My Cultural Currency: Superstitions in my genes

Illustration by Maggie Miller
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By Tanya Madhani, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 20, 2015

I have a confession to make: I’m a little superstitious.

I check my horoscope every week on Seventeen Magazine's website and trust the failing teen publication’s judgment a bit too much.

The people you’ll be getting close to will be pals.

Blindly trusting the wisdom of some editorial intern, I prepare to become friends with certain individuals I’ve been talking to lately.

I sound insane, I know. But believe me, it doesn’t stop there.

My watch is my comfort object and, if I don’t have it, my life is completely out of order. It’s not a fancy watch by any means. It’s dark and round-faced with a thin band — unnoticeable and insignificant at first glance.

Every morning, before leaving home, it is the last thing I put on. In my mind, the only way I’m physically able to walk out the door is if it’s on my wrist. Leaving for class or work without it just feels wrong.

The second-hand stopped working about a year ago and the minute hand lags by three minutes, so it’s not in the best of conditions.

But this watch brings me good fortune. I’ve worn it to every ACT test I took in high school and it was permanently attached to my wrist when I was writing my application to the University.

I believe the fact that I’m writing this column for The Michigan Daily is proof — kind of — that this watch works.

As a 21st century college student, it’s a bit humiliating to admit that I’m willing to suspend some disbelief when it comes to horoscopes and good-luck charms. But I guess it’s genetic.

My grandparents regularly consult a “professional” astrologist themselves. He visits their home once a month, debriefing them on what course their lives, their childrens’ lives and their grand-childrens’ lives will take.

Now I’m not completely crazy, I’m not willing to put misguided faith onto the alignment of the Universe.

The astrologer told me five years ago when I last visited my grandparents that I will become a scholar. Now, I don’t know if the stars weren’t aligned in a perfect semicircle or Venus was blocking Mercury’s shadow, but there is a possibility that the astrologer’s calculations were incorrect; I barely passed Calculus last semester.

My grandparents aren’t fools. Their astrological consultations are rooted not in a deeply held belief of the occult, but in a faith.

“Good omens are important,” I remember my grandmother telling me. “They show you the right way and help guide you.”

Sure, I didn’t end being a scholar, but I still think about the astrologer’s prediction and in some way it wills me work harder on my schooling.

My tendency to take Seventeen’s cautions into consideration is not only because of my grandparent’s influence. By keeping track of my horoscope and wearing my watch I feel like I’m a bit more in-control of my life.

If I can foresee the challenges I may face and — thanks to the assistance of Seventeen— if they do turn out to be true, I’m comforted by the fact that I’m ready to face them.