The materials we see around us can be hard (a metal spoon) or soft (a well-made idli or your earlobe). Many materials fall in-between extremes of hardness and softness. Other types of materials (honey, water) flow. Some materials flow easily while others flow very, very slowly. I'd like to describe the ideas behind our understanding of how the materials we see around us behave, drawing your attention to simple every-day observations. These ideas are particularly useful in connecting biology to both physics and chemistry.