I must warn you that whatever I’m going to tell you is based on my own feeling and I’m not generalizing. But I do know that quite a few of you would have similar feelings but may be reluctant to admit it. In any case, I know that there will be serious lectures on how to curb such sentiments and lead a healthier life. Don’t get me wrong now. What I am trying to convey is that you can’t expect a sixty four year old man to get reformed through a lecture on Indusladies! Havent you heard that what does not bend at 5 will not bend at 50? And I am sixty four! This is the scenario then. I open my morning Hindu and read about a blighter somewhere in Timbuktu winning a cool sixty million dollar in some lottery. I further learn that he is not in the habit of burning money on lottery tickets but this particular one he was forced to take as the shop owner where he purchased his daily trivia did not have small change to give him the balance and in lieu thereof thrust a lottery ticket in his hand. And how do I react to this piece of news? I grin and exclaim what a lucky blighter he is and if I am in no particular hurry in the morning, I give myself to some fantasizing which, if given effect to in reality, would burn a biggg hole in his sixty million packet! On the contrary, if I am rushing through the Hindu being aware of a frantic knocking at the toilet door, I just withhold the fantasy part to a more convenient time and dismiss the news item from my mind. Now consider this. A similar news item about someone close at home, say Chennai itself does not produce a similar reaction in me. The amount may be much less but I am aware of a faint stab of jealousy in me. If such a prize is won by a close friend or relative, the jealousy gets very acute and I get enraged about the unfairness of it all. I mentally list out a million reasons why he never deserved such manna from the heavens! It appalls me that God can be so impartial and for the first time I purse my lips at the infallibility of the Almighty. It is another thing altogether that I regain my composure within a couple of days and position myself to go to him for a touch. This jealousy is a strange thing. It attacks you only when someone close to you has some extremely good thing happening to him. In Chennai alone there are millions who are way above me but do I feel jealous of them? The answer is an emphatic no. Why is that I can remain unaffected by the news of someone striking it rich at a far away place but the same thing happening to a close friend nearby is resented by me? Why is that Bill Gates continuing as world’s richest man evokes unadulterated admiration in me but an expensive car of an old classmate makes me jealous? I watch on TV the Life Style of the Rich and Famous with my mouth open like a crocodile in awe but if my neighbour adds a small guest room to his house, I feel jealous! And the same is true of calamities too. We read all about an earthquake killing lakhs of people in a remote Turkish village and we pass it over with an expression of sympathy but an explosion killing a dozen people in a neighborhood shakes us to the very root. To tell you the truth, such sentiments make me wonder if I am a kind of louse . I resolve myself to be more equable in my feelings towards my fellow beings. I tell myself that I should feel as happy when a friend is prospering as when I hear about Bill Gates. The resolve appears steely until the useless man next door comes in and announces that he has just won a Kg of gold in a contest run by some TV manufacturer!