Yashraj Patil and his beloved grandfather
One of the things that I find the most inspiring about The GLOBE Program, is the rich collaboration that it enables us to have with each other. Speaking for myself, I now have friends literally all around the globe, because of my engagement and interaction with GLOBE. I thought I would take a little time to write about a very inspiring intergenerational collaboration that I have found particularly enriching.
During the virtual GLOBE Annual Meeting in 2021, I was asked by a participant if we could meet up in a virtual room and chat. I was astonished to meet the extremely vibrant and enthusiastic young engineer and new GLOBE member, Yashraj Patil. He was about to go on an amazing research expedition and was interested in finding out how he might incorporate GLOBE protocols into his work while he was there. Learn more about his incredible research trip here!
Over the past two years, we have kept in touch and formed a warm friendship, even though we are from such different cultures and generations. We send each other Facebook messages daily to keep in touch and share various cultural and family holidays. Sometimes we even meet up in “real time” using technology, and I have had the pleasure of talking to his mom, dad, brother, cousins, and his grandparents. I love learning about the music, foods, and cultural customs that Yashraj and his family celebrate. Likewise, he sees my family photos showing him how my grandchildren are dressed for Halloween and other holidays.
Not long ago, Yashraj was telling me that his grandfather was ill and had to be taken to the hospital. He explained that it was his grandfather, Shri Sudhakar Patil who had encouraged him throughout his life. "My grandfather has a wealth of life experiences that gave me valuable guidance and advice on a variety of aspects ranging from careers to personal development. He always made sure that I was in touch with science and geography (for international exposure) since my childhood, and he accompanied me consistently while watching Discovery, National Geographic channel, and even watching Star Movies, which made it easier for me to pick up the English more fluently.”
I had the pleasure of meeting his grandfather virtually several times during our live chats and knew that he had visited the United States and that he spoke English very well. I made sure to touch base with Yashraj each day to check on the status of his beloved grandfather. When his grandfather came home from the hospital, we had a live chat and I told his grandfather myself just how much he meant to his grandson- and as a grandmother myself, how much he inspired me as I strive to also have this kind of a close and influential relationship with my grandchildren.
I am sorry to say that Yashraj lost his beloved grandfather, Shri Sudhakar Patil, two weeks after he had returned from the hospital. Having met this wise man, I could not only sympathize with his loss but also reassure him that his grandfather knew how much he had influenced and guided him, and that Yashraj will spread his grandfather’s wisdom and energy onto so many others.
Yashraj agreed and told me “It is commonly said in India that "a lake/sea is formed drop by drop," and in the same way, my grandfather took the same approach and began seeding every drop of multidimensional knowledge while I was growing up, and today, he has witnessed so many of my international achievements and fulfilled his dream of getting into Science, Research, and Diplomacy. When my Himalayan Expedition work was featured in NASA Science Activation Nugget, he burst into tears and told me he never imagined witnessing such a day.
Despite his confidence in my abilities, witnessing this was a pleasant surprise and a fantastic reward for his efforts. Later, when I received the United Nations Global Diplomacy Fellowship Spring 2023 and got the opportunity to be on a panel for the UN General Assembly Science Summit 2023, he was overjoyed and appreciated my efforts to consider international relations alongside my scientific research, and he said he has witnessed everything and wonders what my grandson will look like when he touches those international dimensions with his great work.
Given the fact that I will always miss his physical presence in my newer accomplishments, my work will always be done in memory of his great efforts and to respect him with my new triumphs."
I thought this was worth sharing as a blog here because it offers a glimpse into the friendships that are being formed, day in and day out, through our connections with The GLOBE Program. It also illustrates that fact that we are all connected, and that our participation with The GLOBE Program enables us to not only share our science with each other, but to also form rich relationships that cross cultures and generations.