I had the same experience as J.S. Raghavan during the World Cup final (“When superstition won the cup,” Open Page, April 10). Just to see India win, I sacrificed my desire to watch the match. As soon as I sat down to watch India batting, I quit as I couldn't bear the thought of the team losing any more wickets. I would catch a glimpse of the match every now and then to check the score. I missed the sixes and my heart raced whenever I heard my neighbour shout. At last, unable to control myself, I switched on the television to watch the last 40 balls. I found that my sacrifice was well worth it as India made history.
There is no doubt that superstitions matter a lot on big occasions. I am sure they would have had a huge influence on viewers across the country during the World Cup final. When India plays a cricket match, my family and my brother's family tell me that we lose whenever I watch it on television. This time too, they did not spare me. They were proved right when India lost the wickets of Sehwag and Sachin in quick succession. As India started taking control of the match, with Gambhir and Dhoni batting in full vigour, my wife prepared some hot bajjis befitting the occasion. In the final overs, my son insisted that I should not swallow the bajjis till India won the match. For some time, I looked like lord Hanuman as the bajjis got stuck in my mouth. Can anyone say superstitions do not have their share of glamour and humour on occasions like these?
We introduced cricket to my mother-in-law so that she could kill her loneliness. But she soon became an ardent television viewer. She had many superstitious beliefs when India played a cricket match. She began to believe that if she touched the image of a batsman belonging to the rival team on television, he would get out immediately. Although we used to laugh at it, we were surprised when her belief came true at times.