For a long time, I was under the impression that being superstitious was old fashioned, meant to be practiced by people with silver streaks. I imbibed this idea because I used to be teased and ticked off for behaving like an old hag for carrying a specific handkerchief made from a self declared lucky frock to all my school examinations.
Once I got out of the phase, I started noticing that a lot of kids had their own set of good luck charms which they used to stage manage their results. There are students whose success depend on their being seated on a particular bench, wearing a certain pair of socks or very simply eat okra to score cent per cent in the mathematics. While these beliefs seem to be fairly common amongst most pupils, over the years, I have come across some very unusual ones too.
For instance, a middle school girl wanted her grandmother to wear a particular sari while plaiting her hair, thereby expecting the poor old lady to drape the faded fabric despite having an enviable wardrobe. Another child would meticulously count out the tube roses that bloomed in her garden to the approximate marks she would score, and I was told that, she would find it easy to explain her low score because there would be no more than thirty to forty blossoms each day.
One little boy whose marks hovered around the borderline would make a note of the contact numbers of people who were born with a tooth or two. He would call them to be wished good luck before each and every test because he had heard that the positive assertions of such people always come true.
Then there was this child who took the cake. He would place a piece of coal and a piece of turmeric on a cup of rice and wait for an insect, preferably a rice weevil or a passing ant. Then the insect would be placed on the rice. If the creature climbed on to the turmeric, the result would be positive but if it chose to mount the coal, then the child would be doomed to repeat the academic year!
I realise that the human mind does need some psychological support during times of uncertainties and despair and these harmless beliefs help in sailing through the waiting period without panic. However, I hope such kids are weaned out of their fallacies and sensitised to the power of radical thinking, goodness of hard work and dedication to climb the ladder of success academically and otherwise!