By Tinky Ningombam
When I was young, I unknowingly started doing this annoying obsessive compulsive behavior of counting every car that drove by me. I didn’t know why I had to do it, but it just felt right then. I was happy doing it. It went on to other OCD like symptoms which started with small things such as me counting the stairs that I would walk down in. It had to land on my right foot or else I would go up and do it all over again.
I was a curious child. No-one could help it. As I grew up, my small fixations grew into some sort of an experiment and I saw a lot of people doing things that are not quite explainable but it however seems right to them. People doing actions which somehow they relate to them having a better day ahead or to bring them luck. Superstitions and lucky charms.
I would not just look at superstitions as something just to do with religion. Superstition means the belief that an event is the cause of another event without any natural explanation, more exemplary in astrology, omens, witchcraft, etc. And in the same breath, habits are the routine behavior or actions that are repeated regularly, this mostly happens subconsciously. A thin divide, I conjure, for a habit to become a superstition and this is mostly by choice of the self.
Superstition for me is not just witchcraft or omens or even religious, it is made up of all those small idiosyncrasies which I believe changes my luck and can change my mood. The minor act of saying that meeting someone you do not particularly LIKE is relative to you having a bad day. Those are the kinds of superstition I am talking about. Exemplary in terms such as “Masak se dau yadou maande,” “seeing him will ruin my day” … and so on. Only men can pull logic between the visual appearances of a person and correlate it to another person’s life event. Some interesting superstitious taboos that we all have heard umpteen times:
· Bad luck to meet a funeral procession
· Shaking your legs when can shake away your wealth
· Do not answer when someone calls you at night. It is most likely a spirit
· Whistling at night attracts wandering spirit
· Leaving a clean plate or bowl after eating brings a good looking spouse for later in life.
The list is not the end of it. And then there are personal superstitions. Lucky charms, lucky songs, lucky colors, lucky dresses, lucky people… what not. Modern people like us try to put a logical and rational explanation to the origins of such superstitious taboos. Some seem proverbial and some had some sort of scientific logic to it.
And I had my own superstitions as well. Out of the many things that I do now is my morning ritual when I go to work. Certain actions which subconsciously dictate me having a nice mood or otherwise. Such as listening to songs the moment I walk out of the house, following the same route to my ride. And If I happen to not do any one of those I think that the day will not go as I planned. This is what routine does to people. People consciously or not like routine. They like to be in a comfort zone and in the safe routes. This thought made me try out being chaotic for some days, I took different routes to work, tried to not follow any routine, tried to wake up in different times and then try to start my day differently. Much to my amusement, even that started falling into a pattern. Even the effort of trying out something new every day became like a quirky habits.
But with these, I believe, your personal eccentricities define the person that you are. I don’t tell them from another. And if I find solace in a piece of art that I need to see when I wake up every day and if that leads me to follow a routine, so be it. Because I find happiness in those small weird things. And these weird things make up YOUR life.
So people who have to wear RED every time you go for a job interview, people who have to eat your meals in 5 portions, people who never go out when it rains, people who wake up on the right side of the bed, people who keep their money notes upside down… it is okay.
(The columnist loves Sheldon Cooper from the popular American sitcom “The Big Bang Theory”, more for his OCDs than anything else. Who else is a better role model to be eccentric, to accept weirdness, to laugh at his own jokes and say BAZINGA! )