A letter to my cynic friend


A letter to my friend – cynicism

Dear cynicism,

At the outset, let me confess the ‘dear’ in the salutation was used only as a regular convention used in all letters and I feel no ‘dearness’ to you in any form or fashion.

Now that we have made that clear, let me reminisce on how and when you entered my life. Ah yes, now I remember, back in early 2003 when I was, as the saying goes, left high and dry by my former employer and went from being gainfully employed to being unemployed in a gap of around 8 odd hrs, that was when I realized who my true friends were.

All the ‘good times’ that I had spent with my friends were forgotten and pretty soon I was akin to a pariah, an untouchable, a non-entity who nobody wanted to talk to. That was when I realized that most of my so-called friendships were built around the fact that I was working where I was and I was studying what I was rather than for the person I really was. That was when I realized that hardly anybody really cared for me as a person, and those were the days when I truly figured out who my friends were. That was when you made your debut appearance in my life.


The whole of 2003 and the first few months of 2004 were when you made your presence felt in a big way. I was all of 23 yrs old, of prime employable age, a phase in life when I was expected to be finding my feet in the corporate world and laying the foundations for a future career. But there I was, unemployed and trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to do with the rest of my life. All the plans that I had laid out for myself got thrown out of the window in a day’s time. And you, my friend, were my constant companion in those few months.

Little by little, you started making your appearance in everything I did, ranging from enrolling in CAT coaching classes to applying to multiple B-Schools, you were always there. And your constant refrain – You, Jairam, are not going to succeed in any of your endeavors. You might as well quit trying and settle down for something easy, something mediocre kept echoing in my head day and night.

It took me more than a little effort to keep myself motivated and confident enough in my abilities to write all those B-School entrance exams that year and prepare for the Group Discussions and Personal Interviews. I had to shut my ears, heart and mind to your constant whining and reminding me of all my previous failures. I had to convince myself that I still had it in me to give it my best shot irrespective of how it would all end up, and you didn’t make things easier.


Despite your best efforts to the contrary, I managed to get into a decent B-School, but you insisted on following me there as well. Every single day of the 22 months there, you plagued me with your doubts as to whether I deserved to be there, whether I would end up making good of the opportunities provided to me there. It did take quite a bit of effort from me to shut you out of my mind and do the best I could there.

The eight odd years since April 2006 when I passed out, you have been pretty quiet, haven’t you? I guess a combination of things such as the fact that I had too much of work-related activities to think about and married life and parenting managed to keep you out of my mind for most part of the last decade. But you don’t give up, do you?

Ever since I started serious blogging, and more so since I started writing fictional pieces in the form of short stories and novellas, you pop up every so often and laugh at me. In your estimation, all my fictional pieces are sub-par and are hardly read by anybody, let alone appreciated.

But, let me tell you something, my friend, cynicism. Today I couldn’t care less about what you or anybody else thinks of my writing. Today I have reached a stage where I write just for the sheer joy that the process of writing brings me. I write for the wonderful exercise it provides for my otherwise boring grey cells. I bring to life characters I see in movies, in real life, situations out of books, movies, real life incidents and that, my friend, gives me more joy than most other things today do.

So what if my posts attract very few comments. The fact that these comments are from readers who read the whole story, understand the nuances and layers in the story, and question the motives of the protagonists, mean that there are more than a few people who actually read and probably even enjoy my brand of fiction, if I can call it that.

I guess it is time that I bid you a farewell and bring down the curtains on our friendship. You have been a constant companion for almost a decade now and I think I have had enough of you in my life. I know that you are persistent and will not go away so soon or so easily, but I have to start somewhere, don’t I.  And this letter will be that all important first step that I take in this direction.

Cheers and au revoir my friend, here’s hoping that I don’t see you again, ever…

33 thoughts on “A letter to my cynic friend

  1. Standing ovation to this post Jairam. It was straight from the heart and made perfect sense right from the word go. And you know what takes the cake for me? This line-
    Today I have reached a stage where I write just for the sheer joy that the process of writing brings me. I write for the wonderful exercise it provides for my otherwise boring grey cells. I bring to life characters I see in movies, in real life, situations out of books, movies, real life incidents and that, my friend, gives me more joy than most other things today do.
    Yes, that’s how it should be for anyone who is passionate about writing and its not easy to be this way. I am glad I now know someone who is, I do my best to get there. Your post was the right way for me to start my day 🙂

    • @Seeta, thank you so much for validating this post which was more of a rant than anything else 🙂 Glad to see that there are others who share the same points of view as mine on this subject 🙂

  2. I know what you mean. Especially when I write a story, Cynicism rears its ugly head that I will be laughed at!
    But, I am learning to curb it and cut off the doubts as they raise its ugly head.

    Such a straight from the heart post this was.. and I could so relate!!
    Keep writing Jairam.. you are doing a great job and I love your stories

    • @pixie, thank you so much for your kind words, yes, even though I have almost bid farewell to cynicism, it does manage to raise its head once in a while 🙂

  3. You may have written this post as “more of a rant than anything else” just as a response to the prompt, but I think it’s one of your best posts in recent times! I guess that’s because you’ve written it more with passion than with effort, and “for the sheer joy that the process of writing brings” you!!

    • @Proactive Indian, yes, I guess when the post is not very structured and well crafted, it flows from the heart, and ends up being a good one 🙂 And yes, there surely was more passion than effort when writing this post, for sure 🙂

      Thank you so much for the kind words.

    • @Bhagyashree, thank you so much, coming from somebody who reads a lot of these religious books and the great epics herself, these words mean a lot 🙂

  4. A heart-felt post Jairam sir – I may not comment on every single post here but do rest assured I read every single post!

    Look forward to reading many more wonderful pieces from the pen that you hold or rather the keyboard that you use to type 🙂

    Best wishes,

    • @mramani, yes, I know that you are one of my regular readers, no two ways about that 🙂 And thanks for your continued patronage of my mythological stories 🙂

  5. Initially, I thought this was a real person. I am happy that you have bid cynicism goodbye. I quite admire how you can write and hold a full-time job at work and home. I think the only way to enjoy writing is to do it for oneself. Also, being comfortable in one’s own strengths and leaving the rat race behind works wonders. A really nicely written piece, Jairam!

    • @Priyanka, thank you so much, glad you could relate to the post, and yes, I will keep blogging and you just keep on coming back to the blog every second day to get your updates 😀

  6. Like Seeta said, standing ovation to you Jai for writing this one. 2 years into blogging and I can tell you how people and situations make you feel worthless here. But then as you rightly said there are those few out there who actually mean what they say and we should be happy about them. But first and foremost, we must accept what we are and respect ourselves for what we are. That was indeed a heavy downpour which I guess was waiting since long. Glad that you have poured it all out. Good luck my friend! 🙂

    • @Rekha, thank you so much, coming from one of the regular readers and appreciators of my blog, these mean a lot. And yes, for sure, I will continue writing as frequently as I can, purely for my own pleasure, and if others also find some joy, happiness, relief, solace and value from my posts, that will be an added bonus 😀

  7. That, as everyone noticed, was straight from the heart, Jairam! I have had a recent bout with your ex-friend when not a few of the reviewers of my book gave their impressions about it 🙂 I really have no clue how aspiring writers fail to think through the impact of what they are saying about a debut effort and fail to write more politely. A defect, that all of us seem to have, of thinking that ONLY we suffer self-doubt and find such criticism destructive while the other guy is armored against it 🙂 But, as you said, such times are when you know who your friends are.

    As for cynicism of the sort you explained here, I combat it with cynicism of a different sort – I AM a cynic about people in general, upfront, until they prove themselves otherwise! So, it is seldom that what other people think or say of me makes me wallow in self-doubt. Yup – it tends to make a bit more self-satisfied than I like to be but, hey, it is far better than being a bit more self-pitying than I would like to be. 🙂

    • @Suresh, I have to admit that you technique of being cynical about people in general, until they prove otherwise makes more sense. That way, we are well insulated against whatever opinions they have about us in any case 🙂

  8. Wanted to add to your list of “few” comments and say that I enjoy your writing and do in fact look forward to your next post always 🙂 also I sure see a lot of myself in those words and that too in current times. Hope I succumb all the courage that I need to bid farewell to my old friend 😀

  9. I dont think I can add anything more to this than what the others have said. Here’s me giving you a standing ovation too. And with that, I am glad you have decided to part ways with the cynicism. You write brilliantly and like each writer or a person who enjoys writing, each of us have our own strong points. Good luck 🙂

    • @Sid, well for somebody who felt that he couldn’t add anything more than what the others have already commented, your standing ovation means a lot to me given that you are one writer whose work I immensely enjoy. Thanks once again for the reaffirmation in the ‘goodness’ of my writing 🙂

  10. Can you hear the applause Jairam?
    Writing is an exercise to the grey cells Rightly said so But I do not agree with ‘boring’. Your writing is very interesting and drives away sleep while reading as is happening now.
    At some point or the other in life , this cynic friend courts us like a lover. and we have to kick it out.

    • @Kalpana, oh yes, I hear the applause loud and clear 🙂 For sure, after this post and the following comments, that dear old friend of mine has been bid a loud goodbye 😀

      Thanks for being so supportive and encouraging with all your comments so far 🙂

  11. Cynicism is our worst foe and time to chuck it out. Respect Jairam for coming up with such a bold and courageous post surrounding ur life. Been through that and at times, cynicism still manages to defeat me but we shall conquer it. Congrats Cynicism is gone and waving him good bye:)

    • @Vishal, yes, it is quite tough to keep going through thick and thin, but then going ahead is the only option we have since time only moves forward and not backward 🙂

  12. A very truthfully written post. Your cynicism seems more like self-doubt to me. We all doubt ourselves , but it takes introspection to separate facts from destructive opinions and as you have mentioned, it requires clarity of thought to be rid of it. Glad that you correctly identified why you write and more importantly – what defines happiness for you. I have encountered various cynical people and the first thing which strikes you is their suspicion about everything and it deflates good ideas / intentions faster than anything else.

    • @themoonstone, yes, it is extremely critical that we see through the fog of cynicism that pretty much blinds us all to identify what it is that fills us with self doubt and try to eliminate the causes with valid action points.

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