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These trying times amid the Corona onslaught are bringing out the true character of many individuals and certain sections of the Indian public. To put it most mildly, it is not an uplifting experience. The range of negative emotions vary from cynicism at the lower end to downright reprehensive behaviour at the other. To be fair, there are many positive stories too. At a time when solidarity and support are critical to national efforts, negativity, indiscipline and toxicity does not help and must be discouraged by all means at our disposal. Here is a listing of some ‘types’ that may seem familiar…

The first kind of person is the eternal cynic. This bloke is suspicious about anything and everything. Nothing, and nobody according to him is doing anything right. He does not have an answer and he does not do anything but whine, whine and whine. Negativity pervades his psyche and he transfers it to all he touches.

Another interesting species is the bhakt. I use the term most generically. Depending on his beliefs, this person is one kind of bhakt or another. So if any action is taken by any group with a differing leaning or ideology, that is shred to pieces. Not enough, not in time, anti-poor, anti-consumer and every other kind of accusation is viciousy hurled to decry and defame. They must be completely ignored.

Then we have the know all. Incidentally, that is what only he thinks of himself. This chap has the most authoritative opinion on everything from artificial intelligence to profound philisophy. He will give you long discourses on everything under the sun and will have the best solution for all of the world’s ills including the Coronavirus. This guy should actually be keeping his mouth shut and try running for Prime Minister.

One of the most irritating species is the fast forwarder. He is the one who fills your inboxes and memory cards with spam each day positively before 11 am – and they keep coming. A compulsive addict of ‘fastest finger first’, he himself does not read a thing that he forwards. And more so, takes no responsibility whatsoever for spreading rumours or fake news. Social media in such hands is like a loaded weapon in the hands of a monkey.

Next is the doomsday prophet. He predicts the end of the world at the drop of a hat. This fellow has the knack of collecting and sharing the most gruesome and hopeless stories, and experiences intense pleasure by spreading despondency and gloom. The farther they are kept, the better it is for our well- being.

The chronic lawbreaker comes next. This guy is our regular red-light jumper. He just gets a kick out of it – some cheap thrill at breaking rules. What this chap needs is a hard kick in the butt. This guy has perhaps never been disciplined as a child – but better late than never.


The most toxic of the lot is the complete rogue. This person is the true anti-national. These are people who do dangerous things which not only harm themselves but also harm society. Like people travelling in milk trucks to defy curfew, breaking quarantine and infecting others and congregating in large numbers despite repeated entreaties by none other than the Prime Minister. They deserve no sympathetic consideration at all.

There is also one type that believes all-is-well, no matter what. This is perhaps the blissfully unaware and happy idealist. Everything is fine for him, everything has a reason and happens for the larger cosmic good. Do not worry, he says – the Coronavirus is just one of those things – so don’t work up a sweat. Kitne aaye, kitne gaye…laudable attitude but can sometimes seem unreal. This fellow is however much better than the others – and very good for morale.

In these trying times, what we need is believers, realists and disciplined citizenry with a sprinkling of the ‘all is well’ variety to help maintain sanity. These are the people who will help the real soldiers in the fight to carry the day.

27 Mar 20

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