It is not only at this point in history, when we have been accosted by a pandemic which hitherto existed only in the darkest of nightmares, that cynicism has reared its loathsome head. Cynics have always gone to town bandying about the gravest of information and the most sinister of portents. They heed no whiff of optimism or glad tidings. They shrug off, as foolhardy day dreaming, any attempt to convince them that the wheel of mankind’s fortune will turn once more.At times like these, when everyone is ultra-panicky and on tenterhooks anyway, cynics would do well to consider drawing upon whatever reserves of humaneness they have left within them. But they continue to occupy themselves solely with forecasts of gloom and doom; forever fanning the fire of pessimism and predicting disaster. A WhatsApp forward which portrays the worst case scenario finds their favour easily and they shoot it off like trigger happy snipers. Any social media message which is more balanced and better analysed might not find their favour at all.Cynics keep veering towards bad news perhaps because their own insecurities are too hot for them to handle. The goodness of mankind is rarely evident in society, but new heroes do come forth to serve others passionately when the going gets tough. Cynics do not recognise even them, alas! Belittling others comes easily to them. As Oscar Wilde said, “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing”.The damage that such people cause to society in times of global or national crisis, is unimaginable. Already, hordes of people have succumbed to paranoia and depression, during the present situation. When they read, hear or watch news which further enhances their gloominess, they sink even lower into their negative mind pools. And a cynic at home or one who is only a call away will shatter whatever will power and resolve they have left within them.A recent study of social media posts, supported by the University of South Carolina, indicates clearly that severe depression and proclivity towards substance abuse are increasing during the present pandemic. Only counselling and conversations with psychologists, and with well meaning volunteers, will enable such people to buck the trend.Realists, on the other hand, speak with conviction based on information which is authentic. They will not eschew stark facts but will buttress their analyses with statistics which provide counter balancing arguments. Every scenario has two sides to it. There is never a night so dark that the morning sun cannot dispel. Shades of grey exist in every human situation. The realist will fear the worst too, at times, but will always bank upon possible breakthroughs to give him and his ilk the strength that is needed.Mindless bravado and forced optimism will not do either, when a practical approach is required. The current situation and many others in life require in-depth awareness to decide on a course of action. Governments, for instance, cannot afford to put a foot wrong at all, and must proceed with caution above everything else. However, a true administrator will spot dangers as well as silver linings while preparing himself or herself and strategise the way forward accordingly.Tackling a human problem at a mass scale requires leadership of vision and fortitude, pragmatism and foresight. Even when the enemy is unseen and treacherous, leaders have to surge forward with whatever resources they have at their command. They must appear to be calm even at the worst of times and even if they themselves have a sinking feeling within. Heads of families cannot, similarly, let their guard down and cause their kinsfolk to slump into sadness. They have to be largely cheerful and at least appear to be unshakable in their conviction that all will be well. Only then will their flock endeavour to see the glimmer of light that inevitably will shine one day.The battle between the cynics and the realists will continue beyond pandemics and pandemonium. It does take all kinds to make the world, after all. Humanity will survive, and flourish once more. And the sun will continue to shine brightly, even upon the cynics.