“Hari, welcome to Mumbai,” Milind extended a warm welcome to his friend.
“Seems ages,” replied Hari with a smiling face. “Let me breathe into the freshness of Mumbai air, come let’s go, friend.”
They reach Milind’s home and his mother gave Hari a traditional welcome. A ‘tikka’ on the forehead followed by ‘aarti’ precisely three times with showering of petals. Hari had seen this traditional welcome given to outsiders but to be the recipient of the same, he felt special. “Our culture is our strength,” he commented with pride.
After settling down, Hari started unpacking. He had brought a lot of gifts for Milind and his family. Everyone seemed happy. Just then, Hari gave a pair of shoes to Milind as a gift.
“You have become obese, you Fatty! These are running shoes and you will run from tomorrow onwards,” mocked Hari. He nudged Milind who was showing horizontal expansion amidst Mumbai’s vertical expansion..
“My God ! Who gifts dear one a shoe?” exclaimed Milind’s mother. “It is a bad omen, beta. Please take back this gift,” she requested.
“Amma, it is for his fitness, see how paunchy he has become,” Hari said convincingly. But she was in no mood to listen, “We will purchase a new pair of shoes by tomorrow.”
A few moments later, both friends decided to go for a stroll. Just as they were supposed to go out, Hari sneezed. Amma admonished from inside, “Wait, wait!! do not go out immediately, this is apshagun.” Hari was surprised but preferred not to revolt.
He got to know from his friend that many practices were a strict no at this house. Black cat crossing the path, hair cut on specific days, cutting of nails during evening time etc etc etc.
Though Hari lived a successful life in UK, these thoughts never crossed his mind. He murmured to himself, “These people are shadowed by superstitions.”
The two boys had a great evening. Both partied throughout the night, enjoyed the booze party and returned home pretty late. “Such parties without any fitness routine is the cause of you being so huge, Fatty,” laughed Hari before dozing off.
Next day, while having lunch, Hari popped up an impromptu question, “Why is Milind not yet married, Amma?”
“It is not that we are not trying, beta. A lot of proposals do come for him. But due to his poor horoscope and sayya of Shani, every proposal gets rejected. We have shown his horoscope to best astrologers and followed the remedies suggested by them, with no results.”
Hari coughed. His mind ran in different direction altogether.
Milind, was an obese guy with high health risk. No permanent job owing to poor educational background. He has many vices. These factors were not even considered, forget advocating about them. The entire blame was put on the poor horoscope. One planet is held responsible for casting an evil shadow.
But who would make these educated illiterates understand the thin line between belief and blind belief?________________________________
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