From Foot, to Hand, to Head

Main piece:

If you touch paper with your foot, you must touch your hand to the paper, and the hand to the forehead.


Background information (Why does the informant know or like this piece? Where or who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them?):

It applies to most paper substances. It came via india culture school called Chinmaya Mission. Basically hindu Sunday school. It wasn’t an official lesson, it was just something people had to do. It’s really important to me. It’s the idea that paper is knowledge and you should never step on knowledge is the idea. It should be held in respect.


Context (When or where would this be performed? Under what circumstance?):

Anytime, unless it’s physically impositive. I;ve done it alone, I’ve done it around people. The only time I haven’t is when it’s extremely inconvenient. Like if a college room is strewn with tons of papers or something.


Personal Analysis:

We see many Indian students here at USC that are incredibly hard working, intelligent people- the informant included. I was interested to hear about this ritual, but was not surprised at its explanation. The informant holds academics in high regard, putting his focus on education much higher than some of his other extracurricular activities. His household, from stories he has told me before, held the same values.