Sunday, December 30, 2007

8th year in the 21st century?

2008 is almost here. We pride ourselves in being in the 21st century. We talk of the 1980's as being the "olden times". Life is different today. We can get information about anything at the touch of a mouse, within seconds. We do not have to yell out loud on long distance calls in order to be audible. We do not have to rely on telegrams to send messages quickly. We do not have to travel by ship for three weeks to travel within one continent.

And yet, some attitudes are still as old as they can be. For specifically, I would like to talk about the superstitious world that we live in.

Last year, I recall having paused for a second when a black cat crossed my path on my way to school for a test. I drove on but nevertheless, I did think about what I should do for that one fleeting second.

My mother will not let me leave the home if I have expressed a need to drink or eat something right before I step out. She will make me drink water to negate that sentence. And without any argument, I do.

More recently, a friend of mine got married. She told us all (at least 20 of us) that she was getting married only a week prior to the wedding. Her defense was "buri nazar". I am surprised she took the risk of telling us a whole week early. If someone wanted to caste a black eye, they could have even in that short period of time, right?

And then finally, I met with several accidents, lost a lot of money, and suffered from poor health all in a span of 6 months. Someone told my mother, that a certain someone, was doing black magic on me!!

As a student of science, I question these superstitions that we have, often ingrained within us since childhood thanks to our moms, grandmoms, and great grandmoms. How true are these? And God forbid, if we defy this, and something bad happens, would that be coincidental or would we actually be facing the negative consequences of being oversmart and modern? And how will we find out?

Oh by the way, please do not clip your nails after dusk!!

Happy New Year!!

40 Words of Wisdom:

c e e d y said...

Hehehe So true - have the same arguments with my parents - the "karvu pade" "javu pade" and "evuj hoi - gujju to Just like that only" - certain things really dont make any sense but as you correctly pointed out we simply do it.

What if I bite my nails after dusk ???

Some of these beliefs are based on older traditions specially food and venturing out etc - because of safety, scarcity of food....but as pointed out they do not hold place now....

BTW - new post will be in a day or two - am applying for colleges (PhD) and deadlines are all next week - so last minute gathering stuff....and last year for me was really crappy in lot of ways - but hey life goes on :)

(¯`•._.•[Raaji]•._.•´¯) said...

aww.... i hope this year is better than before :)
Happy New Year!!! :-)
may it brings the best your way!

Anjuli said...

:-) dunno whether these are actually true, but somewhere deep down inside we believe in them.

My philosophy is "believe in something till you get enough resons for not believing in it or have enough information on it"

Happy New Year to you too!

Hammett said...

nice post... i believe in those stuff, to a certain extent.. but i guess most part of it isn't true.. myths...
Happy new year to you!!! :)

Nick Phillips said...

I grew up to the 80's guess that makes me an old fogey ya? LOL!

Happy New Year and thanks for the comment in my blog :)

Spiff, The Spaceman

Lena said...

you know i believe it is all in our mind. It is like when we think about bad things and they happen and when we think about good ones and they happen too :)
So let us think about good things in the coming year and may only good things happen to us and people around us :)

All the very best in the coming year :)

Anonymous said...

Happy new year solitaire. Dropped in here somehow. Great place this.....

blogrollin ya. do drop in to my place too :))

m.flowerr said...

Happy New Year to you too...

Ghost Particle said...


:D... tried for so many years to debunk the people who believe all sorts of superstitions...but I am the first one who will turn my bike if a black cat or snake crosses...even if its a black a certain period when any cat crosses i will start praying...sigh... Science can make us a skeptic...but reality will always make us a everyday human.

By the way, dont cut hair on your birth-(day)...I dont know why...


anirudh said...

happy nu year

Sreerama said...

ooooo.... black magic!! who would do tat to u!! :D

neways.. ve a gr8 yr ahead!!

KP said... this your mom?
It sounds like my mother......:)
I guess all momthers are superstitious

I cant believe ur friend.....even she thinks like this......

I only beleive in Murphys Law.."If anything can go wrong it will go wrong"

Good Post!!!

Happy New Year...;)

Vandita said...

Happy New Year to u too...:)
Abt the superstitions, i too question all of em, and if my mum or anyone else cannot give me the logic behind something i don't usually do it... thats just me.
Have a great year ahead !

Ravi said...

I don't believe in any kind of superstitions mam..just believe in one thing..GOD! Period :)

Wishing You & Your Family A Very Happy & Joyful New Year :)

Take care!

Deepali said...

Happy New Year.

I would never have thought of a new year post talking about superstitions - its a great twist - nice and original - most people are 'reflection' or making resolutions :)

I am not superstitious. I think it is ridiculous. What about people who don't even know the superstitions? Do they face bad luck too? No one ever has an answer.

And ceedy is right - some superstition are derived from old beliefs / traditions - like breaking a mirror was considered bad luck because people believed they were seeing their souls in the mirror and harming the mirror meant harming the soul.

PS - I doubt black cats are bad luck. I had one in my house for nearly a year and our paths crossed every other day - didn't have too many bad things happening to me.

Solitaire said...

@ ceedy, Yes many are based on old beliefs such as when a girl is going through that time of the month, no one is supposed to touch her, she cannot cook, etc etc..ridiculous! But its only because they wanted her to rest!

@ raaji, Please pray that no one does black magic on me!

@ Anjuli, What if you keep wearing yellow for your exam and this one time you forget, and you pass with flying colors? Will you forget about wearing yellow or will you think that it was sheer good luck?

Solitaire said...

@ hammet, so what superstition do you believe in the most?

@ nick, I was born before the 80's so I am old too!!

@ lena, true!! its the power of thoughts!!

@ ashu, sure will!! thanks!! come back again!

Solitaire said...

@ m. you too! keep coming back!

@ ghost particle...thanks man! I actually was going to get a haircut on my birthday but did not find the time to. They say never cut your hair on Wednesdays!! :)

@ anirudh..thank u, u too!! come back soon!

@ sreerama, you wont believe it but there are some crazy people in this world who hold grudges and resort to such techniques!

Solitaire said...

@ KP, its being passed on since generations for my friend I guess...I forgive her..she cant help it! :)

@ Vandita, I wish I could do that with my mom around!

@ Ravi, Is there anything that you would not do or do so as to keep from displeasing God?

@ Deepali, I wonder that too! What about the Americans who get their nails done at night or chop their hair on Wednesdays. How come they escape bad luck? BTW, I can never dream of having a black cat..or any cat for that matter!

Deepali said...

We aren't pet people either and having a cat was something that none of us would have dreamed about. It's one of those things that just happens.

Having that cat changed my life though.

Anjuli said...

Believe me, for my CS exams I always used to wear an outfit atleast on one of the days, and used to carry one particular brand of chocolate, and that WAS some superstition man! I still remember once when the chocolate was out of stock everywhere and I had to literally hunt for that....

Seriously as far as exams are concerned, I am superstitions....but this is a tale which was "ONCE UPON A TIME"....its been a long time since I held a book in my hands :-)

Sreerama said...

heheh... currently.. i would lik to black magic my boss :D

Smita said...

Happy new year to you! ;D

maverick said...

hey..funny post...but kinda true to..dont really believe in the superstitions bcos i believe life is much more to paying heed to them...newaz...happy new yr..rock on :)..

Cinderella. said...

Mmmm....I guess superstitions are a liable only when we begin wrapping them all over us...

And as far as I know, they all have started with a very genuine aspect of making people follow norms, which in other circumstances will tend to be avoided or questioned.

For example,
Eating in the dark makes you a thinx this was done coz if you eat in the dark you may also end up eating insects or stuff you wouldnt wanna stuff in your tummy can go inside.

So what our gr8 gr8 gr8 grandparents did ?
Made it a superstition, so all follow and no questions raised.

Convenient..isnt it ?

And I have heard, clippling your nails after dusk, decreases thelife span of your that what you've heard...???

Btw, season's greetings girl.

romila said...

Nice post to usher in the new year.
I still have my reservations about most of the superstitions you mentioned here and yes, thanks to mom, grandmom, great grandmom.

Happy new year to you too.

Solitaire said...

@ deepali..really how so?

@ now will you do if you have an exam?

@ sreerama, good luck with that! that stuff really works! :)

@ smita, to you too!

Solitaire said...

@ maverick, good for you!

@ cinderella, really? I only heard you should not!! no reasons given!! Oh mom told me as a child that the nails would fall in God's plate while he is eating.

@ Romila, hopefully our kids dont say the same about us!

Deepali said...

Maybe I'll tell you some time in the future - Some stories are just not easy to tell.

Hammett said...

There's this myth in our community about black cat; if you see a black cat at night, it represents something evil. I don't believe that. But still, if I see a black cat at night, especially in a dark neighbourhood, it frightens me. Most of the time, the cat would stop and stare at you with glazing eyes. I heard a lot about it when I was a kid, and several other stories like that.. maybe I'm still caught in the fear.

And there's this myth... women are not allowed to take shower after sunset. That's an old believe, because those days bathrooms weren't like today; open area without a roof with a wall or some traditional partitioning, and a well... It's believed that evil powers would invade and interfere with women who do so, which can turn real bad. Old beliefs! I don't know...

I have seen people who turned crazy (ghosts :S) and come back normal after treated with voodoo or some local form of such practice. They don't use scientific or traditional medicine. Just reciting some stuff and kinda weird. It's very scary though. This neighbour (35 year old woman) had something like that. She gets strength of 10 men... 10 men can barely control her.. and once she gets treated she'd go back to normal life.. and during fullmoon or something it get worse again.
I could write a long article on this. Don't wanna bore you...

Hope you had a great new year's eve.. cheers!!

Mansi Trivedi said...

I have followed some. I really think my soul will escape if someone does not say bless you after i sneeze :D
and ofcourse if someone says something bad will happen, i ask them to bite their tongue immediately...

annie said...

Love ur chain of thoughts in whatever posts i have read through. As much as i wudn't wanna be superstitious...i can't help being one in some measure.

Solitaire said...

@ Hammett, I know what you are talking about in terms of that cat. The no showering also makes sense. But that women with the strength of ten men..hmmmmm...maybe she is manic!

@ Mansi, so what if no one is around when you sneeze? I had a friend who used to say, "bless me" all the time!

@ Annie, thanks!! and I guess its ok to be superstitious as long as we do not cause any trouble to others..

rOhit said...

haha.. this all is soo verryy true. Loved your post. You've got a wonderful space here! :)

HAppy New Year!
Happy Writing :D

c e e d y said...

check this out - dunno if you will like it but its hilarious

just sharing with gujjus :)

badshah khan said...

well i guess most of these superstitions were made when civilization had started. And they didnt have ways to prove each and everything. So they made a few of them as dos and few of them as donts. simple superstitions like biting nails after dusk. I dont think there were these tube lights and bulbs in those times. so after dusk the nails scattered here and there cud hurt u. things like taking shower after a haircut well obviously to make sure that there are no hairs left on u so that they wont prick u. the cats stuff. when the cats used to run here and there it indicated any bigger animal around so it was advised to wait for a while and then move and many like them. similarly most of them had some sort of logical reasoning involved in those days which might not hold true for todays life.
Well its like when a kid doesnt sleep in the night we just scare them by saying abt police ...soem evil spirits and things like that. So when people were in the process of getting used to civilzation or a new religion they had to create few dos and donts pertinent to those times which has stayed till today in most of our houses.....I hope that makes some sense well most of them are just my interpretations rather than anything else ....

Preethi said...

i think it is kind of cute if you hold on to superstitions as long as you don't take it too far like the 'buri nazar' thing. it kind of gives you the feeling that there is something else at work besides yourself. Although i personally have never paid attention to it. started as a defiance against my granny and became a habit sadly.

Anonymous said...

you are not supposed to cut your hair after dusk and not even comb it ;)

then if you think "appko nazar lagi hai" then take few red chillies, make rounds of the person affected saying any mantra you know and put it on the gas... if you have "nazar" these will ablaze with no smell at all!!

the second one is something that happens once a month in my house.. i can't actually understand what good it is though ..

But you know I am kind of afraid to go against them.. may be a little cautious ..
Have a good year!

nik said...

neat post ... sorry about the late comment ... but response times tend to be slow when on vacation in india :)

as much as I'd love to fool myself into believing that I'm a man of the (modern) times and don't believe in superstitions, i find myself falling prey to it often. My observation is that it happens more often when I'm being insecure or am going through a rough patch, and clutching on to little straws of hope (such as silly superstitions) provides a welcome outlet for venting out frustrations (just blame it on the neighbor's black cat) and de-stressing.

btw i live in a apartment complex where an old lady has more cats (off all colors) than even the local pet shop. I can't conclusively say whether the black cat controls my fortune every-time our paths cross.

Wonder what would happen if a black cat walks under a ladded, does that compound the bad luck, does the cat have misfortune that day or do two negatives make a positive and the cat make out big time that day?!!? :)

happy new year btw

Neel said...

Oi, interesting things. What would happen if a black cat A crosses a black cat B? What would happen?

1) It'll bring badluck to cat A.
2) It'll bring badluck to cat B.
3) negative negative positive so it'll be a happy ending and good luck for both cats.
4) What are you talking about? two black cat crossing each other? That's end of the universe!!


~ Neel.