Suman always wondered where do people go after they die and more importantly why do people die?
She had gotten so many different answers from everyone around her in all these years. The superstitious world that she was being brought up in was the kind where she was surrounded by people forever instilling fears of different sorts in her mind. A black cat crossing your path means bad luck. You should never give salt bottle or knife to another person hand to hand and so on. To the extent that when her dear neighbour and soul sister Aishdidi was to get married to a man, she was first made to marry a tree in the belief that her first marriage was not destined to last.
At school too, different versions of different superstitions prevailed. For example, the first page of every notebook was to be always left blank if you wanted to score well. One’s name should never be written with certain colours and many more.
“Mom, I know why Amma died.” Suman sobbed as she returned home from school one afternoon.
“Why” Radha asked.
“Because I misspelled the word Deity to be Diety when I wrote an essay at school talking about Amma and how she feels one with the deity at some moments. My friends told me so Mom. I feel so terrible.”
Radha could only hope and pray that this would result into Suman learning spellings more accurately from now on and one day she would be mature enough to not let superstitions come in her way of living, loving and progressing.
© Bijal Mehta