India used to be known as a land of snake charmers and astrologers. Most of us at one point or another have had their fortune told. When i was younger and creating ruckus at home, my mum sent my thumb impression to someone in Chennai hoping to find out when i would settle down. What was surprising was the guy was almost spot on in terms of something that he told me. He did say i was 6 days shy of my birthday and i was already working etc. He also told me the nature of work that mum and dad did. The part that was fascinating was that the guy said i would go ahead and study engineering. At that time i thought he was an idiot turns out that it played exactly like he said. The other parts of his predictions haven’t come true yet, some of them have been wrong. I guess it happens sometimes even to the best of us.
Near my old house in Frazer town there used to be this one guy who sat by the side of the road with a parrot in a cage and a deck full of cards. He practiced the art of Kili joshyam ( Parrot Astrology). His parrot used to quickly come out the cage when someone asked the parrot to read their future, pick up a card and run back in. The parrot was amazing and would sometimes pick up a card, put it aside and pick up another card. The guy would read out what the card said. He would charge about 5 Rs. for it. Those days we used to be worried about passing by him. There were rumors about how he would cast spells and take away your money or kidnap you. I guess as kids you believe anything that is said.
Years went by and slowly the parrot guy had disappeared. I guess with time some trades are lost. Yesterday i had gone with a couple of friends to Tiruvanamalai to this really nice Shiva temple. One of the things you do in a temple is go around the hill which has 8 other temples. The walk is about 14 kms and through a small piece of forest. Every full moon night a million people go around the hill. There are a bunch of people who serve food, water, butter milk (really useful, its so hot) and a bunch of shops selling pretty much everything. We found a bunch of snake charmers and fortune tellers. We spotted a fortune teller with a parrot. Noel pitched the idea of getting our fortunes read. He just wanted to see the parrot and so did i. It was 20 Rs a person so we dint really mind doing that.
The parrot was brilliant. The rascal was really well trained. He quickly came out of his cage, got a card and ran back in. The fortune teller was decent, dint tell me anything i dint know. Lots of things were general. She told me that money to me was like water and i dint care how i normally spend it. I mean that she could have noticed since we came to her. Anyways after a while of reading of of our fortunes she talks to another friend who appears intrigued. She spends a lot of time with him, looking at his palm etc. At the end of that she gives him something to keep and tells him that his life would change. She wants to speak to me after that. She starts with ” Do you want to know whats stopping you from doing the stuff you want to do”. To me thats a trigger, its like a self help book con. She says for 500 Rs. she will perform a set of pooja’s that will help. I had to say NO, Thank you to her. Over the course of years i have come across lots of fortune tellers, sadhu’s etc. Some of them wanted money and i have an alert system inbuilt that tells me when someone is doing that. My friend got yelled at enough by be for wasting 500 Rs. I talked about it till be started to drive back.
Sometimes we try everything. My mum did try this to get me to behave. I understand why he tried it. When i was younger, my neighbor after hearing the fortune teller story told me something that i can never forget. He went on to say ” No matter which temple you go to, which fortune teller you meet , you have to put in the effort for the result you want”. Having said that i loved the parrot, smart little fellow. Maybe the next time i can ask them if i have to spend money and he would tell me to shut up and keep walking.