I am a Malayalee brought up in a mix of places like Mumbai, Bangalore, Kerala and the quintessential abode for Malayalees, the Gulf.
Despite being raised mostly outside of Kerala, we know to speak Malayalam quite well and along with it came the infamous superstitions. Well, not just a Keralite, if you’re an Indian, superstition is in your blood. Period.
At present, I live in the US, and I try my best to change these notions and not pass this on to my son as well. That is why I was able to develop an unbiased opinion towards the Sabarimala issue and many things like that. But honestly, my superstition holds me back in a lot of things. For example, I could form the opinion that women who wish to enter Sabarimala can do it because it’s their own prerogative and it’s none of my business, but I will never do it.
I know God didn’t make up these rules, these are absolutely man-made. It took the experience of a big nercha (offering) from my side to make me realize that true Godly service is serving the poor and helpless and not spending big money in temples. But despite this awareness, I still have flaws. I don’t let my husband take a family picture of us before either of us is traveling because it’s considered a bad omen. This was taught to me by my grandmother, that taking a family picture right before one amongst them is traveling causes the family to suffer undue separation and that has stuck to my mind. If ‘m leaving for some place and I have to go back into the house after I stepped out, then I re-enter, do my stuff, sit and take a sip of water and then leave again because apparently, otherwise there are chances of you meeting with an accident!
This is why I started the blog by telling you how I have been raised outside of Kerala. I’m a postgraduate, raised in the cities and now settled in the US and I’m still a slave to these superstitions I have heard growing up, because all this was sold to me marketing the deadly weakness of everyone alike; "FEAR”
This fear is so deep rooted in us that we still carry it with us in some form or the other. It shows in our mannerisms in some way. Hailing from such a country and Kerala, it’s just not surprising to hear the latest news of horrific crimes committed by people in the name of superstition. This superstition craze becomes so bad in some people that it leads them to black magic. If you hate a person, practice Voodoo to bring them harm, or sacrifice a human to please the Gods. Superstition levels have gone to such an extent that it has actually become a psychological issue that needs immediate attention. Now to be fair, these superstitions are not just for Keralites or Indians; Jewish and Turkish customs, Hinduism, Christianity, Muslim, all have different versions of it. In all honesty, clubbed with these superstitions and fear, now religion is selling like hotcakes but are actually unknowingly becoming dangerous cults!
But what can we do about this? The only thing to be done here is correcting ourselves and not passing this on to the next generation. Fear should not be misused for achieving our personal agenda. We do it unknowingly with our children too. “Be bad and you don’t get gifts from Santa!”, “Stay awake for too long and demons would start appearing from under your bed!”
Let’s curb this here and take this decision today as parents and future parents, we will not raise another generation of dumb superstitious slaves. Our children must have the freedom of speech and thought and not get trapped in the shackles of superstition.
I dare not say that politics too is now a part of this too, because I “fear” for my life!