Tell any Indian politician that only non-performers resort to superstitions, and they will probably bring before you an array of believers who are performers too. So there’s probably no inverse link between being superstitious and being good at work also or vice versa. Yet no one can deny that Indian politicians — cutting across party, region and language lines — are uniformly great believers in numbers, dates and everything that falls in between. Many have been known to be close to godmen, which India’s never short of. Take the case of newly-crowned chief minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa. The Queen of Poes Garden, who has been the chief minister twice before, chose May 16, the root number being 7, for the swearing-in date. She also inducted 33, which when you add her, adds up to 7. So it is highly probable that many underperformers may have slipped into the cabinet only on the virtue of being a ‘number’.
Bengal’s giant-killer Mamata Banerjee also seems to have been bitten by this bug. Ms Banerjee seems to have taken a liking to Friday since she defeated the CPI(M) on May 13 and took over on May 20. Of course, Didi won’t be found wanting in connecting this to realpolitik too. She also loves Friday because it’s auspicious for Muslims, who form 27% of the state’s population.
But there’s no point blaming politicians alone. We all are a bit superstitious one way or the other. Some of us wouldn’t cross a road if a cat crosses our path or walk under a ladder or have certain kinds of food on certain days. All this when probably there’s nothing earth-shattering for us to look forward to. Neither is any money riding on us to hit a last-ball six and make a neat packet for that. But taking a cue from cricketers and politicians, we must also figure out lucky colours and numbers since the appraisal season is still not over. Maybe a couple of letters to the name could help add some zeros to the figure in the letter. Now let’s keep our fingers crossed.