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Mores and Superstitions

I often wonder how superstitions come into existence and then go on to take deep roots in our society. Case in point, the custom of hanging red-chillies and lemon strung together, outside shops. This is the first time I had seen addition of a piece of coal (?) to the conventional chilli-lemon bundle (not to mention the charred lemon). The unlit bulb in the background is meant to be an allusion to darkness; not the literal sort but the kind that arises out of ignorance.
posted: 25.9.05


It is rather intriguing....India would be any symbologist's dream come true , don't you think?
That apart, these customs that stem from ignorance and the fear of the unknown ought to have died out long ago. I wonder if we will see the end of such superstitions in our lifetime.

By Blogger Padma, at 25.9.05  

Superstitions offer such an easy way out of taking responsibility for one's actions and their consequences! They never go away, they just get replaced with different ones!

Is it my monitor/resolution/bad eyesight or are funny things happening to the background of this cute little pic?

By Blogger Ink Spill, at 25.9.05  

Hehe - next time Deepak, maybe you should leave the initial analysis to your readers/viewers! ;-) Interesting pic though - I've normally seen a bundle of green chillies with the lemon. Never redchillies and that charcoal! There is ofcourse, also the habit of hanging those small black dolls, or the ugly face outside homes to ward off the evil eye...and some 'anaaj' to bring in prosperity...I wonder how much all this helps!

By Blogger Geetanjali, at 25.9.05  

Deepak, while i have no explanation for this custom of hanging chillies along with lemon, i do believe that many of the indian customs were SCIENTIFIC. Who knows, may be these things did repel certain insects out.

I do know that the application of turmeric paste on doors during festivals has a disinfectant value. And it also adds color!

Well, I also see this as a design element! :)

By Anonymous Muthu Online, at 25.9.05  

although like everyone, i have something to say about the practise of superstition, i am at present more interested in knowing if we could capture such a shot using a point and shoot, can we ? i mean getting the lemon.. in focus while the bulb blurred. i think this is referred to as adjustment of dept of field, right ?

the reason i ask is, i am saving up some money for my next camera but i am still not entirely sure about the difference between an advanced point & shoot [PowerShot S70] & a DSLR.

Deepak. The the unlit bulb thing is very imaginative.

By Blogger Richard Hsu, at 26.9.05  

Hey Padma, I agree, it will take us more than a lifetime to see these superstitions out!

Hey Inkspill check your monitor's resolution. Have a look if the color depth is 16-bit or 32-bit. I suspect you might be running on 16-bit color. [In which case you'll see the colors "bleeding" in the background]

Hey Geetanjali.. indeed.. the list could go on :-). I am not sure if it helps at all!

Hey Muthu I agree. There is no doubt that a lot of our traditions have a sound scientific reasoning behind them. But like you I am not sure what rationale could be behind chillies and lemon. I even come across this bundle tied behind autos - just above the exhaust pipe! I wonder how the insect repelling qualities come into play there :-).

A purely design element perspective.. oh yes.. what lovely colors :-)

Hey Richard, you are right.. this picture indeed has a low depth of field (a big aperture). I clicked this with my 55mm prime lens stopped at f3.2. Most high-end point and shoot cameras have lenses that go upto f2.8. So this shot is technically possible with a point and shoot.

This article might help you.

By Blogger Deepak, at 26.9.05  

Hello, I am an author. I am planning a series of short stories that deal with various Indian superstitions and practices such as this one - the nimboo-mirchi. I was in fact researching on the topic when I stumbled upon your blog and, apart from the content, the picture caught my eye. I am looking for something similar for the cover page of my book. Is there a way I can communicate with you privately regarding this?

By Blogger Neil D'Silva, at 12.4.15  

Sure Neil - you can get in touch with me at:

deepak dot gulati at gmail dot com

By Blogger Deepak, at 13.4.15  

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