Illustration by Priyal Shah

Listen to this Story
Narrated by Anjan Prakash


When it is children’s activities, we mostly describe them to others like this:

Maya, she loves cycling the whole day, just doesn’t like to sit and study.

Ahmed can spend hours making things. He loves to dismantle, investigate, reassemble.

Kiran just loves asking questions non-stop, tires me out on some days.

Jay, loves to read, books after books on sci-fi, I run out of new ones to buy him.

And as we become adults, the words begin to shift into:

Chaya is a software engineer.

Mark, he works as an investment banker.

Rumana is a wonderful painter

Yohaan, they are a musician

Did you notice what happened?

From describing the activity, we have moved into stating the identity.

Childhood actions and the communication of it seems to be rooted in verbs, where there is a sense of momentum, fluidity, a hidden energy of exploration, as something that is happening out of choice and could change if the child wished to. As though the children are walking, running, spinning, somersaulting, or sitting through life, moment by moment, even transforming from one moment to another.

But as we move into adulthood, while there is nothing wrong with defining a role or stating an identity, as it might indicate our area of work, or simplify the communication, often this noun identity feels passive, rigid, written in stone, of having no further choice, as though the energy has now become static, held within the boundaries of the noun that describes us. It appears that anything we do now, has to fall within the confines of this noun, and the identity it has taken.

What do I mean by verb energy and noun identity?

Let me apply this little insight to a particular area of my life, and you will sense how the energy shifts.

When I tell myself, I am a Writer of the Natural World, and roll into a noun, something within starts to form expectations, wishes to do it to perfection. The noun starts to tell me what I need to be doing, how it needs to be done, what works and what doesn’t, the number of years it takes to be such a writer and just calling myself doesn’t make me one, and has a list of questions, `What do you mean by natural world? Is this enough research to write? Where do you write and publish? Oh, on your personal blog, not in any magazines’. You see, this is a different energy, a critical voice energy. There is self-doubt, judgment, expectations, comparison rolled into this energy.

Now, just sense what happens when I align to my verb self – I describe to myself how much I love exploring the natural world, how much I enjoy finding fresh possibilities and perspectives by looking through the lens of nature and culture, how this journey through writing reveals so much of myself to me, and sharing this and hearing from all of you expands my understanding.

The energy operating underneath is totally different. When in the space of a verb, there is imagination, I make choices actively, I am doing what I am doing, which is writing and communicating, because it brings me immense joy. The voice in such a verb has no time for expectations, as it is rooted in the present moment. This is an active flow energy, not a critical mindset energy. Here I trust my gifts and put them into action; I trust the gifts of the world, and the gifts of the readers who share their thoughts with me.

To understand where a noun helps, and where a verb helps, would be a lovely exercise for us to stay alert to, isn’t it?

What makes us flow, what freezes us, where are we on this noun-verb spectrum today? Where can the two meet and dance? This would make for an interesting exploration of self.

Maybe we can begin to see noun as something that takes the responsibility of not making us go all over the place and into the rabbit hole of distraction. And maybe the verb takes the responsibility of ensuring that we do not miss out on the Alice in Wonderland experience? 

Do you think that is a good way to look at it?

If we take this another step further, beyond us, I wonder:

  • If we did not just stop with saying `this is a Mango tree, this is the Indian Tiger, this is a Hawksbill turtle, or this is a Red Vented Bulbul, but thereafter moved them from nouns to verbs, by describing what they do, their role in nature, or what they add to the ecosystem, then would we be able to see them more, and in knowing them through their actions also see our interconnection with them? Through this, understand that the day they are harmed or threatened, we have broken our own living chain where we stand too?


  • If we begin to see children as not someone we need to mold into nouns at the earliest – make something out of them, get them into becoming something, and instead look at them as gentle reminders of the flow energy, the verb, that we need to tune into within ourselves, then would we celebrate them as they are?

I am sure you get the gist of what I am proposing we can all try and experiment with.

So if you are a verb, how would you describe yourself and the work you do?

Please do share, as that might make for a fun lively exercise like it did for me, and I would also get to know more of you through it. You can also invite others within your friends and family to try it, and let me know what emerges.

Most of us adults tend to have a lot of noun in us.

I therefore wish for us all to have a weekend filled with verbs.

Immerse, explore, discover, doing what we love. And yes, please share away.

Happy Weekend. 



    • Ashvin Shivaraju

    • 9 months ago

    Myself, loves promoting company products no matter which company hires me.

    Anjan, you have picked another ‘food for thought’ topic as always.

    Thank you.

    Being in a state of verb, also helps cut down on our ego, competition, and keeps us grounded.

    • krishna padia

    • 9 months ago

    What a refreshing insight! Thank you Anjan for making us wonder over these small yet big choices we make every moment. One more splendid post from you that makes us look forward to more from you…

    love & hugs

    1. Dearest Krishna – How beautiful to hear from you! 💚Thank you for your reading of the post, and for sharing your love and thoughts on it. Yes, this insight has been helping me much, and so I shared. Hope you are doing good, and sending love and hugs to the whole family. 🕊

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