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“Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” ― Douglas Adams
I had fun as a kid, not because I was one of those playing in the street kind of kid, but because I enjoyed the world around me. There was always some good thing happening, or something to look forward to. As kids we played hard like there was no tomorrow.  We used every opportunity we could lay our hands on to enjoy life. If we wanted to laugh, we laughed until we hurt ourselves. If we wanted to cry, we cried until something worthy pacified us. Even when I played with my imaginary friends, it was more real than what is reality to most of us today. The things happening around me were secondary to what was happening within me. My real friends felt the same way, so we made sure that what happened in us was always ‘Disneyland’. Today I struggle with keeping up with current affairs because even though I need to know what is happening around the world, an hour in front of any news channel before bedtime is a sure way to have a nightmare. The commentaries run like a horror movie with bad directors. You even hear of things that would come off as unreal in movies, being relayed as real life events. The news flash never seems to end. It’s always as if the reporters can’t keep up with the incoming flow. They just go from bad to worse; bombings, earthquakes, killings, genocides, homicides, drugs, etc. After hours and hours of terrible reports, you get to hear one seeming good news, depending on who’s reporting it, as a side story, never a major story. How then are we surprised that we are perpetually depressed, with nerves as taunt as violin chords? Isn’t it amazing how we live in a world where there are technological and psychological advancements in every field and yet degradation of human life is on the increase? Crime, divorce, social injustice, and the like are threatening to become a part of our acceptable reality. There’re no longer considered ills to be eradicated, but actualities to be managed. We’ve stopped flinching at the sight of genocide victims on our TV screens. The story of a forty year old man raping a nine year old girl is no longer disgusting; we sigh, shake our heads and go about our businesses, because we are gradually accepting them as normal. We love to hear bad stuff, it’s no longer only the British who love to hear it, like Winston Churchill claimed when he said  “The British nation is unique in this respect: they are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.” We all are now in the merry wagon now and I believe this is happening to us because we are living in a world where tragedy sells. We are gradually being conditioned to expect bad things to happen. We now suspect the bearer of good reports, and search deeply to catch any hidden agenda or plan of mischief, because like we say, ‘there is no free lunch anywhere’. What I believe has happened is that the world system, with the constant bombardment of tragedy, has taken hope away from us. We are struggling to keep the spark of faith alive, that expectation that good things will happen to us. We find it easier to believe and anticipate horror than good.  Before we blame it all on news channels, ask yourself why it’s more interesting to hear bad things concerning someone else than to hear the good.  Why, is it more interesting to hear ‘she got pregnant out of wedlock’ than that tall, dark and handsome finally proposed to her? Why, is it more likely that if you meet a group of guys or girls talking about someone, they’ll be sharing some misfortune not a blessing? That is because as individuals we market disappointment more than we market the positive. Maybe if we stopped relishing bad reports so much, if we give a little more attention to something good that has happened to us or our neighbour, we might actually begin to have a saner picture of the world.  Should we stop reporting happenings because they are bad? Or begin to live in false reality where everything is rosy, and everyone walks around with a toothpaste smile plastered on their faces? Heavens no! Bad things do happen, a lot of it, and we have a right to know them.  I just think that our relish for flesh crawling and heart wrenching reports is beginning to tell on us all and moulding us into very cynical and negative people. We give so much attention and importance to calamities, it’s like Jocelyn Murray said, “When a tree falls it resounds with a thundering crash; and yet a whole forest grows in silence”. We need to mix up the information that gets into our minds. Instead of news channels replaying the same gruesome pictures a thousand times a day; they can also flash some uplifting stuff alternately. As individuals, we should consciously be more interested in knowing the good things happening in our space, than the bad, and be grateful for it. Let’s see if we can bring back the magic that coloured our world as kids, the beauty of a world where we expected good things to happen. I know I would love to feel that way again, wouldn’t you?
“Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” ― Douglas Adams

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This article was first published on 30th July 2017

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