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The tarot queen that was

With someone like Ma Prem Usha, perhaps the ‘passing away’ on Thursday night is just the case of a soul transcending physical spaces, writes Sonal Kalra.

delhi Updated: Jul 18, 2008 23:40 IST
Sonal Kalra

I’ve always wondered what death means to people who can peek into the future. Are they more prepared for it than the rest? With someone like Ma Prem Usha, perhaps the ‘passing away’ on Thursday night is just the case of a soul transcending physical spaces.

As a devoted Osho sanyasin for the past 30 years, Ma Prem Usha was never short of pearls of wisdom, when it came to the mystic matters of life.

One of India’s best known clairvoyants, she pioneered the art of Tarot card reading in India. Even now that we have countless practitioners of esoteric sciences of all kinds, her name has become synonymous with Tarot predictions.

She was amongst the few Tarot readers who had widely researched the art and travelled around the globe in their quest for more knowledge on the subject. Apart from the Osho Zen cards, she also used other Tarot decks such as the Visual I Ching by Oliver Perrottet, the Hindu Lunar Zodiac (nakshatras) Tarot Deck by Roeland de Loof and Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot Deck by James Wasserman to make her fortune telling stronger and scientific.

As a weekly columnist with HT City, her association with Hindustan Times goes a long way back. Recently when HT City was revamped in a big way, a large number of readers called up just to request that no matter what may change in the paper, Ma Prem Usha’s predictions for the week ahead must stay, as their Sunday mornings begin with them. We never had any plans for that to change anyways, since her column consistently remained the most widely read piece in the paper, week after week.

The queen of Tarot is no more, but the legacy continues, as the readers would still get their weekly predictions written by her daughter Ma Prem Ritambhara, a noted tarot reader in her own right who assisted her mother for many years before she was allowed to read the cards.

As Ma Prem Usha always said, “The Tarot should be treated with respect. Paying with it can be dangerous. You have to be very sure of the mechanics, of the incredibly powerful tool that Tarot can be.”

We salute the power as we bid goodbye to her. May she attain her zen and rest in peace.