August 16, 2009

Positively negative...

That the world is a funny place is old story now. The other day while talking to my script supervisor I was told to look at the positive more than the negative. This made me think. I always thought of myself to be a positive person, cynical, realistic to the level of sounding pessimistic notwithstanding I never thought that I suggest the negative.

The show that I am working on now is a strange, for the lack of any other word, mix of soap and messaging. A few years ago when I wrote an episode about an HIV positive girl who fights for her right to education for a law series called Siddhant, I never thought much of it. A million rewrites later I had lost interest in the story and perhaps that was a good thing. The episode turned out to be one of the better ones and it garnered an Emmy nomination for the show as well. For years I have been asked how did I manage to mix messaging in popular fiction but the truth of the matter is I have no idea.

Anyway now when my supervisor commented on the writing she said that I should focus on the positive aspect of the message. She argued that my writing talked about the bad that could happen if one doesn’t follow ‘rules’ as opposed to saying ‘see the good that came out of doing what was told’. Normally I would think nothing of it but now that I blog and have a ‘social’ responsibility to update people about whatever the hell is happening in my life, I couldn’t help but ponder.

Is it better to be a foolish optimistic or a sensible realist? What is about me that makes me look at the exit route before taking the turn in? As a child I would always scout the off button before switching anything on. Is aimless positivity a good thing as it would help you overcome all the obstacles and roadblocks of life?

Okay too many questions. But then what could I do, whom could I turn to? My life is currently divided into two groups of people- one who ‘believe’ in me to the extent of convincing that it’s the weather that’s making me think like this while the others would just say yes but what about it? So I had to look elsewhere.

I googled.

What I found was interesting. New non-sense has come to light and it seems that positive thoughts are bad for low self esteem. Yeah. According to The Economist thinking positive will just result in feeling bad, of course in some cases. So being a cynic and looking at the worse that could happen and then just back up a bit isn’t all that bad. I thought about this and realized that not many people would agree with me. This seems like a very television thinking- focus on getting the job done. But wasn’t a good plan today better than a perfect plan tomorrow? I wanted to argue my point out and let it reach millions. Hey if the damn thing worked for why wouldn’t it work for some poor soul in one of the country’s million villages?

Apparently it don’t work that way. In any case now that I know I was right.

I can make it.


I can move mountains, grab the stars.


I’m good.


6 Responses to “Positively negative...”

  • Hey Gautam, One's view of the world has to be in line with one's thinking...I can't see it any other way. If looking at the world from a different perspective is an effort, then it's not a view that comes to you naturally...I suppose which is why on one hand we have Satyajit Ray and on the other Anurag Khashyap!!! (before you pick up a glass to hit my head, I am not putting them on the same level, just giving an example to contrast two view points...)

    And despite the way you think, positive or negative, you can still grab the stars. VS Naipaul the great pessimist, who saw only shit in India, won the Nobel! And Gautam you are GOOD!

  • Hi gautam,

    If given a choice I would anyday want to be a sensible realist than a foolish optimist. In any case we live in a real world where things do not always go according to the way we want them to and on top of that if we start thinking too optimistically and set goals like grab the stars and climb all the mountains etc etc and then inevitably fail is attaining those goals, we end up being a pessimist.

    I think its far better to set goals which are more realistic in nature for oneself, helps to boost the self confidence a bit more. In any case inspite of people and gyan gurus going blue in their face on advicationg the powers of optimistic thinking- suicide cases are still on the rise - and thats a reality of today.

    Yup, I wud definitely want to be a sensible realist myself and set goals which I know can be attained by me.
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