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Of evil eyes, brooms, and chillies

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    Of evil eyes, brooms, and chillies

    This occurred when i was in Islamabad two years ago. Staying at my Khalu's place, they have a domestic servant who does a great deal of work around the house. The house would be upside down, almost literally, without her.

    Anyways, the point of this thread is not to discuss the 'keeping' of domestic servants, which i may do another time. It's about the evil eye and superstitions in Pakistan, or at least in Pakistani culture regardless of which country one is in. i fell sick while in Islamabad, and the servant (whose name is Bilquees Baji) was convinced that kissi ki nazar lag gayi thi mujh par. (ahem i don't know why, but she really liked me - that's another story ). She was convinced she knew who it was who had placed the evil eye - one of the neighbours' servants, i guess they call it 'batman' over there. (Another question - why do they call it 'batman' ??). Khair. In order to confirm her suspicions, she devised this plan. Bear in mind she is, from what i was able to observe, a God-fearing Muslim.

    This is the weird part. She asked the batman/guy to step outside the gates, and stand on this tiny pile of small bits of sand/gravel that normally is outside on the pavement/road whatever. She had a broom in her hand. The guy was scared of her and thought she was going to hit him with the broom... lolz. After he stepped on the tiny pile of sand, she scooped it up with the broom and took it inside the house. She put the sand on the oven alongwith a few chillies and proceeded to light the stove. Apparently, if the chillies burn and make your eyes water, then there was no nazar. But if the chillies DON'T do that, then it 'proves' that there has been a case of the evil eye and that's what made the individual fall sick/fall into misfortune, etc.

    Needless to say, i don't at all believe in all of this. No one question my religious beliefs, like i stated - i don't subscribe to superstitions or Pakistani or mohajir Islam or bihari Islam or whatever type of Islam. Islam is ISLAM for me, there shouldn't be cultural elements attached to it, particularly superstitions perhaps.

    Have any of you had similar superstitious experiences ? How integrated are they with 'Pakistani culture' - whatever that means. That's a very very generalized question, but please try to fit it in specifically with your own personal experiences. Is the above type of event common ? How do you handle it/would you handle it if it occurred to you ?

    #2
    Nadia, whose eyes were supposed to burn? The batman's or your own eyes? Did anybody's eyes burn at all?

    One superstitious thing I always hear is that if your right eye twitches, something bad will happen. If your left eye twitches, something good will happen. My right eye twitches all the time. Nothing terrible has happened .... thus far. I've heard Indians say this too so it isn't just Pakistani culture (considering the cultures are pretty much the same).
    Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain.

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      #3
      My maids (I'm not in Pakistan, so they're not Pakistani) seem to think that people who use thsi particular kinda magic on themselves to make themselves more attractive or whatever (whatever) can't eat kababs (satay, actually, which is different) directly from a stick. I thought it was pretty funny, and made the habit of using a fork when I see them watching me.

      MehnazQ, I've heard that too. One eye (I can't remember which) means someone's missing you or something (either that or you're about to make money), and the other someone's talking about you. (I don't remember?)

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        #4
        lolz sorry, i forgot to say what actually happened. Great story-teller i am.

        According to Bilquees Baji, if the chillies produced a burning sensation in our/anyone's eyes, then no nazar had been placed. But if the chillies did NOT do that, then that proved there was an evil eye placed - apparently, if you burn chillies on the stove, then that's normally how they react - they cause that burning sensation in your eyes. Hence, if they act abnormally, then that indicates something is not 'right'. i have never tried burning chillies on the oven... so i don't know how they behave under 'normal' circumstances. She was the main chef in the house so i figured she knew a little about chillies.

        So - when she lighted the chillies, they didn't burn our eyes. This proved to her that someone had indeed placed an evil eye on me.

        i know it's all so weird, eh. i told my mom about this and she was just as surprised as i was...but she said there are lots of superstitious beliefs like that.

        i didn't say anything to Bilquees Baji, how could i - she was older than me and i felt bad correcting her - who am i to say that this elderly person is wrong. She has her beliefs... if i had been of her age, then i might have stated something gently...but, to her, i was young enough to be her daughter's age. Felt weird to 'correct' someone when you are in that particular type of relationship.

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          #5
          Originally posted by MehnazQ:
          Nadia, whose eyes were supposed to burn? The batman's or your own eyes? Did anybody's eyes burn at all?

          One superstitious thing I always hear is that if your right eye twitches, something bad will happen. If your left eye twitches, something good will happen. My right eye twitches all the time. Nothing terrible has happened .... thus far. I've heard Indians say this too so it isn't just Pakistani culture (considering the cultures are pretty much the same).
          When I went to Pakistan, I remember my cousins telling me that if you sneeze then that means someone is remembering you...well I have allergies and well someone must have been really missing me.

          As for the batman, I believe its derived from the English days, the batman used to be the one who held the bat during cricket. At least this is what I've been told. When I was six, I remember hearing my aunt telling my cousin to go get the batman. I was so excited thinking I was going to see a man in black with a full length cape and and a mask with pointed ears. Needless to say I was disappointed.

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            #6
            Nadia: Funny way you put the thing up , waisay pata nahin ke aisa hota bhi hai ke nahin, par mirchain jala kar ya shahed ko cotton par laga kar jala kar nazar 'check' karne ka tareeqa to hamare yahan bhi hota hai. sahi ke nahin, wallah-o-alam, bus main ne to apni GK aap sab ke saath share karni thi, isi liay bata dia

            yeh jharoo wala jo qissa hai, yeh is main nai innovation lagti hai
            Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

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              #7
              nazar lag jaati hai, awaiyn tu ganey nahi baney hoye

              teri peyari peyari soorat ko kisi ki nazar na lagaye, chashm-e-bad dor

              dekha na karo tum Aaeena...... kahin khud ki nazar na lagey chashm-e-bad dor
              Bazinggaaaa ....

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                #8
                i don't know about all the traditions and what is done to solve it, etc.

                but in Islam there is the concept of Nazar and black magic and all that

                that is part of the reasong for surahs like the 4 Quls and Ayatul Kursi, etc
                ~Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin
                ~Nes is MY voice of reason, get your own :snooty:

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                  #9
                  Larki_Punjaban,

                  >>When I was six, I remember hearing my aunt telling my cousin to go get the batman. I was so excited thinking I was going to see a man in black with a full length cape and and a mask with pointed ears. Needless to say I was disappointed.<<
                  lolz. Same thing with me - when i heard someone say that the neighbour's batman did a particular thing, i was like wow - the neighbours have a batman ? Talk about stupidity.

                  Originally posted by Khanzada:
                  yeh jharoo wala jo qissa hai, yeh is main nai innovation lagti hai

                  Jee. Laykin meray khyal sai Bilquees Baji nai jharoo sirf issi liyay istimaal kia tha keoun kai mitti uthaanay mai unnko assaan lagta. Otherwise, jharoo ki jaga mai she could have used anything else - even her hand, as long as it served the purpose of scooping up the mitti.

                  woohoo i said most of that in Urdu

                  Comment


                    #10
                    My grandmother performs pretty much the same rituals. She also takes out saqda to ward off evil eye (both islamic concepts btw..) by whirling a plate of ata before one for seven times and sliding it between the right leg..or something. She also does the chili stuff, but thats more of a test to see if i need to have ata whirled before me. when shes whirling ata, she mentions the possible candidates who might have induced the chili not to funkify the place, including neighbourhood cats and dogs (kuttay ki, billi ki..).

                    My mother thinks its ridiculous of my grandmother to do such stuff, and that they're rituals influenced by Hindus. Her method of warding off nazar and taking out saqda is just by touching money to ones body and giving it as alms, right away (as opposed to keeping it in the house which might result in retaining the evil eye (transferred to the money..) within the confines of the house)

                    I believe in taking out saqda (when prompted by ammi) but usually store it mentally and then when it accumulates enough in my head, i donate to a place i know does decent work like shaukat khanum/edhi/fatimid/siut. but then again, i probably dont do that often enough.

                    my kids probably wont believe in sadqa at all.

                    Superstition has its pluses too..that way.
                    Din-e-Mullah fee sabeelillah fasad (Allama Iqbal)

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                      #11
                      ahhh the famous nazar stuff...

                      it is fairly common. I do think it happens and in islam there is hadith regarding it but you are supposed to the 4 kuls/ayatal kursee and that's it....however my mother in law..god fearing muslim/educated women that she is..always has us do the above AND does something called meeta..where she takes salt...circles you 7 times, has you spit into it 3 times (to spit out the nazar) and then uses hot water to melt the salt....to remove nazar...

                      After our shadi we were instructed to do it to ourselves and my clothes..I did do the nazar stuff to my husband, he to me..but i thought it was sill to do my clothes..then iwhile trying to lift my suitcase with my clothes in it..i hurt my back..so bad i was working from home half days for 3 months and couldn't do any house work...

                      I know it's just coincidence but it does make you go hmmmmm...

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                        #12
                        ^^ do u know the hadith??? or where do these ppl get it from?? i mean burning chillies n salt n all..
                        thats so scary i was thinking about this nazar thingy too today n i came across this thread :-/
                        when i got sick thats wat my nani ami said too..she said it was someones evil eye cuz i was all dressed up n like i wasnt allowed to dress up for a while n then if i went outside she would put like a black dot with surma or watever behind my ear, she said it saves u from the evil eye.. :-s
                        Disclemer: I mispel al i watn

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