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What do medicine and poetry have in common? Well, sometimes the most unpredictable unions just thrive.

Dr. Debasish Mridha

Take the case of Dr. Debasish Mridha. He is a medical doctor who is as likely to wield a pen as he is to use a stethoscope. Dr. Mridha is not only a physician with a flourishing Neurology clinic that treats such serious conditions as stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Brain Tumour, but is also the author of five published books. Surprisingly his aren’t books on neurology, or on any branch of medicine, nor do they address any scientific matter.

It is through writing poetry that the doctor explores the meaning of life. “Writing has become my way of exploring the deepest driving desires of the human mind,” says Dr. Mridha, whose latest collection of poetry is titled Verses of Peace. He asserts that his mission is “to increase the awareness of happiness, to change the thought processes concerning happiness, and to change perceptions so that we may allow happiness into our lives and into humanity.”

This may seem unusual for a doctor. However, there is no real distinction between his mission as a writer and his mission as a doctor.

Primum non nocere, the Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm,” is one of the principal precepts taught to healthcare practitioners. At the root of the practice of medicine, is the noble goal of serving others and improving their lives.

We tend to demarcate life in neat little boxes, label them with indelible markers and seal them with tape so that the contents stay in their place. Medicine goes into a box labeled ‘science’, while poetry goes into the ‘culture’ box. But people like Dr. Mridha are proving that the contents work so much better when they are blended. Because at the end of the day, I challenge you to try and separate culture from humanity without producing a grotesque result. You know the feeling you get when you cut a beautiful plump orange that turns out to be dry and tasteless on the inside?

You may have commented at some point about the work culture of your workplace, or of a particular organization, perhaps after you attended an interview. Maybe you noticed shared values and attitudes such as diversity, respect, trust, and teamwork, or even hostile attitudes like gossip or unfriendliness. Well, work culture develops from the wider culture of the society, represented by the workers who come together to form the organization.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) defines culture as a

The joy of being

“set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions, and beliefs.”

Cultural expression, whether through fashion, music, poetry, visual art, performing art, or some other means, switches on our creativity and verve. It connects us to one another and differentiates us from programmed robots.

Do yourself a favour; don’t leave your cultural expression at home the next time you go to your workplace, no matter where that is. It will help you remember who you are, what makes you tick, and how to be truly vibrant.

Photo credit: Artem Onoprieko,





David Waweru

Author David Waweru

Writer, entrepreneur, trainer and consultant. Founder of Booktalk Africa and Will to Win Global. Member of the UNESCO Expert Facility on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Director at the Sports, Arts and Culture Sector Board, Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

More posts by David Waweru

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