It is believed that or evil eye, or drishti dosha in local parlace, casts misfortune upon people. Not just people, it could even affect animals and trees as well. The elderly blames it on the evil eye when a tree doesn’t bear enough fruits despite blooming amazingly or when the fruits decay soon.
Though some may dismiss it as mere superstition, there are many, even in this modern era, who perform remedies for evil eye, discreetly or otherwise.
Placing a scarecrow or growing a cactus plant in front of a building under construction is to cast away drishti dosha. Similarly, garlands blessed by priests, conch shells or other attractive objects are placed in front of a brand new car.
It is very common to put a tiny black spot using kajal behind the ears or on the foot of babies to protect them from evil eyes. Babies are often spotted with dozens of black bangles on their hands or a hidden ash sheora leaf in their body to keep the evil eyes away. Our ancestors used to insist that expectant mothers should carry either a small piece of iron or the ash sheora leaf whenever they go out.
The scientific explanation for this is that the ash sheora leaves have great anti-bacterial properties which protect pregnant women from viral infections. The iron would absorb the extra oxygen and helps create a positive atmosphere around the expectant mothers.
Warding off evil eyes using mustard seeds, dried chilies and salt is still followed in many places. A packet containing these would be moved in circular motions around new born babies, while chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaaya’ thrice. It would then be thrown into the flaming stove.
Grandmothers say that if the burning smell of the dried chilies won’t come off the stove, then the curse of the evil eye still persists and the ritual has to be repeated. Grownups too could be protected from ill effects of the evil eyes like this.
As babies are prone to attract evil eyes pretty easily, a talisman made of 5-metal-alloy or panchaloha would be attached to the black thread that is worn around their waists, on the 28th day.