A hectic week prevented me from writing for two weeks. So, now here I am sitting with a dear friend, thinking. You may have heard about the important red, brown and green dots required on consumables in India today, in order to avoid the ‘greens’ eating people from swallowing any animal product except milk and the varieties. I think it’s a good step to respect one’s belief. Period. This really shouldn’t go onto the extent of banning people’s staple food or religion requirements. Anyway, that’s not the point I want to stress on here.
When Gizelle was 12, she lost her father to a stroke. Devastated, mother and daughter found themselves drifting away from each other. Suddenly, Gizelle couldn’t get herself to listen to instructions, let alone orders. She led an independent Christian life as the two women had a little boy to support and educate. And now, it was time for Gizelle to marry.
Today, and many times before Gizelle’s in-laws have emphasized on putting the black dot in the center of her daughter’s forehead whenever they visited and it is not because the child would look pretty with it. Unhappy about this, Gizelle told me that she feels offended when they do that because the idea behind it is that the evil eyes of people not jinx her daughter with harm. Gizelle believes in God, and being a non-traditional person, she felt guilty for not approving of this. It is not something I believe in either as, according to us, there is someone up there looking down on us and protecting us night and day. Wasn’t that what we were taught since the age of 3, as Christians?
Using the internet pro, I discovered that the ‘tikka’ or ‘tilaka’ originally symbolizes Hinduism, like wearing a cross symbolizes a Christian. Somehow, during the earlier centuries, it was caught on by the South Indians and a black dot was put on children, especially the ones with lovely features, to ward off evil eyes. In North India, people wear charm bracelets to protect themselves. Reading further, I learned that in Greece, if someone is afflicted with the evil eye, the ‘healer’, who is usually an elder, performs the sign of the cross three times and makes a spitting-like sound over the area of the victims head. In Turkey, charms called ‘nazars’ are hung in places where it is believed that evil eyes are bound to attack. In some parts of Mexico, a raw chicken egg is swept over the victim to absorb the power of the person with the evil eye. In Gizelle’s home, once a year, her husband cuts an onion and places each piece in a room and tells her to check them the next day and if they are black or dried, the evil eyes have been absorbed.
Gizelle and I pondered on this, then wondering if there really was a God. Everyone believes in Him so is the black dot above the heavens? Does the black dot (wherever it may be placed) really do something that God/Bhagwan/Allah cannot? Or is it supposed to protect us from a situation that even God cannot handle? Are the nazars more powerful than Bhagwan himself? Will the child never become sick if they wear a charm bracelet? Or maybe God cannot get down low enough to where the people casting spells live? God is our sole protector and wasting food is not a good habit, so I suggest that, if you are in the middle of this, you put your foot down, say no to the belief of evil eyes, poach the egg and eat it. Add the onion too because whether there are evil eyes or not, if you are living close to a busy road, the cut onion will become black, and if you are not, it will dry up anyway!
Happy with my conclusion and suggestion, Gizelle is now a rebellious daughter-in-law who does not feel cultural guilt anymore. She goes to church every Sunday and prays to the Almighty to protect her children and bless the husband and in-laws for having such beliefs. As for me, I calmly ignore all these beliefs and if it gets into my home, I innocently but cunningly make sure it disappears. I believe that if God has given you a pretty face or good fortune, it is because you deserve it. Who does not go through trials and tribulations?