Nbose wrote about the myths and remedies she followed from her childhood. I was taken back to my childhood days where we used to religiously follow so many myths (some continue even today). Here goes the list…
1. Never touch trees/plants/pluck flowers after 6PM – Basically it must have been put up as there might be insects that would harm us if we touch the plants/trees in the evening.
2. Never cross a sleeping person – My mom never let us cross anybody if they were lying down. We were asked to cross the person back from the opposite direction. (It implies the crossing over done over a dead body or something on those lines).
3. Never sprinkle water on anyone – As kids, we used to play by sprinkling water especially after washing hands on each of us. Again this goes back to some custom done over a died person. Mom never allowed us to do this.
4. Chiranjeevi/Sathayushu – We find this so funny even now. While having food, if we happen to sneeze, mom (or any elderly person) would say chirnajeevi and sathayushu. Immediately, they will sprinkle some water on the person who sneezed and ask for their name at birth (thats how its called) and one has to say his entire name. Assumption is that the person will have long life.
5. Never stand on the door frame – Mom never let us stand on the exact median between the main entrance and the sit-out. It forms the frame of the main door. It’s supposed to be one of the places where Goddess Lakshmi resides and stepping on that frame would mean insulting the Goddess. For some reason, I find standing on that frame very interesting and like to repeat it even after getting multiple scoldings from mom.
6. Crying of crow early in the morning – Assumed that the house would have some guests on that day. Sometimes it worked. Most of the times not 🙂
7. Never say the word “Snake” at night – Mom again never let us say the word snake at night. Assumption is that the house would have any snake visiting immediately. Feel like laughing now as I type this.
8. Never say the word Amla at night – For reason that I dont know. We call this “visirikkai” in telugu. The mere utterance of this word would invite stares from mom. Furthermore she wouldnt allow us to eat anything made with amla at night.
9. Best of luck/All the best – When I was in 4th or 5th, I remember clearly. Most of my classmates would get irritated if wished Best of Luck during the exams. If they were to be wished, it should be All the Best 🙂 We assumed it was because of the Best of Luck that we didnt do an exam well. We used to crib after coming out that “xxx wished me best of luck today, I would have written well if she had told that All the Best.. cha.. 😦 ” Such a funny thought 🙂
10. Sight of two billed crows: We called it “Anda Kakka” in Tamil. If we happen to see them in pairs – it means we would get joy that day. We should pass it on to someone next to us (Pat the person next to you and say two for joy”. Unfortunately, if it’s just one billed crow that is seen, it is believed to bring us sorrow and it should be passed on too( Pat the person next to you and say one for sorrow). If there were some instances that were not favorable to us during the day, the single billed crow is to be blamed. 🙂
11. Monkey word – Mom never let us use the word Monkey in any language. It would mean we would become monkeys ourselves soon. As kids, I and my sister used this word to scold each other. May be it was her idea to make us stop. She would make us sit opposite to each other and make us pinch each others’ ears and say sorry. We religiously followed this for fear of turning into monkey only until we were 8-10yrs old. Later, this word became almost like a nick name 🙂
12. The first one goes to God – While preparing any delicacy (especially fried ones), the first one is offered to God. Mom just utters “Krishna/Saibaba/ Vinyaka” and then drops the thing in oil. Once its taken off the fire, same thing is done. This ensures the taken task will be fulfilled with ease. I still believe this as I have a terrible fear for frying items in oil. I have this fear that the oil might spill on my hand and thus pray first 😛
13. Wearing it the wrong side – There are times we all would have put on a dress reverse side. Incase if that is done unknowingly, its believed that the person would get a new dress soon. This myth sounded cool to me during my childhood days 🙂
14. Placing the broom – belief is that the broom should not be kept on a corner of the house. And the placement should be in such a way that the plastic side of it should be on top. Similarly, two brooms should not be kept together. I dont know the reason why.
15. Touching a kid with broom – There is a similar myth that if tip of broom touches a kid, the kid would become thin. Again, no reasoning. It must have been put up for hygiene reasons.
16. Collisions of two heads – unknowingly if two people hit each other on their foreheads, its supposed to be repeated for the second time. Else, the head would bulge and soon become snake heads 🙄
17. Respect for the books/Money – I think this is followed almost by everyone across our country. If we happen to touch any study related stuff with legs, its like disrespecting the Goddess Saraswathi. Immediately,touch the stuff with your right hand and touch both your eyes. Same is done for money too (but for Goddess Lakshmi)
18. Never cross lemons, flowers or camphor on road – This is prevalent in South India. Usually lemon and camphor are used to take off bad spills on a house and they are thrown on a junction that had 4 roads leading to it mostly on Thursdays and Sundays. It’s assumed that the bad spills would catch the person stepping/crossing over them. Similarly, the flowers used for death procession are not be stepped up on.
19. Never go out at 12 Noon – We were not allowed to go out at 12 noon especially if we had hair bath that day. Going out at 12 exactly with free hair will lead to ghosts catching us.
20. Never cross a graveyard at 12noon or 6Pm – for the same reason as above.
21. Ancestors coming in airplanes or as crows – Yearly, my dad used to do the “thidhi” thing for his ancestors. Usually its done on the star a particular person died. As a kid, I remember dad giving away thidhi to his grandparents. One day, Mom was preparing the delicacies loved by my great grand father. Everyone was busy with their works. At the age of 4, I could hardly understand anything. When I asked my dad, he told me that his grandfather is going to visit us and we both looked through the window. There I found an airplane. I immediately thought that he is going to come home in that airplane. I kept looking for flying airplanes that whole day. Later, I understood that there is no way people would come back from heaven especially in airplanes. But they came as crows!! Yes. We would offer the food and the speed at which its been eaten by a crow determines if the ancestor has come or not. We follow it till date and every year, we will have some crow complete everything put up on the banana leaf on the thidhi day. 🙂
These are some of the myths that I can think of now… I am sure, I have had more. It was fun thinking through these baseless myths we followed and are following.