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The Fine Art Of Being Jealous

By| Sridhar Ramanathan

Can being jealous be practised as a fine art? I think so.

All-consuming jealousy is sheer madness and invariably results in a disaster. I am not talking about that. My point is: Jealousy as an ingredient in your ambition is good.

I remember my school days at SIES High School, Matunga, Mumbai. I had a class mate called D Srinivasan. (The last I saw him was in Bangalore – he was holding a senior position with one of the major groups there.)

DS would always come first in the class. Whether it was in the class test, quarterly exams, half yearly exams or the final exams. In one such class test I came a close second rank. (I used to in the 15th/20th rank slot). That got me excited. And DS got excited too. My game was to close the gap and one day come first. DS’s game was to widen the gap and not allow me to come anywhere near the first rank.

I am well past my retirement age and I still get jealous. About being able to explain things better. Or simply being the first to remember where I left the car keys and so on. There is a mild dose of healthy competition which goads me to do better than what I did earlier.

I am in touch with many of my batch mates from school and college. I am also in touch many of former colleagues from my Ogilvy days. Every one in his or her own right is good at something. And he or she inspires me. I don’t want to mention names here. One of my former colleagues is a whizz kid in anything to do with audio-visuals, online meetings and so on. A couple of them are ace photographers who share their latest shot in our WhatsApp which makes me say “Wow”. There are two groups of music enthusiasts. One is exclusively about Carnatic music. Another is about all kinds of music. Every time some one shares something interesting my mind goes “How come I didn’t know this”. It does not put any pressure on me to be competitive. But it does motivate me to be alert and attentive. Look for and pick up new content which may appeal to my friends.

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