Saturday, August 05, 2006

Touch Wood!

How many of us are there who have never used this term? None? I thought so... You see, we humans, in spite of being the supremely intelligent creatures we are, cannot help but be superstitious about some or the other thing at some point in life. The other day when I was thinking about this, I thought of asking around, what people believe in.

Some common beliefs which most of know, if not follow, are:

  1. Do not go out during an eclipse
  2. Dont walk under a ladder against a wall
  3. Do not take the path which has been crossed by a cat, esp a black one!
  4. Do not cut nails, comb hair at nite
  5. Dont purchase steel items, oil, black clothes etc on saturday
  6. If someone sneezes just as you are leaving the doorstep to go out, your day will be ruined
  7. Dont wash hair/clothes, consume Non Veg food on a particular day (differs from culture to culture)
  8. Dont use scissors in air, or give someone a knife; it creates fights
  9. Order of wearing shoes, or taking them off; which foot to keep out first when leaving home etc is important
  10. teen tigade kaam bigade!
  11. trisdekaphobia!!! No - 13!!
  12. Dont keep footwear near head when sleeping on teh floor; wash feet before sleeping; else you will get nightmares
  13. Aankh fadakna (can be both good and bad, depends on which one is fadakoing!)
  14. Repeated howling of dogs means death in house
  15. Veseels falling, crow crowing outside means visitors coming (crows also make wishes come true)
  16. When you bite your tongue while eating means some has just abused you .. while some believe it means you will get delicious food soon!! (I would rather believe the second interpretation!! :))
  17. Fallen eyelashes or Buddhi ke baal (seeds getting dispersed) fulfil wishes!!
  18. Bury broken tooth, or keep inder pillow for money from tooth fairy (aka mum n dad!)
  19. Spilling salt or breaking mirrors means bad luck

Some interesting and unfamiliar ones include

  1. Don't give a sutta with the fag b/w th index n middle finger (as in the way you smoke it)
  2. Keep the doors open much after 6:30-7 PM : at that time Laxhmi aayegi :))
  3. In some village the newly weds are not allowed to sleep together for 3 whole days..thoda control ker liye to long lasting marriage hogee.. (poor poor newlyweds!! suhagraat bhi manae nahi dete.. zaalim zamana!!)

Whatever it is, we are really good at coming up with some really awesome ideas, logics for doing and not doing some things. Some beliefs may actually be doing good, like keeping a vrat may actually cleanse your system... no junk for one day may actually do good! Also not cutting nails etc at nite may have come around to ensure cleanliness?? Same goes for washing feet before sleeping!

But some beliefs are are like obstacles.. Have come across situations when some people were sick but they were not given adequate treatment as they were thot to be affected by spirits.. and they died! Stupid, harmless superstitions are ok, but some totally illogical and dangerous beliefs and rituals can be fatal; be it the ritual of shooting in air during a marriage (in one instance the groom himself was shot dead by mistake), or sacrifice girl child to satisfy gods (arising more from the various biases our society suffers from!).... the list is endless!

High time we separate the harmless beliefs from teh harmful ones, and make a wise choice in deciding what to believe, for the betterment of all humankind!


Janus said... interesting and though provoking post..I too have thought about this for long and have endeavoured to come up with some explanations which could probably be the reasons why these stupid superstitions came into place - I hope they do sound logical enough !

1) Don't cut nails at night - Must have been made when there was i) no electricity and ii) no nailcutters. Since trying to attempt such a feat, using a knife/scissor under dimly lit conditions could possibly result in injury, some wise man probably thought to make this rule so that people would stop doing so.

2) Don't keep footwear near your head/ wash your feet - seems to be pretty simple..I don't want my sleeping experience to be enriched by the aroma of my super stinky socks. Washing feet also gets rid of any dirt..which keeps my bedsheet clean !

3) Do not walk under a ladder - never know when it may fall !

4) Do not use scissors in air / knife - probably somebody got hurt while some idiot was doing this..maybe it was a sport at one time!

5)Do not pass the sutta - tempted to say - elementary my dear watson..but I won't ! - if I pass it the way it is smoked..I might touch the lit end to the guy who asked me for it..good way of actually discouring such practises !!

I beleive such rules evolved just the way religion did..the wise men thought, why take pains to tell people the real logic behind our statements, just make rules and tell them it will be bad if they disobey them. Unfortunately, people never realised this, and we still continue to believe in such silly notions, while not trying to understand the thought behind the idea.

Hope that attempts like yours will do their bit in dispelling such beliefs.

Yashika Totlani said...

Damn good!

Sugar&Spice said...

thns yashika... and interesting additions janus!

Neeraj Thakur , IIT guwahati said...

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Sugar&Spice said...

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