Where Stars Rule Lives
Looking for a job? Searching for a matrimonial alliance? Want to pick the perfect stream in college? Falling ill too frequently? Have any and all of your questions answered in the mystical world of fortune-telling. Horoscopes, tarot cards, tea leaf readings, palmistry or crystal ball; each of these is capable of raising or crashing hopes. What is it about them that attracts us?
Ask anybody and they will tell you that horoscopes are all bunkum. That is, till they find themselves in a tight spot they can’t make a head or tail of. It takes little to turn into believers. At the very commencement of indecisiveness, we find ourselves making a beeline for the best astrologers in town. Even when we are in the midst of a financial crunch, we arrange for money to be paid to avail the services of astrologers and tarot card readers. Such is the magnetism for the art of prophecy that all reasoning fails us.
Visit an exhibition at any of the leading five-star hotels and you will find a space or two reserved for tarot card readers, crystal ball readers, palmist and the like. At a sitting costing around a grand, it doesn’t come cheap and along with the food, dresses and shoes that we splurge on, it has become a part of life. A lifestyle choice that mandates updates about what the future holds for us, ever so often.
It has almost become an obsession to consult a numerologist or astrologer before a wedding to match the horoscopes and judge compatibility. If a successful marriage could be decided by the movements of the planets all weddings that take place after matching horoscopes should be blissful and vice-versa. But that is not so. Should a marriage encounter rough weather, we again rush to the nearest soothsayer. He prescribes a list of remedial measures to be taken which we follow blindly. The question is, if he had the power to foresee, why did he get it wrong in the first place?
The newspapers are full of reports about how tantriks and babas exploit people but we think it would not happen to us. After all we are educated, smart people who can tell who is genuine. Still, women get robbed of their jewels from their houses where they let such people smooth talk them into believing that they can turn their fortunes around. Though the fortunes do turn around, they don’t turn the way we expect them to.
What begins as a teenage fascination involving asking questions from spirits summoned by an Ouija board becomes a lifestyle choice involving face readers and theta healers. While the effectiveness of these exercises is debateable and the root of their effect may lie more in psychology than in prophecy; we find it hard to kick this habit.
There are the selected few who do not demand a fee but will then guide you to a series of complicated rituals for which you will require their assistance for a handsome dakshina. It is relatively easy to fall prey when you follow the recommendation of someone who gives glowing reviews of their experience with the said fortune-teller. Once there, they spin their web of magic and you are unable to tell fact from fiction.
The number of people who believe in them far exceeds the naysayers. There are only a handful of these people who are not trying to fleece you and believe in what they do. When you find yourself hearing even three of the following statements, you know it is time to run—
· You are a self-made man (who wants to believe otherwise!)
· You trust other people very easily and they take you for a ride (everyone believes they have been short-changed by others)
· There is a strong possibility that someone close to you might die in the near future (You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that, it is always a possibility)
· You don’t get rewarded for the good that you do (if they were being rewarded, they would not be sitting in front of a fortune-teller)
· Your husband/wife doesn’t understand you (a universal truth!)
· You are very intelligent but you are not getting that job because one of the planets in your horoscope is not favourable (desperate attempt to make money out of a ritual)
· Money is a problem for you because of such and such deed in your past life (not only is he going to make you atone for the sins of this life, but also the past; wants more money)
· Someone has invoked the dark arts to harm you (use his assistance to counter it with an equally potent spell)
· Your kids health will always be a matter of concern for you (yes, last week it was the flu and this week he has conjunctivitis; but don’t all kids)
Most of us realise that they may not be able to help us but still seek their advice because we live in times when the stakes are high and being unsure could cost you. In our race to achieve everything that others around us have, we forget to stop and savour our blessings. In running after a mirage we cling on to straws of hope, however incredible they may be. When a fortune-teller shows us the way to end our miseries or garner riches, we let ourselves believe the most farfetched stories.
It is not just the simple village folk who open their palms and loosen their purse strings for palmists and astrologers, the urbane and chic fall for the fancier stuff like tarot cards, tea-leaf readings (?!), aura readings and runes. With optimised settings like, dimmed lights, chants playing in the background and incense wafting through the room, it does have a soothing effect on the nerves, if nothing else.
Although there is no harm in asking about the future per-se; the problem starts when we start believing in it enough to modify our course of action and alter our behaviour. If human intervention could help us lead the perfect life, would God be still around?
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