Everyone needs good people to augment their quality of life. This is an alphabetical listing of those that put the men in my ‘men’tal health.
Everyone needs an Arvind Bharathi in their life. Pusher out of zones of comfort. Masterclass on how to gently shake up the world to new realities is coming soon. Giver of mammoth comforting hugs, and also mammoth hard questions you’ve been avoiding asking yourself.
Everyone needs an Arvind Krishnan in their life. Tilts at impossible seeming standards, reaches and owns them. Among the original tribe of teachers, the OG ethical leader, old-school, visionary and shaker of status quo. Owner of wicked sense of humour, resolutely does not take himself seriously.
Everyone needs an Atul Chandra in their life. Some might think he takes on and does too many things but what do they know! A keen quizzer, keen nerd, a plane auto nut. Probably has an engine for a heart and some circuits for a brain.
Everyone needs a Bala Shanmugham in their life. Builder of wings for girl children (like myself). Giver of confidence, comfort and self-respect to tons. Only asks that you apply yourself, and work on being happy.
Everyone needs a Bopanna Pattada in their life. Doer of whatever needs doing. Has a touch of Saturn but zens through it with care and conscientiousness. World champion of not being on whatsapp (the scourge that is the whatsapp groups has passed him by!!)
Everyone needs a Colonel Britto in their life. Adventurer, planner to the extreme, booming laugher, maker of new friends in far off parts of the country, tale teller, graceful living type who goes all out and back.
Everyone should have a GV Giridhar in their life. Teacher of psychological safety at work and how to take on Goliaths, gently. Embodies that concept of Nishkam karma – duty for the sake of duty, not results.
Everyone needs a Mohammed Riyaz in their life. Is energy, optimism, insatiable learning appetite made human. Is possibly a form changer who will adapt with grace, but has a sweet core.
Everyone needs a Naveen Chhabria in their life. Preaches balance in life while he burns his own candles at both ends. Is good at almost everything he takes up and stays humble about it.
Everyone needs a Nikhil Ram Mohan in their life. Maker of the massive smile into a lifestyle choice. Is a study in complexities and in overcoming tough situations with perseverance.
Everyone needs a Pavan Muthanna in their life. Brings the strong and sensitive voice of reason, nudges me to constantly seek my North Star with the ease of the big dipper in the night sky. Sees things that can be (like an unusual business) and wills them into existence with clear vision and good old fashioned hard work.
Everyone needs a Rishabh Raghavan in their life. Unravels human foibles while sounding unintelligible (it’s a front!). Stranger to class, differences and hate. Can be a universal force of belonging.
I find great comfort in the company of groups of men. The ones I choose to spend time with are spectacular humans.
Women in groups talk a lot about how they feel. Men usually talk about how we experience the world. Where do they take conversations about their very natural feelings, I wonder. I read about mental health challenges in men going unnoticed, unreported, undiagnosed and untreated, because,
A. Traditional gender roles. Men don’t have that many feelings and so there’s not much to talk about; they can’t have time to be depressed because they’re busy bringing home the bulk of the family earnings; they have to be the strong ones to support others, and be the shoulder to cry on.
B. Men have other “acceptable” coping mechanisms: Smoking/ drinking/ drugs – addiction>emoting.
C. Stigma: If a man has a mental illness, does he take time from work to deal with it? How do you know if its real, or if he’s faking it to go drinking with his buddies?
Tomorrow’s Mental Health Awareness Day. And so, while I’m appreciating the men who’ve contributed to my mental good health, I must use this platform to speak about my fear for their emotional well-being. Many have little idea about emotional self-preservation except the path that takes them through the woodlands of stoicism, resilience, a stiff glass, wilful misdirection to self, risky behaviour (helmetless riding/ reckless driving/ sudden adventure sports), physical aches, downplaying problems, insomnia, being withdrawn and dead eyed, chronic fatigue…
I can’t talk to them. I can’t not talk to them.
But I can bloody blog about it. In your face, my dear brave and stoic boys!