Our quarters is just near the only hotel and busstand in our locality. These days, since exams are just a week away, I ask mom to lock me inside, so that I don’t have to answer snooping people, annoying neighbourhood kids, school kids. My neighbour kid who is 7 years younger than me, once pointed his index finger on my face and said that am his research subject. These vagrant lads, do nothing other than idle away their time sitting on compound walls, getting drunk at some party where other friends spend, teasing small school kids on roads.
So my wonderful neighbour, picks up the ripe orange red mangoes that fall in our backyard and under the pretext of handing over the mangoes would keep on calling Hello- Hellos outside the window. Have to learn diplomacy. As usual, I never open the backdoor, or go near the window when the front door is locked from outside. Now our tenant amma who is childless came and she was calling out papa-papa for a long time. I thought, the neighborhood kid was playing jokes by changing voice and didn’t open the backdoor. After 5 minutes, she called me by my pet name and so I went near window and saw it was she and opened the backdoor. Initially I was actually annoyed that my study schedule was interrupted. But she was a kind lady.
Atithi Devo Bhava
I was wondering what to offer a diabetic guest, since all that was there were Cadburys bars in freezer and super ripe mangoes. I thought 2 slices of mangoes should not increase the blood sugar too much and cut the mangoes for her and made a protein mix drink with vanilla flavour. Only after she left, I remembered the Hide n Seek biscuits in the jar.
After usual ladies talk, she said, it was time to leave and said that would give the curry leaves that she had plucked from our house through the window. She went on to explain that, some items, should not be brought in through backdoor. Curry leaves are equal to sons and hence they should be brought in only via main door. She got the MilkBikis biscuits through backdoor though. (Another priest while doing yagna said, that arasa maram twigs are equivalent to sons, and hence should not be used for cooking, but could be burnt during homams it seems.)
She went on to say what her paati thaatha (grandparents) had told her. If one enters home by the rear door, they have to leave the same way. If a person comes via rear door and exits through main door, then veetu lakshmi (wealth) would go away the same way it seems.
It was amusing listening to the kind of billion rules that are imposed on us. Don’t do this, don’t do that, without any rational explanation. I can’t sport my hair free for instance.
Another one, like you are not supposed to pare nails on Saturday. What will happen? Lori Reid says, health will be affected. Astrojyoti does not give any explanations; just don’t pare nails on Saturday and Monday PERIOD.
Could not help remembering the words in one of Amartya Sen’s “The Idea of Justice” which said something similar to –“ Your judgement may be right, but the explanation for reaching that conclusion might not be flawless”. So yes, being a true Indian, there must be some science behind this as well and so I will follow our tenant amma’s words of bringing curry leaves only through front door.