My Odd Habit.

self with vibhuti

Some of my readers who have not met me but have spoken to me on Skype would have seen this avatar of me on the screen and perhaps would have also asked me about the talcum powder kind of application on my forehead and got replied with the same information that I will give below.

Irrespective of how many times I take a shower in a day, and now in the summer it could be as high as four or five times, I will come out of my bathroom into my bed room with an altar where I will apply vibhuti on my forehead and say my set of prayers before I dress up.  This is something that I have been doing for decades and most of the time, I simply am not even aware later that I have got vibhuti on my forehead.  I will simply go off outside on chores or visits to the theaters or parties or whatever.

That application is Vibhuti. Quite what it is and why people apply it on their foreheads can be found out in the Wikipedia post that I have linked here. This post is to explain why it is an odd habit.

Let me explain a peculiar Indian urban phenomenon called Westernisation before I proceed further.  This is something that English speaking pseudo intellectuals admire and practice. Apart from wearing jeans and t-shirts or their equivalents, their idea of secularism, another pseudo idea is, for the majority Indians, read Hindus, to overtly display anything related to their religious affiliation is being communal, whereas it is perfectly alright for the minorities to display those symbols like ankle length trousers, skull caps, beards, burkhas, hijabs etc for Muslims and the symbol of the cross worn around the neck and / or stickers on vehicles reading “Jesus Saves” for the Christians.

Recently, these elites have acquired a sobriquet which is The Intellectual Mafia. The problem with this gang is their inability to accept that someone as modern as I am, mark my choice of the word modern rather than Westernised, who is perhaps more fluent than they are in English can be seen in public with vibhuti on his forehead.  Till they hear me speak they simply ignore me thinking that I am a bumpkin,  because I am usually found wearing the native dress of Kurta and Pajama or lungi.  The minute I speak they go into paroxysms of indignity.  It is so unexpected that if they have the courage, they will ask me why I have got that mark or if they do not, they will snicker and go away to criticise me behind my back.

Truth be told,  I don’t think that it is My Odd  Habit. I am who I am.  It is what is perceived by the intellectual mafia to be My Odd Habit.

I hope that you enjoyed reading my take on this subject which was chosen by Delirious who no longer posts for the LBC but keeps in touch with our blogs through comments for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us write on the same topic. The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order;  Ashok,  gaelikaa,  Maxi,  and Shackman.  Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too! Ashok too is having prohlems with his blog being down and may or not participate this week.

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26 Responses to My Odd Habit.

  1. It doesn’t sound like an odd habit to me. But that might be because some of mine seem even stranger to other people. 🙂
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Andy’s Turn

    • I haven’t written about my other more bizarre ones! We must have a competition one of these days!

      • I was surprised when you wrote about magpie in the nest you talked about another person. I can think of a lot of times I’ve been the magpie, but off hand I can’t think of other people playing that role.
        Cheerful Monk recently posted..Thermometer Cables

        • I am not surprised, but perhaps you have not thought about it enough. They are usually dime a dozen unless one is in very exclusive club kind of environments.

  2. Funnily enough my friend I have never thought of you as westernized – just curious and very very smart. But never anything but Indian. White streak or not.

    • Normal people do not Chuck. It is the peculiarly Indian breed of the kind that I elaborated that do. It does not bother me and I am sure that it does not them either. Live and let live I suppose.

  3. Grannymar says:

    Somehow, it is part of you!
    Grannymar recently posted..The End is never the End ~ Part 7

  4. tammyj says:

    i enjoyed the wiki link. that it is helpful in absolving (my word) sins of others when they see it (if i read that correctly) should help the pseudo intellectual mafia elite!
    i’m probably odd in many ways. LOLOL.
    but i come from a long line of women … my gram … who speak to inanimate objects. as in … “here! get back in there you pesky pan!”
    when a pan and it’s lid get into the wrong place in the cabinet.
    i also talk to trees and bugs and all animals. and they totally understand me.
    tammyj recently posted..mind closets

    • More than the sin part it is the reminder aspect that we come from ashes and to ashes we must return that even the most powerful thing my ego will become ashes is the key to that symbolism. You, like all of us are unique!

  5. Becky Byrd says:

    I love that you still adhere to timeless customs. I don’t see any conflict in keeping your religion and being a “modern” man. “Westernization” is not necessarily that great a thing, in every case. If I could get away with it, I’d be wearing a bindi everywhere.

  6. Ursula says:

    When I saw ‘odd habit’ in your subject line I thought you’d joined a nunnery. Which would have been odd, though I do think their attire most becoming – habits covering a multitude of sins.

    A few days ago I saw something truly odd: On a side shoot of the main high street, I came up behind a man – of Asian extraction. He was on his hands and knees, head down, slowly inching his way forward. People walking past. Enter your very own little Florence Nightingale: Whilst I hesitated for a moment, I didn’t walk past. I asked him whether he was alright. After all, he might have sprained an ankle or something, not being able to walk properly. He didn’t say anything. Just got up and walked away. For a moment I had terrible pang of regret that I might have interrupted his worship (or some ‘odd habit’) with my offer of help. You have to pretty bloody devoted to whatever shrine you worship on to do what he did.

    U
    Ursula recently posted..Tizz

  7. wisewebwoman says:

    I am sure I am most peculiar in some of my habits, maybe a tad compulsive. I’d put yours down to more of a ritual, like our ashes on Ash Wednesday when I was practising my own peculiar religion. I light candles for dead people. Does that qualify?
    XO
    WWW
    wisewebwoman recently posted..Momma in the Kitchen

  8. No odder than wearing ashes on your forehead on Ash Wednesday, which I did when I was an observant Episcopalian. To each her or his own – spirituality os a personal business and as long as someone’s practice it isn’t harming me, why should I care?
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Almost there.

    • Caring is one aspect but putting on airs about being secular when someone else does it is another thing altogether. I am not bothered but do wonder at these nincompoops.

  9. bikehikebabe says:

    What’s odd about you is that you’re more English than Hindu. At least that’s the way I read you.

    • And that BHB, is the problem. Because I am perceived to be a WOG, that is a Westernised Oriental Gentleman as the Colonialists called us, people cannot accept my deep attachment to my own roots and traditions. The vessel is mistaken to be truth instead of the content.

  10. nick says:

    Ah, the minefield of clothing and personal appearance and the weird interpretations people place on them, when they know nothing at all about the person. To me, you’re just an interesting mixture of the traditional and the modern. Why people should assume you’re a bumpkin is beyond me!

    Btw, I can access your blog at work but not at home where I get that error message I mentioned, although I use the same browser in both places (Google Chrome). Very mysterious.

  11. What makes of us individuals and our choices in how to live our lives is perhaps always perceived as “oddness” by others. Especially if they don’t know us well. Once we know someone, we are enchanted by their quirkiness and individuality. Your habit may seem odd to some, but, as you describe it, it seems like a way of life that is worth retaining.
    Talk to Me…I’m Your Mother recently posted..Maya and Me

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