Yesterday, my dude friend Sidharth called me up crying how his date with his childhood friend was spoiled within a matter of just two minutes. And since then he is calling me a heartless person but I want you to let me know if I was right or wrong.
She was his schoolmate whom he had a crush on. With time they lost contact before he could even express his feelings to her. But in this Facebook world, which can even reunite Kumbh-Mele ke bichhde hue bhai, how can two educated young people stay apart for a long time?
To cut shot, they met over Facebook en route several common friends and after liking each other’s photos and status messages for about a year, decided to meet over lunch.
Sidharth parked his car nearly a kilometre ahead (which is the minimum distance, keeping in mind 18.6 million population of people with similarly a very large population of vehicles in Delhi) from the restaurant in Connaught place, famously known as CP.
While walking towards the destination, my very well educated, civilised, modern, tech-savvy friend encountered a black cat. Phir kya thha, he was taken aback as if his soon-to-be-girlfriend had already said NO to his proposal. He mulled over the idea of calling her up, making some excuse and cancelling the date.
Are you surprised? Why shouldn’t he feel like this? During all these 28.5 years of his life, he has been told that something bad will happen if a black cat crosses his path. His belief, like a three-tier cake was perfectly settled in his mind. Seeing the cat, his thoughts circled the same belief and ‘something bad’ echoed his mind.
But then, somehow he gained some courage and moved towards the restaurant. Sitting there, and waiting for his lady, he kept thinking ‘she won’t come, she won’t come’.
Lo!. She came. Their date began on a joyous note and they were in the middle of the food when she sneezed.
“She sneezed, it means I shouldn’t propose to her today..it means she doesn’t love me…it means we are not fit as a couple, it means I am not worthy of love life…it means..and many more ‘it means’ crossed his mind.
Finally, he decided to not to propose to her that day as a black cat and a sneeze were enough proof for him to decide that his day is bad. The innocent girl who was just pronounced guilty of sneezing in the middle of a very important date was clueless about why Sidharth is feeling so uncomfortable. Neverthless, they continued with their lunch and soon after they started planning their next meeting. They both were in demanding jobs so after a lot of discussion on several dates, they finalised 20th of the next month, which was 18 days away.
Next thing Sidharth told me was that the girl left the lunch midway before telling him “Go to hell!” You know why?
Because my handsome cute friend checked the next meeting date (which they had decided on the basis of mutual convenience) on Google and found that it was falling in between the Shradh. On finding this, he immediately told her that it’s not auspicious for them to meet during those days. Clearly, he won’t be able to propose her on that date too!
Now, you tell me, was I wrong when on hearing all this I also cut off his phone and didn’t reply to his WhatsApp messages, though he found out that all the messages were double ticked and that too in blue!
Don’t tell me now that I was rude. Okay, I admit I shouldn’t have hung up on him when he needed a little more advice on how he can get her back during Navratras. But how will you react if the Indian team is all set for the IPL next month but Indian Cricket Council head decides to withdraw the team from the game as the match is falling during Shradh?
Doesn’t this all remind you how in everyday life you are endlessly trying to move towards more liberty, more knowledge, more scientific evolution and more clarity of mind whereas in reality, most of you are bogged down by the old belief systems?
How comfortably you keep on following the tradition just because it is easy to follow than to question? That’s the reason why we have more temples than schools; more godmen than volunteers; more rituals than practicals and probably more priests than cleaners.
Top 7 Blind Beliefs which Indians follow
(Doesn’t matter they live in New Delhi or New York)
- Not eating non-vegetarian food (including eggs) on particular days in a week, mainly Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
- Not going for shopping, celebrating marriages, taking possessing of flats or starting any new venture during Shradh
- Not cutting hair or even nails on Tuesdays
- Not using shampoo and or even soap on Thursday
- Calling for a priest before every major breakthrough in life
- Calling it a bad day if a black cat crosses your way
- Considering number 13 as inauspicious
There are no major hurdles in the way of our progress: rather, the big trouble is our own tendency to think that it’s the uneducated and orthodox class which is more vulnerable to falling for religious trickery. The truth is that India’s well-educated and rich are bigger offenders, often giving away their wealth to the coolest Babas rather than dedicating it to the poor class.
Though I cannot vaccinate you against all the superstitions, I can definitely tell you not to make them a legitimate article of faith. Don’t blindly follow faiths and beliefs, especially when it comes to life-changing events like marriage, love life, finances etc.
Yashica Jalhotra is waiting for the day when the RCIL (Religious Company of India Limited) pays her to stop writing this column as thinks she can never blindly follow superstitions. Reach her at [email protected]