Most Gracious ILItes, I start writing this thread with a mild trepidation, aware that I am rushing to places where angels fear to tread. Dealing with raw emotions like jealousy and greed has many inherent dangers. I may trip myself, fall down and go adrift. Or may fall into an ego trip with a preachy, holier-than-thou attitude. I am taking all these risks because I know for sure that you will not hesitate to hit me on my head when I fail to deliver. In Tamil we say குட்டுப் பட்டாலும் மோதிரக் கையால குட்டுப் படணும் meaning, if you are to be hit in your head, see that a hand with a golden ring on does that job. In my case the blessing will be even more precious because I am likely to be hit by a bangle-laden hand. வளையல் கையாலக் குட்டுப் படப் போறேன் So off we go into one of the darkest chambers of human mind – jealousy. It is pretty easy to say “Don’t be jealous” and be done with that. Leaders, saints, religions, scriptures have been doing that for ages. And have been doing that with much more eloquence that I can ever hope to muster. But that has not helped us understand ourselves. Jealousy is a feeling that comes to our mind when we see someone slightly better than us in any of the Departments of human life - looks, wealth, wardrobe, jewellery, spouse, children, diameter of the television set, sound output of the audio system, size of the house or the length of the car. Jealousy cannot be dismissed as purely psychological. I think it is psychosomatic. Jealousy gives us a clear uncomfortable feeling in the abdominal area. It affects our thinking, blocks our vision and makes us incapable of love. If you say, “Jealous, Me?, No way. I am immune to that.”, then this is the best exit point for you. Please do not read any further and load yourself with needless guilt. Have a nice weekend. For others, to which class I also belong, fasten your seat belts; we are going to take off straightaway. You want to know about jealousy? Watch a five year old child eyeing another child which has a better toy. You can see raw jealousy in the child’s eyes. She will not hesitate to hit the other child, take the doll for itself or do anything to appease her feelings. Or watch the first child in a family when the second child is born. You can see jealousy, a feeling as old as and much older than Caine and Abel. As soon as their second son was born Prince Charles and Diana engaged some of the best psychologists of the country to counsel their first son, lest he should not burn in jealousy. As we grow most of us suppress our urge to hit the object of our jealousy or steal what we covet to please our ego. But short of doing that we indulge in activities which are at least as harmful. Mud-slinging, hatred, harsh words, satire, insinuation, character-assassination all these are the ugly children born of an evil mother - jealousy. A few years back I read a pathetic instance of jealousy in Aval Vikatan. Two girls were close chums since their school days. Roopa came from a very rich family whereas her friend Sadha came from a lower middle class family. Roopa loved Sadha very much and used to share all good things with her. But Sadha could not help comparing herself with Roopa. The winds of comparison fanned the fire of jealousy. On her eighteenth birthday Roopa’s father gifted her with a beautiful scooty. Sadha could not even dream of that, for her own father was still using an old moped. Unable to control herself one day Sadha vandalised her friends brand-new vehicle – tore the seats, broke the mirrors and punctured the tyres. When Roopa broke into tears seeing her moped, Sadha consoled her. Roopa cried on Sadha’s shoulders. The small acts of destruction continued. At one point of time the jealousy was so raw and so strong in Sadha that it had the capacity to even destroy her friend’s life. It was just looking for an opportunity. And soon it got one. When Roopa turned 21 her marriage was fixed. She was to be married to be a handsome young Doctor coming from an equally rich family. Roopa was very happy. Before telling anybody else she told Sadha. Sadha was also of the same age. But her father could not think of her marriage for another 3, 4 years. Sadha was now burning in the hell-fire of jealousy. However she put up a grand show and took part in the marriage celebrations. She was with Roopa almost all the time. A reception had been organised on the marriage eve. Sadha knew that the boy was good-looking and rich. But she never thought that he would look so stunning in his wedding suit. Wherever she saw there was an unmistakable richness. Sadha slept with Roopa in a room that night. She could not sleep and got up very early. It was <st1:time minute="0" hour="3">3 AM</st1:time>. Only the cooks were up and were busy preparing the morning coffee. Sadha had access to the place where marriage jewels were kept. Roopas parents treated her as if she were their own daughter. Sadha took the mangal-sutra from the jewellery box. Then she ran out of the marriage hall and tossed it over into the underground drainage.