Updated: Aug 25, 2021
An ironic experience that I witnessed last night.
The other night, our neighbor aunty stops by our house for a quick chat with my parents. Having no particular intent to talk, she drifts towards general (and shallow) discussion—‘how are you doing? All is good no?’ Being honest in her reply, my mother tells her, ‘Actually, I am experiencing a lot of body pain, particularly in my back and neck. I am almost sick of it if you ask me.’
Partially attentive towards my writing work, I miss their following conversation until I'm distracted by aunty. All of a sudden, she blurts out, “All this suffering you are going through, there is only one solution that can make your life better.” I recently wrote about journaling and its benefits on my blog, but I was sure aunty wouldn’t mention that. Then what did she have on her mind? The confidence and eagerness with which she spoke piqued my interest. My father, too, who was engrossed in watching a South Indian movie on TV, a space where nobody can distract him, suddenly pauses the movie and turns to aunty.
We all await her response. What mysteries of human life were to be revealed?
During this perfectly tense moment, this middle-aged woman declares, "You need to see an astrologer. He will fix your life like new."
Sigh. I should have known earlier. What else she would have said. It’s very common for Indian people to see or recommend an astrologer for the silliest of happenings in life. ‘My child is academically underperforming? See an astrologer. My marriage is ending? See an astrologer. Got sexual problems? See an astrologer. I don’t have a job? See an astrologer. My life’s good, but I don’t realize it. Besides, I am bored. What to do? See an astrologer.’
"We Indians are great believers in miracles and feel that somebody can get us out of our miseries. This is the prime reason we fall for these godmen," says Ghosh.
Episodes like these either annoy me or make me laugh. This time, it was the latter one. Aunty, standing opposite me, proudly bragging about astrology, seems to notice me. I could sense her yelling when she says to me, ‘Don’t laugh, this is all scientific. You know nothing about it!’
I think of my master’s degree in Science and remember nobody mentioned astrology in the whole syllabus—because it does not exist in reality. But aunty claims to know everything, dismissive of the fact that she had not even finished high school.
She turns to my parents and continues, "Kids of today’s generation never believe in such things. But we speak from experience. We have seen life better than them."
I resume work posing a life-saving 'I don’t care’ attitude while the aunty keeps on building a tower of appreciation for astrologers, Janam Kundali’s, and even Baba’s.
"Show your Janam Kundali. I know a good astrologer. I’ve been visiting him ever and I tell you, I’ve faced no problems. His consulting fees are 2.5k. He’ll tell you everything—what happens in your future, what is the reason behind your current problems. Show him your children, too. He will tell you how their career will turn," she goes on and on.
I wish to give her a good hearing. Okay, fine. *I wish to give her a polite make-her-understand explanation, with a not-to-forget apology in the end. But, on second thought, I drop the idea. Aunty was so firm in her beliefs, there was no sense in arguing with her. I was not in a safe environment either. There were only my parents in the room and they would not have tolerated me taking a stand against an elderly person for such a silly reason.
A good choice was focusing on my work. And while doing that, I had parallel thoughts hitting my mind: We live in the 21st century, but some brains are still reserved at a stale spot in the past. There still prevails a blind faith towards vague subjects like astrology, numerology, and whatnot. If you dive in deeper, you’ll know why these subjects flourish—fear and insecurity stands as the prominent cause. Someone who distrusts himself will seek validation and false hope from a random stranger—someone who knows how to target your weakness and fill their pockets. This is stupid, tragic, and nasty.
Why can’t people realize, astrologers are nothing but fellow humans!
“Depending on astrology during challenging times can inhibit personal growth by interfering with your ability to make wise decisions," says Sandbek.
Talking about baba’s, It won’t matter how many negative headlines appear in the media outlets, people choose to stay dumb and depend on even greater dumbos.
Look at this:
Headline sources: Check the footer.
Time to think: Would any of these "so-called enlightened" baba's be able to predict the course of their lives as confidently as they did for others? I don’t think so, because if they possess such extraordinary knowledge, they’d first save themselves from landing in jail.
Thankfully, my mother, who had her trials and errors, no longer believes in astrology as much as aunty. So, continuing her honesty, she replies, “We tried all these many times, but neither time it worked. It’s my bones that are jammed. Perhaps that’s because of a lack of exercise. In any case, I’m seeing a physiotherapist now.”
I feel relieved hearing her. At least there is some level of sanity maintained in the room. The aunty, however, does not back down and add a few points in her defense — “Go to him only if you believe astrology. I never had any problems in my life because I’ve always had his back. She goes on for a while, bragging about her problem-free life until her husband suddenly calls her from downstairs, ‘Listen, come home fast. We got a problem here.’ Was that humiliation or stress, I can't say, but she drops her conversation and makes a swift escape through our door.
This experience reminds me of a hilarious yet accurate video by Varun Thakur. Watch it now:
This story is featured in Life of a Slice.
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Coming soon: Another hilarious experience about a 30ish woman practicing numerology.
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