Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Over the years, there are a lot of superstitions I have been told about, mostly by my grandmother and mother. The other evening, I was clipping my nails and my mother asked me to be careful not to let the nails fall on the floor. If someone steps on the nails, it is supposed to bring unpleasantness between the two people involved. The rational part of me says I should not pay heed to these superstitions, being a modern educated and rational woman. But there is this other part of me that feels there must be something I am missing in all this.

My grandmother was not very highly educated. She studied till tenth grade before marriage and children put an end to her studies. But I respect her for her intelligence and astuteness. My mother is well read and if she also believes in some of these superstitions, there has to be a reason. When she tells me to stop doing something and says it’s not good to do this or that, in true daughterly fashion, I think she is just trying to get me to stop doing things she doesn’t like and wants me to do things the way she likes. You know how mothers always want things done their way – “Oh my god! Why are you chopping the carrots like that? Hold the knife thus (suggesting some bizarre uncomfortable angle that is sure to get your fingers twisted forever) to get the right size.” “Oh-oh! You should use only 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds to get the perfect tasting rasam. This will surely spoil the taste of my rasam.”

But, as I have gotten older, I have also gotten wiser to the fact that our elders have a lot of experience and what they say, more often than not, makes a lot of sense. The same applies to the superstitions as well. With the right reasoning, they all make sense. In the nails example, maybe the reason was to prevent someone from stepping on sharp nails and getting hurt. There are a lot of such superstitions that live on because our elders put a lot of thought into the right way of doing things. Maybe, they attached a scary consequence keeping the stubborn and argumentative ones like me in mind. I wonder what our generation will teach our children. Will superstitions stop or will they continue as that's the easiest way to get disobedient children to listen to their parents? Only time will tell. I must stop now as I heard that it is bad luck to blog more than 450 words on this topic and I am safe if I stop now.

1 comment:

Orra said...

There are enough resources for everyone to live peacefully in this world. But we always tend to take hold of more than what we require for an adequate living. Once we have more than what we need, the fear of missing them will rule us and we will tend to save/protect them. The ‘need more’ attitude that we have for physical amenities and in relationships is the root cause for superstition.

I don’t think the new generation mindset will inherit these superstitions but the new generations would definitely have their own set of superstitions that depends on their life style and illusions.

Anyway, do you believe in God? Or is that a superstition?