Skip to main content

Do you touch wood?

Ever since I started to converse with people around me, there has been one phrase that I used to hear from many of them. It was natural to have conversations about someone related to you or some material possession you have. Good natured comments about these people or things will obviously find its place in between these chit chat.

I’ve observed with a strange phenomenon that each time a complimenting word is spoken about the subject in discussion it will be promptly followed by a frantic search for an article made out of wood so that they could touch it and say the magical phrase ‘touch wood’!

Recently I did some research and Wikipedia gave me some facts about this act. The practice comes from the Greek tradition in western folklore of literally touching/knocking on wood, or merely stating that you are doing or intend same, in order to avoid ‘tempting fate’ after making a favorable observation, a boast, or declaration concerning one's own death.

The bigger question that remains is how this tradition is an oxymoron in view of religious beliefs. Most of us belong to one or other religion that exists in this world. For all those who do not belong to any religion or do not practice a specific religion, this tradition could be an acceptable norm. For the rest of the humankind isn’t this practice anything but a sheer blasphemy?

Almost all religions teach to believe in the existence of a super natural power which guides the world and the events around us. Some people call that God and we have innumerable names given to the concept of ‘God’ across these religions. All these Gods have taught people to believe in them to have a good life. I’m sure no one prays to get a horrible life.

It has a historical aspect that people have been following rituals like these to ward off evil from casting its shadows on their lives. It is fascinating to see people being made to think that a natural grown piece of wood has celestial capabilities to do away with the unnatural being supposedly existing in this world awaiting its turn to strike on those who do not touch wood!

Being an ardent believer or not, there are situations that lead some people to start thinking in these lines. This is especially true when it comes to the little ones at home. Your baby could be all well, kicking and alive making your life one of the most envious to all those who are not that abundantly blessed. One fine day this relative or friend of yours come home, looks at your child and exclaims, “Look at her; she is such a cutie pie. I’m sure this little angel can never give you any trouble whatsoever”.

Soon after the person leaves all the while appreciating your hospitality, the little angel somehow turns into the most violent monster you’ve ever faced! The baby who was sleeping peacefully till that day refuses to sleep, develops some sort of uneasiness, does not take any food given including the forbidden sweets and totally becomes a moron with not even a shade of the angelic tranquility that was attributed a few moments earlier!

It takes all the effort in the world for you to bring back the cutie pie and you almost thought your life is back on track. There comes another friend who will have something similar to say as the previous one and life takes a full circle again.

You become paranoid to such an extent that you start believing in the apotropaic tradition and your hand will be auto programmed to reach a wood as soon as you hear or say something good about your baby!

The irony of life can go to such depths that God himself may start growing a forest to enable people to knock the wood. The heights of such an incident was when the other day a couple was seen reaching out to a blessed wooden rosary when something nice was spoken about their kid, since they could not find anything else made of wood and exclaimed to their heart’s content - touch wood!

Comments

  1. Reaching out to a wooden rosary was indeed too much :)

    I believe people like to attribute evil effects whenever their kids starts behaving anything different from normal. Imagine a kid who is having a stomach ache due to indigestion. Rather than analyzing the cause of the disturbance to the kid, the parents will be very much ready to blame the last person who innocently complemented their kid.

    I had my introduction to these small tricks of casting evil from babies only recently. One is 'arti' with salt by circling your hand around the babyfew times with a pinch of salt. And every day I see maids wading off evil aka "Drishti" from my baby. They crack their hand knuckles after circling it around the baby. The amount of "Drishti" is proportional to the sound generated when the knuckles crack.

    The end result is that I am afraid of saying anything nice about anyone's kids lest I will be considered as an agent of evil !!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Elizabeth: Certain vices in the world can't be easily removed and the worst part is people become very senstive when we speak about it... Anyways, I'm happy that it helped me with a topic to write after a long time :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Mesmerizing Mauritius!

Couple of decades back whenever there was a need to get anything done related to passports or flight tickets, I remember visiting one of the travel agency offices in my hometown. One of the most interesting attractions in the office was the wall that was beautifully adorned with posters of quite a few destinations across the world. Among everything on the wall, one poster always caught my attention. A lovely white sand beach with beautiful emerald green waters with pine trees lining the borders of the beach! It was a scene right out of a fairy tale.
Twenty years down the line, I now stand with the emerald green waters kissing my feet bringing along with it the lovely white sand blanketing my ankles and right behind me I can see the pine trees still lining the borders of the beach. Yes! I am in Mauritius!
It was a family vacation my wife, Ruby and I planned along with our son and daughter, Ryan and Mia, five and one year old each. We had our reservations about travelling with kids; yet …

The Nail!

For a three year old kid, his dad’s workshop has always been a place of fantasy. His dad is well-known locally for the wooden sculptures he has created and many of them decorate the living rooms of the rich in that small town. The carpentry shop having quite a few sharp tools, his mom was always concerned about his safety. She used to keep a watch on him lest he’ll end up doing something mischievous.
That was just another day and in between the playing sessions at the workshop, the mom saw her son opening a can of long nails that was to be used for a specific wood work. She screamed at the kid not to touch those sharp nails, but by the time she reached him he already managed to get a tiny cut and a small stream of blood started flowing out!
She was all scared to see the blood oozing out and immediately tried some first aid to stop the blood flow. The next natural thing followed when she asked the kid, “Haven’t I told you son not to play with these sharp nails? See how you have hurt your…

Glorious Gokarna!

Gokarna [Nov 2008]
Genre: Multi-day trip

Bangalore to Gokarna
Buses VRL/Sea Bird/KSRTC
Train – A station 6 kms from Gokarna
Ø Roads are really bad. If you plan in advance, take a train

Duration – 10 to 12 hours by bus

Local Travel – Auto – Expensive – You could bargain
Almost 10 kms from Gokarna town to Om Beach
BeachesOm Beach – Biggest with multiple cafes
Kudle Beach – Water is better
Half Moon Beach
Paradise

Places to Stay
Namaste Cafe – At Om Beach – Pretty nice bath attached rooms with electric power & good food – Rs 400 to 600 per day
Skylark Cafe –Solar powered Shacks – Common Bathroom – Rs 200 to 300 per day
There are many other cafes around (Dolphin Café, Sunrise Café)
If you prefer to stay at some luxury resorts, you do have some options for that too there.
Other interesting factsThere’s a German café on the Kudle beach
You could trek and reach the other beaches around, which is fun. Alternatively you could take the boats available which will cost you Rs 50 per head
Ensure that…