Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Traditions or Superstions ?

A readers comment on this post by IHM got me to write this.

Sometimes I wonder if traditions or customs that were meant to be a boon in the good(?) old days have become a bane.
I wonder if some so called traditions/customs are actually superstitions..

I think I have a few superstions now.. Most of us have some quirk or the other don't we..
 A lucky t shirt a lucky ring etc., - whats yours?
In fact some people who are in love and decided to marry also insist on  matching horoscopes.
"Till death do us apart !!" but wait maybe horoscopes do us apart, huh..
And I thought Love was unconditional.. Guess sometimes one or two conditions may be attached :)

As a kid I always defied the norms.. We used to play lotto/tambola and i would try to take a ticket with number 13. Lucky for me .. You see I am different I would say. A black cat crosses path, I would smile and say.. Good Gracious it crossed my path, lets see if it is fine...

I guess as kids we are more logical. Looking for answers. and as we grow we imbibe certain preconceived notions, others logic of right and wrong others perceptions etc

we had a sex education class when we were in school(class 8, if i remember right), and there were quite a few questions that we had asked the  Father who was a guest-lecturer talking on the subject. It was an all girls catholic school.
some of my friends wanted to know why during menstruation girls are not allowed to touch certain foods, enter the temple etc. He told us that is a custom followed by many but he said "I think its the purest blood, since it might have actually been used by the body for the baby." Those words just stayed with me.

My mom once told not to touch fresh pickles that she was making when I had my periods. And I repeated what I heard from The Father.
She did her regular poojas though she didnt go to temple during her periods ( she rarely went otherwise as well) " Bhagwan sab jagah hain" is what she said.
After that she said do what your heart tells you is right.

I dont believe that God discriminates between man and woman or between women depending on their menstrual cycle. But then people do.
 In fact I once went to a temple and the pujari said asked me to wear something traditional and not jeans next time to the temple. I was shocked. I could see so many men/ guys wearing "Jeans" right there. I never went back to that temple again. Just didn't feel like.
I guess it is difficult to break certain customs/ traditions that we have grown up seeing.

But then sleeping on the floor, not entering the kitchen, not touching certain foods etc is something that I find ridiculous.
Do you think priya Pickles or whatever brand of pickles is your fav. ask the women employees to take leave when they have periods? Lijjat has all women employees so do they not turn up for work for approx 5 days every month. It would be a good excuse to take leave if that were the case.

Shouldn't the choice be made by the concerned person. I know of someone who had to follow this segregation thing because her grandmother insisted. She disliked it, but had no choice.


Anonymous said...

I love this post, N. This segregation makes no sense to me. I loved the Father's answer. Am going to use it next time I hear somebody talk about segregation! If it is meant for a baby, how much purer can it get?

I agree with you - go with what your heart says.. Do what makes sense to us, and ignore the rest :)

N said...

thanks smitha :). I loved his answer too. those words just stayed with me even after so many years...

Indian Home Maker said...

Love this post. And so true about Priya Pickles and Lijjat Papad!!

'I wonder if some so called traditions/customs are actually superstitions..' - I think that is what it is. That's exactly how they started.

Do you know if a baby is born with a bit of their milk teeth visible in their baby gums, the baby is considered evil? A friend's son was born with some white visible in his lower gums and her mother told her this - though she added that she didn't believe such stuff.

And when my daughter got her first tooth - on not the lower, but the upper gums, somebody joked about how in long ago days it was considered bad for my brother!! (And what could be worse than some harm coming to a woman's male sibling? None of these superstitions fear any harm coming to a female family member)

If there is a death in a family just after a marriage - the new bride is blamed.
These do sound like superstitions.

I agree with you and Smitha - the father was right.

N said...

Yes IHM.. Superstitions sometimes lead to so much of injustice and victimization.
"If there is a death in a family just after a marriage - the new bride is blamed. "
The so called Pius people also blame others in the guise of superstition.
If there is a supreme power how can a person be blamed for a death by a natural cause. People sometimes place Superstitions on a pedestal that is higher than God.

Anonymous said...

i dont think too much about what i REALLY want :) Scared I might jinx it.