Nimbu-mirchi hangings have always fascinated me because of the colour combination of bright green and bright yellow. Even when I didn’t know that there is a religious significance, I liked the bright yellow-green combination. What intrigued me was that it could be found anywhere and everywhere – on a vehicle, and outside a shop being two most common spots.
With time, I understood the significance of the same. Nimbu-mirchi is supposed to be a protection from bad omen. It keeps the negativity out. In India, most people tie a Nimbu-mirchi hanging whenever they buy something new to safeguard themselves. Whether this really works or not, faith in the totka is very strong and people adopt it. Also, it’s a cost-effective way to keep bad omen out.
The tradition began using seven chillies and one lemon. As per Hindu mythology, Goddess Lakshmi has a sister – Alakshmi who is the Goddess of poverty and suffering. People in the ancient India believed that Alakshmi would eat the Nimbu-mirchi and go away from their homes and lives, without causing harm. That is why they tied this totka or nazar battoo on their possessions. With time there are variations too for the same. Some hangings also have a coal tied at the bottom.
There is also a bit of science behind the lemon-chilli combination as they are known to be naturally occurring disinfectants that help purify the air around you – thereby aiding good health. But most people do it because other are doing it without really knowing the reason behind it. Logically, if we insert a thread into the lemon and chilli, we are helping some of their juices to come out which might also act as pest-repellents. These juices that were released may gradually vaporise into the air, thereby purifying it.
Well… whether science or religion, the fact is that nimbu-mirchi is here to stay for a long time in India. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the procsess of making the nazar-battoo called nimbu mirchi and keep the bad omen out of your life.