"I never believed in the nazar ka kala tika until...."
My mother would often advise me to put a kala tika and also coax me to "nazar-proof" my daughter
Motherhood can change you in ways you had never imagined. Yes, I really mean every word of that sentence. I am your typical Indian woman of today, someone who is modern yet traditional, who believes in God but is not orthodox, who respects elders and in-laws but not at the cost of losing one's own respect.
I am not saying that I deliberately defy norms and do what I feel like. If something has a scientific explanation to it and I totally believe in it, then I follow that, but not otherwise.
And so when I became a mother, I chose to follow advice that I truly believed in and not one that stemmed out of superstition. While I refused to not take a bath and not wash my hair during the 40-day confinement period as I felt it was unrequired, I did massage my baby every day myself as I read that massage helps the new mother bond with the babyn.
Warding the buri nazar by a kala tika!
Yes, I am a total freak when it comes to following traditions and so I would never allow my mother-in-law, my mother or just anyone to put a kala tika on my newborn baby's forehead.
Firstly, I never thought that anyone would be so evil that they would cast a spell on my newborn and he would fall sick. Secondly, why should I use kajal, that is literally made from charcoal on my baby's sensitive skin?
In fact, my mother would often advise me to put a kala tika and also coax me to "nazar-proof" my daughter whenever she would hear her crying or complaining. However, I paid no heed to such advice, against the wishes of everyone.
But, as they say, there are some situations in life that make you a believer. That's what happened with me. I was in a foreign land (Shanghai) away from friends and family. For those who have never lived abroad, let me tell you that it can be quite a challenging task to handle your baby and hundred other household chores all by yourself. Reason-- you have no one to help you out like we have here in India.
Needless to say, I would be left helpless quite a few times when it came to taking care of my nine-month-old and if my baby fell sick, all hell would break lose.
In September 2012, just four days before we had to fly to India for a holiday, suddenly my daughter started vomiting. We rushed her to the hospital immediately, but the doctor found nothing wrong with her and asked us to keep her under observation for a day.
My daughter just didn't stop vomiting!
However, an hour after we came back from the hospital she started vomiting again, but as it was late in the night we couldn't take her to the hospital. Let me also tell you here that unlike India, doctors in China do not give medicines to babies immediately. They always ask for a blood test and only if they find something suspicious, would they give you medicines.
Next day the blood test came out to be fine and the doctor asked me to go home and just observe her for another day. They asked me to give her electoral and lots of fluids, but no medicines!!! I pleaded, but as I did not know the language they didn't really understand what I was trying to say.
This was the first time in my life that I felt so helpless. I didn't know what to do and then we had our flight the day after. That night while my baby lay asleep I don't know what happened to me but I suddenly felt that as a mother I should not leave out anything when it comes to helping my daughter recover.
And so without thinking too much, I took some dry red chillies with a pinch of salt, took it around my daughter seven times and put it on my kitchen stove and burned it all. Yes, really! I remembered how my mother did it when we were small.
I didn't know what I was doing, but at that moment I was not this educated working woman who looked for reasons everywhere, but a helpless mother who was willing to go to any lengths just to make sure her baby was okay. And, you know what? My daughter was up and about the next day. Her vomiting bouts just disappeared overnight!!!
I really don't know whether the nazar thing worked or my daughter got better on her own, but after that incident, I started putting a kala tika on her forehead every day. I didn't want to take any chances. Would you have done the same thing?