No matter how your bond with money is, it is an utterly important aspect of our life. Whether or not money can buy happiness is a question open to debate, but even if it can’t, you survival is at stake in it’s absence. We as Indians have always been in a love hate relationship with money. Most of us grew up in households where our grandparents accused ‘too much money‘ as the harbinger of sorrow. I still remember my parents using the saying, “Bhagwan itna de, na thude, na bahude” to put a number if we asked them how much money is too much money. It simply translates to: “God, give me so that it is just sufficient for my survival“. I wonder why anything more than that was undesirable.
Amidst that type of environment, where money is associated with all types of sentiments, it is certain that there would be so many superstitions attached to this facet of economy. So today, I’ll talk about superstition related to money, that I grew up with.
1. Itchy Palms and Moles:
If your palms are itchy, you are about to get money from somewhere. What? Yes, that is what I have been told all my life and for some reason I want to believe it every time my palms are itching. Duh!
A related superstition is that if your right hand has a mole that gets covered when you close your fist, you are ought to be very rich in your life. I do have one such mole as well. However, I am waiting for it to take effect. Do we have to get it activated from somewhere or what? Nevertheless, any superstition that bets on you getting richer is worth believing in my opinion.
2. Don’t Discuss Money Matters:
I think this, single handedly, can be the biggest reason behind financial illiteracy in our country. I am a culprit of this as well. You just can’t discuss money matters with anyone in public. As a part of this superstition, if you showcase your money to someone, you will start losing it (money).
I’d rather say, if you believe in this, you have probably lost it (wits) anyway. I think it has something to do with the very famous concept of “Nazar Lagna” in our country. While millennials and GenZers seem to break the molds of these delusional notions, this one I believe, is here to stay. It is rooted too deep within to do away with, in a generation or two.
3. Bird Droppings:
You’ll have to give it to us: we are a bunch of optimistic people. No matter how shitty the situation is, we always find a silver lining. That holds to be true when the situation literally gets shitty. If a bird poops on you, it is supposed to bring good luck and money. Bizarre doesn’t seem to be an understatement anymore, does it? My first encounter with such a statement was on the ground zero. I was playing cricket at my school when a bird felt like clearing his bowels. The bird was so bored that it decided to club that activity with it’s own version of archery. Unlike us, they don’t have cellphones you see, to kill the time while pooping.
Anyway, as I felt a brownish white liquid dripping next to my ear, I started screaming. While my classmates gathered and a laughter riot initiated, one of them told me that it was actually good. At that point, I joined the laughing clan. I came back home and told the story to my mother, and turns out she was of the similar opinion.
My crush was on leave that day. Probably that was the entire good luck that came out of this situation.
4. The Laughing Buddha
Go to any hill station in the northern part of the country, there will be an entire bazaar dedicated to wooden artefacts. I have been to Dalhousie, Shimla, Mussorie, Nainital, Dharamshala. One thing that was common between all these places was this market. And one thing common in all those markets was a laughing buddha. You can be as staunch as one could be when it comes to religion, but when money is involved, you start imbibing other belief sets too. So, every family, used to come back to their hometowns with one of these and placed them diligently in their drawing rooms.
My father went to an extent of tickling the showpiece every night when he returned from work. Have you seen anyone else do it?
5. Treating Money as Sacred
I don’t know if any other cultures do it or not. In my house, if money was dropped on the floor accidentally, you had to pick it up and touch it with your eyes and forehead as a gesture of apology and respect. Also, this was independent of the value of money. I learnt this the hard way. One time, I dropped a Re. 1 coin on the floor and since I was also watching TV at that time, I decided to pick it up during the advertisement. My grandfather asked me to pick it up and do our usual ritual. For some reason, I chose to say, “it’s just Re.1 Dadu”. And that was it. Leave alone advertisement, I couldn’t see the entire thing because of a lengthy lecture that followed.
Once again, I believe it is a part of Hindu culture specifically, to treat our environment as sacred. Be it trees, air, water etc., we see it all with equal respect. Somehow, money falls in that gamut as well.
6. The Money Plant:
How can I forget this. Even till this age, I am unable to understand why is this plant named so. But as kids, we assumed that growing money plant would lead to prosperity. I am not a plant guy, but if you’d ask me what plants do I want to put in my balcony, this one would definitely top the list.
On a similar note, does anyone remember that plant called Vidhya Padhai (the study plant)? We used to pluck it’s leaves and put it in our books to excel in studies? Never worked though.
Isn’t it just amusing, how we believed in all these seemingly illogical notions. If your family had some other money related superstitions, I would love to here it from you.
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Until next time..