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A Serious Warning Bell This Time - The Monster of Jealousy!

Discussion in 'Saturdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2007
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 2

    She returned to sleep with her friend as if nothing had happened. When it was time for the muhurtham there was pandemonium in the marriage hall. Roopas mangal sutra could not be traced.


    That is supposed to be a very bad omen. The boys father who was very orthodox thought that it was the work of some evil spirit (truly it was, the name of the evil spirit was jealousy) and cancelled the marriage arrangements. Since much publicity had been given to Roopas marriage they could not find another match for her.

    But soon Sadha got married to a good man and is now living “happily.” The incident was narrated by Sadha (name changed) herself in that magazine.
    Now Sadha fears that her past sins might anytime visit her or her son and daughter. That is a case of full blown jealousy.

    Have you noticed a strange thing with jealousy? We are never jealous of some one who is in a very high position compared to us. For instance none of us are jealous of Bill Gates or Narayanamurthy.


    We are jealous only of our colleague and neighbour, who is slightly better than us. We are not jealous of Abdul Kalam or Manmohan Singh. But we are jealous of our immediate boss or our cousin who is in a position, which is just a step higher than ours.

    One of the worst manifestations of jealousy which I even dread to describe is with reference to children. It is one thing to compare ones car with another, or even jewels or house or TV sets.


    But if one starts comparing one’s children with another’s, then I think that is the ultimate of all evils. You should go to parties or marriage celebrations in Tamilnadu after the release of Plus Two (school final) results. Mothers loaded with jewelry will be complaining in a false voice, “My son Akshay got only 1150 out of 1200 in plus two. How about yours?”

    The other woman would be totally nonplussed. Her son would have got some 900 marks. (That itself is 75%) How can she say that to the other woman? So the moment she gets back home she would throw temper tantrums at her own son.


    “You idiot, because of you, I was humiliated in the party by Mrs. Jeyaraman. You should have studied well. You have insulted me, useless chap.”

    Now the son is confused. He has already been shouted at for his low marks. And is already in a desperate state. He would never understand this fresh outburst from his mother. And in that state it would be no wonder even if he kills himself.

    When I was in school in my very first algebra class, my maths teacher gave a wonderful lesson for life.

    He asked a simple question: “Tell me which is bigger, 2a or 3b.”

    Many of us said it is 3b, because obviously 3 is bigger than two. The teacher laughed aloud and said, “You fools you just looked at the number 2 and 3. Did you see a and b? Do you know the value of a or b? You do not know. Then how can you compare.”

    And then explained the famous “Apples and <st1:city><st1:place>Oranges</st1:place></st1:city>” rule of mathematics.

    “You cannot compare apples with oranges and say, which is bigger or better.”, he thundered.

    It is okay for us to be fools when we were 13 in our first algebra class. But that lady who compared her son’s marks with another boy and then shouted at her son, still remains a fool, and the worst one at that.

    I was moved to receive a pm from an ILite who told me this story. Her close friend on seeing this ILite’s son’s academic performance insists on the same with her son. And to get that kind of performance she is acting extra harsh with her son. And to cap it all, she is also slowly cutting down her friendship with this lady.

    If we have to be jealous, let us confine our jealousy to our looks or TV sets, to our jewels, or houses or cars, or even our spouses, but for heavan’s sake let’s leave our children out. Every child is quite unique and every child is a gift from God. To compare one child with another is nothing but the foolish comparison between apples and oranges, which we as algebra students, learnt to avoid ever since we were 13.

    I had a first hand experience with jealousy when I was in college. I was in my third year of B.Com. Semester system was in place and every mark we got in every class test counted for the final score.


    One day our Accountancy Professor was distributing our marked test papers. My friend, let’s call him S, asked my sheets for some reference. I gladly gave them to him. The next minute he vanished from the scene. A few minutes later another boy came running to me, “Sridhar, the professor wants you in the Faculty Room immediately.”

    The Faculty Room was noisy. I saw S arguing with the Professor. He told the Professor, “Sridhar and I have solved this problem in the same way. While you have given 12 marks to him, you have given only 8 marks to me. Either give me 12 marks or cut down his marks to 8.” I was too shocked even to speak. The Professor shouted at me for giving my test papers to S. He then sent us away.


    The beauty was that S was talking to me on the way as if nothing had happened. This small but potent incident was stored in the deepest part of my mind and came out when S visited me some 15 years later.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2007
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  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 3!

    From this incident I am going to deduce a lesson for those who are affected by jealousy. I am moving now to the other side of the table. Please read this slowly and carefully.

    S visited me in my office 15 years later. At that time both of us had become CAs. I was in private practice while S was the Divisional Manager of a public sector insurance company. He was talking about so many things. He was frequently regretting his decision to opt for a job rather than independent practice. He went after an hour’s chat with me.

    My Partner who was observing S throughout the conversation told me, “Better be careful, sridhar. I am not comfortable with the way he looked at you.”

    I pooh-poohed his words and went home for lunch. Post lunch I had a severe headache and wanted to rake rest for a few minutes before going back to office. I lied down at <st1:time minute="0" hour="14">2 PM</st1:time> and when I woke up it was 6 30 PM. The next day I had to brave the “I told you so” looks from my Partner.

    I have never subscribed to the evil-eye “<st1:State><st1:place>kan</st1:place></st1:State> drishti” theory. I don’t subscribe to that even now. Let me explain my stand. You might have heard of the famous words of Kanian Poongunranar

    யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்


    The whole world is my place; and all are my folks. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam in sanskrit. The whole world is my family.

    But what the great Tamil poet says after this line is very, very important

    தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர் தர வாரா

    Our good or bad does not come from others. They can come only from us.

    When you apply this maxim, no one can by his or her evil eye can affect you. But still we see the practical effects of evil eye. How come?

    My very strong view here is, that if we have something better than others, either job or looks or car or house or child, whatever it is, unconsciously most of the time, and consciously some times we become slightly arrogant of our “betterness” and look down upon those who do not have it that good.

    At this moment if that person has an “evil eye” it is sure to hit us. Kan Drishti or evil eye is actually a problem we give unto ourselves thanks to our arrogance.

    Let me reiterate this very important point. If you are better than others and there is not even a slight trace of arrogance, a jealous person’s evil eye cannot affect you.


    For evil eye to work you need two important factors – that person’s jealousy and your arrogance. You cannot do any thing about the first factor; but the second is fully within your control.

    Now take the example of S visiting my office. May be I was arrogant, I was showing off, or I wanted him to know that I was better off. All these are manifestations of arrogance and I paid for it with a headache.

    So the next time when you are hit by an evil eye don’t blame the other person. Blame yourself and look deeper into your mind. Find that trace of arrogance. And watch your arrogance in action while conversing with others. Be aware of it.


    This awareness slowly kills arrogance. Once that is gone, I assure you no one can cast an evil eye on you.

    I have another four pages of material on jealousy. Not gathered from books, but from my life.


    But I am not sure whether I have already exceeded my limits – both in terms of the length of the leader post and in terms of the range of discussion. I will be happy and relieved only after seeing the first few responses.

    Over to you, Ladies!
    Varalotti
     
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  4. safa

    safa Bronze IL'ite

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    Please next time you post another four pages of material on jealousy from your own experience. We don't want to miss it.
    It was a nice write up about jealousy and it reached to it's relation with "evil eye". I have learnt this "evil eye" means another man's jealousy towards us, but haven't thought yet, how it affects us. In the "ageing of mind thread , I had written the - don't be jealous - term, but actually as you said, we do not know how to apply this. When watching the ladies that I told you, I understood they are not jealous, by observing how others respond to the same subject. While others are discussing how the poor neighbour became rich she will remain cool and says" do you want them suffer all their life?" or " may God give them more". It is burning for discussants since they are already not happy with the pleasures that the neighbour owns.

    I have a doubt. I know a nice lady, behaving very attractively with others. She is rich. If she sees some other's Saree, ornaments or any other items she will check if possible and comment when they left, it is very costly one ,how did they buy it, since they are telling it is hard to meet ends..I always wonder because of this behaviour and want to know it is jealousy. Hope you could answer this.
     
  5. jothi

    jothi Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    Only you can take up subjects like these and present them with such poise and grace. This is a beautiful write up.
    I have persoanlly seen friends of mine compare thier children with other friends' children. Comparing children kills the self confidence that our children have on themselves. My husband does not believe in kann thristi, but I do. I happen to think that it totally works.
    Thanks again Sridhar.

    Jothi.
     
  6. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    You have brought the essential topic for discussion this week. And as always, it is very very good.
    it is indeed very difficult not to envy (if not jealous) of another person who is btter than us. My mother always insisted that we should never feel jealous of others. So I try not to feel jealous.
    But when my son used to have convulsions every week and also during holidays, he would be drained out and will be bedridden, I used to feel sad and think of the other children who would be playing and enjoying themselves and also of their mothers- who dould not have to worry about what would happen to their child. It was very very hard then not to think like that. Then I would pacify myself by saying that they are not the reason of my son's illness, so I should not pass on even a shade of my feelings to them.
    I am against comparision among children. My mother used to compare me to my friends who studied well. But then I would compare my mother to their mothers and also ask my mother if she is providing me everything that they do for their children. And my mother used to beat me for talking back- she had no answer for that. I remember that and do not expect my son to be like someone. I tell him to work hard and give his best, other things will follow.
    Now I am feeling jealous of people who write well!
     
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  7. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    Another very good post. Am not fully qualified to reply since I suffer/succumb to ocasional pangs of jealousy,envy, arrogance. I liked the 'kan drishti' analysis. If u dont flaunt it, it won't hurt u- is good analysis. And true what u say abt jealousy having psychosomatic effects. They say the hormones secreted during jealousy shrink arteries and jealousy induces rheumatoid arthritis. Jealousy has inspired our own Indian epics. So go ahead and post four more pages.Thanks again. I became a better listener after your post.Hope this is another self improvement exercise.

    You analyse very well indeed Sridhar. Can you tell us more on the nuances of jealousy vs envy? We tend to use the words synonymously.


    regards
    Vidya Ramji
     
  8. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    A Supplementary Post, Please Bear With Me!

    Dear Friends,
    A supplementary post is called for due to various reasons. Let me as an accountant just number the ideas I am covering here.

    One Vidya has written that she is not qualified to comment because she succumbs to occasional pangs of jealousy. In fact Vidya, it is the other way round. This is the thread only for those who suffer from or have suffered from the pangs of J. I had mentioned it in the leader post. I told very clearly that those of who think that you are immune to jealousy, please do not read any furhter. If Vidyas disqualification rule is universally applied, then the first person to be disqualified is Varalotti.

    Two Another moot question is the subtle distinction between envy and jealousy. Vidya's post drove me to an extensive research on the net and with the half dozen dictionaries and Thesauruses I have. The Wikipedia makes a clear distinction. It defines a) Jealousy typically refers to the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that occur when a person believes a valued relationship is being threatened by a rival.b) [FONT=&quot]Envy[/FONT][FONT=&quot] is an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it.
    So whatever I have described as jealousy has to be renamed as envy. But there is no need for any correction. Because most of the worlds best dictionaries use the term interchangably. May be these two terms had that kind of a meaning earlier. But over time the meanings got fused into one. Some psychology texts differentiate these two words in terms of intensity. Thus envy is light green whereas jealousy is dark green. Envy is just wistful whereas jealousy anger and hatred.
    Surprisingly the same Wikipedia which makes such a clear distinction between these two words, when it explains the seven deadly sins of Catholic Religion, while explaining the latin term invidia, gives the meaning as "envy/jealousy"[/FONT]Three An ILite had raised a very pertinent question. Why did the Accounts Professor gave 12 marks to me and 8 marks to S. Then late in the evening my wife also raised the same question. So let me answer it for all. Accountancy is not mathematics. Where the intelligence to see through the problem and arrive at the answer in the shortest steps is rewarded. In Accounts, the neat construction of ledger accounts, the statement of assumptions and showing how you arrived at the figures are all very important. In that test some 6 or 7 of us got 12 out of 15. S is a very fast thinker. He has the rare ability of starting working on an Accounting Problem even when the Professor is dictating it to the class. We will be taking down the problem, but he would have started working on it. By the time the Professor finishes dictating the problem and would announce that we have 30 minutes to solve the problem, S will go to the Professor with his solution, which will invariably be right. But in the exam, the presentation is as important as the solution.
    Four This four reminds me of the balance four pages of the materials. Here is a small portion. Thiruvalluvar says that one of the worst type of jealousy is to envy a donee of a gift. And doing ones best to prevent it. In one of the companies I know, an executive, lets call him Raj, had this evil characteristic.
    For instance the MD will call him to say, "Raj, I want to promote Gopal as DGM. And double his salary."
    This Gopal will not be reporting to Raj. So it is not a question of performance appraisal. MD would just let out the information informally. Now Raj will get worked up over this. And try to do his best to mar the character of Gopal. For example he will say, "Thats a good decision. But.... Gopal.... of late.. how can I say this.... now..." He has this style of dragging the words and swallowing part of them. Now if you observe Raj has not given one solid, objective reason why Gopal should not be promoted. But he has done his level best to thwart that.
    Valluvar has said about these people
    கொடுப்பது அழுக்கறுப்பான் சுற்றம் உடுப்பதூஉம்
    உண்பதூஉம் இன்றிக் கெடும்
    The relatives of those who envy someone's giving, will go without food or clothes.
    Valluvar's condemnation is pretty strong in this area. Looks like Valluvar has lost his temper and is cursing the jealous Raj.
    It so happened that after Raj retired, he was forced to sell his house, a very beautifully constructed house, and had to settle down in a small rented house. His son faced severe losses in business and the family generally suffered. Thiruvalluvars words will never go wrong.
    Sorry for the long supplementary post. But given the nature of subject, cannot help it.
    sridhar
     
  9. sriranjani

    sriranjani New IL'ite

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    A Good One, Varalotti but..

    Varalotti,

    I wanted to barge in as soon as you created this thread. But you had specifically requested me not to come in until the first responses have flowed in. I had no choice other than to obey.

    I like the post. A 2000words plus article makes a quick and an interesting reading. But I being I, cannot help raising some basic doubts, which I am afraid will call for the second supplementary post. I now hear that your supplementaries are more popular with the ladies than the leader posts. Enjoy, man, enjoy. Ippo unga kaatula mazhai.

    Let me be frank Varalotti. If you are sick and you go to a Doctor. He gives an hour's talk on the disease you have got, describes the symptoms and even goes one step higher and shares with you the case histories of those who had this disease earlier and graphical details how they or others suffered because of that . Yes, no doubt it is impressive. But what about the prescription? The diagnosis is perfect but the prognosis is missing.

    Yes, Varalotti, you need to give us another supplementary on the possible cures for this disease called jealousy. May be that part is hidden in the "four-page" left out part which you are dangling as a carrot before us.

    And an irrelvant (and an irreverent) doubt as well. Why are you signing your name with a small s noe and in the least possible font size? Is it a show of modesty or a display of style? Please enlighten us, Varalotti.
    regards,
    Sriranjani
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Supplementary Post 2 (thanks to Sriranjani)

    Sriranjani,

    I am relieved now. The storm has crossed the shores and the damage is not much. In fact the storm has brought more gains than losses. I am referring to your post.

    As an expression of gratitude to you, one, for acceding to my request to post after the first response is given and two, of leaving me and my post amlost unscathed by your post, I am issuing the second supplementary.

    I appreciate your reason and love the simile you have used. But even a powerful simile like yours cannot overtake truth. Let me explain.

    The doctor-prescription-case history-diagnosis-prognosis routine is not applicable to a disease of mind like jealousy. In fact all of whom who attempted prescription a la Sriranjani's style, could only say "dont be jealous." That does not help.

    So by looking into our minds a little more deeper, we become aware that we are jealous. And this awareness is the best drug for mental diseases.

    A speaker whom I love to hear has this interesting example. In a big marriage function some thieves have entered. They have used the standard ploy. To the grooms side they have said "we belong to the bride's party." And to the other side, they have told, "We are second cousins to the groom's father. Better take good care of us." So they freely roam about the hall and cause as much damage as they can. But soon one party gets suspicious and calls the other party to ask about these suspicious guys. A senior member from bride's side and another from the grooms side are discussing about these characters pointing their fingers to them. As soon as the thieves see this, they flee from the scene.
    Similarly when you become aware of what your mind is doing, what qualities you think, are ugly, this awareness is itself more than sufficient to drive away those bad qualities.

    But if somebody asks you to just repeat, "I am not jealous" "I am not jealous" thousand times a day as a cure, then not only you will continue to remain jealous, but will become a terrible bore as well.

    So Sriranjani Madam, let me repeat, in the case of a mental disease like jealousy, an accurate diagnosis is an effective prognosis as well. Satisfied?

    Now about your irreverent question. Dont have I the liberty to change the lettering style of my name? Am I denied even the freedom to choose the font-size I like? There are hundreds of ladies who go for Avatars. For me my signature is my avatar and I made a small change in it. Because people started calling me sridhar sir, thinking that I have grown big. To tell them that I am as small as ever I have done away with the capital letters and have decreased the font size to the absolute minimum.
    While I am slightly irritated that you question in these areas, I am really flattered that even my smallest of actions is being observed. Thanks for giving that nice feeling,Sriranjani.
    regards,
    sridhar
     

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