Indian superstitions explained


It’s time to string up teddy.  This once red soft toy has been watching over a shop in Mumbai come rain or shine

Old shoes and flips flops hanging from cycle rickshaws and autos, green chillis and limes threaded together and adorning shop signs, aubergines placed around wedding gifts and black spots painted on the cheeks of babies.  Wondering what on earth is going on?  Here’s the answer.

The evil eye is everywhere.  You could be cursed by it at any moment.

What’s needed is some sort of protective measure.  An impenetrable force field or some sort of tactic that will trick the evil eye into leaving you alone.

Thankfully Indians and Dilliwalahs know the answer. Want to know the tricks of the trade?  This 1-0-1 will show you the way.

Seven green chillis (mirchi) and one lime (nimbu) threaded together and hung up somewhere is the most widely used method of warding off the evil eye in the capital.

Shops, houses and cars sport this means of defence. Hawkers of this protective kit walk and cycle around selling this solution to the masses for a mere 10 to 20 rupees a piece.


It’s a bargain when you consider what the consequences of the evil eye could be.  How does it work?  Well, the chilli and lime combo creates a potent force field that the evil eye won’t come near.

Flip flops

There are other ways of keeping the evil eye at bay too.  And  employing more than one method at a time might be needed to avoid bad luck.

Flip flops and shoes hanging from trucks, cars, autos and cycle rickshaws are a common sight on the streets.  Dilliwalahs that take this approach are trying to con the evil eye into thinking that what they own isn’t perfect. Seeing that there is some sort of damage or disfigurement already, it’s hoped by the owner that the evil eye will concentrate on something else.

Small black marks on cheeks of babies

The parents that paint a small black spot on the cheeks of their precious child are deploying the same tactic.  They want the evil eye to think that thier little one is blemished in some way.  When it comes to aubergines placed around wedding gifts, it’s back to that protective force field  once again.

But like everything else in India, there are subtle differences in the way that the curse of the evil eye can be combated.

Regional differences

Head down to the southern states and you’ll see garlic added to the chilli and lime combo. In the picture at the start of this post there’s also a bit of black cloth added to the thread, that’s another magic force field..

In southern Rajasthan, around Udaipur, people hang tyres and inner tubes from houses to ward away the evil eye.  In Tamil Nadu effigy’s of men hang from construction sites to do the same job, whilst in Mumbai and Kolkata teddy bears get strung up by the neck.

If you’re supersitious stock up on chillis and nimbus and only take autos with flip flops hanging from the back bumper.

One final thing – maybe you should take your child’s much loved soft toy and string it up by the neck to protect the family?

I’ll leave that decision to you.  Good luck.  And keep safe.

One thought on “Indian superstitions explained

  1. Pingback: Understanding India | Namaste New Delhi

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