Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I must be about 10 years old.Like all kids of that age,I followed cricket as if my life depended on it(and I still do).I remember it was India vs Australia match. Watching the Indian bowling performance,I was pretty sure India would win this one comfortably.India started their innings quite well.I got up for a glass of water.When I came back,I saw,to my dismay,that India had lost an important wicket.Disappointed.This sequence continued a couple of times.Every time I left my seat, India lost a wicket.I got desperate and fear of losing started grappling my mind.I decided not to leave my seat until the match gets over.With more ups and downs, however without losing any wicket, India won the game.I was probably more happy than than the Indian captain.However,I became a victim of the most incomprehensible phenomenon in the world.Superstition.

dictionary.com defines 'superstition' as
1.a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance,occurrence, proceeding, or the like.
2.a system or collection of such beliefs.
3.a custom or act based on such a belief.
4.irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, esp. in connection with religion.
5.any blindly accepted belief or notion.

After this incident,I have always stayed put in a particular position while watching India play.Not based on reason or knowledge,but in significance of a particular occurrence.I always have my fingers and toes crossed when Sachin Tendulkar is batting in the 90s.An act based on my above belief.I am very superstitious about wearing my Arsenal jersey while watching the Gunners play.Blindly accepted belief in my case that Arsenal will play well if I wear the jersey.These are just a few examples.Its not just me or my neighbor who is superstitious.Great and famous people have been superstitious too.
Steve Waugh always carried a red handkerchief in his pocket when he went out to bat.It is well documented that Sourav Ganguly did not move from his position in the pavilion during that epic win against England at Lords,when he took off his shirt and waved it from the famous balcony.Not just that,it is said that he ordered fellow team mates not to move from their positions too.Michael Jordan(a graduate of North Carolina) always wore his blue North Carolina shorts under his Bulls uniform for good luck.John Terry and Tiger Woods have this superstition that cheating on their (own) wives gives them good luck during the next match or tournament.(OK,I made that one up,but can even be true,you never know :P).There also are the universal superstitions like Friday the 13th is unlucky,breaking a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck,black cat crossing your path is cursed,writing an exam with a lucky pen etc.

Indian traditions and rituals have a part in making the Indian society superstitious.Reliance on position and state of planets in doing some work is something I have never quite been able to come terms with.How can Mars affect what I am going to do on the face of planet Earth?Is there an alien monitoring my movement and affecting it remotely?Even agnostic guys do once in a while resort to weird practices like having a tablespoon of curd before going for an important exam.I won't even go into the hoards of people visiting temples right before an exam or the results.It is one thing to believe in God and having faith in the Almighty,and another thing to pray and give offerings just before the exam.There is a very fine line between faith and superstition,and that would be a separate discussion altogether.

Most superstitions are usually harmless,and that is the reason why people don't think about them.What difference does it make to wear my 'lucky' shirt or socks to the interview instead of any random one?
Right?So what exactly is the problem with being superstitious?It has forced people in believing in something which cannot be explained using normal equations of cause and effect.The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.Superstition is so powerful that it leads you to attribute your successes to something outside yourself.This essentially means that you are held back from unleashing your own inner strengths and abilities.After a period of time,your superstition turns into an habit and that can damage your outlook and outcome.Also,one never gets rid of old superstitions,but keeps piling new ones as times goes along.You should not let superstition rule your mind.Instead,you should try your best to overcome your fears by inspiring confidence in yourself,inspiring authority in your decisions and inspiring trust in your actions.

However,that all being said,it is still not going to stop me crossing my fingers and toes when Sachin is on 93 or sleeping in my Arsenal jersey for 8 am kickoff :)

P.S. I would really be interested in knowing what your superstitions are if you want to share them :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nice article .. Im trying to come out of being superstitious .. It has absolutely no benefits and it keeps piling up with age. The point is to to just have confidence in yourself & ignore everything else..