Item and Context:
“Kadhan Aardh! (You will have bad luck!) I remember hearing this every time I tried to write something in water on the windows of our car. It was so unfair. Every other kid gets to write in their car window water without being cursed by their mother. Geez. I mean, I got so fed up that I just went and asked Mummy what was so bad about drawing a smiley face in fogged up windows. She told me it was something about water taking away your wishes because it’s so volatile and temporary or something like that. So yeah, don’t write anything in water…in front of your Indian mother.”
As the informant mentioned, water is a very ‘volatile and temporary’ substance, always changing form, flowing, and vanishing from sight. In Hindu tradition, water is considered a soul-cleansing substance. It takes away everything with it. In the case of the informant, he just drew a smiley face in the foggy window of his family’s car, but his mother’s superstitious concerns would be understandable if he had been writing some life’s goal or deep, dark wish in the droplets of water, and it trickled away, or evaporated, causing any hope of the wish coming true to dissipate into the air or percolate into the ground, far away from reach, with it.