Disclaimer: This post is not intended to offend anyone’s faiths or rituals. The belief in the evil eye is a subjective choice, and the “tips” to ward it off are intended purely in jest.
It is almost laughingly easy to “catch” the evil eye. Babies can catch it as soon as they emerge from the hospital which makes the kajal necessary even if the paediatrician advises against it. Pregnant women can pick it up any time, especially once their bump becomes evident, which is why they must remain confined to the house and avoid contact with the outside world. Vehicles can get affected unless you put up lemons and chillies in the front or some of those fancy, new-age gadgets imported from China. Heck, even homes—never mind how sturdily built with earthquake protection—can catch the evil eye, necessitating pujas and havans with generous dakshina to the priests conducting them.
So, how can you protect yourself from the evil eye? Here are the suggestions I have received over time and seen in action in my immediate and extended community. Feel free to try them out—at your own risk.
1. Conduct weekly pujas in the house, ensuring to Skype the proceedings to the in-laws who live miles away in another state. It is as important to broadcast evidence of having conducted the cleansing ritual as it is to hold it in the first place.
2. Wear rings, amulets, bracelets and pendants that have the godly power to ward off the evil eye. Don’t even dare to propose that they might interfere with other fashion accessories you might want to sport.
3. Please keep that black cat AWAY. You may find her cute, even affectionate, but there is a witch inside her body waiting to pounce at you while you sleep. And pray, who gifts someone a fluffy BLACK cat? Have they stopped making plush teddy bears?
4. Stay on house-arrest if you are pregnant. For exercise, sweep the floor and do the dishes; do not worry about losing your mind. Setting foot outside the premises will, most certainly, subject you to the evil eye.
5. Burn red chillies in the house after sundown, never mind how smokey it makes everything. Foolish child, you will not miss your lavender-flavoured air diffuser once the red chillies successfully suffocate the evil eye.
Have you ever tried any of these mantras to dissipate the evil influence or black magic around you? I will be honest: My Granny used to—still does—quite a few, although she is an educated and modern woman in many ways. When things go awry, with one misfortune swiftly approaching on the heels of another, I do find myself questioning: am I cursed? After all, our tendency to judge others is forever on the upswing; many of us poke our noses into others’ affairs, hoping their blessings could be ours and our miseries theirs. What if these silent curses have a way of coming true?
Well, it is easy to fall back on the notion of the evil eye when things go wrong. But I have found the reality to be different: things will frequently go wrong no matter what you do. Finding scapegoats is but a human failing to justify, find excuses, and essentially do whatever it takes to make the pain less severe.
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I am taking up the April #AtoZChallenge 2019 and will post every day of the month, except Sundays. I look forward to your company!
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