Friday, August 19, 2016

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

My friend, a researcher and ‘male feminist’ activist working for a Jakarta-based NGO, once told me something I had never known before. It is a biological fact, he said, that there are at least 16 different types of sexual orientation. Homosexuality, lesbianism and transvestism form a minority of three people are familiar with. Many other preferences have either been suppressed or forcibly relegated into one of the three categories.

I just looked at him in deep silence. I was thinking of many people who might be suffering both in understanding their gender identity and dealing with harsh treatment they experience from some people.

Surprisingly, many of the cases of so-called sexual disorder he has been dealing with are biological in nature. They become a problem only because of the social and psychological factors his clients have to bear. It is such a myth that one who manifests ‘uncommon sexual orientation’ must be yoked by the weight of environmental factors or pressures; those orientations are at any rate the very genetic buildup that are supposed to be their very gender identity. 

I remember how he emphasized about sexual orientation and gender identity when presenting his assessment in one of the graduate classes back in the days. They are normal only to be taken abnormal in a society whose sexual preferences are strictly binary. Therefore, despite societal imposition on the changing of the ‘offending’ femininity, even the best tongue of persuasion would falter except a radical surgery, which is very expensive medically and legally, is conducted.   

These clients of his are doubly persecuted: rejection by family and society as well. Many have misunderstood their stance as religious and cultural defiance to the norms. Some have consistently insisted on implementing sticker regulations to make them value the dignity of man. In the meantime, embarrassed by their ‘uncommon’ behaviors, clients’ families have been acting as the reinforcers of so-called correct living. 

Another section of the society is offended by the unnaturalness of the behaviors. Any explanation, they say, must take into account the supernatural interventions due to a particular sinful mode of living. A curse or a form of punishment must be the logical outcomes of any wrongdoing. The prescribed situation is a direct affront to the very structure of a decent community. At this point, they believe, those ‘abnormal’ people need to understand the dire consequences of perpetuating the same sinful mode of living their ancestors have committed before. Though difficult, it is perceived that they are capable of redeeming their parents and themselves for the sake of posterity.

Many clients, undoubtedly, have come to see my friend on the account of their stigmatization. Blending into the mainstream proves to be unbearably treacherous. While some are living under physical threats on a daily basis, majority have to deal with the emotional doubts of their worth. Their pressing question is if they are indeed abnormal. 

It is very liberating to know that DSM IV – TR excludes homosexuality. It is no longer considered part of mental disorders. You will see it no more in abnormal psychology. But, I have been wandering, about other sexual orientations not discussed in the manual. On what grounds, homosexuality should be put outside the realms of psychiatry? Thinking through my friends’ stories, I imagine much more complicated backgrounds when dealing with such clients of my friend. I am talking about the precipitating factors and comorbid possibilities that may have triggered and even aggravated the biological predispositions. It is very likely that environmental factors might prove to be too strong an element in the psychological makeup that the very sexual preferences have been released from its biological case to serving as the way out or a fulfilling compensation to clients’ insecurity. 

Psychology and psychiatry cannot afford reeling at the core issue!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Journalism of Contradiction, Not Freudian Psychology!

For the world in which war and terrorism are equally a source for news, Indonesia has a special place for a great journalism. A series of bombing, a continuous threats and attacks by radical groups, warfare launched by different wings of ISIS-related individuals and religious issues being re-branded as blatant oppression to Muslim citizens, those are things dear to any writer. Coming out from the land specifically considered one of the best role models for democracy the Asian way, any savvy reporter might bring home tons of materials to be molded into terrific writing.

Keep the aforementioned in sight, another face of Indonesia is strikingly a contradiction. Streams of foreign visitors have afforded the country a fame which is of envy to many. Here is the land of paradise where you can discover everything you need to build a splendid civilization from scratch. People and nature are so peaceful, to start with, while abundance of noble ideas in the minds of people and a rainbow of cultures are there to be rethought. 

Trying to comprehend these seemingly realities of contradiction, a writer might think of Indonesia having a double, a shadowy personality beneath her peaceful appearance. Another one goes even further by believing that she is deceitful, that is overly friendly for a purpose. A fraction of journalists might temp to sum up it all as such is Asian!

Majority of these kinds of writing would surely be presented not in an overt way. We therefore have to observe the way Indonesia being portrayed in their publications and the thread of ideas being woven. To give a hint, one of the most popular strategies being activated is that there are unforgivable contradictions having made up the souls of Indonesia. 

I have no pretensions that writing Indonesia that way is totally a wrong move to make. On the other hand, I have no justifiable reasons to believe that it is the best writers can think of my country.

I think foreign journalists are intellectually bound to their own culture. I mean, look at the angles being taken to navigate their writings. It is too Freudian psychology by nature! That you talk about peace, that you fiercely condemn barbarity of Western-led wars anywhere they love to make, but that you act amnesiac to your own homegrown violence, these are not necessarily a massive proof of being hypocritical. It is not even any case of Freudian slip.

The fact is that many Indonesians are actively fighting all these insane contradictions on a daily basis. If you happen to read some Indonesian bloggers or social media activists, you would know how brutal the war of words and ideas are inside the contemporary Indonesia. Some are persistently doing it with the risk of being hurt or even murdered.
The same is true to another brand of bloggers and activists. They keep pumping into the public life a flux of hatred, twisted ideas of religious virtues and even bending political issues to prove their cause ideologically. 

You are correct to think that fighting contradiction leads us into perusing psychologist perspective. It is simply irresistible. You are but to enter the minds and to wage war on bloodthirsty ideas right there. But before hurrying up things into Freud psychoanalysis that covert anger hides inside peacefulness of attitude, that is not all that is for journalism.

This is where I think the best way to reason out why Indonesia has a special place for a great journalism. It is precisely the contradiction! Instead of trying to resolve it the Freudian way, why not try to dive deep into each contradiction to know what is there being aspired for and how they might be made to function as constructive elements for peace-making process – surely without being compromised.

As a country of predominantly Muslim with wealth of both natural resources and a huge pool of talents, Indonesia carries multiple hopes people of the world attach to. And the best of all is that peace might be woven and promoted beautifully from the bottom of her heart. 

Journalism of contradiction for peace, I think, is the answer. Such is the ultimate news!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Cure Insanity

Can non-psychiatric treatment cure insanity? 

I was glad to get confirmation about the possibility of curing insanity, at least the paranoid type. Unlike the disorganized ones, paranoids still retain their cognitive processes intact. And this is enough despite the distinct difficulties dealing with them.

Aside from paranoid, I have been fascinated with this ‘another side of intelligence’ since my childhood. Abnormality seems to play its games of cognition in the subjective (plural) worlds they could fully make sense. 

What was it in their mind, I wondered, when seeing the man I always saw singing in the market back in my childhood? My mother never failed to give some pennies to him whose wits, in a child’s perception, had been reduced to mere instincts. I frequently questioned my mom’s intention stating that the man could not even count from 1 to 10! She unwaveringly insisted that he would be guided by physical necessities as to how to use the money. “That is the only reason why he always waits for us at the gate”, she explained happily.

Was it a kind of ‘special motherly’ treatment?

Few days ago, seeing a homeless crazy man sitting at the corner of our building, such a sad sight, I took out some coins telling him to buy some bread. He just looked at me confused. Realizing the absurdity of my action, I made a gesture of eating. Immediately he picked on the signal, stood up ignoring the money and followed me growling. I was embarrassed as people started to giggle. It dawned on me that he believed I would be giving him something to eat, not money to buy some food. 

What is craziness and what is so-called science of the mind, I wondered loudly.

This recent experience with schizophrenia brought back the old fascination once again. But this time, it is a psychologist’s perspective. Repeated encounters have made me believe the impression that we can still have communication with them. The mind is still capable of comprehending the presence of others and others’ intention towards them.

These two qualities are very crucial for a therapeutic relationship. Surely we cannot expect these people to work the way ‘better’ clients do. But the question is if these very basic requirements, as instinctual as they are, can possibly contribute to help crack the process of treatment and the betterment of their cognitive process, and accordingly, cognitive rehabilitation.

I think this is the only reason why the open treatment facilities run by an Islam ulama in one of the cities of Indonesia have accumulated many successful stories. The rationale behind their treatment programs is that craziness is likely the combined effects of personal-social factors. Ironically, the society holds strong biases against insanity and even enables discriminatory treatments toward the disadvantaged group. Children ridiculing the crazy is one example. Another one is the superstitious beliefs about the causes of the disease. Even sometimes, people associate it with a curse, a karmic consequence of the accumulated wrongdoings by the predecessors. 

To remedy what is seen as lacking in the ward-based treatment, the religious leader urges the people living nearby the open treatment facilities to take part in the process of therapy. Children are taught to treat the patients with respect. Families of the clients and the villagers are encouraged to take an active participation in the process of bringing back the positive memories and let the clients know that they are openly welcome. The key is not to think of the patients as hopeless but those whose rights to more fulfilling life can be made possible through mutual relationship and systematic reintegration. 

Recovery, either partially or fully, is not a wishful thinking!

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Beautiful Mind: Brain Science and Autism

Despite billions of billions spent in the field of brain science, our knowledge of the marvelous region of our body does not seem to be accelerated though. It is like digging into a bottomless well that allows only getting deeper but going nowhere.

As we become who we are precisely because of the human brain in the first place, it is so fitting that even Barack Obama has been giving a special attention by authorizing the so-called 2013 Brain Initiative, a $300-million project to revolutionize our understanding of the anatomy of the brain in order to find new ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury and autism.

It seemed the public and private investments rallied behind President Obama, unlike responses he got when announcing Obama healthcare back in the days. It is quite understandable as we have been seeing more in the population people with some mental disorders including mental retardation and children with autism. Especially the latter, among other things that is very inviting to curiosity is that some people showing clear symptoms of autism excel above average. This autism poses as another riddle yet to be understood. Why do they show a high cognitive level? Obviously we need some sample.

Mind-Boggling Sample

Severely autistic at 15, Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, an Indian who speaks both Bengali and English, found his way into the language of eloquence (which reminds me of Helen Keller). There was no doubt that some individuals with autism have one or more remarkable talents surpassing the rest of their abilities. However, these talents usually involve visuospatial or rote memory skills such as calendar calculations, numbers, drawing or remembering train timetables.

But Tito was clearly able to use long words in complex sentences and to even produce his own philosophy about life. This is truly remarkable given that he, at 11 years old, could make only a few sounds. With only few basic practical skills, his mother, Soma had been instrumental in teaching him how to read and write by using an alphabet board and closely supervised and guided him to keep him from any trouble. From the age of six years he has written by himself using a pencil to produce many books!
Painting made by an Indonesian autistic child; courtesy of Susy Panjaitan - his therapist

When interviewed by some curious scientists, he sometimes used an alphabet board, pointing to the letters while the words he spelled (in English) were read out by his loyal mother. Despite his observable behavior which is that of a mute child with classic signs of autism ignoring people but exploring the objects that takes his attention, he replied to questions in full sentences, including long words used appropriately. And when asked to do the British Picture Vocabulary Scale, which requires the test taker to show the meaning of individual words or phrases by pointing to one of four possible pictures for each one, he hit the level of a 19-year old!

Tito's writings are characteristic of someone with autism. They revolve around himself and his personal experiences. Considering his physical and psychological disabilities, this self absorption is perhaps not so surprising. Despite this, this writing of his provides a vivid description of what it is like to be autistic and his thoughts about the meaning of life.

Qualities of Humanness

Individuals with autistic disorders like Tito, with remarkable skills in contrast to their general level of disability, arouse feelings of wonder, astonishment and intellectual curiosity.

This is precisely the point when we learn to appreciate more of ourselves through our special fellow humans. The human brain project that we talked about in the opening paragraph is a testament that we have not even walked too far into the depths of regions in which only qualities of humanness may prevail. With all the joy we take in the wars and crimes we do, we seem to have forgotten that the human mind is basically beautiful.

To end this essay, let us enjoy one of the poems Tito wrote, one that presents us with a philosophical challenge derived only from careful seeing, listening and self-dialogue.

When nothing was there
And God got bored with himself
He made everything
Then he got bored
With everything that was perfect
And so planned to make some distortions
So he made some like me
Who as they say have lost their minds

As I sat on the swing in the playground
The teachers words tossed in the air
Like bubbles of soap all around me
I did not play with them by waving them away
But I tried to feel them by waving them in and out

When I walked out of the classroom
The tail of words followed me
Words made of letters
Crawling like ants
In a disciplined row

Who dares to raise hand and tell me in the face that the poetry is not beautiful and above average?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Encounter Chinese Cinema

Chinese cinema seems as ubiquitous as any other China products. It is very easy to see them at any movie theater or when one watches cinema online. The obvious reason, I believe, has something to do with the size China trade has that its movies are enabled to permeate almost the entire globe. Information gathered from economy news corroborates. China is said to be the first economic powerhouse in 2050 taking over America while India follows in the third taking over Japan.

Today might be construed as the time for Chinese movies. And if the economic trends the indicator, we can imagine how the world is silently moving towards more Chinese movie times in its everyday living.  Especially in the next decades, the planet may be a biosphere in which Chinese is something people embrace without any objection. I mean, people generally as some are going to grapple with the new reality and some others reject it altogether. 

Something very significant is the fact that Chinese people are already in most populations in the world. Ask anyone doing business in premier cities outside China, they would confirm this naked truth. Some tourists would be keeping pictures they took in some China towns around the world. Many others would live with made-in-China products from sunrise through sundown. It is then sufficient to say that Chinese is a lived experience a great number of people would acknowledge.

In this essay, I would like to expand the economic perspective much deeper into the interstices of human life experiences. I would use the troupe ‘encounter’ as something much more important than any external forces like economy may or may want to accomplish. Basically, my thesis says that when people have been familiar with a presence, no matter how foreign it might be, they would be inclined to accept even something as fluid and invasive as movie streaming.

Life Experiences are the Key

If we consider everyday life experiences a breeding ground for reception, considering its being ever-present, Chinese goods including Chinese movies may have to some extend been undergoing ‘mutations’ into a complex of idea. As such, Chinese is thus something neurologically preconditioned. As much as it sounds hyperbolic, some people might be assumed to have already been taken into the custody of Chinese encounter. They tend to be more positive about a ‘yellow presence’, foreign in the nationalistic terms but, familiar in memory and personal engagement.

Of course, the brain is not a computer memory, it is so much more. Nevertheless, there is a way of measuring up the capacity to experience with such a technological term. When you are basically installed with such a comfort for experiencing something, you can practically run any other related software of experience and keep increasing their values on the same platform.

Approaching the experience this way is very important to the reception of Chinese cinema. As most people are probably aware of, any movie is all but an illusion that becomes organic in the mental processing of the viewers. Any sequence is in fact structured in form of still images that are ordered and made to obey the scenario and especially the way the director interprets their internal relationships.

Up to this point, movies are first and foremost a foreign invasion into the dynamically stable structure of inner processing (life experiences). They are not a reality that one really sees and decides on its meaning. Even the most soft-spoken filmic message is still a form of external idea infused with some visual excitement. Therefore, when movies are shot in a certain way beyond entertaining per se, the eyes of a Chinese movie director is basically Chinese despite its claims of being, for instance, universal. These particular eyes make the movie Chinese and enter viewers’ mind to offer some specific ways of looking, feeling, thinking and perceiving truth of something with something else.

What is this something else if none other than so-called Chinese encounter?  People are being presented with what it takes to be Chinese in the contemporary world. That this is how Chinese believe when looking at this particular something. Take for instance, White Vengeance, a film directed by Daniel Lee who superbly wove each element of storytelling and filmmaking. A closer examination would instantly reveal that it is loaded heavily with beliefs that most non-Chinese should be questioning. How could the fate of millions be decided upon the board of Xiangqi (Chinese strategy board game)? How could those warring kings’ military strategists justify their so-called benevolent advices that are basically merciless killings as the mandate of heaven?

And, no, this is not a self-criticism movie! This is about what Chinese believe in their beliefs on history, power, betrayal and love at its purest expression.
Towards A More Critical Encounter

We wonder then how many viewers were nervous in their seats seeing excessive killings and noblesse go handy with the will of God. Or were they are justly comfortable as the film is played out through the grandeurs of cinematic artistry incomparable with many other films? 

This line of thinking begs a question, a big one. Is Chinese as an encounter good or bad to the world? Is Chinese encounter enabling or disabling? If you push this kind of question to a NATO Commander, the answer would probably be prompt and clear. It is absolutely too much to bear.  So, please skip the chief from the burden. Instead, allow people as common as movie goers and globe trotters into the picture as they would probably be a better yardstick to say about the encounter in more refreshing words.  

What I want to say that Chinese as an idea to encounter comes in multi colors. Ideology aside, Chinese as engaged in some movies is full with novel ideas that make possible ever-renewing and structuring of cognition and affect through the cinematic encounter it may offer. These novelties become meaningful as far as the viewers have taken them seriously. It is true that some viewers might be taken captive of the filming that scenes that magnify the truths of some foreign beliefs being injected without any resistance or filtering. If that is the case, Chinese is truly an invasion and some people need to rethink of their cinematic experience. 

Fortunately, there is another layer of life experiences, much more complex and powerful, that people might activate to operate their filmic platform throughout the Chinese encounter. Such platform has been set up and empowered with so many non-Chinese grains of everyday experiences that Chinese is just a percentage. Accordingly, as something foreign, Chinese is  taken critically and reprocessed creatively. The experience becomes an act of bold blending. And this active mixture of sites of encounter is precisely what provides possibilities of integrating Chinese into one’s personal experiences. 

The final results would be a renewed or a series of renewed platforms that can ran more various encounters simultaneously. And that is surely meaningful and tasty.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Freedom, Struggles fromm the Periphery

Freedom, Struggles fromm the Periphery

When I learned that the French government had honored Goenawan Muhammad, Indonesia's premier journalist, poet and writer and freedom fighter, with the Chevalier dans L'ordre des Arts et des Lettres on June 25, 2007, I was glad to know that his steadfast struggle against Suharto's despotic regime and any form of injustice had once more met world recognition.

The news brought back Indonesia and its memories of Suharto's New Order (1966-1998), which was at its dictatorial peak during the last years of the 1990s. Goenawan Muhammad, long known for his critical and defiant stance against the regime, was part of the popular uprisings through his political activities, artistic engagements, investigative journalism and intellectual prowess.

Freedom during these years seemed so elusive. And Indonesia is engaged as a freedom house among the nations.

I still remember reading his famous "Catatan Pinggir" ("Sidelines") in TEMPO magazine that has been long admired as the gems of his life. The column that he wrote every week since 1976 that challenged staid thinking became a political-cultural education for many people who meditated its multi-layered meaning. I believe, along with many other influential journalist or columnist, that he was partly responsible for heightening the spirit of resistance among student activists and the general public that hastened the freedom Indonesia was seeking after fromm Suharto administration.

Even when TEMPO was finally banned on June 21, 1994, true to freedom his spirit aspired, his column appeared in an underground publication through Independen (Independence), a brochure-like magazine that was printed in small numbers but photocopied for thousands and secretly distributed. He was also involved in organizing the Indonesian Journalist Alliance (AJI), the first Indonesia's independent journalist alliance, and also participated in the establishment of Liberal Islam Network.

Reflecting on activism Goenawan Muhammad engages both as a journalist and a freedom fighter, I inevitably thought as well of the neo-Freudian Erich Fromm, especially his groundbreaking work "Escape From Freedom" that enlightened many readers on the Hitler phenomenon. Overcoming Sigmund Freud's biological determinism in the making of man and Karl Marx's economic determinism in the formation of human consciousness, Fromm brilliantly blends the Freudian individual and Marxian society by adding the unthinkable: freedom as the central aspect of human nature.

Fromm based his concept of "freedom" from the Renaissance's notion of freedom that puts man, instead of God, in the center of the universe. Since then, man became an individual who determined his own destiny without the need for institutional structures to dictate on his actions. Paradoxically, this same freedom has also given way to an unbearable alienation as it creates a world without anchors.

Within this context, authoritarianism, according to Fromm, fills in the need of the masses for a meaningful existence and a determined future. In a way, Fromm implies that the masses are also complicit in building an authoritarian rule. An escape from freedom starts its fatal drama.

Hence, if freedom can alienate and may pave the way for an authoritarian regime, how can we appreciate the practice of awarding somebody for a cause like "freedom?"

It seems to me that the making of a modern hero is achieved through the negation of power that suppresses freedom at whatever cost. I am sure Goenawan Muhammad is familiar with the dictum that power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. I wonder if his being a multi-awarded writer indicates the inevitable pairing of power and human response that Fromm has painstakingly theorized. It seems problematic to me that human capacity for noble deeds reaches its greatest height proportionately to how power may turn into evil.

I wonder if it is possible to come up with a different view to Goenawan's recent award by the French government. To think of him merely as a surviving subversive voice to Suharto's regime will be an injustice to what he really aims to achieve in his life and to what other less recognized subversive voices have achieved as well. I am speaking of the many freedom fighters on the grassroots level like the legendary rickshaw-driver poet Wiji Thukul whose poetic mantra "There's only one word: Resist!" has inspired the resistance movements in Indonesia even up to now. More than that, how about the commoners who fought injustice, who fought for their everyday freedom,  in their modest but effective ways?

One possible way of looking at the matter is by acknowledging the cooperation among the various sectors of the society. It would be misleading to put Goenawan Muhammad or anybody on top of the list in terms of political changes, for there is no such hierarchical structure despite many attempts to establish one. A struggle is much more dispersed than imagined. The many voices of the people create a chance for leadership.

This way, contrary to what a despot believes, there is no leader or hero in purest sense as more and more leaders at all levels naturally emerge. Nobody can claim heroism as freedom is defined by the many voices that characterize the whole spectrum of struggle. Resistance is collective and transforms collectively as the people clamor for change. Freedom becomes a productive force in itself, the ultimate principle in making the world a productive living ground for everyone and not a necessarily negative creation of power. Power in turn does not have to be a breeding ground for corruption. We can talk about power and freedom fully in positive terms making despotism a lonely, strange reality.

For his courage and personal commitment to promulgate freedom and free thinking, Goenawan Muhammad deserves the praise and recognition. Nevertheless, if the seeds of freedom that he has sown have not grown in a fertile soil, it would not have been able to reincarnate in flesh. He is greatly indebted to the very society that has helped him cultivate his human nature for freedom to the maximum.

Kobe, 2007

Monday, June 13, 2016

Baby Dove

The little girl or the Internet, I am doubtful. It took place years ago, this I am certain.

On the fateful day, when net connection broke down at home, we started making connection instead.  I remember going to the internet cafĂ© across the street.  The lady owner warmly welcomed me but my ears were filled more of the baby. She was crying absolutely loud in her mother's fondling that I could only blame the uncertain weather during the hot summer in Manila, Philippines.

Trying to get her attention, I gently touched her curly rasta-like hair. It did work as she acknowledged a foreign presence with shyness of affection before resorting to babies’ language: crying. The mother looked at me with a forgiving eye; the father got out and greeted me.

Our story had started ever since. I walked in every evening and the baby seemed to be all ready. I deliberately took the last booth next to the connecting glass door to the back part of the house where she was busy with barbies. Or, sometimes, she seemed to be helping out the mother.

I always saw the baby girl holding a comb, a huge one for those long tiny fingers. And a bucket which she used to cover herself seconds after she gave me an adorable smile would complete the scene. But every time I made a sudden got-you-there look, she would turn those orbs elsewhere. It was a kind of game of little fun we were playing. The mother complained never. She rather relegated the baby care to me!

Sometimes I reached out my arms and the baby responded with a wide smile a 3-year old could imagine. I mean really wide in proportion with tiny teeth. She would step forward for few seconds before making an impish stop and turned back. There she was standing again behind the wall smiling at me as if nothing had happened.

I got kind of anticipatory feeling every morning I woke up. The baby’s round face appeared vividly once my eyes opened after wrestling with some drowsing. I envisioned to resume the hide and seek in the evening. She was the one who made rules and sweetly put me under the control of innocence. I sensed that the mother and the father were probably betting on the final story of our affair. 

I took the command of the book Jinak-Jinak Merpati. Merpati is an Indonesian word for dove and Jinak for approachable. As all Indonesians are aware of, the phrase points to the particular characteristic of the bird: seemingly inviting and approachable. But, once you are about to cross the distance allowed, she will fly away teasing you with some circular air shows before setting up certain closeness to you, tempting. It is her call when you could make the next step. Be patient.

And patient I was for such an angelic gift of embrace. An embrace of a baby, who I’m to refuse! So I made such a strategic resolution that if the baby was playing out a dove, I was playing out a dove as well. It was not at all a baby care scenario. It was kind of mutual agreement, wasn’t it?

When the adorable baby finally decided to sit on my lap playing keyboard, while mother was smiling warmly towards father, I instantly knew why a BABY could lead my soul into divine eternity.

We're both doves of happiness.