Shrines and roadside temples mushroom all over the country. Abhilasha takes a view of gods and superstitions in this tongue-in-cheek account.
Lord Hanuman is often considered by some as the unofficial god of encroachment. Some just have to place Hanuman statue or idol and within no time a small shop and a cluster of buildings will come up around it. The life of Hanuman is the life of a superman is what I thought as a kid!
There are Hanuman shrines on hillocks, at crossroads and by the river. Roadside temples are a most common sight in India. Travellers stop by to light incense sticks and pray for a safe passage. India is a country that takes religion quite seriously. As if gods in the Hindu pantheon were not enough, there are temples dedicated to seers, saints and larger than life figures. Actors and politicians are often idolised!
India is a country where tradition breathes comfortably next to technology. Often we find ourselves standing at a juncture where these two meet. As a result there are times when we are restless and question these practices and other times when we accept them quite nonchalantly. Just like India’s languages, the religion changes after every few kilometres. With large number of religions come large number and many kinds of superstitions.
Cats crossing the path, days and time to do an important work, lemons under the wheel, seven chillies with a lime hung, elders chasing me with a spoonful of curd just before stepping out for an exam, days not to wash hair, times not to cut nails, directions and eclipses…all! I’ve seen it all, having grown up in a Brahmin family.
Being an Indian, superstitions are the things we have grown up with. Attempts have been made time and again, to decode the logic behind some of the age old practices of our ancestors, to prove that these rituals, which we term as superstitions, actually have scientific explanations.
Sadly, with time only these rituals were propagated and not their reasoning.
A saying goes that the best investment on earth is earth. Especially true for Indians, for whom home ownership has the most positive and uplifting effect. How the face beams with a megawatt smile when they start talking about their own home.
Vastu compliance, ‘astro’ architects – are new emerging trends. Temple darshan bookings, precious lucky stones, horoscopes, yantras, lucky bamboos, Laughing Buddha are now just a click away.
As a species, we do many things that are hailed as great or ridiculous within and outside the species! Well, I guess our little religious fetishes – are often harmless and even add a bit of humour to life. God bless us!
Pix and Text by Author