The Evil Eye is synonymous with the city of Istanbul. Everywhere you go, you are surrounded with the evil eye staring at you. The Turkish believe it as the good “djinn” that protects you. I watch with fascination the Bosporous River flowing in the city and a nation that was given birth by their leader Attaturk. The man who freed women of Turkey from not having to wear the head scarf.
The bright coloured cafes, the brilliance of the turquoise, it is almost supernatural. No matter however radical and scientific you are towards your approach to life. The presence of the evil eye is flamboyantly displayed at all things of vanity. You find door knobs that stop the bad djinn from entering your home and spoiling the magnanimous bonhomie of a good home.
The bazaar is a treat for tourists where you find pendants, bracelets, earrings that you imagine are baptised with the dervishes to protect you, from the unknown fear lurking behind you.
The store that caught my fancy was run by a large, bright eyed middle age lady who had lamps, jewellery and the omnipresent evil eye staring back at you.
She had dark kohl rimmed eyes and a mop of matted hair and her hands were coarse and rough from work. As she adjusted the evil eye pendant on my neck. I told her I love Istanbul and the author Elif Shafak and her book ‘40 rules of love’ and Orhan Pamuk. She immediately broke into an indulgent smile and told me her story.
The evil eye was specially very important for me to have because I have a growing son who looks happy and my eyes sparkled with his happiness. She said her sole purpose in life is to make her daughter self sufficient and she secretly harboured anger towards her ex husband who had left her for a younger woman. The evil eye and her coffee kept her from not planning revenge because every time she gazed at her daughter. She saw the light from Rumi’s poetry. So, she keeps the evil eye always with her. To remind her of the good that gets buried under the bad at times of extreme loneliness.
I understood she too was grieving like you and me. Things we take for granted may not last forever. You keep the evil eye to ward off those niggling thoughts of the bad djinn. It always tries to overpower you with its utter strength of making you feel powerful.
I settled for a door hanging and a bracelet that had a bohemian look. The evil eye in between the leather and thread bracelet were a reminder that most things in life has many dimensions to it. Wherein lies the darkness also lies the light and we fragile human beings hold on to that perfect moment, where we go through the phases of abandon and again a deep sense of insecurity. It’s this play of the certain and the uncertain that makes us wonder if we have been able to overcome our petty thoughts.
I couldn’t contain my curiosity to learn what the supernatural was trying to tell me. So, with the bracelet around my wrist I know the bad djinn may just have to tussle hard with the good djinn. The evil eye has to keep the good-hearted sentiments always above my magnified sense of self.