Monday, 28 July, 2008

Origin of 'ism's


Disclaimer : This post does not discuss mystifying philosophical queries or controversial radical beliefs.

Then what is this about? Nor do I have any idea because some people call the 'ism's I am referring to, superstitions and many others, beliefs.

Many of the Malayalis must have seen the movie 'Sadanandante samayam’. This is one flick which could be an answer for "Which of the following films agree with this post most?"
(Please forgive the CAT analogy!)
Well my point is that I am just giving some loony thoughts to some loonier isms; I wouldn't dare call them superstitions because for some of us they are beliefs deep-rooted.

The aim is pure entertainment!

Enough of intro; Here we go...!

1.
If the first object you see when you step out of your house is a broom, then your day is doomed. Yes, doomed.
(I am not sure if this 'radical notion' is prevalent in other parts of the country, but in Kerala, Yes!)

Possibly invented by an innocent husband who was prone to waking up late and regularly had the misfortune of being beaten around the house with painfully large brooms; by, obviously, the wife. Very often I get out of my PG at the perfect time to see the cleaning lady sweeping the road, with not one but at least 2 brooms at a time! And I strongly believe this is the sole reason for my sometimes unfairly hectic work and everything that goes haywire in my day. You can definitely account the recession and the rising inflation to this grave fact.

2.
If a black cat jumps across your path, again, your day is doomed. (Scary!!!)

Must have been invented by a chronic cat-o-phobiac (forgive my coining of the term...) for reasons obvious. For e.g.:- If I am to see first thing in the morning, a snake merrily slithering besides me, I wouldn't be particularly joyous. Why Black....? Maybe he/she was black-o-phobic too! I wonder if the glamorous horror status of black cats, enhanced with glowing eyes in Malayalam movies, is a result of this belief or vice-versa.....

3.
If the number of grey hairs on your head is equal to x, where x less than 11, Lady Luck may well be your Godmother..!

Now how insane can this be??? I have escaped the brunt of some friends of mine who fall under the above category and when they fret about the same, I try to put in this, ahem, fact, and thanks to my stars I have escaped unscathed many a times. Some old prince's excuse for his grey hairs (when dyes were still not in use and henna was supposed to adorn girls' hands...), I wonder how such crazy ideas carry on from generation to generation!!!! Well... I particularly pity a particular grandma of one particular neighbor in this regard: She was near 70 and had not a single grey hair. I can see green eyes glowing from several quarters. But people, the fact is,
if the number of grey hairs on your head is equal to............

4.
Don’t call a person from behind if he is leaving from the house.

Aha! This is one 'belief' with strong roots in my family. I used to be regularly on the receiving end of my mother's wrath for the breach of the same. I mean, you see someone going out with their shirt on back to front or say, with wrong chappals on both the feet, well, calm down, and restrain yourself. Don’t call them back. You may ruin their day!

5. See a pot full of water first thing when you start your day. (Err..... Is this considered lucky or unlucky?)
Maybe it’s just a strong hint to take a bath in the morning. :P

6. See a cow first thing in the morning. (Lucky)
Great reason to rent a house with cattle shed. Don't you think this might probably be the result of some shrewd medieval milk marketing strategy?

There are plenty more. Some funnier, some serious, some with specific scientific reasons behind…. But superstitions prevail no matter how far mankind will advance.

I am putting this forth to you to continue the thread….

Unveil your beliefs and please validate the ones above (Strict warning: Purely nutty thoughts alone are allowed!)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jiya...you forgot some important ones.

No. 13 - Unlucky number!
Guess all the people born on 13th are never ever going to come up in life...unlucky people.And the hotel naming convention...13th floor is not there.Instead they have 12a or something.The thirteenth storey is not floor 13 for them...funny concept,isn't it?

Mustard seeds should not fall on the floor~brings unrest between family members.Can't imagine how they splutter mustard seeds while cooking.The rate at which it falls down while we are cooking in our hostel, our families would be far apart by now...

Then there is a "God bless you" after sneezing.Guess it is not much of a suprstition.But it resulted in a funny incident in our family recently.My sister has this habit of blessing everyone if they sneeze.We went to see our bishop and he happened to sneeze.My mom and I couldn't control our laughter as immediately as the sneeze was heard, my sister had blessed our bishop.

Crossing your fingers..no much explanations as I do this many a times :D

Then there is a pair of crows superstition which says that you are going to have lucky day if you wake up to see a pair of crows...how it is possible unless you sleep under a tree at night is another question.Guess you can't be lucky unless you are locked out of your house or you have no other shelter other than a tree outside...

Cutting your nails after dark is considered to bring you bad luck..guess this is the reason why I am never lucky.However I try, I can't remember to cut my nails in the mornings...So I have to live with thi sbad luck...

Last but not the least :

"If I don't end my comment here, entry into the PG will be difficlut today"...comes from a strong belief that I have written a blog on Jiya's comments section.If I don't stop it now, she will shut me out of our room :D

jiYa said...

hihi... Yeah right!

But the deal is good..! :D
A blog by you in my comments section => more readers for my blog.. ;)

Ayyo.. I loved the 'God Bless you' one.. WOnder how the bishop reacted??? :))

Anonymous said...

I hope comment no 3 is not jinxed.. you girls have covered everything, totally cleaned up all superstitions, now what do I write about :(

By the way, there are actual logical explanations for everything.. really.. really... really... I have been doing a doctorate on this ;) For eggsample, Anu cutting your nails at night - @ night eyesight is low, so - You might cut off your fingers all together, someone might step on an uncut nail and get hurt..

Then my cousin always used to explain why you shouldn't clean your house @ night, simple maybe you might sweep away that odd 5 rupee coin lying on the floor.

Then the gray hair thing, I suppose if you have more than 11 gray hairs at this age you really are doomed ;)

GhosH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GhosH said...

Behind most of the superstition, there are reasons. Majority of these came as some religious practices. The reason – the preachers or saints found, superstitions an easier way, to make people follow good practises, than conveying the reason behind. True, in between lot of 100% superstitious practises also came into existence. But most had reason to justify, and many have reason to justify.

Like dim light, as Anoop stated, is the reason for not cutting nails at night. It may not be applicable now, with artificial lights able to replace natural one efficaciously, and having sophisticated devices for cutting. But it was valid till some decades back. This practise which was there in Japanese culture, Islam and Hinduism, can now be counted as a superstition. But then not sure, whether dim light is the only reason behind it. More can be there, in which case, it can still be valid!

In similar lines you can find reasons for many of the religious practises aka superstitions. Most of the religious rituals have scientific reasons to support. Knowingly or unknowingly we are practising those, and its serving the purpose. In case some of those is void of any reson - it can mean there is no reason or science is not advanced enough to find the reason behind those.

Its always good to think, "Why am I doing this?" Even if we think, rarely do we bother to find the reason behind it.

jiYa said...

@Anoop.... Eggsactly! ;D
Its true that most of the superstitions must have originated from some very valid logic. But its funny the way they have turned out to be right now.

At times, people who are so well informed and educated (tht includes all of us ;P ) blindly practice many of them.. As I said, if I see someone with a broom early morning, the first thought that comes to my mind is "Oh no...The day is gone!"

Everyone knows these are 'superstitions'.. Still there is a fear lurking somewhere inside.. "What if its not..??"
:)

jiYa said...

@Ghosh... Recently I had the good fortune meet a colleague who was researching on the vedas.. And he shared some of his studies with us during a training.. Let me tell you, it was absolutely breathtaking.

Seems every shloka on the veda is related to some branch of science.. Be it physics, biology, maths... And some even mention tapping energy from lightning for everyday use... Things which we cant even imagine bringing into reality right now.

We are continuing the traditions of the great ancestors alright... But not being innovative enough to find the reason behind the beliefs but by blindly obeying their words..

Anonymous said...

There are a few others as well :
1. If you happen to drop a mirror and it breaks, you have bad luck coming your way.
2. Same goes with the case, where you happen to boil milk and it overspills.
3. If you happen to see a priest on your way to somewhere, its a bad sign. But if you happen to see a corpse, your day would turn out good..

Hey..what's the point discussing all the superstitions that exist in this world?? The fact to be discussed is, how influenced we are by them. And to be honest, I am, to a certain extent! Not that I exactly brood over that, but it keeps bothering me. So, by all means, I try to avoid such a superstitional situation as much as possible.
And as far as I see them, its all a matter of how you perceive the whole idea! :)