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Nowadays, 'faith' has a good vibe and superstition is old-school. But perhaps there was a practical reason behind these superstitions!
Whenever we cannot back something up with facts, we use words like ‘faith’ or ‘superstition’. I don’t know if it’s a product of our times. But ‘faith’ has a good vibe to it, but superstition has become, if not a ‘bad word’ at least something old school.
Defining superstition here as per Google: ‘A widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.’
The other day, I was reading on superstitions and their origins. As I expected, their origins were from times when let’s say ‘people did not know any better’.
For example, breaking of a mirror was bad luck because apparently ancient Romans believed that mirrors contained fragments of our souls.
Black cat crossing one’s path is bad luck because they were supposed to be a witch’s apprentice.
Do I care if I break a mirror? Hell No! Coz I know they don’t have any piece or shred of my soul. If they did, ‘my soul’ would throw around some indicators I would assume!
A black cat to me, when I see, one – is definitely mysterious. Would I return my steps if it crosses my path? No!
We are now a society built on science and facts; and anything not supported by the former does not humour us. However, what if we see a stream of what seems like bad luck, and then there is a common factor to those incidents?
What if say, there is a friend you meet occasionally. And how much ever you might choose to overlook, after every time you meet, your friend gets sick. You could blame the coffee shop to be the virus hub, but why does the virus selectively target him or her and not you?
It would be sad and I would dare say, mildly traumatic to get caught with the ‘superstition’ that it’s ‘me’ and hence I should stay out of their life. But if not that, how else would one reason out what’s happening here…?
Sometimes superstitions are made up for a reason. For instance, the mirror breaking one was perhaps made up so that people would be extra careful handling them. Maybe it was made on purpose, thereby preventing accidents and cuts caused by the broken pieces. Then there’s a popular one that you should never step out during eclipses – that may have been to avoid looking up at the eclipsed sun and damaging your eyes.
There must’ve been some reason right? Why would people make up such specific superstitions otherwise?
In old days in rural India, menstruating girls and women were told to ‘keep aside’ for the whole duration. During those days they were not allowed to eat with others, visit the temple, go about their daily activities, nothing. It was considered a ‘stigma’…the bad luck that came with being female.
Although did it really start that way?
Maybe it was for hygiene reasons that they were asked to stay away. Exemption from their daily activities was a sort of a ‘break’ to let them recover in peace. Perhaps I am being too charitable here. I don’t know. But the point is, it was taken too far and over the years it became disgraceful and embarrassing. To this day women are not allowed to visit the temple ‘un dino me‘ (in those days).
Now take the one about your friend seeming to fall sick each time you meet. Perhaps the AC in the coffee shop is to blame, or maybe she is allergic to the air freshener there or even their cleaning products. But there’s been an observable pattern and you are not sure who’s to blame.
Maybe try meeting at a park next time!
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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