Colour boosts brain performance and receptivity. And like most of the people, I have tendency to see whatever is bright and colorful.The beautiful bright flowers and various colours of a rainbow always grabs our attention. For similar reasons the hoardings, banners and advertisements on the roadsides are in bright colours.
Similarly, the masks of metals, wood and clay or mud with vibrant bright colours always attracts me.
I have this huge collection of masks in my study room and where ever I go , the first thing I look for is the masks, as they are not only act as attractive show-pieces, but also depicts and express the culture of a particular region/place.
As a child, I have seen my grandparents getting dark, bright and colorful masks resembling demons with tongue out and hanging them on top corner of the house.
I had then asked my grandfather , why do we do so? He told me, it keeps the evil spirits and jealous people away. I was not convinced . The mask was so evil and scary, that the thought of spoiling the look of our newly built house by hanging the mask bothered me.
My grandfather understood my worries and elaborately explained to me the reason behind hanging the masks.
His explanation was, that when we, hang masks on top of the house , people tend to look at the mask rather than the house, so it is believed to save the house from evil and jealous eyes.
I agreed to his explanation to some extent but at the same time I felt that we always only see what our eyes want to see.
For example: a house or a thing may appeal to the person owning it but it may not appeal to other people.
Recently, when I went to roadside vendors near Sarojini nagar ,to buy earthen pots for my plants, my eyes caught sight of two young boys selling these pots ,their parents had gone for lunch and they were acting as the caretakers of the shop and yes they too had put a mask on top of their shop and had fresh mask pieces for sale put in the front row.
These two boys were around 5 to 7 years old. They were wearing shabby and torn clothes.
While I was in the process of selecting pots, all the sudden there came a bike with 3 grown-up boys, probably in their late teens. They parked their bike right infront of the colourful masks and got down.
They were also equally shabby , but the moment they arrived , the two young boys selling earthen stuff kept on gazing at the folks from the bike without blinking their eyelids.
The two boys in the shop watched the boys smoke and I could see the admiration in their eyes.
The boys from the bike finished smoking and pushed off.
Seeing all this I felt pity for their state of mind. There were people coming as customers to their shop from all levels of society, from mediocre to rich, parking their luxurious cars on one side, with expensive mobile phones in their hands.
But none of them caught the kids attention , but the ragamuffins whom they admired and wanted to copy, and smoke like them.
These two young boys saw what they wanted to see.
It’s ironical that the masks, the ‘ Nazar Battus ‘, said to act as a protective shield against evil and prying eyes; kept in the front row of their shop , could not save them from evil thoughts and people.