Pleb or celeb, everyone's charmed

Insignia Charms play an interesting role in urban lifestyle, and have been rooted in our society since ages, writes Rachna Chhabria

Pleb or celeb, everyone's charmed

Cliff Richard, who sang this popular song, may not need any lucky charms, but many people, including many new generation youngsters, have great faith in lucky charms.

Lucky charms or good luck charms are believed to bring good luck.The word ‘charm’ comes from the French word ‘charme’, which means song.  It has its origins in the blessings that a minister or a priest gave at the end of a ceremony.

These spoken words were considered lucky charms that would provide protection from all kinds of negativity. In later years, people assumed that spoken words were temporary whereas a solid object would be more permanent. Hence, the association of various objects with luck started.

In the insecure and uncertain times we live in, every human needs something to cling onto. Lucky charms fill that void.

Lucky charms are tags given to objects because of the favourable associations they make. Most people have something or the other that they consider lucky for them.
Playwright, stage director, and film maker Mahesh Dattani, a Sahitya Akademi Award recipient, says that he has a Sri Lankan evil head mask hanging outside his door and a row of Ganeshas, mostly gifts, and also a lucky bamboo. “I am not sure I believe in good luck charms.

I just like the concept behind these charms. They do add a purpose to having a knick-knack in the house. I believe, if these objects give you a positive energy, you will have good luck coming your way.

Simply because you are in a state of well-being, you are able to recognize and accept the good that comes your way,” says Mahesh Dattani.

Bamboos are considered a symbol of prosperity. People place them on cash counters in shops, hoping to keep the cash box full. Another good luck charm is the statue of Laughing Buddha. A legend associated with it says, that it enhances luck when it is gifted, not bought. It’s also one of the most popular gift items.

Deepak Chhabria, a Bangalore based wealth manager and CEO of Axiom Financial Services, admits that he is not particularly affixed to any such pieces. He believes that somewhere along the way people land up getting attached to one, by a good association with it. So then, they start considering it their lucky charm.

“I have a pen, which I used to write most of my exams with. This was gifted by a relative. I always felt I performed better in my exams, whenever I used this pen. I still retain it, even though usage has come down. But affection remains,” says Deepak Chhabria.
The money plant is also considered a symbol for bringing luck.

The faster it grows, the more upswing it symbolizes in a person’s fortune. A sweet myth associated with it is that it should be stolen. Just make sure you don’t get caught stealing it! Wind chimes are another object associated with good luck. When they sway in the wind, they are said to usher-in good events.

Sometimes, objects bequeathed by a loved one is considered a lucky charm. Freelance writer and author Radhika D Shyam says, “For important occasions, I always wear a pendant of Lord Balaji and make sure to wear some ornament given by my late Dad for his blessings. They both work in combo and have proved lucky ever since I got a contract for my first book with a publisher.

On festivals, I put up a toran in the pooja area – more for traditional décor, I’ll confess. During a trip to Shanikeshwar near Shirdi, my husband once bought a tiny black, cloth effigy of Lord Shani to be hung upside down above the main door to bar the ill-effects of Shani’s influences along with an iron horse-shoe to be nailed to the door.

To usher in good luck. They both came as a set. I conveniently used the former as per instructions, but refused to drill a nail in my beautiful door for the latter. I opted to keep the horse-shoe inside my house near the entrance instead.”

It’s not just objects connected to good luck, even people get associated with good luck. Actress Kajol is producer-director Karan Johar’s good luck charm. He has admitted that he somehow manages to wriggle her into his movies in one or the other way. Supposedly even a few seconds appearance in a song sequence is enough to trigger Karan’s good luck.

Architect, Nitin B Nichani, proprietor of Prakruthi Architects and Interior Decorators, considers Monday, Wednesday and Friday his lucky days. “I believe that these days are my lucky charms because whenever I have commenced my new projects on these specific days, they have always earned me great respect.

Also, the projects would progress as per the schedules and detailing sketched out, and clients have been tremendously happy with the end product,” he says. He believes that lucky charms do play a significant role in the daily functioning of our lives and they have helped him in the smooth progress of his work.

At one stage there was an avalanche of television serials with the alphabet ‘K’ as some numerologist harped about it being lucky. Producer-director Rakesh Roshan has a penchant for the alphabet K. According to him, it was suggested by a fan. His first movie starting with K was a super success. Thereafter, the titles of all his movies started with the alphabet K.

Neha Tyagi, an avid blogger, who is studying for her MBA, says that she has a very partial view of lucky charms. “For me it was an antique bracelet I used to wear during my college days. When I started working last year, I would forget to wear it due to the rush of work, yet some good things would happen.

Now I don't really worry about it too much. Neha admits that though nothing specific happened that she can relate to the bracelet, it was just that any time something good happened she happened to be wearing that bracelet. Slowly she started relating her good luck to that. “But even without the charm, I had good things happening, and gradually, my interest in the charm started reducing,” she says.

Cricketer Mohinder Amarnath considered a red handkerchief his good luck charm. It was always tucked into his pocket while he played. For Little Master Sachin Tendulkar, it’s the jersey with the number ten. Many people wear sacred threads around their wrists to keep good luck nearby. These holy threads come from temples or are blessed during havans. The four leaf clover too belongs to the category of objects that are called lucky charms.

Gamblers are most susceptible to the lure of these charms. It’s said that they resort to bizarre and strange rituals to keep good luck with them. Some players try to attract good fortune before they leave for the casino by wearing clothes or jewellery that they wore during a previous successful visit to the casino.

In ancient times, certain rituals were performed to ensure good luck. The ancients resorted to tribal dancing and other activities to attract the favour of the Gods.
Even our epics mention that the kings of the bygone eras performed all kinds of holy ceremonies (yagnas) to appease the Gods and win their favour.

The havans we perform could as well be an offshoot of these ancient rituals. Over the years, the spiritual and religious activities that were performed to attract good luck gave way to objects that could be carried by people or worn on the body.

Though there is no proof that any of these charms work, they bestow on the wearer a certain peace and sense of well-being, which by itself is a great achievement. Anything that brings about happiness and peace and does not infringe on another human’s right or sensibility is good, whether it enhances one’s luck or not...

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