A pessimist is a person who habitually expects the worst outcome or one who always looks at the negative side of a situation. My father was one such person. When he faced any problems in life he would imagine the worst case scenario first before he moved forward to find a solution to the problem.
As a born optimist I found myself in constant conflict with my father`s views on several issues.
I remember one such incident. Within three years of starting my Advertising career in Mumbai I decided to move out of the chawl where my family was staying for over 26 years. When I informed my father about my decision to move to a self-contained flat (Toilet attached!) in another suburb, he refused to move the family with me. His argument was that as against a rent of Rs.20/- per month he was paying for the chawl accommodation the rent of Rs.400/- per month I was planning to pay for the flat was way too high. According to him, if I lost my job (which was not a government job), the whole family would be on the streets. To his credit he did not stop me from moving into the flat but he was worried about my ability to manage the sudden leap in expense.Such pessimists are also described as ` Munjagiridhai Muthannas` (overcautious individuals) in Tamil. You will come across many such people in life.
I know of a friend who has a fetish about parking his car. Whenever he had to visit any person, event or attend a meeting, his first worry would be about the availability of parking space in the place he was planning to visit.“That place -- parking is a nightmare yaar!” is a line you could hear him say often. Once I went with his family to visit a temple located within a large compound, with reasonable parking facility. As we were nearing the temple he saw a car parking area outside a station, at some distance away from the temple. He decided to park the car there and made us all walk the distance. When we reached the temple we found hardly any vehicles in the parking lot. When I questioned his decision to park the car at a distance his response was typical,` Suppose after reaching the temple we had found no parking space I would have to go hunting for a parking space in these narrow lanes wasting time and petrol”
There are many pessimists, some of them suffering from paranoia, who are forever harbouring negative thoughts about something or the other making not only their own lives miserable but also the lives of their near and dear ones.
A pessimist when he faces a problem, his first response will be a negative expression like `Ay-Yo!` - On the other hand an optimist will say- “Hi-Ah”, reflecting a positive attitude towards the challenge posed by the problem. It takes all types to make this world.
( This article appeared in Adyar Times issue dt. 15-21st May,2016 uner my column `Rajan` Random Reflections)