India is a country of diverse culture and tradition as well as a lot of superstitions. Here, traditions breathe comfortably next to global technology. We find ourselves standing at the cross road where these two meet, sometimes restless, sometimes nonchalant. As a result, there are times when we question age-old practices, while sometimes accept them inadvertently. It is definitely important to question to prevent the slow degradation of our society and look for scientific logic behind them but it is also important to be receptive to answers that others may find.
Here is my attempt to put some light on the logic behind some of the age-old practices of our ancestors to set ourselves free from the orthodox mentality:
1. We (specifically girls) should not wash our hair on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as it can cause harm to our brother.
“You are taking a bath..don’t you love me sissy?”
The practice of not washing the hair on certain days of the week are attributed by some of the water management practices.
Moreover, if you get a haircut on Tuesday- people will compliment you on Wednesday. :P
2. If a black cat crosses your path, then your task get delayed.
“I will wait for someone else to cross before me.”
Aww. Poor black cats. This belief is popular not only in India but in the west too. The origin of this superstition has come from the Egyptians who believed that black cats were evil creatures and they bring bad luck whereas Indians believe that black color is associated with Lord Shani and hence the bad luck.
Anyway, just to let you all know- if a black cat crosses your path, it means that the cat is also going somewhere.
3. Using lemons and green chilies to avert buri-nazar.
“Damn, bring it on, I am buri-nazar proof.”
The nimbu-mirchi totka basically stems from the culture that encouraged the use of nimbu and mirchi as both are rich in different vitamins and thus our ancestors probably tried to propagate their usage through symbols during ceremonies which slowly turned into a totka. Besides this, the cotton thread which is used to pierce the chilies and lemon absorbs the acid from the fruit whilst they are fresh. This smell keeps the pests and insects away from the shops.
And yes, of course, if you hang a lemon somewhere (even with chillies), you can have impromptu vodka shots. :P
4. Phobia- whoa…one should not cut nails after sunset.
“So I cannot even cut my nails now?”
In earlier times, sharp blades were used to cut nails as there were no nail clippers as such. Those blades required precision and light to be used in the absence of which one might get hurt. Hence the andhvishwas, again.
5. If you call out someone’s name from the back when they are going out, it brings bad luck to their endeavors.
“This means I will go for the job interview on some other day.”
I think the logic is extremely simple here- if someone calls you from behind, it means you forgot something. The person might want to help you out!
6. You lose your wealth if you shake your legs while sitting.
Shaking legs is simply a sign of nervousness. It does not take your wealth away from you but yes, it might affect your health.
7. Breaking a mirror or looking into a broken mirror brings bad luck.
During old times, mirrors were quite expensive and were of low quality so could easily be defected. In order to avoid negligence it was told that breaking mirror will bring bad luck. This was simple tactic to protect the high-priced mirrors from people’s carelessness.
8. Number-13 is considered as evil number. Many Indian high-rise buildings don’t have the 13th floor. People do not buy house with number-13.
“Because sometimes, all you have is denial.”
Seriously, there is no explanation for this one. Number 13 is just considered unlucky. One only reason is that, at Jesus Christ’s last supper, there were 13 people around the table. Some believe this unlucky because one of those 13, Judas Iscariot, was the betrayer of Jesus Christ.
This does not make 13 unlucky at all. In fact, it does not even make any sense.
And last but not the least, if you get the house on the 13th floor, you are in for a lot of cardio (na, na-don’t use the elevators).
This is not the end of the list of our beliefs however I feel and strongly urge you all to question any such superstition around you instead of falling into this trap.
Our society is made of all of us and each one us need to change and grow for the society to grow.
What do you think? Are you also somehow affected by these superstitions? Do you have people around you who needs to know these? Are you going to bring the change, a small change?
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