Of Shani, Karma and pigeon blood

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

Representative image.

A few weeks ago, a newspaper report caught my attention. Two frogs, that had been wed in the formerly drought-hit Bhopal, were ‘divorced’ when Lord Indra showered excessive rain on the region. The report brought to mind several incidents that confirm that Mera Bharat Mahan is steeped in superstition.

A friend of mine had contracted polio during infancy. With the hope of getting her cured, her family tried umpteen treatments, talismans and incantations. However, the family had to draw a line when a ‘godman’ asked them to rub pigeon’s blood on the girl’s legs.

When the girl was in her teens, she was introduced to an astrologer. As a remedy to appease Shani whom she had purportedly offended in past life, my friend was asked to feed a canine every Saturday. Simple enough? No, there was a catch. The dog had to be of a pure, unadulterated black colour! The girl set out on her mission every Saturday morning. More often than not, a pure black dog was not in sight! At best, the seeker found canines with a liberal sprinkling of white or brown patches. And before my friend noticed it, half a day would have whizzed by.

A lush green plantain tree stood in the yard of the temple that I frequent. The temple had also had an anathema—a gangly young priest who, apparently, had faced obstacles in getting married. He consulted an astrologer about the issue and the erudite scholar had a remedy— tie a mangalasutra around the plantain tree and subsequently, have it chopped down. The task would have to be executed by a widow. 

An unsuspecting lady who met the criteria was cajoled into committing the lamentable deed. When her family learnt of the incident, they (understandably) saw red! I don’t know if marriage was on the priest’s cards, but getting murdered definitely was!

An unmarried friend’s distraught mother showed her daughter’s birth chart to a renown astrologer. The mum’s joy knew bounds when the astrologer predicted not one, but two marriages for the daughter. Anxious to fish out more information about her offspring’s Prince Charming, the mother dragged the daughter to the astrologer, who also read faces. The astrologer then predicted that any marriage of hers would end in a divorce! Talk about volte-face!

I, too, was dragged to a palmistry expert. Instead of addressing my pressing concerns, the gentleman had a look at the crooked pinkie finger of my left palm and pronounced, “Thou shall bring doom to your maternal uncle”. I don’t have a maternal uncle. If I did, whether or not I would have been the harbinger of his hypothetical doom would have been a subject open to debate.

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