Saturday, April 11, 2009

The great indian bird superstition.

One for sorrow,two for joy,

Three for letter,four for boy,

Five for silver,six for gold,

And seven for a secret,

That was never told!!!

We had memorized these couple of lines,back in school days to instantly predict how our day is going to be if we happened to see any number of them.but wait..who am i talking about? Mainas or Mynas as they're spelled in english. Dark brownish birds with yellow beaks,yellow marks beneath their eyes,and a horrible screeching voice which can wake you up from the deepest of slumbers within a few seconds (even when two of your alarm clocks,your cellphone alarm,your mum's cellphone alarm,your dad's cellphone alarm,your mum,and dad collectively fail to stir you up!). Apparently these birds are more than the avis alarms that the nature has provided us with.They are foretellers of our daily fortune!Oh,but the has to be wary of the numbers, for with each number of bird one sees,a different fortune is fated. If you see one,you're gonna have a bad day,if you see two a joyful one and so our adolescence,we were most interested in seeing a group of four(four for boy :p) which would mean,we would have a good day romantically( here,all romantically means is that perhaps our crushes would compliment us,or maybe we'd get to spend some quality time,flirt around...we have trifle needs,nahi kya? :D) ,a group of seven was like a serendipity( secrets..secrets..we live for them!). i really don't remember,who got me into this myna fortune stuff,but whosoever did,did a permanent job because i don't seem to get rid of it even after much trials.

This fortune telling business is not restricted to mynas alone.Parrots in indian tradition are considered to be clairvoyant.Every indian,must have seen or heard abou parrot astrology where a parrot in a cage picks up a card for you that tells you about your fortune.Any logical person would rubbish it.mathematicians may say it all depends upon probability,ornithologists may say it depends upon the metabolic rate of the bird,that it is more energetic in the mornings and the energy level fizzes out by the evening.All said and done,the fact remains is that people believe in it-thousands of them do.I doubt if these many people even spare a second to notice that the bird that is prophesying for them is caged.

Let us go ahead to owls! the most intelligent of all. And for Harry Potter freaks like me,the most favorite of all birds :). I remember my didun ( maternal grandmum) saying how auspicious it is to view a snowy white owl(..hedwig..sob.. :( ) and how equally inauspicious it is to view a black one.The white one is of goddess lakshmi herself-which is a sign of glory,prosperity,happiness,blissful marital life,opulence.And the black one signifies death,depravity,despodency,hopelessness,disaster,tragedy.I ruminate why.racism in birds too?I never questioned her on this.I know,even if i'd done i wouldn't have gotten a convincing answer as she clearly has by hearted the old wives' tales.besides i don't like interrupting her when she narrates those fabulous fables :)

The innocuous pigeons too have not being spared.Just the other day when mansi and i were soldering together at my place,she was sickened at the sight of pigeons flying in and out of my room through the balcony all the time. According to her pigeons are never and should be never allowed inside the house as they bring disharmony and sufferring("yaar,kabootaro ko andar nahi aane dena chahiye,ghar mein dukh aata hain" she educated me). I was left to ponder why.Aren't pigeons supposed to be messengers of peace, symbols of harmony?

But no superstition regarding birds is perhaps bigger than the one related to peacock feathers.I say so because,it is pretty widespread not only in indian culture but in foreign cultures too.Some call it old wives' tales,others earnestly believe that plumes of the king of the birds can disastrously shatter a house even if it is placed at the doorstep,let alone bringing inside. They say the numerous eyes patterned on a peacock feather makes us liable of evil eyes being casted upon us..uff..I really don't understand why is indian culture so contradictory.On one hand we idolize lord Krishna who sticks a peacock feather in his crown,we tell mythological tales to children about lord Indra who sits on a peacock throne,lord kartik who rides a peacock and on the other hand we scream frantically at the sight of their feathery souvenirs. Personally,i feel that the peacock feathers scattered on the ground after a rain dance are testimonies of love that emanates from the nature,and also peacocks dancing away spreading their feathers to woo peahens remind us of the sweet things guys can do to please girls :)

Well,the bottomline of this rather lenghty post is that-can't we just once let birds be birds and not good or bad would we feel if the entire bird kingdom classifies us humans into auspicious and inauspicious? So,the only things birds can do and we can't is not giving off premonitions-it's flying people!

ps: as for me,i need some help in rooting out the maina fallacy!