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October 22, 2008

“Que sera sera! Whatever be will be! The future is not ours to see. Que sera sera”.

This is a song which forms the focal point in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “The Man Who knew too much”.

I had a chance to look into my future.

The company that I worked for 20 years closed down for God knows why. The symptoms were there, delayed salary payments and then no salary at all. The writing was clearly on the wall, but we were afraid to look at the wall. Like the rabbits caught in the lights we froze, hoping against hope that everything was going to be just fine. By ‘we’, I mean a large number of employees in the wrong side of 30’s who had put their heart and soul to build the organization from scratch. Well, most of them, any way. The average experience was around 16 years. We belonged to a generation which believed that sticking to an organization was a virtue, unlike today where everybody looks for an opportunity to be upwardly mobile, which is the right thing to do as my experience has taught me the hard way. We had to put a brave front in our homes. Savings got eroded, tempers started getting frayed. We were clutching at straws. There is a saying in Tamil “ethai thindral pitham theliyum” literally it means willing to try anything to be cured of madness. My wife and I were in that state, and when someone suggested an astrologer , we jumped at it. Armed with my wife’s, our children’s, our pets’ and my jadagam (birth chart) we set off to see the astrologer. For the uninitiated the birth chart is which tells the locations of the heavenly bodies at the precise time of your birth. By heavenly bodies I meant the planets and other satellites and not definitely Rambha, Urvashi and Thillotama (okay I was just making up about the pet’s )

At the astrologer’s, there was a huge crowd. It was heartening to know there were so many people with problems in their life. We had to wait for a long time, another indication that our time was bad. Our turn came. We handed our jadagams and waited with bated breath. The astrologer took out a sheet of paper and did a lot of calculations to find present planetary positions. He looked up and straight into my eyes and said, “You must be out of job”. Our jaws dropped. We had not told him about our problems. There was no way he could have found out about my plight unless he was supplied with information by the Mossad. Then he threw another missile at me, when he said “Soon you will be going to foreign lands”. I had never in my wildest dreams thought about leaving India, so much so that I had not even applied for a passport. I didn’t believe a word of what he said afterwards as my cynical side took over and discounted everything as a means to make you feel good and make you more liberal when you make the ‘offerings’.

Next, it was my wife’s turn. Again the astrologer made elaborate calculations and told my wife that she was going through a very bad phase of her life for the last 17 years. We were married for the last 17 years. My wife was nodding her head vigorously in approval, relieved by the fact that there was at least 1 person in the whole wide world who knew her plight. I looked at her in new light, I never knew that this was the way she thought of her life with me. My male ego prompted me to get back at her and told her how I had wasted the prime of my life with this marriage. My wife started talking about the sacrifices she had made, the things she might have done if not for this alliance. The altercations became heated and soon she was telling me what she thought of my family and I, in turn what I thought of her second cousin’s husband’s nephew. The astrologer had not anticipated this; obviously he had not checked the almanac for what the day had in store for him. He stepped in quickly to avert any disaster and told us that the days ahead will be very happy ones for both of us. He quickly saw us out without even collecting the customary fee.

Fifteen days later I landed a job in International Marketing. I have stopped taking my wife for granted and I guess she is happier now that I am more considerate. Maybe the future is ours to see, only if we keep our eyes open.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Snoopy permalink
    October 24, 2008 12:59

    I had a friend named Rangamannar who was my neighbour in Madurai. After I shifted to Madras (now Chennai), he used to visit our house occasonally. He had a cousin, Chakrapani, who was a businessman in Chennai. One day, Rangamannar and I went to his house. Chakra told us that his business was down and he was also having chest pains. On that evening, he had an appointment with a famous astrologer and also with a cardiac specialist, almost at the same time. We told him that the astrologer can wait and he should go the specialist first. He said, “If I miss the appointment with the astrologer, I may not get another for the next three months. I can always fix up the appointment with the specialist tomorrow”. He wanted us to go along with him to the astrologer in Triplicane. There was a big crowd there. After waiting for an hour, Chakra was called in. The astrologer, who had a round face like a full moon (he had prefixes like Lion, Dr. etc. before his name), examined the horoscope, which he himself had prepared. He told Chakra that his business would go up like a “rocket” and he would be very prosperous within a year. Then Chakra asked him about his health. The astro. told him that his health was like the “Rock Fort” in Tiruchi. So we came back in a cheerful mood. Chakra told us that he would cancel his appointment with the doctor.”It is only business worries that give me the chest pains”, he said.ext morning, Ranga called me and told me that Chakrapani passed away early morning due a cardiac arrest.Your comments, please.

  2. Salil permalink
    November 3, 2008 00:42

    Hi PRG,I don’t want to sympathise with your situation, but at the same time I am surprised that you had the courage to show us your cheery self, in spite of all the things you were undergoing. Congratultions on your new job! And I still maintain that thinking about a job as life-time employment is not a bad idea.Coming to astrology – My parents come from native villages in Kerala where going to an astrologer is a way of life. I have a few friends who have studied it ‘proper’ and a Christian friend who is well qualified. So I have heard a lot of arguments for it. But I still have found it lacking the near accuracy of a science as example quoted by Snoopy above. I guess for every right prediction, there are a 100 wrong ones. And that is too ‘highly probabilistic’ a science to get credibiliy. Purely, my humble view.Hope to see more blogs from you in future, now that you are in a very positive frame of mind.Cheers,

  3. PRG permalink
    November 3, 2008 01:41

    Hi Salil, I forgot to mention that this happened 2 years back, I have learnt from my past and made one more ‘Jump’;but the pain still remains

  4. shail permalink
    November 30, 2008 20:55

    I am fascinated by astrology and palmistry. Of course I don’t go by it. Like I always say, I listen to things and just get on with my life. It fascinates for me for the reason that for me a lot of things have been pretty accurate and by that I mean very very accurate. But I find in the case of many others that accuracy (when read by the same astrologer or palmist) is missing. This puzzles me, why it is that it is so accurate for some as to give you goosebumps but totally wrong for others. There must be a missing link somewhere!You took a look in a lighter vein on a difficult time of your life in this post. Loved reading it.

  5. Anil permalink
    January 19, 2009 22:23

    I have tried so far to keep out of astrology…. Not so much for the fear of “Knowing” the truth but the fear of living to face a “Known End” to an issue. The mazaa of life is lost… You would agree that this would make the person fearful to make good/right decisions … Funny though, I have heard that an astrologer predicted that a person’s dog would be dead by the time he reached back home.. and to his horror it was found to be exactly as predicted… another one where the astrologer predicted that a manager of a popular firm would never do well in life… which literally doomed the man’s thought process for the next few months… such truths are better off remaining unknown.

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