Ravi (named changed) considers himself to be smart, adventurous and strong. He, along with his family and friends, had taken a hazardous trip from Manali to Ladakh. While narrating some harrowing experience, he said: “I am not scared of anything, touchwood!” Why so many of us tap on our head while wanting to touchwood is beyond rational, and beyond my comprehension.
Superstition is a habit or belief depending on the type and extent to which we let it affect our behaviour. Just as we step out of the house and someone sneezes we re-enter the house. A black cat crossing our path, a mirror breaking, spilt milk or the eye twitching forebodes trouble. There are tall buildings that do not have the thirteenth floor, as though deleting the number will make it the fourteenth floor. Some of us are bound to say “I am not superstitious but what does it cost to touch wood”.
It has a lot to do with our insecurities and emotions. As a child, a friend told me to knot one end of my du pat ta to attract good luck. I laugh at the silliness of the act and yet most of my dupattas still have a very tiny knot. To that extent superstition serves a purpose, but when certain beliefs become laws, then we all need to think and raise a voice against them.
Widows having to shave off their hair and not being allowed to eat with others, women not allowed in temples or even the kitchen on certain days of the month are practices that need to be stopped. The problem arises when beliefs control us, instead of us controlling them.
(Inner Voice comprises contributions from our readers. The views expressed are personal)