Short Stories

How nazar lagna or evil eye works in India?


Anjani Haripriya Vishnubhatla

Evil eye or nazar lagna is one big issue that Indian households are afraid of. They know exactly what this ‘nazar lagna’ leads to. Ammi says nazar is real but you never know what beliefs are and what are facts when it comes to something that Ammi says.

When Didi (Elder sister) used to come home late and tired after partying, Ammi said “Haye, nazar lag gayi meri bachi ko” (she caught evil eye) instead of letting her take rest. She swiftly took laal mirch (dried red chillies) and namak (salt) in her fist and make rounds in the air. She whispered something into the fists and threw it away from our house. Nobody knew why it was done.

nazar lagna or evil eye

When Abba (father) came home with less profits, she always blamed it on the evil eye and never on bad circumstances. Dadi (grandmother) says all the neighbours are jealous of her son being successful, so they cast an evil eye on him. I still don’t understand why jamindar (land-owners) aunty would be jealous of Abba who hardly earned a few bucks per day.

Even when Dadi coughed, Ammi would be sick scared that people hoped that the old woman dies. It’s just a usual cough. She would still quickly run into the kitchen and fill her fists. She would do the same thing, run it down her arms, rotate fists clockwise & counter clockwise, whisper into the fists and throw it all away.

Although, The chillies & salt (sometimes fire) were said to drive away all negativity in the environment around us. As cool as it sounds, science claims that there is no such thing as an evil eye and thus depicted the existence of gypsies to describe the evil eye.

I never understood how bad luck was related to The evil eye. I never understood the gypsy doom that everybody has in their mind, believing that a certain someone is definitely going to hope that something bad happens to you. The dark side of this drama is that we fail to reciprocate the vibe of that certain someone due to unusual beliefs.

The brighter side of this is that we do not blame our ill luck and demotivate ourselves. Although we blame random people for the situation, it is rather easier to put the load on ‘people’, whoever they are, than to carry the weight of bad luck on our shoulders. It makes me stay up late sometimes, the way chillies and salt take away the badness of evil eye. Ammi never tells me what she whispers to her fists before she throws the chilli-salt far away from home.

I think nazar is funny. When I was so mischievous in childhood, Ammi used to wish that I never catch nazar. Later, when I got a paralytic attack, none of her chilli-salt recipes worked. Now that I recovered and I’m writing for a living, but she keeps marking black dots on my manuscripts wishing that I don’t catch nazar and just keeps reminding me how Ammi always wants the best in reach for me. But I guess this nazar will always be a mystery for me.

Finally , If you need to cure the nazar lagna or evil eye, I suggest you read this really helpful article.


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I still don’t understand why jamindar (land-owners) aunty would be jealous of Abba who hardly earned a few bucks per day.


some people do not want others to be happy in spite of knowing that they themselves are doing better than the others.