Coffee-breaks are useful for many reasons. On one such, we pondered how life had changed in the last one year. Innocuous wordplay led to mock-serious musings — on what we were in our past lives. Of course, we hadn’t a clue.
One of us, it’s possible, was a prima donna. The other, it’s possible, invented the time machine. So why not pay a professional to show us the light for this lifetime?
<b1>Down to business: we found that the Internet was teeming with people who want to ‘heal your chakras’. We had a choice of how to go about it — past-life regression analysis, karmic reading or hypnotherapy. Maybe it wasn’t all a load of hogwash.
Healing is serious business. A serious, money-making business that is.
At Rs 2,200 a pop, a lady in designer threads will lie you down in her ‘clinic’ and peep into your past. For Rs 1,000, an earnest uncleji will jab your forehead and put you into a trance. And a karmic reader, surrounded by classy leather furniture and wind-chimes, will tell you all for as little as Rs 500.
To know exactly what went on while we were in a trance, we sought permission from the therapists to ‘bring a friend along’. So while one sensed the ‘calmness descend’, the other watched over — moral support, you see.
Past life regressioner, Ruchika Tara
A spiral staircase leads us to a room — our hep therapist’s so-called clinic in a posh locality in south Delhi. It takes a few minutes for the eyes to get used to the dim lighting, the spot candles, aromatherapy diffusers, and the jukebox playing nature sounds. Most conspicuously, and smack in the centre, is a four-poster bed — the shrink’s couch, as it were. Once horizontal, this is where the magic will happen — the regression. Or Progressive Regression as she likes to call it.
But first, there is a form to fill —not just any form, mind you. This is a four-pager asking for ‘patterns in life’, ‘views on loving and being loved’, ‘feelings about psychic dramas’, and a one-line confessional space allotted to ‘any abuse or victimisation’, the choice is yours.
Lady therapist asks why we are here. We had discussed this among ourselves and had the answers down pat. Right on cue, we go: “anger issues, poor self esteem, bad people skills, mild OCD”. She looks suspicious or maybe she’s just disinterested. But “lie down” she says, obviously having bitten the bait.
Ten minutes later, lady doc is getting one of us into a trance. The other is silent witness. “You are a bird...in a garden…descending a flight of stairs...going deeper...and deeper...” Soon, all the bucolic depth gets insufferable. The hour-long trance falls flat. Maybe it’s her phone that keeps vibrating. Maybe it’s the mosquitoes that thrive in dimly lit spaces. Whatever it is, end result: trance fails.
She asks us to come back for three more sessions. But we chicken out. We’re broke and also disoriented from the experience. As consolation, we split a dark chocolate between us.
Hypnotherapist, Sunil Prakash
A complete change from the day before, this isn’t a rich south-Delhi neighbourhood but a neat, minimal clinic in the west. Shoes are to be removed before entering and our affable healer wears a suit.
Here again, forms have to be filled. Oddly enough, it’s becoming second nature. But these are the yes/no sort of questions to be answered quickly, no thinking required. By the end of two minutes, you’ve answered at least 50. As he draws and explains the concept of chakras and healing, it’s evident he knows his stuff.
Today’s issue is weight loss, we say. Weight loss, explains hypno, is one of the easiest issues to tackle through hypnotherapy.
No four-poster bed here, but the comfortable beach chair works just as well, if not better. And thus begins the trance, no frills attached. None of the “you’re getting sleepier and sleepier” garble. Instead it’s tricky backward counting that gets your goat: “49...48...47...” As he snaps his fingers, you have to start from the number you stopped at. It’s a double whammy. And math is neither’s forte. Strangely in the confusion, you feel a real calm.
While in this relaxed mode, a mantra on weight loss has to be chanted. And if you chant properly, and behave yourself, you could be cured in less than three sessions.
In reality, our hypnotherapist was the best of the lot. He was also the the most unassuming and sincere. When we ran out of money to pay, he asked us to not embarrass him by scrounging for change. We managed anyhow, thanked him and toodled off saying we’ll be back.
Karmic reader, Nishi Singh
This one is as south Delhi as it gets. The no-nonsense karmic reader has just the slightest hint of sinus. Scribbling numbers and explanations, she takes all of 15 minutes to put forward your ‘purpose in life’. She will, to be fair, ask if you want her to give a specific reading or a general one.
You have to be quiet, very quiet, because it’s your soul that’s talking to her, you see. She looks at you a couple of times, and asks leading questions — what you like, what’s your profession, who you’d like to marry. You give her all the digits she wants. She tells you which house you belong to — the higher the house, the more evolved the soul. One of us in house no. 5 and the other in 8. One more positive, the other negative. One has to feed cows on Thursdays and the other must nourish ants on Mondays. Suryanamaskar and communing with nature are, however, recommended for both.
Later we figure, it’s all to do with numerology. So much for doing something different. But the lady does give some interesting insights — for example, house no. 5 has a janam janam ka rishta with someone, and house 8 has the makings of someone who’ll marry the monk who could — who knows? — leave her for his Ferrari. A few days later, we see her picture in a newspaper report of a Page 3 party.