Aray aray nazar lag gaee merey chand ko (OMG my cute little baby would get an evil eye)! This is what a typical Pkaistani mother would think if someone praised her cute and healthy baby. Even if the baby is growing leaps and bounds the parents would not want anyone to notice it or at least not say it for the fear of evil eye. So naturally I was stunned when my American friend complained about how much her toddler was eating. If anyone asked her how the baby was doing she would laugh and say “Oh I need another job just to feed him. He eats so much.” People playing with her toddler would often remark “Oh man he is getting bigger by the day. Too heavy to lift.” This was a culture shock for someone who grew up thinking that every little praise turns into evil eye. I would be like “Oh wait till he gets sick and then you people would stop marveling at his size and health”. Believe it or not that never happened. Except for occasional tummy ache and cold her son never got sick and continues to thrive even to this day being 17.
And this friend was not the only one. I learned this lesson early on. My youngest was born in New York, my only baby by the way who has a chance at US presidency. The older two were born in Pakistan and hence would need a fake birth certificate just like Trump insinuates Obama to have. Anyways, I went shopping with him being in the stroller. In the payment line at Macys someone looked at him and remarked “Oh the big black eyes. How old is he?” I said “4 months”. And they replied “Oh wow! He is a BIG baby”. I got concerned “Oh ab to nazar lag gaee” (Now that evil eye would get him). But that hardly happened and slowly and gradually I got used to it and started accepting the praise more graciously with a smile.
No vacation is complete without shopping. Recently vacationing in Turkey when we went souvenir shopping I couldn’t help but notice this blue key chain size thing with a black circle in the middle hanging pretty much in every souvenir shop. When a vendor tried to sell it to me as the best souvenir for the price I couldn’t hold my curiosity and asked him what it was about. He said “ma’m it would save you from evil eye”. I laughed and giggled at the coincidence. Just like the mosquito repellent in the yard you hang this blue oval shaped glass with a big black eye staring at you to any object as an evil-eye-repellent. It was the size of a Christmas tree ornament. I bought a few as souvenir one of which proudly hangs in my Lexus staring and casting a spell at no one but me. What an irony that is!
I still have some of these left. f you want one just shout out. But the condition is that you answer at least one of the questions below to help me solve the mystery.
a. Is evil eye part of eastern culture?
b. Is it even real or we just made it up?
c. If it’s real then why don’t the cultures that don’t believe in it, get struck by it?
d. Does it strike us because we have trained our brains to expect and accept it?
See now I have a headache. I think mujhay nazar lag gaee. Can someone get me my Turkish repellent please!