On my way home from our recent holiday in Ibiza, I was sitting on the tube with a baby who’d been travelling all day in 30+ degrees of heat. She had about three seconds sleep but despite this, despite ALL this, she was stoically smiling. Myself and my husband were summoning the very last dregs of our own energy to keep the little one entertained on the busy tube ride home with a buggy, two MASSIVE suitcases, three pieces of hand luggage and a ukelele. Yes, a ukelele.
Turns out, we were doing a pretty damn good job. The Bear Cub was giggling and laughing so much that she was making even the most hardened and soulless of commuters smile. Eventually, I saw a spare seat and took it.
As I sat down, an elderly Indian lady turned to me. She looked me in the eye and it was as if time slowed. If it had been a movie, all the other tube noise would have been drowned out and her voice would have been clear, urgent and filled with portent urgency. She leaned in closely and grimly said, “She is a sweet baby but don’t let her laugh too much. You must not make her laugh too much.”
She was gripping my arm. Her serious eyes bore a hole in my soul. She was not mucking around. I was terrified. My husband was still half way down the tube manning the luggage and the Bear Cub was on my knee blithely grinning at this crazy lady and waving. Bless her.
In the blink of an eye the woman was gone. I was literally stone-still wondering what the fuck had just happened. My baby wasn’t supposed to laugh? Not only did I have to worry about tummy sleeping and formula feeding, now I had to worry about laughing too? What the fuck was going to happen if she laughed too much? Can they suffocate from laughing? Will it make them autistic?!
Thank the lord that there was another Indian lady sat next to me who turned immediately and said, “I can explain this. Don’t worry.”
She snapped me back into reality and explained that an old Indian belief is that if babies laugh too much, or attract too much attention to themselves, they can attract the evil eye; effectively they can become cursed. So, while the lady was terrifying and intense and probably a little bit bonkers, she had good intentions.
Just thought I’d let you know…just in case anything like this ever happens to you. (Not that it will because this shit only ever happens to me).
Oh, and by the way, the Bear Cub still laughs her socks off. No evil eyes yet.