Category Archives: Jealousy

A Calmer You: Is the green-eyed monster attacking?

When someone is jealous of you, it only means you have what they want. She came, she sat, she cried. That’s pretty much how I can sum up every visit of Bansuri Chaddha to my house. As bugged as I get of the very un-bansuri like sounds she makes while crying, I never deny her the shoulder. It’s not easy to be born to, and to then live in the same house with one of the most irritating men this world has seen. And talking of Chaddha ji, I’m perpetually amazed at his here’s-a-new-way-to-piss-you-off ability. Bansuri narrated, in great detail, how the whole family is now reeling under his newfound obsession with envy. So Chaddha ji, who is a property dealer, was negotiating a deal for the sale of a plot in our area. Another property agent, whose son happens to be Bansuri’s classmate, managed to outdo Chaddha ji in striking the deal. Now he’s jealous.

A Calmer You Is the green-eyed monster attacking
And jealous with such uncontrollable zeal that he doesn’t mind expressing it in the most juvenile manner. So not only is this other property agent finding strange and sudden mishaps ranging from deflated car tyres and excessive garbage around his house, Bansuri has been ordered to stay away from his son. “He doesn’t realise that jealousy is turning him into such a negative person. How to harm that other family is all that we talk about at the dinner table these days,” cried Bansuri. Keeping my mean streak from telling her that nothing can ‘turn’ her dad into a negative person, I simply nodded. Jealousy is a pretty powerful emotion… it not only consumes the person who suffers from it but also ropes in unwilling participants. So if two sisters-in-law are jealous of each other, their husbands will have little more than woes to listen to, all the time. If a colleague suffers from bouts of jealousy, his behaviour will spread nothing but negativity around the team.
In today’s column, I had a choice between addressing either the victims of someone else’s jealousy or those who suffer from envy towards others. I’m choosing the latter because a person who suffers from jealousy pangs, simply because someone else has got a better deal in life, is usually in a much bigger state of stress than the subject of his envy. Here’s the thing…
* You feel jealous because you feel life’s been unfair towards you. That you should have got what the other, less-deserving person has managed to get.
* Your mind then gets all consumed by thoughts of how you can harm that person so that he can’t enjoy what he has got unfairly.
* This leaves almost no time for you to think about how you could improve your own fortune, or better yet, appreciate what you may already have.
* Not being able to do the above leads to a further gap between the other person’s fortune and yours.
So this my dear is the dreaded term – vicious cycle – that you keep reading about. Dekho, one simple point is that you can’t really change someone else’s destiny. So all the nasty, little tricks that you may try in order to harm the person you are jealous of, can actually tick God off into giving him even more. So woh toh karo mat. Focus instead on yourself and try these…

1. Ban the word ‘comparison’ : We all have a quick tendency to compare ourselves with people who we think are in the same strata as us. So you tend to compare your marks with a friend because he is in the same class as you. You compare your appraisals with colleagues who are in the same salary bracket as you. You compare the size of your car with a neighbour who lives in the same area as you. What you forget is how superficial these so-called similarities are. Look deeper and you’ll realise that every person, no matter how similar he may be in age, looks, social standing, academic background etc, has a very different story to him. And that you NEVER know someone else’s true story. A neighbour who is flaunting a big car and a big smile everyday may be drinking himself into coma every night out of depression. The colleague who gets promoted every year, may have his wife shouting the daylights out of him at home. The classmate who seems most popular may be running around counsellors to cure his or her insecurities and complexes. If outer trappings could be definite indicators of happiness, Shah Rukh Khan would be the happiest person in the country. Maybe he is, maybe he curses his life every night before he goes to bed. Who knows? The point is simple: when comparisons are anyway invalid because they are being done on wrong parameters, why kill yourself by feeling jealous over them? It’s like reading about the state of the economy in Greece and getting all stressed-out sitting in Bhatinda. Vele ho kya?

2. Love yourself, more than anyone else: Sounds selfish but I have a firm belief that it is the biggest key to happiness.  Jealousy stems from the belief that you are not as good as the other person. Now that we’ve decided to remove the other person from the scene, you have no choice but to focus on what’s great within you.
And there is always something unique and great within each one of us. We just blind ourselves to it. For a change, fall utterly, madly and completely in love with yourself — the way you look, the way you talk, the way you work. Bhaad mein jaaye duniya and the thought that you may be turning vain. We’ll control the vanity bit when it comes to that. For once, think of yourself as the best and jealousy would soon stop knocking at your door. It doesn’t like to wait for long in front of closed doors.

3. Feel happy for the person you’re jealous of: I know saadhu sant type advice hai, but try it out if you can. You’ll feel so good about yourself that it’ll be worth the try. Lemme give you a silly example because I specialise in those. If out of jealousy, you’ll keep wishing bad things and ill luck for your friends or classmates (for example wishing that they don’t get admission in a good college and you do), and if God happens to be in a weird mood and grants your wishes, do you know what will happen? When after a few years, you would want to do a reunion with your friends, you’ll end up in a gathering of depressed losers. Wouldn’t it be better to wish well for everyone and have a room full of successful, happy friends instead? This is true for everything in life. The happiness that comes out of seeing someone fall is momentary and fake. The one that comes with them walking side by side, giving you company, is way deeper and long lasting. Make a choice!
Sonal Kalra told Bansuri to discuss Shah Rukh Khan at the dinner table and stay away from jealousy. By the way, it’s an Italian dinner table. How could Chaddha ji afford it? Some people are so damn lucky.

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C’mon, stand up for yourself

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Last week, I got a rather disturbing mail from a 14-year-old who was very stressed out. Since she wouldn’t like me revealing her real name, let’s just call her Ria. I’ve chosen to write an open letter to her only because her problem is one that plagues all of us at some point in our lives.

Here’s what she wrote. “I study in tenth standard. There’s this girl in my class who loathes me, without a reason. She has such hatred for me that she not only instigates others against me, but has also taken to spreading vulgar rumours about my personal life, including that of my parents. I’m very conscious of my reputation and this hurts me no end.

C’mon, stand up for yourself - a calmer you

Those who don’t know me well have started to believe all the lies she tells them. My patience is running out. I have spent half of my summer vacation crying alone in my room, and I’m even crying in front of my laptop as I write this to you. I feel helpless!!” Ok, well. Ria, wipe the tears please. Shedding them because you have a social rat in your life would be quite a wasteful exercise.

I’m sad at reading your mail but my disappointment is largely on account of you having to experience this while you are so young. Because as you grow, you’ll realise that it’s almost impossible to not encounter such pests at some point in your life, professional or personal. Very few of us can claim that they’ve never encountered a rumour monger in life and that’s probably because they’ve been busy being one. Every now and then, a person — classmate or colleague, neighbour or relative — enters our life with a mission to turn it miserable.

Their arsenal has the obvious weapons — vicious rumours, backbiting and mockery. Today, I’m trying to give you an arsenal of your own. Because, you know, it’s rather silly to counter an armed adversary with just tears. Let’s start with a smile, because nothing irritates your opponent like seeing you happy. And, then let’s adopt a strategy, which I call ‘T-ICK’, maybe because of the social rat analogy. T-ICK stands for ‘To choose — Ignore, Confront or Kick’. = 1Ignore: I know you are already shaking your head at the very mention of this option.

Because to most of us, the thought of ignoring an attack comes with the feeling of being weak. But, let me tell you, there are few weapons as potent as being able to ignore the one who’s out to get you. The trick is to dissociate ignoring a scumbag from the thought of being a coward.

And to remember that you are ‘choosing’ to ignore someone’s viciousness only for your peace of mind, and not because you can’t do anything about it. Years ago, a colleague who I had gotten into a professional spat with, went on a spree of passing bitter feedback and remarks on anything I did at work. My initial response was to counter all that he said by aggressively defending myself in an email exchange.

Soon, I realised that not only was this endless ping-pong of accusations feeding his negativity but also zapping me of my happiness. That moment, I could choose between reacting at every provocation and getting a faux sense of courage or ignoring it and gaining precious peace of mind. I chose the latter and haven’t regretted it.

Remember, a vicious person feeds on the victim’s response. Don’t give any, and you’ll starve him. 2Confront: This may seem like a contradiction to the above advice but it isn’t. Because rather than confronting the rumour monger, I’m asking you to confront the rumour instead. Don’t shy away from what’s being said about you, address it directly, especially when it’s untrue. When you acknowledge a rumour, you take the momentum out of it. A friend of mine who was sick of a classmate, Naman, spreading false rumours about him being homosexual, once turned up for class wearing a self-painted t-shirt that said, “No, I’m not gay. But even if I was, it wouldn’t be your business.” Without uttering a word, he ended up embarrassing the perpetrator and zapped the fun out of the rumour. It’s another thing that

I had suggested him to wear one that said, “Sorry, Naman, I’m not gay. Now you’ll have to hit on someone else.” I’m sometimes glad that not everyone takes my advice. 3Kick: Oh, this one’s my favourite, for obvious reasons. But just so I don’t get hate mail from your mom, let me clarify that this option should be turned to, only as the last resort. And that this does NOT mean you literally kick someone. Sadly. Anyhow, this implies getting even, but without stooping down to below-the-belt tactics. Take them head on and broadcast the rumour yourself, giving them credit for it, in public. You could also consider lodging a formal complaint with someone in authority or even reaching out to their friends or family and explaining what they are doing. But the best is to irritate the life out of them. Laugh whenever you see them. Uncontrollably. Loudly. Don’t give a reason, if they ask what’s funny. If they come down to hurling insults, utter this one magic sentence — ‘Why, no. Are/have/do you?’. Apply this in any situation and it’ll work. Sample this: “You crazy loser. Have you lost it?’ Why, no. Have you? ‘You sleep with every boyfriend on the first date.’ Why, no. Do you? Remember, continue to laugh, and look them in the eye when you say it. It works, try it. And hey, no crying again, okay?

Sonal Kalra once tried spreading a rumour about herself. She was told later that it has another name – showing off.

Love thy neighbour? Yeah right!

All those who have, at least once, wanted to shoot their neighbour say aye I feel like it every day. Not wanted to kill all of them, lest you think national dailies these days hire bloody psychopaths to write columns. In fact overall, I’m blessed with a fairly decent neighbourhood with some really nice people around. But you know how it is, when one household, exceptionally talented in bugging the life out of you, undoes the goodwill of the well-behaved.

Here’s this family that collectively, and firmly believes that none of its members will attain nirvana till they don’t fight over at least 286 issues with whoever has the misfortune of breathing the same air as them. No amount of smiling or greeting warmly works on such people, because, you know, where’s the competition between short-term peace and ultimate moksha.

calmness tips to deall with bad neighbours

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips to Deal with Bad Neighbours and Avoid Fights[/stextbox]

We’ve all had neighbours from hell, at some point or the other in our lives. Having had a hobby, since childhood, of watching people fight over the silliest of matters, here’s my take on the five kinds of devil neighbours, who can disrupt the peace in your life with amazing precision.

1.‘We-own-the-universe-and-everyone-else-is-a-tenant’ neighbours:

It’s not their fault. They genuinely feel they own the earth. All of it. So, they’ll decide where and how they will park their automobiles, they’ll decide how much and in what direction their house will be extended, they’ll decide who and what goes up and down the community stairs. Everyone else but them is low life and can jolly well go to hell.

2. ‘We-love-everything-loud’ neighbours:

Ab batao, why hold it against them if they understand music only when played at deafening decibel levels? You and your ear drums are your problems. And you are anyway low life, remember? So they’ll enjoy partying till late, talking long distance without bothering for a telephone instrument, and even practicing to be India’s first professional opera singers. You dare not step into their reign of musical terror.

3. ‘We-will-keep-a-pet-but-won’t-know-what-to-do-with-it’ neighbours:

They are noble souls. They have adopted (or stolen, whatever) a pet. Just that now they’ve left it chained to the balcony, for the poor thing to bark his lungs out. What? The balcony is next to your window? How is it their problem? Change the structure of your house and move the window elsewhere — after seeking permission from the ‘landlords’ of the first category. Don’t worry, they won’t allow. They never allow anything. You’ll just have to grow fond of the barking sound. Isn’t music in the ears of the beholder or something? And don’t you think about complaining that their beloved pet shits on the stairs. Take it as a gift from heaven. And they own the stairs, remember?

4.‘We-are-the-garbage-kings-and-you-are-the-dustbin’ neighbours:

At least they believe in the virtue of cleanliness. They could have retained all the garbage in their home and get the pleasure of watching the stench kill you, but are they doing that? No nah? If they are so nice, why are you creating a fuss if they throw all of it in front of your house.

5. ‘We-will-peep-till-we-sleep’ neighbours:

They like to watch. Ab is mein bhi objection hai? Maybe they are trying to learn new household techniques by constantly watching you cook in the kitchen. Learn to enjoy the stares coming from across the window, through the curtains, sometimes blatantly from the balcony. Have you not heard of the ‘neighbourhood watch scheme’ of the Government? Apparently it’s good for us.

So, you see, that’s the kind of people you could find yourself living next doors to. And ironically enough, I’ve noticed that mostly, the good neighbours move out after a few years but the ones from hell stay on permanently for dear life. Anyway, if the stress of annoying neighbours is keeping you from staying calm, try going through the following stages to deal with them.

Stage 1 – Ignore: At least till your patience runs out. Turning your neighbourhood into a battleground affects everyone, and doesn’t really help in the long run. If the neighbour inflicts minor irritants on you off and on, try living with it for the sake of your own peace of mind.

Stage 2 – Talk: Knock on the door and tell them politely that their behaviour is causing disturbance. Sometimes people don’t know or realise that their actions are bothering others till they are informed about it. Lack of intelligence or etiquette does not necessarily come with an unwillingness to improve. Actually it mostly does. Sorry!

Stage 3 – Complain: I’m not suggesting you become a police-phoner at the drop of a hat but if things are getting out of hand everyday, there’s no harm in taking help from those who get paid, out of the taxes you work you’re a** off to give, just to protect your rights. Call the cops.

Stage 4 – Get even: Now this one’s tricky, because many of you won’t agree with me. But kya karein, I’m not as saintly as all of us are taught in school to be. We are always told to not do anything wrong to anyone, and that’s very valid. Just that we forget that ‘anyone’ also includes us. My philosophy is simple: Don’t do anything wrong. And don’t let anything wrong happen to you. Now, how you interpret ‘getting even’ is up to you. A friend of mine who decided to move because she was sick of her neighbour’s ugly behaviour got inspired from a website and posted a ‘Flat on sale because the neighbour is an ass***’ note outside. That it didn’t really help her in getting buyers is another matter. But you do get the point, no? Step on to the darker side if being nice is not helping. Sometimes you’ve got to be a scumbag to deal with one. But hey, always stay within the law. Okay?

By the way, I’m running away for a few days after this brave attempt. So, no column next week. Maarna mat.

Sonal Kalra suitably bribed the newspaper vendor to not deliver today’s paper to the adorable neighbour. She later found out they don’t even subscribe to it. Clever vendor, you’re in trouble

Here’s why I love jealous people

Why are you giving me such strange looks? I’ve never claimed to be normal, have I? You’re offended because you, like all of us, were taught at school that jealousy is a very bad thing. That it breeds hatred and discontent. Despite that, you could never help that feeling of something snapping inside you when your best friend scored more in math or when the prettiest girl in the class accepted his proposal for friendship.

A lot of you who work know that feeling when the boss suddenly turns all against you because a jealous colleague bitched behind your back. Or when your brand new car wakes up with scratches because the friendly neighbour had difficulty digesting that you could afford one. We, my dear people, were born with the J gene. All of us. The only difference being that while most of us manage to accept it as a natural emotion and keep it in check, some others decide to express their unhappiness with, well, your happiness. Today’s column is dedicated to these people. I think they are just fabulous. Here’s why.

Here's why I love jealous people-a-calmer-you-column-ht-city-22-jan-2012

Source:HT City,

[stextbox id=”info”]Why Should You Love Jealous People [Calmness Tips][/stextbox]

1. They reaffirm your success

Someone being jealous of you is the biggest proof that there’s something right, and good, happening in your life. Lakshay, a regular reader of this column, wrote to me last week about a friend of his, “He calls himself my best friend, but it is so obvious that anything good happening to me upsets him. I told him that dad’s getting me an iPhone 4S and suddenly there were these murmurs in the class about what a big show-off I am. I know who started it. How can people be so double-faced?” Hmm … well people are double faced so that you remain confused about which face to slap!! Sorry, that was a bad joke. But, hey Lakshay, don’t forget to thank and love your dad for getting you the iPhone now that you have proof that it’s something worth showing off.

You see, what the jealous people unknowingly do is put a firm stamp on the fact that your life, in some ways, is better than theirs. It could be materialistic, or even emotional. A lot of friends may be jealous of how your boyfriend sends you heart-shaped balloons each week. (Really? Don’t smile, that’s so cheesy. Why are you still with him?). The problem is only when we start paying more attention to their jealousy than to our success. As long as you are not rubbing your happiness in someone else’s face and making them feel small, you have every reason to celebrate and enjoy the fact that life’s treating you nicely. Stop feeling sorry about your success or apologising for your achievements. Say a big thank you in your heart, to everyone who’s jealous of you. You would have felt like such a loser if no one in this world envied you. No?

2. They make you strive harder to hold on to your success

Jealous people are such noble souls. They sometimes deliberately express their displeasure in such mean ways that you take it up as a challenge to hold on to your win. My friend Priya used to be very tense because every time she would get a promotion at her workplace, some colleagues would start rumours about her proximity with the boss. She decided to take it up as a challenge and worked so hard at her performance that the no one could ever question the rise in her career graph. The bitterness sometimes ignites a fire in you to prove and sustain that you were worth feeling jealous of. So, aren’t you eternally thankful to those who made it possible? If it hadn’t been for their envy, you would have easily taken your success for granted, rested on your laurels and fallen off the pedestal while asleep. Thank them, silly, rather than resenting their presence in your life.

3. They help you see the true colours of people

First, go give a big hug to someone you think is jealous of you, and then I’ll tell you why. See, the J-ones mostly take out their frustration by going behind your back and saying mean things to those in your life. It could be your friends in class, colleagues in your office or even relatives in the family circle. Ask Bubbly aunty and she’ll tell you her theory on how all sister-in-laws should be called sinister-in-laws. Haan, coming back to the point, when the J-brand people bitch behind your back, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see who in your circle falls for it and who doesn’t. THAT will tell you who you can trust in your life and who is not worthy of it. If a close friend believes someone who is back-biting you, maybe that close friend shouldn’t be close anymore. Think about it. They were doing you such a big favour and you’ve been feeling low about their actions. Go hug.
After all this unsolicited gyaan, a word for those who are honest enough to admit that they’ve been feeling jealous of someone. Dekho bhai, my great grandmother Erica Jong used to say ‘Jealousy is all the fun you think they had’…arthaat, door ke dhol suhawane. From a distance, someone else’s life looks all rosy, because the thorns are too small to notice. They prick only the one who’s holding them. So, before you go all green with envy and those around you can smell your heart burning, count your own blessings and thank God that you are you, and not someone else. Because you know your own problems and can deal with them. The unknown devils in someone else’s life are far more dangerous. Calm it.

Sonal Kalra wanted to launch a ‘Are you J? Come, here’s a hug for you’ campaign but a friend told her it sounds a bit obscene. Maybe she’s J.