The Evil Eye…I gave a serious thought about it when I was 10 something.And there is an incident that made me wonder about this.
There was a big papaya tree behind our home which bore gigantic fruits, bigger than the usual norms.Papaya was not my favorite fruit or anything, but then me and my family were really proud of those big Papaya fruits.
One day a middle aged woman came to my home, I guess a colleague of my mother. She loved Papayas and my mother was more than happy to pluck a big fruit for her to take home and show off the tree in the process.My father headed to the terrace to push down the fruit (which had turned in to a sort of ritual every time we had a guest those days), while we stood watching below.The woman eyed the tree in awe and told my mother “What a fine specimen you have got here!! The Papayas are so huge….and there are so many of them.It is a wonder than the weight of the fruits is not causing the plant to bend…”
That night it rained hard and next morning the Papaya tree was found uprooted, lying parallel to the ground.
Ah..the power of evil eye, my mother whispered and my father was quick to dismiss it off, the wind was very strong the previous night he reasoned.
But then I was really concerned. Is evil eye such a dangerous thing, Oh my!
That was not the only instance that I had heard about the notorious evil eye.I had heard about it before the fall of the Papaya tree and many more times after that. I understood that the real reason behind marking a ‘black beauty spot’ on the cheeks of small babies was to ward off evil eyes. I saw garlands made of lemon and red chillies dangling down the front sides of vehicles and when pestered my Mother told me that it was to avert Evil eyes. The scarecrow that was erected on the newly built house in our neighborhood was not for fun sake as I had assumed, it was to avert all the evil eyes.When I sometimes paced to and fro on our balcony loudly reading out from my text book, my mother sometimes asked me to reduce voice, not only because she thought it would disturb the neighbors, but because she herself had heard a scary story in which a boy who sang loudly in his most pleasant voice ended up stammering for the rest of his life.No prize for guessing the reason behind it….yes the very notorious evil eye. Then on morning tele brand show I saw a awesome product that was supposed to nullify any effects from the evilest eyes…it was called Nazar Suraksha Kavach or something like that(Evil Eyes -Protection -Armour) and the ad showed successful businessmen, housewives, white collar job holders, all testifying how evil eyes wrecked their life and how this fantabulous product helped to bring it back on track.
But then there was a small problem, the product was a little expensive, something around 4999 Rs, (but then the priceless benefits that it claimed to bestow definitely made it sound worthy)
I never knew that one could ward off the effects of evil eye by one simple procedure. It is a pretty inexpensive ritual(compared to the complex Nazar Suraksha thing).All you need is some salt,dried red chilly. Once you are in the possession of these powerful ingredients, you have to hold them in your hand and move it around the subject of the evil eye attack in circular motion,three times. If the subject is a person, you may ask him /her to spit (if you are more hygiene conscious, a mere action with no actual spit will do) on to your hands for immediate effect. After the completion of this, just put the salt, chillies into burning fire. Done….the evil eye effect is negated.I actually was blessed with this knowledge when I saw my aunt doing this while my cousin, then a toddler , was crying inconsolably and somebody whispered “Evil Eye it is…”.
Years passed and I grew up into a reasonable person. The one who mocked superstitious beliefs and googled for the scientific reason behind such beliefs.I no longer thought that a cat crossing my path was a bad omen and did not walk 10 steps backwards if such a thing happened. I no longer warned my mother to not call me from behind when I was going somewhere, and did not chew a tulsi leaf if she did call by mistake.I no longer believed that if a lizard was to fall from the roof in front of me and dash to my left side, I would get hurt.I always sided with proved realities and laughed at people who subscribed to these superstitious school of thoughts.How silly of them, I often mused aloud!!
Yes, I buried so many of those beliefs back in my mind and planted practical scientific thoughts there.
But then the fate of the Papaya tree kept nagging me from time to time.
And then I became a mother. When I snapped the photos of my two week old kiddo for the first time, I couldn’t resist posting it on to Orkut (I was not yet a Facebook addict then).My mother solemnly muttered. “Don’t forget Evil Eyes…” I shrugged and laughed…
That day my daughter cried for the whole night….inwardly reminding me of the Papaya tree!!
In the morning, the first thing that I did was to dash to the kitchen , searching for salt and dried chillies. Damn the practical scientific reasoning, I was not going to take a chance……!!