At Mand Labs, our culture is DIY (do-it-yourself) that translates to learning, doing, making, breaking, fixing, iterating and improvising things. Whatever we do, it is all with our hands. We build everything hands-on: From circuits to our products. And we cannot be grateful enough for the precious gift of our hands that let us create, build, touch, feel, learn and bond in this journey called life.
“We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That’s our privilege. That’s the joy of a mortal body… ”
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Image credit: Pexels (Andre Furtado).
How often do we celebrate our hands that let us work, fold in prayer, raise them with joy or greet someone? Many of us will answer this question with a “never.” Do we ever realize that our hands deserve our love and attention?
Did you know that the 10 digits of two hands and the 12 phalanges of four fingers (that can be touched by the thumb) were instrumental in giving us the calculation techniques and the number systems?
While most of us never bothered to find out how the techniques came about, we certainly did not think that our hands played an important part in how we calculate. Our hands are the most complex yet fascinating part of our body that we often take for granted. We fail to appreciate them until we have an injury or disability due to an accident. Only after an untoward incident do we realize the crucial role of our hands in our lives. They are irreplaceable. And let us not forget about the occasional burns and cuts during cooking, or household work. It certainly ticks in our mind that our hands deserve dire attention.
According to a study, about 20 percent of most disabling incidents on the job involve the hands. This is an indication of how our hands, the most important tool of our body, are susceptible to risks. It is crucial that we love our hands and take care of them as we would any valuable object or tool.
Image credit: Pexels (Mikhail Nilov).
We are so busy going about our work that we tend to forget the most precious gift of our hands. From connecting to appreciating, building to bonding, and expressing emotions like joy, sorrow or anger, our hands let us nurture, convey our intentions and communicate. While communicating we use hand gestures that also help us understand or read others’ minds and feelings. In fact, our hands are the most expressive feature of our body. And again, let us not forget that we use our hands for a hand-shake for business deals or receive flowers from our loved ones.
Our hands set us apart from other creatures. They are so unique that we can perform multiple tasks with our hands. It gives us the extraordinary ability for a powerful grip at the same time allows us to hold small objects with finesse, from playing musical instruments to doing our household chores: cooking, washing, cleaning, from eating to feeding little morsels, from touching and feeling to detecting uneven surfaces, even conducting experiments, coding, and building circuits. In a nutshell, our hands help us communicate better, help tell a story and divulge our deepest thoughts and most importantly give us new skills.
Are you aware that there are 27 bones in our hand? The wrist has 8, the palm has 5 and the rest 14 are digital bones — thumb and fingers. It has 29 joints, about 123 ligaments, 48 nerves, 34 muscles, and 30 arteries. Muscles control most of the movements of our hands. Interestingly, the muscles of our hands are located in the forearm which connects to the finger bones.
How often do we realize that without our hands, it would be impossible to build, mold, or give shape to art or prototype a product, write a book or paint a masterpiece? While working with our hands, our sole focus lies on the process of doing it and the result, without any second thoughts about the hands that let us work.
Similarly, in hands-on learning, we focus on the process of learning without realizing that it is our hands that help us build things. While doing electronics or building circuits, we are fixated on the result, forgetting that our hands help us accomplish our work.
A few years ago, when our founder, Gurpawan Mand, visited his alma mater to conduct a workshop on hands-on electronics, he watched about 20 children getting down hands-on and working on their circuits. They worked passionately with their hands and glowed their first LEDs. The expressions of joy after they succeeded in glowing the LEDs were priceless. That was when he decided to take up the cudgels and help children experience learning the basics of physics and electronics hands-on. Humans are naturally curious and want to tinker with things. The very essence of surviving and thriving has been a result of us tinkering with multiple objects, tools, and whatnot. And even tinkering was made ubiquitous with hands.
Working with our hands gives us immense satisfaction, even more so if things shape up the way we want. The children glowing with their LEDs for the first time could experience joy because they worked on their circuits with their two little hands. The versatility and the immense power of our hands are unfathomable.
A study suggests that we even listen with our hands. For instance, when we listen to lilting music, we instinctively tap our hands to the rhythm of the music. “If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands…” my one-year-old daughter instantly sways to this peppy nursery rhyme and claps her hands in tandem. An indication that we indeed listen with our hands.
Whether an infant, a toddler, a teen, or an adult, we all need our hands for everything. It is impossible to imagine how our life would be without our hands. Our brains are hardwired to engage our hands in everything we do. That is why our hands always work in tandem with our brains. Any work is possible only when the hands cooperate with the mind — whether we are building a circuit or working on a project, a farmer working in the field or a person working in the rig, a scientist working in the lab, a writer writing his book, or a chef cooking his signature dish.
But when we have accomplished our work and sit back and enjoy the results, either raising a toast or sipping a cup of coffee, are we ever grateful for the precious gift of our hands?
Image credit: Pexels (Alexander Grey).
There are many without their hands, or who have lost them recently, but we are truly blessed to be able to work, play, build and communicate. So let’s take some time out and pay heed to our hands and be forever grateful for our most prized possession. Raise your hands and examine them and reflect on what your hands have helped you achieve. As we go about our work, let us pause, appreciate and be thankful for our hands and celebrate them and treat them with care. After you finish reading this blog, you can show a little gesture of appreciation and love to your hands — Kiss them and say, “Thank You”.
“You will show your poker greatness by the hands you fold, not the hands you play.”
— Dan Reed