Talking about the floods in Kerala and her family’s escape with minimum damage and other people’s experiences , we spent about two hours, sitting opposite each other in the side seats, when all of a sudden the train slows down with the sound of some metals scrapping against each other and comes to a stop.
The lady stood up looking nervous and asked me what was that, accident ? I stood up and she held me, looking around
I made her sit back on her seat and told her to relax, the bogie we are in, is an old one and such sounds are expected from Indian Railways. I am a frequent traveller, this is normal. The train started moving smoothly after an initial jerky start.
I told her, see, nothing will happen.
“I got scared”, she said.
“That I saw, what scared you ?”
“I got scared, I thought its over”.
“You may have sounds and jerks “, I tried to pacify her, it wasn’t working, she continued to be nervous.
“Tell me why are you scared, look around, hardly anybody has noticed, and you are thinking it’s over “. I continued and laughed. She returned a nervous laugh.
Then she asked me “do you believe in astrology ?”
“There was a time I did not believe in astrology” I said
” Now ?”
” Now, I do not believe astrologers, about astrology, I have stopped disbelieving it”.
She looked confused.
I am planning to study astrology and criticise. What I am doing now
is not correct, without knowing anything about it, I am laughing at it. By the way why did you ask ?
An astrologer told me I should be careful on the first of every Malayalam month. Today is first.
A gypsy had also told me, I may die on a first, so to be on the safe side, do not travel on first.
” We follow the English calendar and I can’t keep track “, she said.
” The first of a Malayalam calendar month may fall on any date between 14 and 18 of the English calendar month”, I said.
“When they booked the ticket, we did not realise, it is first”.
I said, no body can predict death.
I was thinking of how to get this lady out of this rut.
I did not want to tell her, what an atheist had told me, God, astrology and all such things are bullshit, made for making money and controlling the population. I had told him, I do not know the truth to argue or discuss, people are using these beliefs as a mental anchor to find some relief or solace because they are not strong minded as you are to deal with life situations. I would let what ever works.
There was an old trick, I used to do in my younger days, since I did not have the looks, Palm reading, without knowing palmistry. I told some one that she will get a job by next month 10th and she got a job in a bank in the first week. Out of many prediction I had made, a few clicked and there were people searching for me. The job person, I got married to, is another story. I predicted her marriage, when it was not happening, I had to step in and make it true, to save the prestige of my prediction. Just kidding, I don’t mind adding this to my list of reasons for marrying to make it a long one.
I told this nervous lady, can I see your hand, I know palmistry. She put her hand out and I asked her, you have no objection if I hold your hand to read.
She said ” no”.
I had seen the names and ages of my co-passengers in the reservation chart. This is mainly to help any senior citizen or someone who cannot go to the top berth, to exchange with the lower berth which is in my name. I am still healthy enough to go up, I mean to the top berth.
I held her hand, and looked at the longest line in her Palm ( and I don’t know the life line from the heart line) and told her ” you have lived only half your life.” ” See this line, at this point it’s around 43 to 44 years ( as per the chart she is 45), and its only half way. You will live up to 90. How old are you now ?
“I am 45″, she said a bit excitedly.
” Ah, there you are, my reading is very close to 45″.
” Look at this point, it’s true you will die on the first day of the first Month and that will be in your 90th year”. ” The astrologer is right about the first day of the month”. ” You will become a grandmother at the age of 50″. ” You will fall sick next year, a week’s hospitalisation, you will be fine after that”. ” your next serious illness will be one month before your time to go”. ” Your children will give you a good time. ” Your son will create doubts in your mind, you will worry about him for a year and then he will do well”. ” You will have some minor illness on and off and it will happen around mid of the English months, which is around the first of the Malayalam month”
“Like what” she asked ‘Nothing to worry “,.I told her ” minor illness like fever, cold etc , mostly around the first, not of every month, one or two months in a year,”. ” Your floods happened around the mid August, with minor damage”. “You see, that is the first these people saw in your stars “.
” So, don’t worry”.
” Generally, when you are nervous, just take some names of a Devi and pray” and then I pretended to take a closer look at her end and said ” wait, you should take Krishna’s name, that’s more suitable for you.”
” These names have certain vibrations which works well with our mind, Krishna will work for you”.
Then she said ” We are Christians. Our church has told not believe in astrology and other Gods. But I believe”.
” Oh Blimey”, I thought. A quick thinking and I said, it’s ok, you can utter Christu, sounds very close to Krishna, see Chris is the important part of the sound”. I continued, ” look, God will not change anything, even your date of death, uttering these names will reduce your fear, so stop worrying “.
She looked quite relieved, the customisation worked, after dinner I told her “you can take the lower berth, I will move up”.
“Thanks”, she said.
Next day, I got out of the train at 4.30 in the morning and she was fast asleep, her destination was Pathanamthittta, another three hours, I think and the date had changed to second.
7 thoughts on “Beautiful lies”
Beautiful lies used for the benefit of the listener!So it is not a lie!
The trick is tell them what they would like to hear 🙂
Good someone has explained the psychology behind astrology…
You have enough courage…
Uneducated and even educated fall to d prey of gypsies, astrologers etc. We all need that little motivation to overcome our fears. As usual enjoyed reading.
We are by default irrational and fearful of sudden surprises of any kind. We feel helpless in avoiding those future unpleasantness. We would like to know what will befall us so that if not physically we may be better prepared to deal with it.
Human creativity flows both ways. Palmistry is one that goes the wrong way. Palmistry may be the first among tools to predict the future but a slew of them followed and you can practice any of them as you did on the train. The presence of things like kundali makes the art earn a higher degree of trust of the client (since every one on the opposite side is a client). In your case you played a psychologist using palmistry as a possible placebo.
Is astrology harmful (leaving aside going for it costs you a penny)? If the prediction is good you may be less motivated to try since the good fortune is about to happen whether you earn it or not. Indeed, looking at the good the astrologer told you could slacken you and destroy any chances you may have of indeed making the future bright. Inversely, a dire prediction (both the happy and sad predictions are peddled in equal measure) may (but not necessarily) force you to work harder to stave it off and indeed bring you success in what you are doing. The first one with good prediction can thus be harmful, the latter a blessing in disguise.
As children we are not trained in the power of self and of self alone. That can help a great deal in keeping one away from others who tells us to believe in other forces and win their favor. lacking self respect people fall for such advice from others.
Dear Dr Wagle
Rational lecture never works on people for whom mental anchor is their belief system. As you suggest, children should be trained in the power of self. Then who will bell the cat, when God and religion are big business. I used Palmistry as a psychological tool to reduce the fear of the date, not a total eraser.
Very tactful in handling the situation. I appreciate your presence of mind. Usually fear is contagious and we stop thinking rationally. Good job.