It all started when my cousin told me about ten years ago about how wishing on a sardarji
brings you good luck. We were sitting in the Mumbai local train, when she saw a sardarji
uncle enter the train with his family- she instantly turned to me with her index and middle finger interlocked and in all the seriousness of a sixteen year old, asked me to tap on her head thrice and “release” the lock! Were turbaned, paratha
-eating, big-hearted Punjabi gentlemen around when the east-Africans invented this “sacred ritual” while dancing around a holy pyre in the wee hours of a full moon night chanting “Obala obala….!!
” Who knows! But for my sister, this was the best and only form of juju she knew!
I, as it turns out, am an even bigger juju-believing junkie than she is, because I took the story a step further. Don’t laugh, because this is important. So, there is one really sweet-looking, small-built sardarji who always wears a red turban and lives somewhere close to where I stay in India. I saw him once, riding his cycle on a very busy intersection- I was returning home from a particularly terrible practical exam and like an obedient sister, did the tap-your-head-thrice-and-release-the-lock ritual! By some stroke of luck, I got an A in that exam! And just like that, he became my most favorite juju-sardarji uncle in the whole world! I see him very rarely, mind you, which only adds to the angel-like charm I feel for him. Over the years, there have been many such objects and people which have been delegated to a similar divine stature – a yellow UCB T-shirt I got as a gift (which I wore once during my entire board exams!), my mom (if I argued with her before leaving the house, my day went bad!), blue Scorpios (yes, those Mahindra SUV’s in India), shooting stars (I’ve only seen one till now, but it was so awesome that I almost forgot to wish!) and many other things! Friday, the 13th and wishing on fallen eyelashes were too common for me- what is special about discarded hair, right!
Before you dismiss me as a crazy fanatic, let me assure you that I do understand the science behind it – it is an extension of the placebo effect – a strong (even irrational) belief in something which causes the perception of a therapeutic reaction.The other aspect of it is that unlike a true scientific experiment, in such cases, one keeps record of only the hits and comfortably disregards the misses each time. But then again, who said I was trying to prove my theory using science? Trying to prove the juju is almost like dissing the juju in their face, and you never diss the juju!
Where do all these crazy beliefs come from? Why is it that we follow logic and reasoning to describe almost all phenomena around us, but still reserve some space in our minds for these superstitions? The fact is that we cannot use rationale to explain everything. The fact is that no matter how practical we may be, we still want to witness miracles every day…
Maybe my data will yield good results..
Maybe the interviewer will like my personality, even though I may not have the best experience..
Maybe there wasn’t a camera at that last traffic light..
Maybe he will finally stop pretending that he doesn’t care..
There is a very big divide between things we can and cannot control. Bad things do happen to good people. And sometimes, you can’t help but want to be a little bad, but still not have to pay for it. And while the nice, grown-up thing to do is to learn to accept things we cannot change, it is never an easy thing to do! The kid in us wants to believe that maybe if we wish hard enough, we will get that toy. Sometimes we need that tiny push from within; sometimes we need to know that while all the odds may be against us, we still can hit the jackpot….if only we see that red sardarji on the cycle!
Find a penny, pick it up; and all day long, you’ll have good luck! 🙂