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About this artwork

It is so common to find a string of lemons and chillies hanging on the doorway of shops, offices and homes. Doing this is supposed to ward off the evil eye and bring in good luck. People usually thread one lemon along with seven chillies. This ‘totka’ is said o bring prosperity. It is changed every Friday. It is also believed that if one steps on one of the discarded totkas, one invites the evil influence that the charm has gathered. The idea behind hanging such a charm is that it keeps away ‘Alakshmi’ or the goddess of poverty who is considered inauspicious in Hindu mythology. Alakshmi is said to like sour and spicy things, so the lemon and chillies satisfy her and she does not enter the home or the establishment. In a way then, this charm is also a sort of appeasement to a goddess.

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