Are You An Optimist or
pessimist or A Realist?

by Someswar Bhagwat

The world’s most optimistic song by Sahir Ludhianvi, is “Raat Bhar kaa Mehma Andhera, Kiska Rokey Ruka Hai Sabera, Raat Jitnibhi Sangeen Hogi Subah Utnihi Rangeen Hogi” (Darkness is the guest of one night. Who can stop the morning Sun? The sunrise would be as colouful as the night is frightfully dark) was from the film ‘Phir Subah Hogi- (Morning Will Come Again) because it is also highly optimistic. It turned out to be from the film ‘ Sone ki Chidia’ (Golden Bird).

Optimism is highly recommended as an emotion of positivity while pessimism is considered just the — a negative feeling. One is counselled to ‘always think positive’ as good will some from positive thinking bad from the negative

So when I wrote a book on old age i chose the title ‘The Outhouse on the First Floor’ as a first-floor room is what affluent children choose for their parents to live _ till they die. The room, i thought, was nothing more than an outhouse or cattle shed for the oldies to die. Then i realised this was a negative attitude and not always true. Though some, under pressure from ther spouses, prefer to send them away to Old Age Homes or Ashrams, more take loving care of them than otherwise (though it may be beyond them to spend on theim or search for an old age home. Negative thoughts again)

Thinking a good title sells the book (my two earlier books did NOT) i even borrowed from Dr Margaret Mead’s antheopology textbook ‘Coming of Age in Samoa’ (on tribal rituals.of coming of age) and gave it a sub-title “Coming of (old)Age in India’. Then i realized that few have heard of Dr Mead’s book and that it was about tribal puberty rituals and not aging. So I shed negativity and changed the title to ‘The Golden Years’ and also its contents to a more positive angle (that there is nothing wrong in staying in an old age home with people of same age than with their childreb who are too busy earning for their own old age). In the US of A the homes arrange games for them and sponsor their travel abroad, besides social interactions and lectures.

While changing from ‘Outhouse On The First Floor’ to ‘The Golden Years’ may be a shift from pessimism to optimism there is. i found, a third alternative: realism. One can be neither a pesstmist nor àn optimist but a realist — but, of the three ways of looking at the world, realism is the most difficult to define or describe as we all look at the world through the coloured glasses — coloured by our circumstances and experiences.

The world has no dumb persons — only deaf. As they do not know what sound is, they cannot make sounds or speak – like normal people.. Their colored glasses for looking at the world lack sound. I recall a Delhi friend who knows their sign language and said they discuss everything under the sun from fashion to politics. A normal speaking (and that too nonstop) person running an NGO for the dumb, he had produced a play with a dumb cast, titled ‘mumu’ the only word they could utter that was decades ago.


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