This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.

             Are  you really allergic to the figure Thirteen?  According to my information, people in most parts of the world consider 13 as an  unlucky fellow. Some people wouldn't start any new venture on  the  13th. And  a few wouldn't undertake any journey on this so called inauspicious day nor  hold any kind of function in their home.  India is  no exception to this rule   Although  we don't know how  and when it  originated, many Indians as of now  treat  this number as a  bad one.

             If we treat thirteen as a disastrous number, what do we do on the  13th of every month? Or, what shouldn't we do on this unlucky day?  Lock ourselves in the house and don't go for work also? Or, don't cook and eat?  And starve the whole day?  No, no. We should not dub this day as  a monster of sorts at all.  It's like any other day of the month. The Sun rises and sets on the 13th too. And all of us find ourselves hale and hearty at the end of the day too.           


           Take my case.  I was born  on 13th. I have lived all these years celebrating  my birthday annually  on the 13th.   Therefore, shouldn't  I bless this day and accept it as my luckiest day?  There are twelve such wonderful days in an year. For me,  it is ‘Lucky 13" and never "Unlucky 13."


          Totally brushing aside all my arguments, John, my close friend  blurted out,  "No, nothing doing. I am  very  wary of this stupid day.  I keep my fingers crossed from morning till night  lest any bad omen creep into my system and put it out of action…... ." 


         "No, no John.  Don't curse this wonderful  day.  Nothing untoward  ever  happens to any one.  It's a normal day like others. Don't get superstitious about it."


         Just to prove the point or  to disprove the  theory, I  immediately  scribbled  an article titled "Thirteen".  I had put in it whatever came to my mind, relevant or irrelevant , but mostly the attractive side of the day.   I had also mentioned that  any notion that it's an ominous  day must be driven out of the mind immediately. In passing I had said that as far as I was concerned , 13  was my ‘lucky number'.


           The article read well.  I was extremely  pleased with the get up.


           I wasn't new to writing as such;  had been into the art for quite some  months  by then. Though several of my contributions had attracted   ‘rejection slips' from the editor, some had managed to find themselves in print.


          I dashed off the piece straightway to a newspaper.  And sure came the reply exactly after 13 days.  It was a  standard and beautifully worded rejection slip.  But the editor had penned a line  in his own handwriting.  "Sorry, I read it on a 13th."


          "See, see!" John sneered at me sarcastically. "Didn't I tell you it is an horrible day?  To top it all , you go and title the darned  essay  as ‘Thirteen' ?"


          That was some 30 years back. Presently I am an acceptable writer.  Most of my contributions are retained  by the editors for publication.   Editor of The  Cheers too publishes all my articles.  But no one seems to read them at all.  Many of the published material have attracted  only  ‘zero number' readers.  So, I  have now begun to wonder  if  number Thirteen has something to do with it !!!


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                                                               Israel Jayakaran [Sweet grace]







                                                                      Israel Jayakaran,  Chennai.  India