There is a positive in every problem

Fahmi Iskander1

If you are absolutely sure that the Sun will shine tomorrow, certain that if you jump in water you will get wet, doubtless about mother’s love for her child, then you can be confirmed that there is something positive in every single problem that you face. Link it with some music in your life and the habit of being on time everywhere, your life will be good and happy. This was the ‘take-home’ message from Fahmi Iskander’s TEDx talk in Khartoum on Positive Thinking on Saturday, April 28th, 2012.Why do you drink or eat? asked Fahmi…’To Live’ and why do you think positive? ‘To Stay Alive’. There is a difference between being alive and living… When do you breathe? We breathe all the time. Likewise think positive all the time. There is always something positive with every problem.
Fahmi spent his teenage years in Khartoum in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Those were difficult and tough times in the country. There was lack of fuel, gas, diesel, milk and bread. People made long queues for these essential commodities. But Fahmi found some fun in all these problems. His friend used to call him in the wee hours of the morning at 2 am and inform him that bread is available in a particular bakery in Khartoum North. He used to rush there with enthusiasm, keep a brick to reserve a place in the queue with friends and have fun. Even as a teen his father used to hand over the car keys to look for fuel. Fahmi always welcomed this opportunity and even thought scarcity of fuel was a good thing for he got the car keys.

Fahmi was hot tempered and used to get into fights whenever people called him a ‘Halibi’ meaning Whitey, Cracker, Lobster as the English say or Gringo as the Latin. He just couldn’t accept people teasing him with this name. He used to land up at the police station very often after getting into fights. Later on in mid-teens Fahmi became dangerous when he started building his body and play basketball and football. He was now capable of breaking someone’s nose, jaws and ribs in fights. His parents thus decided to send him off to England for studies. He saw the positive in this move to a new country, new culture and good education.

Twenty years later, on 2nd May 2005, when he was in London he was struck with a tragedy. His Dad’s cousin telephoned him from Khartoum. At first the man did not know how to reveal the sad news. Later he told him that Fahmi’s father was killed in a road accident. What? said Fahmi. “Does my mother know this?” The reply was that his mother too was killed with his father in the same accident.”What about my sister?” She too was in the same car but is in the ICU. “Is she dead?” asked Fahmi. His Dad’s cousin replied “No”.
Yes that was the positive element Fahmi found in the family disaster. Fahmi thanked God that all three of them had not gone. One was still alive. Fahmi consoled himself saying that one day or the other we all have to go. His father and mother loved each other so much. They were no more but gone for their “wedding in heaven”.
Fahmi returned to Khartoum for good and sent his sixteen year old sister to England for her studies. She is doing fine and finishing her Master’s in Plymouth. This is the positive in this tough tragedy.

Fahmi has always learnt from his experiences with people. He has found women to be more positive than men. He narrated one incident when he and his friend returned to his friend’s house next morning at 3 am. His friend’s wife started shouting at them but at the same time kept looking at the mirror and setting her hair. This is a positive outlook of trying to look good even while fighting. These only women can do. Fahmi says that if you ask women to choose between diamonds and a mirror, she will choose the latter. This is because when she looks at the mirror she sees all the diamonds she could want. She is the dream.
Men on the contrary are great ice breakers. They can extract the smile out of the most difficult faces especially Sudanese women. Men succeed in getting the profound human emotion out of somebody. This is the positive side of men.
In Sudan people are never on time. They keep their own time. If one starts being on time and makes it a habit of being punctual, one gets a positive feeling. If you are on time, you feel confident and positive.

Music is a positive element in life. People in Sudan are party people, ’Rabbah’ as is known in local parlance. We like to smile and smile spontaneously without much effort. This is part of our culture and spirit. We like to sing not shout, we dance not fight, we are not war people, and we are happy people.
Thus the link between being on time, love for music and positive thinking makes our life good and happy.

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