The Last Love Letter


He is an easy man to fall in love with. I did it in one day.

It is not exactly a love letter.

But in the guise of a dating profile for her soon-to-be-single husband, Amy Krouse Rosenthal pours out her unabating love for the man she has cherished for 26 years. Today’s Needull is one of those heart-wrenching love stories which cause that strange knot in throat and that odd tingle in stomach. Get ready for an emotional ride.

So many plans instantly went poof.

No trip with my husband and parents to South Africa. No reason, now, to apply for the Harvard Loeb Fellowship. No dream tour of Asia with my mother. No writers’ residencies at those wonderful schools in India, Vancouver, Jakarta.

No wonder the word cancer and cancel look so similar.

This is when we entered what I came to think of as Plan “Be,” existing only in the present. As for the future, allow me to introduce you to the gentleman of this article, Jason Brian Rosenthal.

Full Essay Here

The New York Times – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

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Note: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a renowned children’s book author and radio host, died on March 13, 2017, 10 days after this love-essay was published. You can read her obituary here.

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Why is #vanlife the latest travel fad?


If you have not heard of the latest hashtag in trend (#vanlife), please do search it now. You will be treated to beautiful Instagram pictures of old and new vans parked in beautiful locales, captioned with some quote about how to get out of our houses and start living in a van. Across the world, hundreds of youngsters, couples and loners, millionaires and homeless, are travelling in vans living a seemingly pleasant dream with its own set of nightmares. Today’s Needull, a recent article on The New Yorker, will give you a glimpse of the #vanlife of a couple named Emily King and Corey Smith.

Scroll through the images tagged #vanlife on Instagram and you’ll see plenty of photos that don’t have much to do with vehicles: starry skies, campfires, women in leggings doing yoga by the ocean. Like the best marketing terms, “vanlife” is both highly specific and expansive. It’s a one-word life-style signifier that has come to evoke a number of contemporary trends: a renewed interest in the American road trip, a culture of hippie-inflected outdoorsiness, and a life free from the tyranny of a nine-to-five office job.

Full Article Here

The New Yorker – Rachel Munroe

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The Gift of Loneliness


Can loneliness be a gift? How do lonely people feel? What keeps them awake at nights?

Loneliness is accretive, extending and perpetuating itself.

Once it becomes impacted, it isn’t easy to dislodge. One of the good article I have read in awhile….

What did it feel like? It felt like being hungry, I suppose, in a place where being hungry is shameful, and where one has no money and everyone else is full. It felt, at least sometimes, difficult and embarrassing and important to conceal. Being foreign didn’t help. I kept botching the ballgame of language: fumbling my catches, bungling my throws. Most days, I went for coffee in the same place, a glass-fronted café full of tiny tables, populated almost exclusively by people gazing into the glowing clamshells of their laptops. Each time, the same thing happened. I ordered the nearest thing to filter on the menu: a medium urn brew, which was written in large chalk letters on the board. Each time, without fail, the barista looked blankly up and asked me to repeat myself. I might have found it funny in England, or irritating, or I might not have noticed it all, but that spring it worked under my skin, depositing little grains of anxiety and shame.

Full Article Here

Aeon – Olivia Laing

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A Day in an Ambulance


This Needull is a simple but interesting article from across the border, as the author spends a day with an ambulance driver in Karachi. Through the article, we take a look at a nation in shambles as organisations, like Eidhi Foundation, the one which owns this ambulance, do their bit to piece it together.

Sporting red T-shirts emblazoned with bold white letters reading “EDHI”, these workers are a familiar sight at Pakistan’s all-too-common disaster scenes. Here in Karachi, a megalopolis of around 20 million people, there is no state ambulance service.

Karachi has suffered through decades of violence. Ethnic tensions have been simmering since the 1950s, ramping up as conflict and natural disasters elsewhere in Pakistan pushed more and more people into the city. For years, gang war raged in the slum of Lyari, and as terrorism increased in Pakistan in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks and the declaration of the war on terror, Karachi became a key militant operating ground. Since 2014, a crackdown led by the army has brought a semblance of calm, but violence still simmers below the surface.

Full Article Here

Mosaic Science – Samira Shackle

More about Edhi Foundation

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Girls Like Them Long


Thanks to that boring lecture on Charles Darwin in high school, most of us assume that giraffes’ long necks are to help them reach food in the tops of trees. Well, to be fair, this is indeed the most preferred hypotheses by scientists all around.

But a few scientists think the necks have more to do with something more basic – SEX.

Today’s Needull is an interesting 1996 research paper from The American Naturalist journal that I came across inadvertently.

Around 15 million years ago, antelope-like animals were roaming the dry grasslands of Africa. There was nothing very special about them, but some of their necks were a bit long. Within a mere 6 million years, they had evolved into animals that looked like modern giraffes, though the modern species only turned up around 1 million years ago. The tallest living land animal, a giraffe stands between 4.5 and 5 metres tall – and almost half that height is neck.

Most people assume that giraffes’ long necks evolved to help them feed. If you have a long neck, runs the argument, you can eat leaves on tall trees that your rivals can’t reach. But there is another possibility. The prodigious necks may have little to do with food, and everything to do with sex.

Disclaimer: The views in this paper are not accepted by all evolutionary biologists. Most still believe that giraffe necks are a result of the scarcity of food. The necks-for-sex hypothesis by Simmons and Scheepers remains highly contentious and there are also multiple published evidence for the competing-browsers hypothesis.

P.S: As suggested in comments by our reader WeggieBoy, ‘the notion of long necks evolving in giraffes is classically Lamarckian more than Darwinian’. The reason why I have mentioned Darwin is because that is exactly what is taught in most high schools.

Full Paper Here

Related Article Here

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A surprisingly good place to die


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A heart warming story about how Mongolia is doing well in palliative care.

The hospital also offers patients what is known as “dignity therapy” – which my interpreter translated as “reputation treatment” – encouraging them to tell their life story before they pass away. It began as a way of dealing with patients suffering severe depression, she says, but then they found that other people wanted to tell their stories, to set the record straight. “We had a patient recently who asked his ex-wife to visit, so he could apologise for his past behaviour, and he gave her money too.”

Some palliative care patients have responded by drawing up ‘bucket lists’. During my visit, I met a woman with terminal cancer who had recently returned from a visit to Lake Baikal (the world’s deepest lake) in Siberia, just the other side of Mongolia’s border with Russia. With her week’s prescription of morphine tablets, she had been able to make a journey that had been “a lifetime ambition”.

The complete article

Mosaic

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How The Myth Of ‘Blissful Motherhood’ Contributes To Postpartum Depression


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Soon after childbirth, the focus shifts away almost completely from the new mother, to child-rearing. The mother’s health is then important only to ensure the health of the child. The “bad mother” guilt is easy to assign, if women are unable to immediately play the role of the perfect nurturing mother. While mothers and mothers-in-law constantly register their presence, it is almost never with a focus on the mew mother’s mental health.

The complete article

Swarnima Bhattacharya — The Huffington Post

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