Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the name of the father

I am not usually a superstitious person but when I nervous, jittery or really want something I tend to utter one the three- " Touch wood" , " Fingers crossed" , or " In the name of the father, and of the son and of the holy spirit." I also do this whenever I want to avoid jinxing something good happening.  I say all three when the situation requires. ( this year's world cup final for instance)

While making chocolates today I burnt some of it. So while melting the next bowl of chocolate I heard myself chanting " In the name of the father, son and holy spirit" I know for a fact that chanting stuff doesn't really change anything. Maybe all it does is ease the tension. Maybe it's all about habit.

The chant involving fathers, sons and spirits is not the result of being in a missionary school for twelve years. My mom does this. I learned it from her.

As a kid I used to cross my fingers a lot. Literally cross my fingers. Many will remember the mail van theory- wish on a mail van, cross your fingers and un-cross them when you see a black car. If you manage this your wish will come true. I did this every time I saw a red mail van. It became a good omen sort of thing. Whenever I see a mail van these days I have to stop myself from crossing my fingers.

Superstition for me is not just avoiding jinxing stuff but also a habit. I am not superstitious as a person. Many people including my grandmother believe that talking about death is Ashub  or a bad omen. If am not superstitious enough to believe in shub ashub why do I do the finger crossing stuff? Does that mean I am contradicting myself. If its only a habit, do I need to break out of it? It's not even something I do consciously but yes now that I am writing about it I want to make a note of how often I tend to get superstitious. 

Or maybe I will not. How does it matter if crossing my fingers or saying touchwood makes me more superstitious than i think I am. It's just one quirk. Maybe I will stop doing it, maybe not. Right now 
my life is moving forward quite smoothly *touchwood*

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Artfully not yours

I have participated in quite a few sit-and-draw competitions as a kid, even though I cant really draw. Most of them i sat through because my parents thought it was a good idea. Today I read this report in the Sunday metro about a "design a stamp competition" organised at the general post office.

What I wanted to do. 
I realised that I too as a kid had participated twice in similar designing activity organised at the same venue. A bunch of us (basically those who got the permission from their parents) were taken from our school to the GPO. We all sat there (I  was going to write quietly but  I am not sure if we were quiet) Paper handed to us, theme explained; we all got to work. I was quite enthusiastic in the beginning. The clock didn't stop for me, my art skills didn't improve in the course of an hour. It never did. When we were asked to give our paper up, I decided that what I drew didn't resemble the masterpiece I had in mind. 

The next year the teachers sought me out again- not because I was good but because I would add to the number of children participating and my parents would easily allow me to stay back after school to design stamps for the postal service. (What a noble task)

What I can do. 
As a teenager I took art lessons for a few months. This lady used to come to my place once a week, used to draw a scene which I was supposed to copy. I also learned how to shade a tree. I can tell you one thing that my drawing had improved in those months. A bit. 

Parents make it a point to introduce their kids to all kind of activities they can think of. The basic ones- dance, draw, sing are so popular that all localities have atleast one drawing, singing or dance teacher/class. Within walking distance of my house there are five such places where hapless children are sent to learn to how to belt out songs, gracefully move their limbs and churn out Mona Lisa like masterpieces. 

After this experiment the preferred activity is established and the next few years are spent achieving excellence in said talent. Many children excel in all three ( I dread such kids). 

I am glad that kids today have more activities to choose from. It can be Taekwondo or French, bowling, tennis or even graphology. Ofcourse whatever children pursue they are expected to excel in it. Some things never change.