did just that. Ramachandran established the Molecular Biophysics Unit at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, one of the best biophysics division in India, today.
  • There is and should be no gender bias in selecting a mentor (any form of bias actually!)– Though it has been tough to find women mentors or mentees from India over internet (Sigh!), a mentee should approach anyone from whom they can learn about bettering their lives, irrespective of gender and any classifications that humans have created to divide each other. One example that was prominent was of Manoranjan Byapari and his delightful life story. Born in a poor household, Byapari did not have opportunities that many of us take for granted, example, a school education. However, he was driven to make a difference to his circumstances. While in prison, he taught himself to read, and having ‘discovered’ stories highlighting the plight of the poor from Bengal and topics dear to his heart like social reforms, written by an accomplished Bengali author Mahasweta Devi, suddenly developed an insatiable appetite for reading. Byapari got himself a job as a rickshaw puller and continued to read as much as he could. One day while driving a lady, he asked her the meaning of a word from a book he was struggling to understand. She explained him the meaning and he thanked her by showing her the book he was reading. It was Agnigarbha, a short story collection by Mahasweta Devi. While paying him for the ride, the woman asked Byapari if he would write something for her journal. Byapari agreed and asked her to give her contact details. The lady scribbled her name on a piece of paper ‘Mahasweta Devi’. Byapari’s life changed for the better after coming in contact with the seasoned author. Byapari has written 10 books and 100 essays till now and has been honored for his contribution to Bengali literature especially in depicting the struggles of Dalits in Bengal.

 Agencies building mentorship programs in India, outside of educational institutions and entrepreneurial start ups:

  1. http://mentormeindia.org/
  2. http://www.magicbus.org/about-us
  3. http://www.thepromisefoundation.org/
  4. http://asha-india.org/what-we-do/education/mentorship/
  5. http://swfn.org/program-kasthuri/snapshot/

Acknowledgements:

  1. http://www.vigyanprasar.gov.in/scientists/Subodh_Mahanti.asp
  2. Wikipedia
  3. http://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/manoranjan-byapari-from-fetters-to-letters/article5606992.ece
  4. http://www.news18.com/news/india/india-lacks-culture-of-good-mentorship-for-researchers-1226854.html
  5. http://www.firstpost.com/business/corporate-business/do-accomplished-indian-women-really-need-mentorship-and-men-dont-to-be-on-companys-board-2816730.html
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Anja and Hope

We are surrounded by it. No matter what steps we have taken, nationally, internationally, through government or through not for profit sectors, there has been no escape from it, nor will be for the next decade to come. Poverty will remain, so will the hunger in the emaciated bellies and eyes of little children and mothers will continue to weep, watching their conditions or abandon them out of sheer desperation and frustration of not being able to keep their promise to the little ones.

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This picture is of a two year old Nigerian boy, abandoned by his family and of Anja Loven, a care worker. I am sure her profession would have presented her with many similar occasions to come in contact with undernourished and emaciated children. However, something about this particular boy was different. It’s the sixth sense we all have, of knowing that with a little care, sometimes, the cycle of life can be reversed.

Anja named him Hope, and she and her colleagues took care of the boy, sent him to a medical facility and helped him heal. Today Hope is better. One cannot distinguish him from other children his age (Pic 2).  It just took proper medical care and kind attention to reverse the child’s state within months. Anja’s plea over internet also allowed for 1 million USD in donations to take care of Hope’s expensive medical bills.

Instead of asking why there’s not enough being done for the many other little ones who need all our support, I would state that this beautiful story shows that one person can make a difference in one more person’s life. That’s all it takes. We don’t have to save the world, we can leave that to the others. What we can do is to help just one more life. Be it a human, a bird, a tree or an animal.

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We do not have to provide monetary assistance always. A few students at my friend’s university campus got together to teach children of lesser salaried staff, during their free time. All it takes is time and a will to do something. The important thing is to make the effort. I am encouraged to see that the next generation of youngsters are immensely motivated and creative and moreover aware of their environment. They can design what’s best for the future of our country.

If we really cannot do much by ourselves, we should at least try and encourage those who are making a difference.

 

 

Of Mental Wellbeing

“Your job is not to judge.

Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something.

Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken,

And to heal the hurting.”

-Joel Osteen

I remember a college trip to Srisailam waterfalls. The monsoons had just passed and our group of jolly youngsters was greeted by the gorgeous, abundant gurgling falls. But perhaps what is etched in our memories even today, is a group of patients from a local mental health rehabilitation center, mostly elderly women, all squatting together, their legs chained and bound firmly, as though they would just spread their arms and fly, if freed. Their condition stopped us in our tracks. We could not appreciate the natural wealth posing a distorted, contrasting picture behind the queue of suffering, helpless people in need and most importantly, a humane understanding.

I hope that we have come a long way from those days; however, I am certain that there is a longer way to proceed before we even start to manage mental well-being in our households, in our community; and understand the differences in the wide spectrum that constitutes mental health.

A review of the national report on Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2014 http://www.ncrb.gov.in/ shows that 17% of suicides in the world occur in India. The biggest cause of suicide is illness and prolonged illness (aka health related issues). Probable reasons being, medical expenses, hospital expenses, lack of proper hospice care, societal/family alienation, compounded with physical inability at meeting basic day to day self care needs. How immensely sad it is for all of us that our own who are already suffering due to physical illnesses have to additionally undergo insurmountable mental stress.

A country of 1.25 billion people, of whom 83% are mentally and physically strong enough not to commit suicide, cannot take care of 17% of population who cross the bridge and push themselves to end their lives.

The World Mental Health Day will be celebrated on October 10. India has slowly begun to acknowledge that mental health as a key to wellbeing. We are slowly understanding the differences in mental health, mental health conditions, disorders and how these can be treated and overcome. We are also arriving at the knowing that a positive environment can build a positive life. Our schools and our offices are encouraging mental wellness programmes.  However, our homes, our communities are not doing enough. ‘Mental health begins with me’ is aptly the first mantra to mental wellness. Though unlike physical discomfort, which is easily sensed by an individual, mental discomfort is seldom acknowledged by our own self. Although with a strong family, community and social network, this can be easily identified and alleviated at very initial stages.

Families are the first line of social network and it is easy to identify sudden changes in behavior of family members. The key is to invest time in building an open communication channel with family members. In our race to meet deadlines, to showcase ourselves in the eyes of those we think are important, we turn our back on our most important allies, our silent supporters, our parents and our children. There is great power in observation, but we must give our own that much time and commitment.

Additionally the stigma attached to the word ‘mental’ deters even acknowledging that there may be issues amongst family members. Is our social status of being a ‘perfect family’ so important that it overrides our intelligence in disregarding obvious changes in behavior and attitude which can lead to a far greater problem for our loved ones leading to irreversible changes in our lives? Coping with suicide death of a family member is an even greater challenge.

Fortunately, there is help. Several not for profit organizations are diligently involved in community awareness programmes (listed at the end along with other resources). Representatives are trained in identifying symptoms and more importantly, to discuss with members of a locality on how to identify signs and symptoms of mental distress in their families and providing the first line of care. If you live in a society housing complex, you could ask the managing officials to call the NGO representatives to deliver lectures. If you live in an independent house, you could request lectures through your local clubs. It is also important to get everyone to these meetings, including those who support our households on all levels and belong to every economic background.

Equally important is to be vigilant and empathic to those we interact with on a daily basis who are outside of our family. Sometimes, it helps to be a patient listener with the local grocer, the domestic help or even the lucky neighbor whom you get to see only on weekends. Going by success stories from all other public health areas in both research and implementation, it will be actions taken at the community level, by the community that would be sustainable in the long run. No external resource, aid, or team can bring about a substantial prolonged difference, unless we at individual level are aware and accountable for our own and those around us.

The Mental Health Care Bill that was passed in the Rajya Sabha recently, demonstrates the initial shift in our mind set by acknowledging attempted suicide as caused by extreme stress and disassociating it from being a criminal offence. The government and not for profit sectors can help us capacity build a manpower trained to facilitate mental health awareness at a household level. Our capable and ever smiling front line health workers (ASHAs and ANMs) are often burdened with multiple responsibilities, compounded with a measly incentivization process. While we strengthen our communities, national and international resources could be channeled to create a stronger health system management process by training a large team of health workers who are motivated to put in their efforts. A large trained mentally happy workforce can care for a larger population needing good quality care and service.

That mental wellness is a key to overall good health is evident from the scriptures that helped us grow through ages. The past does hold solutions to our future. How else would have Arjuna won the battle against the Kauravas, without the constant mental support provided by his most experienced charioteer?

Reads:

http://www.apd-india.org/?q=what-we-do/healthcare/community-mental-health-program

http://www.scarfindia.org/community-mental-health/

http://manas.org.in/default.aspx

http://www.thebanyan.org/html/communitymental.html

http://www.sangath.com/index.php

http://www.anjalimentalhealth.org/about.php

http://mhfkolkata.com/index.php/our-services/psychiatric

http://www.aasra.info

http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/india-suicide-hotlines.html

http://thelivelovelaughfoundation.org/

 

 

 

 

 

Eyes to mouth existence

It has been raining almost every evening past couple of weeks and one such evening, while exploring my options for dinner, I was attracted to the idea of assembling a hot bowl of Pho with veggies of my choice (which most often translates to whatever bits of green is remaining in the fridge to be cleared away!). Something about a steaming delicious broth on a rainy day is very appealing, especially if it can be paired with munchies of your choice, like mushrooms, bean sprouts, a few chopped chilies,  an aromatic herb like cilantro and of course, the wonderfully filling, piping hot rice noodles, soaked up in delectable flavors.

As I began my research for broth recipes on my favorite recipe hunting sites, I could not steer my brain away from viewing videos of sushi instead. This is the regular story of my life; I start searching for something and always end up being glued to something else, which in case of food, is anything sushi. Something about the chef’s fingers and palm, weaving magic around the white of the rice, the pink of the fish, the exact dot of wasabi here, the thin sheet of ginger there, is so similar to a ballet dancer floating around the podium or Pavarotti rendering the Nessun Dorma; you don’t have to be an expert in the form, just relish the experience with your senses (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZZZ5wxUf3U). We ‘taste’ art through our eyes, ears and ultimately, mouth in the case of sushi.

There’s a lot of research done on neurons, brain, gut, psychology, pathology, physiology, genetics etc that does point out that food is first devoured by eyes and then nose and then the signaling cascades from the gut to regions in the brain that also control hunger, sense energy equilibrium and last but not the least are centers of our memory (please see references at the end). But what if one can’t ‘see’ their food? Would it heighten other senses like the taste buds, touch, smell? I did experience this once at the Dialogue in the Dark outlet (http://www.dialogueinthedarkindia.com/ ); however unlike others who raved about the experience of eating in pitch dark, I came out disappointed, mostly, with myself. I kind of like appreciating my food with eyes first and call me insecure and mistrusting, have to be sure its hygienic with no foreign particles hanging around.

Although the same me, will not really think twice before devouring 20 roadside phuchkas in 5 minutes or relishing a kala khatta chuski with gay abandonment, completely knowing that the guy fixing the chuski has to do ten things before he puts his hands on the ice (the ice is another story….a friend who was wary with my addiction to chuski once told me that the ice they use is available cheap at medical colleges preserving cadavers….yuk! I know!…but it’s 0 degrees, and mostly nothing can survive 0 degrees, I think my brain understands that and also, my friend is really weird!).

So I think quality of care/service matters and hence when I walk into a good restaurant, I hope to be treated better with adequate attention to quality and taste and presentation; and on the other hand, am just experiencing the food item for what it is, during my roadside escapades. Interesting experiments with food presentation, does indicate that visual effects rate higher in taste even though two plates may contain the exact same ingredients.  In this particular experiment, the same salad with the exact same ingredients was plated in three different ways, one usual, second neat (where all components were segregated and neatly spaced out) and the last one in the form of an art inspired abstract painting. Sixty participants were asked to answer a series of questions about visual appeal to taste and even though the ingredients were the same, found the artsy plate not only most appealing, but thought to have the highest tastiness quotient as well.

Have there been instances where I have been wowed enough to be apprehensive about dismantling and eat a dish that looked quite magnificent? Twice I think, many many years ago, was amazed with the layered ice cream treat aptly named ‘gadbad’ (trouble) at a newly opened Manglorean eatery near college (ahh! those were the days!) and then many years ago in some Southern Californian beach place, in one of those alfresco restaurants, was completely flummoxed when served an exquisite plate of torched figs over baked brie encased in puff pastry with a lovely flourish of walnut honey sauce (ahh! again).

However, there’s nothing like a simple, warm, fragrant bowl of Pho when you are hungry and rain drops are painting your window panes…..which brings me back to broths, oh well! that is a subject for another post isn’t it? And in case you are wondering what I ended up eating that night, well….I was lucky, there behind all the boxes and bits of refusals, the naysayers, the pick me laters and procrastinators in my refrigerator, was a small stash of spicy peanut sauce that was just waiting to be picked up and tossed in with some warm noodles…..Pho would have to wait for the next monsoons I guess!

Reads:

  1. https://flavourjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2044-7248-3-7
  2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278262615300178
  3. http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(15)00261-5
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4373539/

Earliest memories

While preparing for an upcoming trip to Punjab, I am trying to think if I can remember anything from the two years I spent (age 2-4), in a small town somewhere in the district of Jalandhar. I don’t want to ask my family members as it may ‘force and contaminate’ my brain into a virtual image-a-thon. However, what would be an average age from when a person starts to remember events?

I can barely remember Punjab. Except that there was a magic show on one of our neighbor’s rooftop one evening. I do remember that the magician had taken a jar of wheat and turned it into Parle Gs. I also remember that there were days after that when I had expected my mother to do the same. Although, I can’t remember the disappointment associated with those expectations, because…well I would have known if she was PC Sarkar…by now!

The next I remember, is from a visit to Bhakra Nangal and I do recollect someone from the dam explaining a lot of things to a rapt audience and me being amazed with the power of water that is suddenly released from imprisonment, not to mention a deer trapped in the water, trying hopelessly to maneuver the raging river (it could be my first near death memory!).

According to a research study by a group in Cornell University and Memorial University of Newfoundland, on an average, children can remember events accurately from around 3.5 year of age onwards, however, gradually as they grow older, ‘childhood amnesia’ occurs and the memories become postdated and most, begin to fade out (http://www.ncb i.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24588518). Additionally, ‘childhood amnesia’ seems to occur between 7-8 yrs of age; as published by a group from Emory (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4025992/). Hence after that, most of our memory from the previous years, begin to decay.

What goes wrong between 7-8? Why do we forget substantial amount of childhood events that occurred prior to that? It seems that high neurogenesis or nerve cell generation in the brain during infancy, and in its memory site (hippocampus) causes ‘re-wiring’, due to which there is some decay and loss in being able to remember http://science.sciencemag.org/content/344/6184/598 .

But what about specific memories, like the memory of smell? Olfactory memory is very evolved and has been shown to be necessary for both survival and communication in the animal kingdom. The smells of childhood remain. I do ‘remember’ what my grandmother’s home smelt like, where I lived for a year at age 5. Even today, while going through old yellowed photographs, I can recollect how the house and particularly she smelt. These are pleasant memories, smells of happy association and of a nurturing environment.

We usually remember smells with distinct associations. Similar to the smell of flowers and being able to separate and associate each fragrance with a single type of flower. It was at her house I had smelt Shiuli for the first time, a very sweetly fragrant and pretty white flower. It has remained my most favorite to this day. Scientists have recently presented that an inability to distinguish or identify smell can be an early indicator to decline in memory (https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/news_article.php?newsID=2636 ). Hmmm…I wonder why my coffee smells like tea!

Memory is a very complex and intriguing aspect of cognition. It helps us develop our individual and distinct personalities. While I am excited to travel to a place from my childhood, I hope to make new memories this time, and hope too that I will be able to remember every one of them for a few more years to come, at least!

Life’s ironies

We plan for our futures with great care and patience, and then life decides to host its own entertainment show. I am not indicating the small hindrances, that take us off route by a small distance, but those that take a life time to come to terms with and at the end, still leave us unsure.
Take for instance Charles Darwin (sorry if those of you who know me exclaim here she goes again! But that man himself, was the biggest, most complex experiment ever on this planet). Here was a man on his way to become a clergyman, sailing on a boat to perhaps the most beautiful island on earth, and the last thing he had was a vacation through life!

What would I have done, if my profession was to preach the almighty’s attention to detail for each and every organism and which was personally handcrafted and bam! all I ended up doing was to collect evidence that there was no customized handcrafting and tender supervision, but species arose from outdoing themselves on an intense competitive race to survival. Before, I could even begin to devise logical arguments for others to accept my new theories, the first roadblock would be to convince myself about how my beliefs and conventions would shape up when all my years and years of thought processes would slowly have to make space for new, extreme ones.
If I were to meet him today, I would be very interested to know Darwin’s thoughts on religion more than his exciting voyages and well documented facts on evolution. However, from the historian’s accounts, it appears that he may have chosen a path that took him to a direction of evidence based research and spirituality at the same time, like a middle ground. That he had a sensitive and almost kind view of the almighty is reflected in his bitterness for the wasp that paralyzes caterpillars for nourishing its own eggs, the selfish act that Darwin indicated, cannot be an act of god.
There is nothing wrong in walking the mid path. We are free to believe in what makes us work and if being spiritual only nudges us towards the truth around us, so be it. Darwin never thought of himself as an atheist, although, towards the later part of his life, could not describe himself with certainty when it came to religious beliefs. It probably doesn’t matter. His contribution to science will continue to awe and inspire till there’s life on our planet. In spite of all odds, Darwin followed his passion. His drive to truly understand  natural scientific processes around him and more importantly elucidate his understanding of them, mattered more to him than anything else.

Many of us have and many of us will be faced with challenges such as these (but yes, there will be only ONE Darwin… at least for me!). However, we do not have to completely give up on our resident belief systems to accommodate space for the new ones.  Instead, we probably need to harmonize and create a path to seek whatever drives our hearts, instead of making a choice and not believing in that completely.

On his journey, Darwin did find compassionate and patient company around him, who may not have completely agreed with his thinking, nor understood them. However, they did support him as a person in providing him the strength he needed to seek his truth. Maybe that is the support we all need and seek, the patience to fit us all in, irrespective of our beliefs.
Alright, enough of preaching, but here’s a list of online goodies if you are interested to read more on….ahem…Darwin-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Charles_Darwin
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCOc7Xqj-kQ
http://darwin-online.org.uk/EditorialIntroductions/Freeman_OntheOriginofSpecies.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/darwin/inourtime.shtml
(Books-  Darwin: The life of a tormented evolutionist, Adrian Desmond and James Moore;  The autobiography of Charles Darwin, Charles Darwin , editor Nora Barlow)

Expectations

Some fifteen years ago, when I first read Humayun Ahmed’s Himu, I completely understood why someone would make a habit out of aimlessly walking through the narrow streets of their locality and be able to sustain themselves by merely bonding with everyone in their environment. There was nothing unnatural in a person who did not have a normal day job or a proper home where he could rest at night or a friend circle that consisted of the same people one was used to catching up with, after a long day’s work.
I am sure, that we have seen or experienced a ‘Himu’ in our neighborhood, or within our own family or friend circle. I am also positive, that sometimes, we have thought and pondered about transforming into a ‘Himu’, just so to lose ourselves from our usual selves of following a ‘natural’ pattern. The fame of Himu and the popularity of Humayun Ahmed’s entire series on Himu, does indicate that not only I, but there are several others, who are equally attracted and mesmerized by his characteristics.

 
Was Himu trying to make a statement in protest of the usualness of the society? Did he defy norms by not expecting anything from life, by not having an ambition to succeed in his chosen career or save for a rainy day? Did he never wish for a family that understood and sheltered him in a four walled enclosure, or the comfort of his own bed where he could curl up into a fetal position in the darkest hour of the night?
Maybe not. Maybe, he was content with the ‘now’. However, the same society that upholds expectations, stable career, adult responsibilities, reached out to accommodate the ‘odd’ Himu and feed him an occasional minimalist, but hot meal. However, his life without expectations is what draws us to him.

 
Sometimes, even relationships that do not harbor expectations touch us and make themselves unforgettable. For instance, the bond between Fenno and Malachy in Julia Glass’s ‘Three Junes’. The book depicts how two people randomly brought together by life in a busy metropolis, can support each other sans expectations. Its empathy that bonds human beings to each other and to their environment. Empathy does have the power to sustain our planet.

While our society teaches us orderliness and structure, to remind us of being the most evolved species, our human-ness lets us know that it’s alright to sometimes, give up, not to follow norms, be on our own…for we will find kindred spirits on our own journeys and be grateful for our lives.

(So am I someone who is contained in the structures of society or living a life of boundless unrestrainedness?
I am both…. and grateful!)