We, The Superstitious People of India…

Think about the most dangerous villains, criminals and evil minds that have resided in India. Make a short list in your mind. Chances are that your list includes names such as Dawood Ibrahim, the don, Kasab, the terrorist who was hanged, and Veerapan, among others. Without a doubt, these names deserve to be on the list for all that they have done. Shockingly, we don’t think about any of these names in our daily lives, except when the media reminds us of them. It’s interesting how the most fearsome men don’t cause fear in our hearts, at least not in our daily lives. What’s twice as interesting is the fact that something as harmless as a black cat crossing one’s path is assumed to bring doom, and that chilies and lemon can act as Rajnikanth and prevent this doom like a boss. We have villains like no others, and superheroes in unimaginable forms. Lets take a look at some of them.

The Villains:

  • Black Cat, for who needs guns when you could kill them by just walking across the road
  • Number 13, not just your regular teen
  • The Evil Eye, everyone has one, especially the neighbors
  • Certain days like Tuesday and Saturday, when you get killed for eating meat or washing hair
  • Mars, the evil planet, with it’s ‘Manglik‘ trademark
  • The Colour Black, too dark to make your day brighter
  • Upside Down Slippers on the floor, they can probably turn your lives upside down
  • Broken Mirrors, watch yourself in one of these and you’re life is destined to be broken

The Super Heroes:

  • Lemon and Green Chilies, put them together and they’ll take care of the rest
  • Black Spot on the Face, guarding you against evil eyes since eternity
  • One Rupee Coin, added to the cash gift, because the amount in the envelope is not enough
  • The Super Lockets and Precious Stones, wearing whom you are immune to difficulties, and well, ghosts
  • The Brave Coconut, who willingly gets smashed to the ground to make an event auspicious

Superstitions

Ever wondered how that poor little cat would have felt when we linked her with bad events? How would you feel if you were that coconut who was forcibly banged on the floor only to bring good luck? On a serious note, if we think radically, it’s not hard to tell that these superstitions don’t make the slightest of the sense. It might be true that some of these did make sense back in the day. For instance, talking of cutting nails in evening, it would not be a good idea in days when there was no electricity and we had to make do with the dim light of candles. We could have hurt our fingers. However, it clearly makes no sense in modern times. With time, we have to realize what deserves to be left behind, and make sure that it is left behind. Some of us follow these for the sake of our elders. Our elders believe in these age old superstitions, they expect us to follow these, and we follow. I wouldn’t have a problem with such obedience, if it weren’t one of the key reasons that prevent our country from getting rid of these false beliefs. Most of the new generation doesn’t believe in any of these, but follows some of these any ways. Not believing is doing no good. Not following is what is required. We might like to believe that nobody really believes in them these days, but most of the people I know don’t eat meat on Tuesdays, and almost all the houses on my street have a ‘Nazarpattu’. I guess it’s time for a reality check.

nazarbattu

 

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The Big Fat Indian Wedding, is it worth it?

“Dad, my phone is too old and outdated. Please get me a new one.”

“Forget it. It’s good enough. Besides, money doesn’t grow on trees. We have to save for your marriage as well!”

Looks like your story, doesn’t it?  This is a typical conversation that occurs every now and then in Indian families. Right from the moment a man and a woman get married, they start planning and saving. They save for a healthy future of their family, education of their kids and what not. But wait, all this consumes only a part of the savings. Where does the remaining, bigger part go? You guessed it! The day their children were born for. Marriage.

India is a land of hugely diverse cultures, traditions and ethnic groups. While their ways distinguish them, the fact that makes these different groups one, is their common ultimate purpose in life. This purpose is none other than to spend all they can on their children’s weddings (pun intended).

Wedding decoration

I belong to a Punjabi family, and have been a part of many Punjabi weddings. A typical wedding costs somewhere between ten lakhs to one crore rupees. I’m talking of average middle class families. For upper class families, the budget can go as high as fifty crores. Lets take a deeper look into where this giant sum of money goes.

Average count of guests in Indian weddings is about 300 to 350. In a banquet hall located in a metro city, a dinner usually costs at least a thousand bucks per head. Simple maths tells us that dinner (or lunch) alone costs a sum of about 3 to 4 lakhs. Wonderful! It does make sense, doesn’t it? I mean, I know we could feed a country of poor homeless children with that money, but why care? Lets move ahead and talk about the lavish gifts. In a wedding, the girl’s family is expected to bring along a plethora of gifts. We don’t like to call this dowry. We’re a part of modern India, we don’t believe in dowry anymore. These are just gifts! When I was a lot younger, gifts usually meant a pack of chocolates, a nice shirt, or a bouquet of roses. It was stupid of me. I should have known that gifts mean kilos of gold, a modern car and enough dresses to last a decade. I almost forgot about the plush decorations, which, again cost lakhs. Too bad they last only a day. But what the heck, it’s the day we were born for! At least all our relatives and friends are happy and proud, or are they? There’s always this aunt who will still not be happy with the saree she got, or that uncle, who didn’t find the pricey liquor he was hoping for.

Wedding Food

Wait a minute, I just realized the most important purpose of spending the life’s savings in a day. It serves as a status symbol! While we may exhaust all our bank balance, we manage to build our status in the society. The wedding becomes the most talked about stuff among our friends and relatives. Some, who are yet to marry their children, take a note of the details, so that their children’s wedding can surpass our standards. Yay! We’ve given something worthwhile to them.

I don’t want to spoil the mood, but really, couldn’t we do a more sensible job here? Couldn’t we save half of what we throw at the weddings, for a more noble cause? How about donating to charities which raise and educate the poor children? If we can’t be that kind to the society, how about saving half of this huge sum for a better education of our children, or on gifting an international vacation to our parents once they retire?

When I look around today, I see a lot of young blood who doesn’t really favor such extravagant weddings. However, they still go for them for the sake of the will of their parents. Our parents wish to wed us in as lavish manner as they can afford. They do it because every one else does. They don’t want to be looked down upon by the society. What they probably fail to realize is the fact that this society is made of nothing but them. Many people who think just like them. If all, or at least most of them change their ways, this fear of being seen as the odd one out would cease to exist. If the youth does believe in the fact that unnecessary expenditure on weddings should be done away with, it has to take the responsibility of convincing the older generation. Some will understated, most won’t. If even a mere one percent of our country’s population succeeds in this, it will certainly make a huge impact.

Wedding is perhaps the most important day of our lives, but we don’t have to throw away our’s or our parent’s whole life’s savings for that. This is the day when we are blessed with a life partner, what else could we wish for?

Life Partner


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