Taking my superstitions to the next level.
I grew up amidst varied superstitions that are characteristic of an Indian household - don’t let a black cat cross your path, make a wish on a mail van, don’t wash you hair on Tuesday and Saturday - the list was endless. Of course, I was never stupid enough to step out with dirty hair (God forbid there’s a party). But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fall for the mail van theory. If I could wish for a guy and have it manifest, hey I wasn’t going to let that go.
India is the melting pot of superstitions
I believe there is such a thing called luck and so I’ve consciously chased it. In fact not only have I chased it, I’ve also tried my best to figure what this luck is going to bring. Enter Astrology. A science that can predict the future.
Going through a rather rough phase in my life, I decided to consult an astrologer. I was truly eager to find out what lay ahead in life and love. Who doesn’t desire a perfect family portrait? I wanted to find out if I was ever going to have one. Keeping it simple, I contacted an astrologer in my neighbourhood - the online reviews looked fine and I had often seen young girls make a beeline for the place.
My fortuneteller Ashok, and don’t miss the peacock feathers!
Pandit Ashok Gautam based in New Delhi was going to be my private soothsayer, and although I was nurturing a hidden agenda, I thought it best to leave my most important question for the end of the meeting. First, I wanted answers about my career, my past, my future and beyond.
I entered Ashok’s clinic (they are kind of like certified psychiatrists who have time-travelled into the past) and waited there with nail-biting restlessness, yearning to see how this was going to unfold. I wondered about the many misgivings of his profession, the lies, the manipulation, the cons, and I considered calling his bluff, but then I decided to give him the benefit of doubt and geared up.
Prescription for a better future
Our conversation started with Ashok asking me for the basics - birth time and place. I replied quickly but mentioned that I didn’t need a kundli. Gauging my impatience he asked straight away what I wanted to know. “Let’s talk about health first,” I said. To this, his remarks were - “low immunity and haemoglobin”. I thought to myself, “Hah hustler! You’re wrong!” I had never had low haemoglobin and immunity was something that diminishes with age anyway. I guess my apprehensions were apparent on my face because after a few moments he added, “Some things will happen with age.”
I asked him about my mental health. He replied patiently saying he was coming to that. To begin with, he pointed out that I had “a tendency to feel low”. I paid no heed to that until he pointed out that this ‘tendency’ was going to be life-long.
Pulling out a pen and paper, Ashok informed me that he was going to delve into the negatives and positives, and asked me what I wanted to know first. I went for the former.
“You have low immunity which can lead to depression. You need to meditate and chant regularly,” he said in a grave voice and continued, “Your IQ level is very high.” Wait, how is that a negative? My obvious bewilderment showed and Mr. Shrink-from-the-future resumed talking, elucidating the vagaries of high IQ. “Higher IQ means you can process more than other people and therefore your thoughts are more than what the mind can hold. This is what makes it difficult for you to adjust with people and causes your mind to spiral out. You need to slow down.”
Woah!! How on earth did he know that? Never mind, moving on.
“My advice to you is to not react to everything,” said Ashok and went on to talk about my lucky numbers. I wasn’t interested so I asked him to skip it. He then said my life-long profession is teaching and I correct him saying its writing. “As close as it gets,” he replied. Is it?
GIF source: giphy.com
Finally, I broach matters of the heart. “Will I get married?”
Quizzing me about my personal life, Ashok hints at possible trouble in paradise. I told him that my marriage had only lasted 6 months, and that I was single. Well, kind of. He then asks if I am seeing someone, to which I said I was but it wasn’t serious. “You will get married between September 2016 and September 2017 and you already know him.” I didn’t know anyone I thought I could marry but he assured me of the positives of this second attempt. I found myself getting excited about the possibility of a ‘love by chance’.
Curious, I asked how many kids I would have. “None,” Ashok sighed.
(Maybe the biological clock has ticked.)
“How long will I live?”
“You have a decent life span, and will lead a peaceful life ahead. You’ll cross 60.”
That’s decent? Hell people live till 90.
Ashok tells me that 2007-14 had been a harrowing time for me and that I was disconnected during the period. He was right because, I was clinically depressed, I used to have hallucinations and it really was a very difficult period of my life. He was also right about the fact that I had regained my strength and sanity and looked forward to the future.
“Will I be rich?” I inquired with twinkling eyes.
“No great bucks,” he replied and suggested that I should try to adjust with my surroundings and get a full-time job.
I am however, really happy doing what I do and I like doing it at my own will and in my own pace so, I replied politely saying I’d think about it.
We discuss a few more things and our session ends. He asks me if I have ever seen a peacock feather. Another superstition? He tells me that peacock feathers are good for health and I should keep some by my bedside.
Peacock feather for health. Image source: featherplace.com
As I leave I wonder if he really told me anything I didn’t already know. Or helped clear my head in any way. Or predicted my future. And I realized I was as confused and clueless as I was before spending Rs.2000. Not only that. Even an Astrologer who was supposed to answer questions based on Science and facts, was urging me to believe in the power of a feather to improve my health.
I stopped short of walking under a ladder. Phew!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101india.com
By Pooja Bhatia
Cover photo Credit: ilcolibri.altervista.org