As the Nazar Suraksha Kavach ads would have informed you by now, people shoot lasers through their eyes when you're talking to them. Laser eyes intensify if you're doing well in life. So, you don't get that promotion because your neighbour channeled all their jealousy into laser beams and shot down all your chances. Accident? You know whom to blame. Failed an exam? Duh, lasers.
The toppers never own up to having finished the syllabus. It is partly because they haven't, and in part because nazar lag jaaegi. The better educated people in our vicinity believe in it, at least subconsciously. And most of us, even if not overtly, do practice false humility even in our rare moments of self admiration.
Now, before you blame it on our snake charmer instincts, evil eye is a legit thing in most cultures, witches were (and are) burnt for being inexplicably smart/ getting their way, women are advised not to look too pretty “for their own good” and everyone will run away if you brag about having finished your syllabus before the exam(I’m in med school, it doesn’t happen, okay, you can brag. I won’t believe you). Also, we do love our loser best friends, don’t we?
Thing is, bad things happen just ‘cause and it’s in our nature to blame. We like to look for patterns and jealousy seems like a common denominator. A lot of times, it makes sense. People are very, very capable of direct petty action to sabotage things that go well. Plus, people don’t like to admit that they tried and then failed. It makes sense, to hide efforts. (Case in point, topper scenario- person says they’ve completed everything, person doesn’t get a great score because of random reasons. Person gets embarrassed because they made a claim.)
Of course, you can argue that most of this is spurious association(as you can with any superstition). However, the fact that admitting self love or genuine appreciation for things one holds dear does make people mildly vulnerable, is perhaps unequivocal. From baseless gossip to accusations of arrogance to a general dislike of said person, people’s perspective of them influences the social atmosphere that they live in. Constant hatred, mockery and/ or taunts can bring down a person’s morale; it can make them lonely and sad which in turn has been shown to affect a person physically. So, it’s safe to say that the nazar of lore, though maybe mildly exaggerated and often grossly misattributed, could be used at least, symbolically.
I write this one, not to address the methods of protecting oneself against the evil eye. I write this because I have noticed how much easier it is find a safe space for expressing grief than it is to share joy; how much richer our repertoires are when it comes to words or idioms for anger, sadness or inadequacy as compared to acceptance or contentment. Of course, we fail in either direction when it comes to the expression of emotion but happiness is rarely expressed with as much intensity and clarity as sadness. Failures are much easier to relate to than success and self deprecation is generally a much more lovable trait than being at peace with oneself.
They exist, I’m sure but one couldn’t possibly know. The closest of friends and cutest of baes can’t stand an overload of joy that seems brighter than theirs. So, speak up. Make sure, you’re at least, someone’s nazar-free zone (and that they know it). Be the person they can brag to, smile loudly at, chuck subtlety with. Be the person who allows them to explore their vocabularies of happiness.
TL;DR: Allow people to be happy, too, even when they’re happier than you.