When worse comes to worst

  • The only choice we have is to persevere with patience and persistence 

 You win some, you lose some. No one wins it all, no one loses it forever. And the above two sentences are neither copy-pasted from some self-help book nor learned from some New Age nonsense. It is, in all honesty, merely an observation. You must know some of them happy-go-lucky lads and dames who don’t need much to make their day a good, joyous one. And then there are others, who, well, are so much in love with their sadness that they consider it a sacrilege to part with it. They are the folks who have seen the worse come to worst.

Most of us know as a gospel truth that the economy is in the gutter, the politicians are either crooks pretending to be saints or sex symbols convincing us that they have mended their ways as they preach us all that is old is rotten to the core, and the society has turned itself into a dog-devouring-dog cage. The dolled up anchors yell their lungs, evening in, evening out so as to convince us that things are beyond redemption and no matter what we do, they are simply beyond repair.

All of the above things may sound and look worryingly bad, even apocalyptic to some. Trust me, they just sound and look as such. Things aren’t half as bad, folks, if only you had the will and courage to see it sans dystopian lenses that our ubiquitous screens have put on our eyes.

For those of you who still have in them the capacity to skim through a book or read a summary, kindly search ‘Better angels of our nature’ by Dr. Steven Pinker. Dr, Pinker teaches psychology and linguistics at Harvard University and is a famed author. In his 800 page heavy tome, Pinker delves deep into causes and reasons as to why violence has decreased over time among our species.

Trust me, they just sound and look as such. Things aren’t half as bad, folks, if only you had the will and courage to see it sans dystopian lenses that our ubiquitous screens have put on our eyes.

Do you know that less people go to their beds with empty stomachs than a decade or two back. No two states are at full-blown war with each other. The average life expectancy all over the globe is at an all-time high. Child mortality rates are at an all-time low across the World. Millions of people are getting out of debilitating poverty every month.

After hearing these feel-good bits, the sad and bitter man will itch to remind us of Burma and Brexit. He’ll tell us the number of suicide bombs our country has had during past one year. He’ll advocate the plight of Kashmir and the atrocities in Palestine. In his world the rise of Donald Trump and Narendra Modi dwarf the sobriety of Angela Merkel and even-mindedness of Noam Chomsky.

The whole universe conspires against the sad, bitter men. The entire world is out there to get them. Friends are foes in making. Enemies are ticking time bombs. All they cherish, all they love can be and will be snatched at any time. They wait for Godots. Their Godots don’t exist.

Every night the world ends, the very next morning it starts exactly from where we’ve left it. The prophets of doom and heralds of gloom, never forget, have to sell their merchandise that comprises of anxiety, depression, worries, cynicism, doubt, insecurity, and fear among others. Good news is no news, it is said. No one buys ‘no news’, right? Good doesn’t sell much, it just doesn’t!

For the great ease of many and greater good of all, following are the ten signature, telltale signs that sift sad, bitter men from those who get sad every now and then but never turn bitter in life.

Incessant complaining comes at the top.

Secondly, they whine about everything and anything under the sun, whether it is good, bad or ugly. They always know who to blame for all that goes awry in their lives and in the world at large.

Fourthly, they see trouble where there is none. Fifthly, loath their government as if it is an article of faith. Also they don’t give a hoot to the endless complexity of society.

Next, they love to revel in the misery they’ve carefully assembled around themselves. Eighth sign is that they look tired, worried and in agony every time you encounter them. They wait stoically for a future where happiness, contentment, abundance and all things nice await them. And the last sign to look for is that they seek refuge in novelty and are indifferent to those who care whether they exist or not.

And since prose has its limitations when it comes to summing things up, we’ll end this piece with an excerpt from Thomas Hood’s poem, ‘The Bridge of Sighs’.

Mad from life’s history,

Glad to death’s mystery,

Swift to be hurled—

Anywhere, anywhere,

Out of the world!