\u201cWho Am I?\u201d\r\n\r\nThis is a powerful and profound question that often sets people on a life-altering path. So you might be amused to know that you can find some answers in the cinematic adaptation of Rudyard Kipling\u2019s timeless classic, The Jungle Book!\r\n\r\nAt its very core, the story revolves around establishing the true identity of the protagonist Mowgli, a \u2018man-cub\u2019 raised by a pack of wolves in a jungle. Mowgli is befriended by a panther and a bear while being hunted by his arch-nemesis, a vengeful, half-blind tiger. Each of the key characters in the movie has different expectations from Mowgli, stemming from different perceptions of Mowgli\u2019s identity. Let\u2019s look at some of these characters.\r\n\r\n1. Bagheera\r\n\r\n\r\nThe panther, Bagheera, is depicted as a mature character who is fiercely protective of Mowgli. At first, Bagheera urges Mowgli to act like a wolf, but later he takes responsibility of guiding Mowgli to his \u2018people\u2019 in the man-village. Throughout the film, he is seen admonishing Mowgli for his tricks, which are not meant for the jungle in Bagheera\u2019s opinion. Later, during a pivotal moment at the climax, it\u2019s Bagheera who urges Mowgli not to fight the tiger like a wolf, but to fight like a man. In a sense, the panther permits Mowgli to express his true self, be himself, and thereby, unleash his maximum potential. To draw a parallel, the panther can represent our parents\/guardians who at times believe they have our best interests at heart, but actually curb our interests and passions when they are not in alignment with present social norms. However, when they do support and believe in our dreams, it can lift our spirits phenomenally and provide us with the courage and conviction to be ourselves.\r\n\r\n2. The Wolf Pack\r\n\r\n\r\nLed by the firm leader, Akela, and Mowgli\u2019s foster-mother, the wolf pack firmly believes that the \u2018man-cub\u2019 can be taught the ways of the wolf and eventually be one of the pack. At one juncture, when Mowgli is dejected at not keeping up with the wolves, Akela declares confidently, \u201cChin up little one, we will make a fine wolf of you yet.\u201d In the corporate context, there is a very real danger of trying to institutionalize new members so they become \u2018one of the pack.\u2019 Within the framework of your team\u2019s cultural values, it\u2019s vital that members are still given the liberty to be themselves and not conform and act in a particular manner just to fit in the pack.\r\n\r\n3. Sher Khan\r\nYes, even the \u2018villain\u2019 of this story has a strong perception of Mowgli\u2019s identity \u2013that of a man-cub who will grow up to be a man and therefore, needs to be hunted down. At the climax, when the tiger taunts him for carrying the fire torch, Mowgli drops his fears and throws away the torch, emphatically asserting, \u201cI am Mowgli of the Seyonee, and this is MY Home.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nMore often than not, when we are pushed to stressful, high-pressure situations, we tend to drop our masks and demonstrate our true character. So we must be grateful to such situations, which help reveal our true natures and allow us be more in touch with ourselves.\r\n\r\n4. Baloo\r\nThe lazy sloth bear is undoubtedly one of the most loved characters in the movie.\u00a0Baloo unabashedly accepts Mowgli\u2019s tricks. He even makes good use of them to boost his selfish honey-collection efforts and thereby accepts the most realistic identity (call it version, if you will) of Mowgli \u2013 that of a man-cub who belongs to the jungle.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhen he remarks to Bagheera, \u201cMan village? They'll ruin him. They'll make a man out of him,\u201d Baloo hits the nail on the head, for he truly believes that Mowgli can realize his potential in the jungle itself.\r\n\r\nIn a highly dynamic complex world, we all juggle multiple roles at home, at work, and in our local community, often disillusioned with our true self. We often try and adapt to each environment and try blending in, to somehow fit in the pack. As demonstrated in the movie, you can still belong to the pack and yet be true to yourself. \u00a0Yes, it does help to have friends and supporters who believe in you, but the moment of truth kicks in when you truly accept yourself, dropping your fears and shedding your masks!\r\n\r\nKeep asking \u201cWho Am I?\u201d and you might just end up finding yourself. That would be some adventure to brag about \u2013 An Adventure Unto Yourself!