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      Volume 10 |Issue 16 | April 22, 2011 |


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Positively Positive


One of the most used catch phrases of modern thinking is 'think positive, be positive'. It is treated like a miracle cure for any kind of disorder/predicament in life from the mild to the terminal. Apparently under the most trying circumstances all one has to do is think optimistically that 'everything will somehow work out' no matter what the odds are against such an assumption. It is as if there are invisible bubbles of positive thought that drift out from your brain through your nose and ears, waft around for a bit, cleansing the air of negativity and then eventually reaching the trouble spot and detangling the knots of misery-inducing factors.

When you are an hour late for a Baishakhi dinner on the other side of town, and your pre-wedding blouse stubbornly refuses to fit, you stub your toe on the bed frame, your eyeliner decides to run all over your face-when all these things happen- don't panic, be positive.

Even when you accidentally knock over your mother-in-law's vase from the Ming dynasty while rushing out through the door, even when your blow-dried hair gets stuck between the hinges of the car door, when your toddler wipes he's sticky hands on your laundered white punjabi while you are painfully trying to retrieve the lost 'nara' (draw strings) stuck halfway in that mysterious pathway around your pyjamas-even in those miserable moments, think positive.

Keep on maintaining this positively positive frame of mind, when you are incarcerated in the middle of a traffic jam knowing full well that you will not reach your destination for at least another two hours. Block out the unpleasant thought of your host's disgusted face when you come in, sweaty and panting, just when the last guests are leaving and it is time for your host's favourite show 'Dexter' to begin. Instead, use this time to send Shubho Noboborsho texts to all the people in your phonebook, including your ex's whose names you forgot to delete.

If that seems like too much work there is always the option of taking a long-deserved nap in whatever contraption you are travelling in. Alternatively you could simply stare at people in neighbouring vehicles who are in the same boat.

A key expression that indicates just how positive a person can be is 'no problem' uttered at five second intervals. Usually this category of individuals are on the phone so you can't see them in their shorts or nightgowns, lolling about in front of the TV, a bag of chips in hand, with no intention of budging for the next 24 hours.

Sometimes the 'no problem' syndrome resembles a mannerism like an involuntary winking tendency. People say it no matter what the other person is saying. In Bengali the phrase is Oshubida Nai which literally means there is no problem whatsoever. People automatically say it on reflex. You may be relating a harrowing tale of how you were robbed in a crowded market, that you broke your cell phone by accidentally stepping on it and then tripped rather embarrassingly right on the pavement when someone shoved you aside. Without a blink Mr or Ms Positive-to-the-point-of-nausea will say: Oshubida Nai. If you think this is insensitive as it is obvious that the person has not heard a word you have been saying, don't feel bad. At least it's better than when you tell someone your cat has just died and he says, Oshubida Nai.

Thinking positive is no doubt, a positive attitude but there's something called too much of a good thing. This is how the concept of 'It could have been worse' came about. When you sprain your back while packing your suitcase just before a free trip to Phi Phi Island in Thailand, all expenses paid, it's good to think positive. It could have been worse right, you could have sprained your back in Phi Phi, stepped on a jellyfish or lost your swimming trunks at sea and had to walk back to the hotel in your birthday suit...The possibilities to make you feel positive about the present fiasco, are endless.


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