4/5/09 was a weird day for me. The previous day, I was asked if I was coming to my maternal grandparents’ home which was in Tambaram. I said yes. But I was also said that I should have to drop by some other places before going to my grandparents’. I said yes to it too. It was me, my parents, my aunt (who came from Kerala to stay here till she feels like going back),an uncle (my neighbor), my grandma (paternal grandma), who went. We started at around 9. My father drove the car and it stopped nowhere until it reached Tambaram. I was not said where we were to actually “drop by”. The car took a left from the main road which led to a small street which again had so many other streets, like the branches of a Banyan tree, from which we reached at a place. My mother gave me a cynic look and told me to stay in car while they go and meet the person whom they are to meet. This was the “drop by” they meant. I said I cannot stay in car alone cuz that really irritates me, so I went along. We went into a house which had two floors; The person we were supposed to meet was on the first. There was a huge hall which had a sofa set to the left of the entrance. Left to the sofa set was a room which led to the toilet. We went inside to the hall and we were asked to be seated till he comes. I was wondering on who the “he” might be. I didn’t know. I thought we were in some distant relation’s place that I couldn’t recognize any of. Cuz they were talking Malayalam, which was my mother tongue. I was waiting for my parents to introduce me to the lady who asked us to be seated. But they didn’t. The lady was around 50 of age and was wearing saree and was quiet busy with her chores. I didn’t understand what work she had other than taking care of the guests. I was confused. We sat there for half hour. The lady was in the kitchen doing her household works and didn’t even care to come ask us for something to drink. Only then I realized they were not our relatives. I was sitting on the sofa which was to the immediate left of the entrance which showed the entire view of the hall. At the other end of the hall was a cot over which was a window which showed nothing but some houses far away. There was a television set to the right of the cot. There was a room next to the television which was the pooja room. To the left of the cot was a room which was the kitchen. To the right of me was a room which led to the toilet.
After half hour a man entered the room. He was around 60 of age. He was wearing a white shirt and white dhoti. He was very charming and energetic. He was clean shaved and was bald. He welcomed us and asked his wife to make some tea for us. That was when she realized that she had to make tea for guests who visit their home. We were served just tea, cuz I was expecting some biscuits with it. Maybe she didn’t bring biscuits cuz she was not ordered to bring them by the old man. The old man lifted one end of his dhoti, and with the other hand he trailed the hem of it till he reached the other end and made the two ends meet and tied it loosely, just below his waist, making his legs visible. We were having tea while the old man was looking at something outside the door, having his tea. After we had tea, he went inside the kitchen to keep the empty glasses while I took a brief look at what he was looking. Straight outside the entrance, there were steps which led down to a Tulasi plant which was planted on a little raised cement cube. It had triangle shaped cut at each side of the cube and the Tulasi was planted on top of it. I came back to my seat. The man came out from the kitchen and started talking about the history of Ramayana with no initial small talk. It was indistinct for someone to talk about the history of Ramayana to guests who knew anything about it to know its history and origin. Especially me. I looked askance at him as he droned about it. Then he shifted the topic to something else which I had no clue what it was. It was all myth. I had no clue where I am and why the hell I was there. I looked at my parents and they managed to hold a I-can-understand-what-the-hell-you-are-talking-about look at him. My aunt looked at me and smirked instantaneously. The man disappeared into the pooja room when I asked my mom what the hell was happening. She didn’t tell me and asked me to go be in the car till they come back. I said it was ok for me to be here rather than being there alone.
We were sitting like this- I was sitting in a sofa, which is for one person, which was placed at the immediate right to the entrance. Next to me was a sofa which holds three person in which my mom, my aunt and my grandma was sitting. Next to it was a sofa, like mine, in which my father was sitting. To the left of the entrance was a small dining table which had four chairs. One of them was now occupied by my uncle.
The old man came out from the pooja room and walked straight to my father and looked at him. “Everything will be ok” he said.
“What?” I said to myself.
“Everything will be ok. It would take few days for you to get on track. You don’t have to worry about anything. What has to happen, must happen. God is there with you” he said.
Only then I realized that he was a seer. My parents knew I would get mad if I was taken to places like this. ‘Oh, That’s why I was asked to stay in car’, I thought to myself. I hate these people- seers, ascetics and people of that kind. I gave a very bad look at my mom who gave me back a regretful look. My parents never used to believe people like this. Someone must have told something about this man which made them want to see him. But I just wanted to see what this man was up to. I controlled my anger and appeared calm to see what he was going to do. He went inside again and came out with a small plastic container which had some powder in it. He walked to my father, held the plastic bottle close to my father’s mouth while he was mumbling something. Must be a prayer. My father gave a what-am-I-supposed-to-do look. He told him to blow air inside the bottle. He did. He took the bottle went inside again and came out with a small tube. He placed the bottle on the dining table and filled half of it with a beige colored powder with the already containing powder. The he squeezed the tube over the bottle which oozed out a high viscous transparent liquid into the bottle. He closed the bottle tightly with its cap and placed it on a betel leaf and took it inside the room again. He came out and droned about his life and some facts which he related with the myth.
My father was then asked to come to the pooja room. He came back after a while. Then my aunt. Then my grandma. Everyone took turns. I was really bored with all what was happening, so I was playing Bounce in my mobile. After everyone had finished with their turns, it was finally mine. My mother was very concerned about my future more than myself. She asked him to foresee my future, and tell how my job and other things would be. I was not conscious of some of the acts he was doing while he was doing the “prophecy”. I was busy playing Bounce. My mom prodded me to look at the man who was standing in front of me. I took my eyes from my mobile to see him. He was looking at me. I gave him a what-do-you-want look. He guessed that I didn’t believe him. He pointed his finger to a showcase which had some memorabilia. I studied at them thoughtfully. And looked at him again. “Did you see that photo” he asked pointing at the photo I missed. “Ya” I lied. There were some 50 people in that picture standing in order, one behind the other, but were a little higher than the people in the front, just to get their faces clearly in the picture. There were four rows of them like that. He went close to it and pointed at a man and said “It was me. I was a member of the Director Of Education, Madras University. I know how students like you behave. I have handled so many students of your kind”. I looked at him without saying a word. I just kept looking with a what-the-hell look. He studied me for a while and looked outside the entrance at the Tulasi plant and mumbled something, which I apparently wasn’t able to hear. I kept looking at him. Still looking at the Tulasi plant, he raised his right hand and talked feebly like someone was actually there, right in front of him. He shook his head like someone said something and whistled. Yes. He whistled. He whistled for 10 seconds and looked at me.
“Everything is ok but for the way you look.” he said.
What the hell is wrong with my look? “I don’t understand” I said.
“You look very dull. Like you’ve lost something in your life. Young people like you need to have the spirit in ya’ll which should charm others. Which should make them feel to be like you. But you don’t seem happy. What is your problem ?”
What is your problem now ? I asked to myself. “I don’t have problems. This is how I normally look.”
“You shouldn’t be like this son. It’s bad. The glow that is supposed to be in young ones like you is missing. Don’t worry. Everything will be alright.”
Go to hell. I said. He looked out again at the Tulasi plant and raised his right hand with his palm visibly shown. He whistled at the Tulasi plant and smirked.
He looked at me and said “Ok son. Everything will be alright. In just three months you will get a job. A very good one. But by then you should change yourself. You shouldn’t look like you’re in deep melancholy. Be active. Be brave.”
Fuck you. I thought. “ok” I said. He went inside and brought a small clay-made hemispherical lamp which had a thread to hold the fire and filled with oil. The lamp was lit when he came out. Before he went to take the lamp, he made the two fans in the hall run at full speed. He came out with that lit lamp and walked across the hall and made his way to the entrance. He stopped at the entrance and said “I made the fan run at full speed cuz I want to see whether the light goes off. It didn’t. It’s a good omen.” He went outside and stepped down to that Tulasi pant and kept the lamp in one of the triangle cut of the raised cube over which the Tulasi was planted. He climbed back over and said “Come to the pooja room son. I need to talk to you”. I thought this guy is a mad man. I went to the pooja room. I was a little scared after seeing everything he had done. It was a little room which had a cot, over which I was asked to be seated. To my right was some 20 pictures of Hindu Gods framed and hung on the wall. Tiny colorful bulbs ran around the borders of the pictures and a devotional song was played from an electronic player which plays only the songs recorded on it. It was hung high on the wall for the sound to resonate through the entire room. He stood in front of me and looked at me. I felt little nervous, not only for I was with a mad man, but also the pictures and atmosphere in the room was little weird. He asked what my problem was. I said I have no problem and I’m as I usually am. He did the evil thing which scares me. He raised his right hand and this time, he was talking with the pictures framed which hung on the wall. That seriously scared the shit out of me. For one thing, that I shouldn’t play bad with him or snub him cuz he knows voodoo, which he might use on me if I tease him (I believed he would do it by the way he acted. It was fuckin’ weird). I was looking at him without blinking. He looked at one of the twenty Gods, which was the last by rows and columns, and he gave a sly look at it. Like a look given by someone when you joke with a hidden meaning and he manages to find what you actually meant. He winked at that picture and nodded as if “Is it? Is it?”. I was fuckin’ scared like I felt like running out from there. He was mad. He winked at a Hindu God and he was giving a sly look at it. He was becoming more insane as he talked with that picture. He then looked at me and laughed. I was out of immediate instinct to what has to be given in return to that smile. I just looked at him. “Don’t worry son. Everything is alright with you. Your future is good. Tell me a number between one to ten.”
“Seven” I said.
“Hmm. Ok. Tell me any four-legged animal”.
“Ok. Tell me any flower.”
He wrote it all in a book and did some calculation. He then gave the book to me and asked me to sign just below where he did his calculations. I signed. He said I don’t have to worry about anything and asked me to leave. I came out and gave everyone a bad tempered look and everyone knew I was mad. I sat where I was sitting. He went inside and disappeared for 5 minutes. He then came back with a shoe flower and two more flowers which was yellow with numerous numbers of small petals on it. The shoe flower had some burnt marks on the edge of its petals. He plucked one of its petals, mumbling some prayer and said “Eat it. The marks on the edge of the petals are the dirt in your heart. You should eat it to purify you”. How will eating dirt will purify something ? No logic. I had to eat it cuz my mom was pressing my hand hard which said- ‘Eat it for me’, when I had the petals in my hand. Like a fool, I ate those petals. It had five petals. I ate all five. I thought he would treat me like a donkey asking me to eat the other two flowers he had had in his hand and some more leaves and papers. But he said those flowers had to be kept near the Tulasi plant. Thank God.
We left to our grandma’s place soon after exiting from there. After our stay there for three hours, we returned back home. I tried to put everything up in front just to show how the picture was. How and what had really happened out there. And I think I was close. I am a kind of person who never believes in things like this. How accurately can someone predict your future more than yourself ? I thought he was to be a crystal gazer but he turned out to be a talking-to-invisible-people-with-his-right-hand-raised git. All what he did was funny to me but it might be a serious thing for people who earnestly seek him for their good will. He claims he can predict future. Is he God ? To my eyes, he just looked insane, more like a fool with no future. If he is so good in predicting future, why cant he foresee his future and make amends ? He can be a rich man. I have just three words for him- Get a life ! I will have to go to him again if I don’t get the “good” job that he said I would be getting. I would certainly tell him to go work for someone or do the households rather than doing a job like this. I don’t know his name. What do I name him ? ‘The man who predicts future and sucks at it’ ? I have no idea. Maybe ‘Loser’ suits him best. I made my mom promise that she would never go to people like this anymore. Or at least, not to take me with them !