Vyas, his cousin Adi, and I had a super time in the school Carnival – a good package of games, music, and food. The two boys got in and out of queues for every game and were on their own and I sat wondering when they grew up! I treated myself for a simple mehendi on my palms at one of the stalls by a student of std.11 while the two were busy trying their luck at various stalls:)

Adi came up to me after a little while saying he wanted to visit the ‘Kili josiyam’ stall. Yes, there was this counter with kili (parrot), eli (rat), and kai-regai (palmistry) josiyam. Piqued by the presence of such stalls in a school Carnival, I accompanied the two to that counter, and was surprised to see the venue flocked. I asked Vyas if he wanted to try too.. “No maa! They’ll simply lie. A hoax!” Aah, same blood! Yes baby, you are right. “Adi, are you sure you want to try it?”. He said, “Yes maami, just like that please.” I waited to see what the fore-seers were telling the other kids- a random assortment of lives of a million people packed, compartmentalized in about 2 dozen cards and a parrot/rat to pick!

The standard message seemed to be- Study well. That is the only thing which is going to take you places. Ok, no damage, though only the obvious was stated. While we were waiting, I saw another girl, around 15 yrs old, whose palm was being read and she was crying buckets. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but the girl was engaged in an animated conversation with a woman wielding a small wand like object! I wanted to pull back Adi but the parrot had already pulled out his card:) I turned to see if I should go and tell the girl to scoot, and fortunately she had left!

Two more girls, almost the same age as the other girl, had queued up to that counter and were trying to decide on which josiyam to go with. I told the girls that they’d be wasting their time and that I just saw a girl leaving the counter sobbing profusely. “Ayyo, we wanted to have some fun aunty. We don’t want to pay twenty rupees for someone to make us cry.” They saw the Mehendi on my palms and decided that either a Mehendi or the Saravana Bhavan stall would be a better option and scooted off. As I was busy sharing some gyan with the girls, I missed the prophecy for Adi. When I looked him askance, he said, “Nothing much. Chumma. Nanna padikanummnu sonna” (He said I must study well). “Padikalenna, avan onnum kadayadhunnu sonna” (he will be nothing if he does not study), concluded Vambu-Vyas, who had been witnessing the josiyam:)

Adi won in 3 games while Vyas got none:) So he said, “amma, let me win something nice for my tummy at least!” His priorities!

A road not taken

I decided to unravel the mysteries of life when I was in high school. Was told that the maze of lines on our palms is the key to our life. Each line in the network speaks volumes of how the events and people in our lives fit in. They call it science. And there are scores of books that you can use to learn on your own. Easy. I borrowed a couple of books on palmistry and numerology and studied intensely along with another friend.

After two weeks of labor, I felt elated at having acquired a new trait and reassured myself that the learning will not go a waste. Practice will perfect the skill. There started my sojourn as an active ‘palm-reader’. My cousins, their spouses, friends from school and college became my ‘clients’.

My predictions were very specific and tailored. I told only what my clients wanted to hear. I would not divulge anything negative until asked for. I did not charge a single penny because I’d decided to keep palm-reading as a hobby with zero commercial angle to it. I was nice that way. At college, friends used to flock to my bench during breaks and much was discussed on two specific abstractions- love life and career path!

There were a few rules though. 1. I would not read the palm of the same person ever again. 2. I cannot guarantee that everything I say comes true. 3. I will not give any recommendations on averting or reverting situations:) These rules impressed my clients and I came across as someone genuine. In a world where every astrologer/palm-reader/swami-jis suggested expensive ‘pariharams’, here was someone saying you cannot change your fate; you’ve got to face it! It was an active year with lot of predictions and reading into people’s future and dig-ups into the past!

Once, during a break, a classmate walked up to me after a week of hibernation and shook my hands and hugged me. “Daala”, (that is how she used to call me), “chance-e ille (no chance)! I was nearly electrocuted when I was pressing my clothes. The electric shock threw me some meters away!” I asked her if the concussion was so bad that she was shaking hands and hugging me to share such a news. “Arre yaar, you had predicted that I might meet with an accident in a week. So I bunked college and decided to stay home the whole week to avoid being run-over. And then I meet with an accident inside the safety of my own house!” Apparently, it was my ‘soothsaying’ that did it and not a high voltage or bad iron-box that caused the leak! And here was a dud congratulating me when she should have bashed me up!

A close acquaintance quit his 10 yr old job with a good company to start something on his own. When I met him after 2 months into the venture, he appreciated me on accuracy of my prophecy! It turns out that I had predicted he’d quit his job with a public sector and be on his own after he crosses a particular age. I however do not recall saying anything like that, or maybe I did. I said too many things to too many people! Coming to this prophecy, he gave up the business after a couple of years and is back to salaried job and am not sure if this was a part of the prediction too!!

Met a friend of my cousin’s after 6 or 7 months of ‘reading’ her palm. Thanks to my cousin for introducing me to her friend as an ace palm-reader. Much had happened in these months. She lost her only brother, all of 17 years old, to a freaky road accident where there was not a single injury or bruise on his person. Just the shock of being knocked down by a speeding bike right outside his house did him in! And she ended-up relating it to a fancy statement from me on something unexpected happening in the months to come. Whether I’d explicitly mentioned as something ‘unpleasantly’ unexpected would happen, she could not recall.

On the day of the fare-well meet at school, I challenged a classmate that he’d go on to do his Bachelors in Science and then do his Masters in Computer Applications and not a B.E as he had intended. He did prove me right! And he was generous enough to give me credit for reading his future correctly!

Today I realize that the single biggest mistake of my life was not tapping into the huge opportunity that came my way begging. With so many people to vouch for my strength, I could have demanded prime air-time on all the television channels, set up a website with ‘daily forecast’ for the criss-cross lines, become an advisor to a top politician or actor, print volumes and series of books with interesting anecdotes (not the silly types in ‘Oh Mind Relax Please!’), tie up with famous gemologists, numerologists, nameologists for workarounds, and much much more. The possibilities thrill me! A fool really to have missed the bus!

When I told these people and many others that I’d pulled a fast one and that I did not know palmistry or any such crap, and this was proof enough that it is not a ‘science’ and that people are taken for a ride, they refused to believe me and still think its a ploy to not get me read their palms again! Anything you say with a pinch of ‘negative’ salt and ‘suspense’ masala, people love to devour!

‘It is in the mind’, I say. “You said it is in the palm”, people remind me. “I lied to you. It was supposed to be fun”, I plead. “You are lying now. How come the sayings came true?” they ask. “I leave it to you. Only dont brand me a witch. That is the fee I ask!”. I have been paid that, thankyou!

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