Cats and ladders

June 1, 2007

I once missed the opportunity of a lifetime because a black cat crossed my path as I set out. To avoid bad luck, I back-tracked, took a longer route and reached the job interview a good half hour late. Needless to say, I did not get the job.

I really had nothing against black cats. It’s just that each time they crossed my path, they seemed to presage punctured tyres, muffed meetings or quarrels with friends. I wasn’t superstitious, mind you. It’s just that along with black cats, I preferred to avoid the number 13, walking beneath ladders and sneezing before a departure. I also kept a birthstone in my pocket and touched wood for good measure.

Of course, in this world of science and logic, irrational concepts like mine were sadly outmoded. And I promised to overcome them. Gradually, time, the eternal healer, lent a hand. Meetings held on the 13th went off like clockwork; a sneeze before a departure signalled no disaster greater than an impending cold; and even black cats heralded no calamity.

My superstitions are now a thing of the past. I am truly cured — touch wood!


17 Responses to “Cats and ladders”

  1. Pradeep Says:

    I think these things work on a persona basis. I know a friend who before setting out for anything, goes back… though the common wisdom is that we should never go back when we are setting out on a good thing..

  2. praneshachar Says:

    “My superstitions are now a thing of the past. I am truly
    cured โ€” touch wood! “”

    touch wood! after the cure matte yakri idu matte persona perceptionaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    all these would have come into existance based on some incidenta happened to one isolated case. but over the period
    these have become a habit to some people. so many things which you can follow without any problem and also it will not hurt the sentiments of some one who is dear can be followed just like that but nothing at a cost of something leaving a chance and which U may not get it back.

  3. RK and superstitions… I laughed it out…tell me it was a post for fun and you didnt really believe and did that for interview?

  4. G’day from Australia,

    Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. As you probably know, I grew up in India and was surrounded by superstitions – but none of them filtered through to me!

    Interestingly enough, there is a segment in a chapter of my novel `Vegemite Vindaloo’ that deals with an interesting act of superstition – burning chillies to ward off evil spirits.

    Look forward to hearing from you.



  5. bachodi Says:

    Is this “sneezing before a departure” is common for all societies? Indian and western?

  6. TSSM Says:

    them poor animals,
    how do they feel,
    when we keep crossing them ?
    animal related superstitions,
    from cats, dogs, bees, et al,
    read about them at:

  7. Mysorean Says:

    Touchwood! LOL!

    Good post! Posted on Friday, the 1st of June. I hope that’s lucky! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Pradeep Says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog, for your kind words and for blogrolling me… I am blogrolling you as well.

  9. I’ve just added you to my own blogroll and also mentioned your blog on my latest post.



  10. Cuckoo Says:

    My first visit here.

    Liked your post on superstitions.

    Touchwood… Congrats !!
    Ha Ha… are you really cured of that ? I doubt.

    I am not at all superstitious… I only get up from right side from the bed,
    and I first put my right step while going out,
    if someone sneezes..I stop,
    I am scared of cats whether they black or any other colour,
    and so on…. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kidding… No superstitions at my end.

  11. rk Says:

    your first sentence says it all! ๐Ÿ™‚

    praneshachar and mohan,
    saar, naa kelavomme helodella seriously thamashegaagi.

    welcome to RwB. great to know that you grew up in india. is `Vegemite Vindalooโ€™ available in bangalore? would like to read it.

    Is this โ€œsneezing before a departureโ€ is common for all societies? Indian and western?
    i only know SNEEZING is common to both Indian and Western societies… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    thanks for the interesting link.
    went for a walk with my wife and son yesterday. a cat crossed us (fortunately, it was not run over by the bike that went screaming). coincidentally, my son wanted to see the cat, now standing on the other side of the road. and a young girl, busy chatting on a mobile, went ahead of us by which time the cat had hopped into a compound. and my son ordered us to move ahead!

    lucky-no avalakki-no, gottilla saar.

    pradeep and david,
    thanks a lot!

    welcome! thanks for your nice words. you have a great sense of humour!
    keep visiting.

  12. During my school days, I had a well followed superstitious custom, while going for any important work (like catching fish in Yediyur lake, playing cricket in Holy Saint field, going to watch movie in Shanti Talkies, going to swimming pool in Jayanagar etc;) we would not prefer to go in “three”. If we’re three we would either drop or add one. If all of three are best friends then, carry a stone along with us as a companion to make us as four.

    While in the case of cat, I still have instances of raging back the cat back before it could cross my way. But, this doesn’t happen everytime(this way cat takes dominance). If it crosses we’ll wait until somebody to cross by, if even a vehicle passes by then we would proceed.

  13. Naren Says:

    Cat Analysis… I never Believe in all these supersticious. Manytimes hav ignored cat. Nothing happened. But, during the event of important occasions, it really makes me to think twice!!!! My friend had an experience of slipping 3rd rank from First because of cat crossed during exam time!!!!

    13th friday of any month is considered as Danger!!! From hitler to Very recent Fire tragedy during the filming of Border in Delhi it has proved danger… But there are many other Worst situations during other days…

    So guys Just Njoy ur Life….

  14. latha vidyaranya Says:

    i agree every young girl or boy has a set of superstitions. i think girls believe more in spotting crows, that too fully black, and thinking, “one ofr joy”, two for love”, “three for letter”, “four for boy”, “five for silver”, “six for gold” etc and and boys believing in cat crossing their way foretelling failure in the job that they have set out to do. here we can see that the sentiments that are given importance by the girls and practicality by the boys. i think one grows out of these as one matures and understands that these are but coincidences. but there are people who are weakminded, perhaps, and who generally avoid undertaking any new responsibilities due to lack of confidence in themselves. for such people, shifting the blame on the cat or the owl is easier than accepting to complete the job, rain or shine. for them these superstitions are obsessions that they can not break out of. they are prone to negative thinking and expecting disasters to happen in their lives, always looking out for impending dangers. a few coincidental bitter experiences in the past would have reinforced their beliefs to such an extent that they are not ready to listen to any rational talks to overcome them. they need firm support of a friend who can remain non-judgemental and who can tell them that it is ok to have these beliefs as long as they do not upset one’s routine, but life can be more beautiful and challenging if one overcomes those superstitions.


  15. shark Says:

    “My superstitions are now a thing of the past.”

    when will I ever say this :-/

  16. Cuckoo Says:

    Ha.. Have I ? *looking utterly confused*

    Btw, Thanks for blogrolling me. I assure you of my frequent visits here.

    Keep posting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. rk Says:


    If all of three are best friends then, carry a stone along with us as a companion to make us as four.

    would the stone have a name?

    thanks for sharing your experiences.

    cat crossed and your friend slipped from 1st to 3rd rank? wonder what would have been the result if a clowder of cats had crossed his path!? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    very insightful comments. but many find it very hard to overcome superstitions. maybe they need counselling.

    those 6 words from you says it all!!

    thanks for the assurance.

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