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Not a charmed life

Despite doomsday predictions, 12.12.12 has come and gone. But minor superstitions are a part of our lives.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2012 22:13 IST

Now that 12.12.12 has passed off peacefully despite all sorts of doomsday predictions, rationalists must be laughing themselves silly. While it would be utterly ridiculous to lock yourself into your basement on certain days with supplies to last a month, minor superstitions are a part of our lives. Most thankfully are harmless and do not really interfere with our scientific and rational spirit. Take for example the concept of rahu kalam. Many Indians will not leave home during times considered inauspicious. Then there is the phenomenon of a cat crossing your path. The mandatory move backwards of at least two steps can prove daunting if you happen to be driving. But be sure you'll wake up hale and hearty the next day.

Many of us will not walk under a ladder. Now there is some merit in this because you might end up with a cleaning bucket or a can of paint on your head. Those of us who believe that the spilling of salt could be a sign that the devil is waiting to enter you are wont to throw a handful of salt over our left shoulder ostensibly to blind the devil. If you are in a restaurant, the flung salt may end up on the designer clothes of someone behind you and then you are really in for a run of bad luck. Some of us though not given to superstition may feel a twinge of unease on Friday the 13th. Wearing charms and amulets to ward off evil is quite popular irrespective of the fact that one is rarely confronted by evil on a daily basis. In certain parts of Europe, the tucking of a clove of garlic under one's pillow or wearing it on one's person was said to fend off any nocturnal attack by vampires. Apart for it being an assault on the olfactory senses, we have never heard of a marauding vampire shrinking in horror in the presence of garlic except in the movies.

We know you are made of sterner stuff than to believe all this. But do keep this editorial for ready reference just in case your left palm starts itching.