I recently connected with an old friend from Cambridge. Now my friend, S, is a judge in the UK, which is very impressive to me! Explaining to him in email why I was not a world renowned scholar by now (and thus not even nearly as successful as him), I tried to convey how much my life had been transformed by Raf; how in becoming a mama my priorities and perspective had shifted, and how - even though my work is still important to me - its place in my life has shifted.
Anyway, this morning S had sent me a message, and in it he introduced me to a beautiful concept of 'Jaan'. I've copied S's email below, as it is such a tender concept and I won't explain it well. It really made me well up when I read his note :)
"I've have been doing an intellectual dissection of these photographs that you put up of yourself and Raf and I am now ready to publish my findings in the latest journal of the 'Royal Society of Brummie Intellectuals'. There is a word in the urdu/hindi vocabularly called 'Jaan'. Literally it means 'life'. It is a powerful word and is also used commonly as a term of affection by romantic couples. However, it is very commonly used by a parent towards a child because it most powerfully captures the feeling they have towards that little being. There is simply no equivalent word in the English language that is as powerful. Calling a child 'Jaan', is saying to that person you are 'life'. And that is Raf, he is your 'Jaan', he is life."