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On life and its vagaries

Superstitions

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There are blighted families, we don’t know why, but there are.

I know of one such family. They live near where I stay now. A lady in the family used to come to do our house work. She worked four jobs every day to keep her family alive. She has fallen ill now, needs a bone-marrow transplant to survive, she has barely any money to do that.

We try to help, but there is only that much we can do.

But I was not talking about her.

I am a pretty superstitious guy. Now superstitions are not logical, they can’t be explained in any rational way. But I know many who have it, even among the educated class. Where do these come from? No one would be able to answer.

My favorite superstition is about what I see first in the morning when I step out of the house. If the person or thing which catches my interest is not to my liking, I would feel that the day would not go well for me. Strangely that’s how it always ends up too. I have a strong doubt that it’s all a creation of my mind alone.

Possibly the worst things on a day of pleasant first sight would not affect me because of my conviction that it would not, and the minor things on a day of bad sight would assume terrible proportions.

No amount of chiding myself has been effective in curing me of this strange malady.

Ever since I started living in the present house I would be seeing the same man as my first sight of a new day. He is a dull witted and mute being with no thought but to cram himself to the full with all sorts of food. This he can’t do without help too. He had very poor co ordination of limbs. This man was a member of the family that I spoke about. His slow wittedness and muteness and disabilities were congenital and were incurable.

He was the second of four children of that house. The one with the bone- marrow problem was the youngest. They have an elder sister too, who is totally crazy and is currently roaming our neighborhood singing all kinds of things and dancing all kinds of dances.

This woman had looked after my wife when she was very little. She had been the neatest person around then as others remember. She looked after the child well and still remembers her, even loudly calling out her name if she catches sight of her, to my wife’s great embarrassment. The poor girl doesn’t dare to come out of the house when the mad woman is around.

The third sister and her husband had committed suicide because of financial problems a long time back. This lady had taken over the protection of the three children of that family and had tended them great love. The elder girl was about 13 when disaster struck again. She died in a freak accident involving a kerosene stove. That finished the old lady off. She became mad. None can blame her. There is only so much that a person can take.

But she still had great love for her disabled brother even in that state. She would beg around the locality and obtain all sorts of food stuff to feed him. He was voracious in that regard as I mentioned. It was a sight to see her feeding the brother by the side of the road. This happens every day just before I step out in the morning.

After the feast he would come staggering down the lane where our house is. The lane has some length. There was no way I could have avoided seeing him while going out. This completely unsettled me.  Seeing this unshaven, dark, dirty, obese and ill man first thing every day would drive me up the wall. I definitely believed it would completely ruin my day and that was how it appeared to me too.

I would some times send my wife to look out for the man and report to me if he has passed. But this made me always late for work, leading to further complications. The man would take an age to cross ten paces with his disabilities. Strangely there would be no others in the lane at that time. May be others had the same problem too.

Anyway I used to blame the sight inwardly   for everything bad that happened to me, and as is natural there were a few things everyday which went awry. Avoiding him soon became an obsession with me. I would cringe at the thought of seeing this misshapen man at the beginning of the day. I intensely yearned for a release from the predicament.

It must have gotten to a stage where I wanted to miss him somehow, anyhow. I even toyed with the idea of jumping over neighboring fences and compound walls to reach the next lane to escape from this daily punishment.  Of course I couldn’t do that. People are shut up in asylums for lesser things than that.

I mean, it was getting pretty desperate for me! It had reached a crescendo when one day I was listlessly dressing to go out in the morning. The guy was already in my mental vision. My wife had gone out of the house to talk to some neighbors. She came back and looked at me queerly. Of course she knows all about my discomfort in seeing the guy everyday.

She said after some time.

“You don’t have to worry. You won’t meet him today.”

“Ha ha” I produced a mock laugh. “Fat chance of that happening, the guy is like clock work, never misses a day!”

“You won’t, not this day or any other day. His body was found in the temple tank. He died of apoplexy while he was cleaning his hands in the tank. No one was nearby. He is dead”

I was silent.

That day went without a hitch for me. Was I relieved? I was not sure. It was as if I was incapable of feeling anything. Yet from the next day I began to look for him absently while going out. Then I would remember with a shock. Oh he is…..

I started to miss him.  There was something lacking in my life, a sort of painful emptiness which I could not fill. I thought it was due to my extreme callousness.   I had never riled against him openly or shown any anger or displeasure against him. It was all in my mind.  I only used to laugh with helplessness   when I caught sight of him him.  I smiled at him too with compassion. But my heart was not at peace with him.  I was not reconciled with his presence in my life.

Did it wish him away? The thought shattered me.

Oh God, the pettiness and smallness of my soul, the foolish and black stupidity on which I controlled my life.  I was designing my life on a baseless superstition with out taking responsibility for my mistakes and blaming my mishaps on another being who was totally unrelated to it.

But I can not change what happened, I can’t go back in time and make everything right.

I felt deeply sad.  A poor man, barely conscious of himself or of the world, with no malice and a simple laugh, a mere traveler on this earth, with nothing to gain and nothing to lose, not much more than a mere phantom, a shadow, he harmed no one, could not do that too, he was so far removed from such feelings. He was as pure and simple of soul as any one can be.

But what about me, can I ever attain such purity and simplicity of soul?

Can I?

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Written by Sam

August 6, 2009 at 8:09 am

6 Responses

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  1. none is to blame, some people bring bad luck, though they are extremely innocent and lovable, there is no thing wrong in avoiding a person who brings bad luck to you as long as you dont hold any hatred for him or anger for him.. dont blame yourself.

    mydomainpvt

    September 7, 2009 at 4:47 pm

  2. That was very sweet of you. Though I exaggerated the incident out of proportions to make it into a story, I may surely have been guilty of some such insensitivity in my life too. Not similar perhaps but based on prejudices and incomplete knowledge of the circumstances which made people into what they appeared to me then.. May be it was the memory of such instances which made me project myself into the protagonist and severely criticize the moral content of his actions.

    When I do such silly things either consciously or unconsciously they would haunt me for days or some times years on end. To me writing it in any form is a sort of cathartic experience. A cleansing of being.

    Then there is this vicarious feeling in me too. Whenever some one does something bad I feel that I am involved in it in some manner, as if I have to hold myself responsible for it in someway.

    I can’t say why that is so 🙂

    samronsilva

    September 7, 2009 at 6:22 pm

  3. well i am of your category.. that is why i stop myself from hurting others, sometimes i pay too dearly.. but still i try my level best to not hurt anyone, because i can never be at peace with myself for speaking out harsh words or doing deliberate damage even to a person who has wronged me.

    trisha

    September 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm

  4. Thats good. Because of my lack of insight in certain situations I have often offended people even without knowing it. My poor taste of humor could also be blamed.

    Well one has to live with it. You are lucky, you have everything under control:)

    samronsilva

    September 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm

  5. one should always be very careful about jokes.. i rarely crack jokes with people i dont know very well.. even then i am very cautious.

    trisha

    September 20, 2009 at 3:30 pm

  6. Good policy, I am more impish, most men are I think 🙂

    Sam

    September 20, 2009 at 6:31 pm


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