Three things I want to change - I, me and myself

Slaying the Monster

After years of hunting, I was face to face with the monster. Its innocuous looks could not deceive me. Its deadly green eyes gave it away. I slashed at it in all my righteous fury. Die, you vermin! A drop of blood touched the floor as a shard from the shattering mirror hit my face

A Backbite Victim's Tale

I was deeply hurt. I had always considered Amit a close friend. And he had been making uncharitable comments about me behind my back. What would my image be in front of the team now! Back biting was something I hated the most. If only there was some way one can banish all these wretched backbiters from this world.

A few days had passed.  I was having tea with my colleagues. We were having a good laugh at the stupidity of our new manager Raj. He had done his MBA from some top Business School. But when it came to technical matters he was a total dunce. Then suddenly a thought passed my mind. Wasn’t what we were doing exactly what back biting was all about? How would Raj feel if he came to know about what we were saying about him behind his back?

My wish had come true. I now had at least one backbiter in my power who I could banish from this world – me. But back biting was just an effect. What was the cause? Few moments of pondering and the answer presented itself – jealousy.

Fair Wages

This is unfair, master. I have been slogging since morning. He has only been working for the past one hour. But you are giving both of us the same wages.

The master replied calmly, “Am I or am I not giving you what I promised when you started work.

He had no answer to that.

Comparisons - A zero sum game 

But what was the cause for the jealousy at the work place? I decided to probe deeper. It was not as if everyone was jealous of everyone else. There were specific patterns to this jealousy that I wanted to unravel. Amit was jealous of me because in spite of both of us having the same level of seniority and exhibiting same level of capability, I had got the promotion ahead of him. In case of Raj, I was jealous that he was my manager in spite of being the same age as me just by the merit of having done a MBA.

If I could generalize the root cause of jealousy in this context, it is the feeling that the other person deserved less but is getting more. International surveys have also shown employees’ happiness with their salaries was not absolute but more in comparison with what their peers were earning. But this kind of comparison is ultimately a zero sum game and it has to change. And the change has to start with me.  I need to learn to look at things from an absolute perspective and not relative to my peers.

The King and the Snake

The snake bit King Nala and he transformed into a dark skinned hunchback.

Is this how you repay me for saving your life?” he seethed in fury.

This is for you own good. You will now be safe from your enemies. They would not be able to recognize you in this form”, replied the snake.

A silver lining on a dark cloud

I have solved one part of the problem. I should stop back biting. But there still would always be others who would backbite about me. And that would continue to hurt me. What am I to do about that?

Well as they say there is a silver lining to every dark cloud. One just has to look for the silver lining. And the silver lining here is this: it can serve as a feedback mechanism for self improvement. After all there can’t be smoke without fire. If someone says something about you, it must have at least some basis in truth. And that bitter truth is something your office colleagues might be hesitant to share openly with you in a professional environment.

There are so many things about oneself that falls in one’s blind spot.  Whatever you hear said about you behind your back is the critical feedback that you need for your improvement. That is the reason kings in ancient times used to go around the city in disguise to hear what people are saying about them behind their back I guess. It would of course hurt to hear such things said about you. But often I have found things that hurt are the ones that helped me become a better person. So if one takes it positively and is looking to change and grow, even back biting might serve a constructive role after all.

Writer's note:

Here I have attempted to combine 55 fiction with a philosophical musings kind of post. All three stories are 55 fiction, stories told in exactly 55 words. The first is entirely my own, second is based on a biblical parable, the third based on a  story from Indian mythology.

Picture Credits (In the order of appearance)

1. Green eyed Monster
2. Toiling laborers
3. Biting Snake


  1. That is an interesting mix and match of ideas and you have taken a seriously dangerous topic to investigate. Many a wars have been fought in the past on office jealousy. :D

  2. Good to see you here after such a long time, Sid. Indeed dangerous topic.

  3. We must be thinking something similar(always)
    i had the very same idea but certainly not in the way you rocked here...
    Enjoyed it to the core...
    Good luck sire

  4. I first read the story of Nala and the secret of the dice in The Mahabharata. Thanks for reminding me of it. It's cool to see the snake part of the story isolated. Reminds me that the whole tale is full of meaning and symbols.

  5. Haha, loved the way you're tackling a topic such as this.

  6. Thanks, Deepak. Were you also planning to write on jealousy?

  7. The snake part just came to my mind. The Nala story was something my grandfather used to tell me when I was a kid.

  8. Ah that is pure introspection.. I also believe that 50% of my 'worry about hair, beauty and figure' problems could be solved if there were no Kim Kards .. sigh!! I wonder about Amit though.. he is famous now :)

  9. Impressive write-up! All the best for the contest

  10. Very nice blog,why did i take so long to come here?And i validate all your conclusions.
    I too often wonder what people say about me behind my back,if only we could find that out,it would be so enlightening.

  11. Excellent presentation of great ideas and rules about life and society. Keep blogging!

  12. Thanks, Poorvi. Lol. Anyways names have been changed to protect identities. So Amit need not worry.

  13. Thanks, Indu and welcome to my blog. Nice to see you here. Glad you liked my thoughts.

  14. Thanks, Sibi and welcome to my blog.

  15. Now, I have to say you have excellently conceived and plotted conceptual change, which I too had in mind. Thumbs up. best wishes.

  16. very interesting and enjoyed reading ...a lesson taught:)

  17. Hi , That was some thought provoking post right there. Back-biting is part of our lives. It comes to us naturally. Everyone gossips about others. When you are gathered in a casual social group, gossips are the top topics to be discussed. Often we forget that the things we talk about other people out of their ear-shot would hurt them if they were to hear. But if said directly to them, and if they are sportive enough to listen and accept the criticism then as you said they can bring about some positive changes. But not everyone likes to accept and acknowledge open criticism like that (this would result in a row and followed by hatred and jealousy). Really difficult to be a human with critical emotions!!
    Enjoyed the F-55 and the post. All the best for the contest :)

    P.S : Really don't like addressing you as "the Fool" coz I end up feeling foolish for calling you the Fool as you are in no way a Fool :P

  18. Thanks a lot for the comprehensive reply, Neha.

  19. Hadn’t heard of 55 fiction. An interesting concept. One has to be economical with words and tell a good story. Loved your stories, analogies and analysis. Jealousy is a very human trait. It is good you’ve discovered it causes back-biting at work. That is the first step towards rising above it. (That’s 55 words, yeah!)

  20. So well written and right topic too. I am inspired by your blog

  21. Thanks KayEm. That was clever. You will be an excellent 55 fiction writer.

  22. Thanks Rayyan. Glad I inspired you.

  23. So well written post from you .. you are a literary genius among us bloggers. Love the style and sentence creation on your blog.

  24. Thanks, Farila. Your making me float in the air with your words of praise.

  25. Well penned down.
    People do back bite about others but they hate others doing the same.
    Also we must not believe what people say, like if someone says HE said about you like this... It can be false.
    Loved the snake story, my Grandfather used to narrate it long time back.
    Best Wishes.

  26. Thanks, DS. One more similarity between us, eh? Both our grandfather tell the same stories.


Kind words of appreciation/feedback

For whom the bell tolls

A book of faces