Call centre executive Nisha Singh recently dumped her boyfriend because of a book she read. We do not know how her now former boyfriend feels about that book, but Singh swears by it. Though she does admit that she did hope, when she first met the man who was to become her (now former) boyfriend, that the book was wrong.
"I am a Gemini and he was a Taurean," says Singh. "I’d read that these two zodiac signs are incompatible, but I hoped it was wrong. Well, it wasn’t. We just didn’t get along. So next time I think I’ll trust the book, not my instincts."
The book Singh is referring to is Linda Goodman’s Love Signs. "I knew we weren’t compatible signs after I read the book," says Singh. "But I didn’t see any harm in giving the relationship a try. And we just couldn’t get along. He thought I was too frivolous and I felt he was too stubborn. We called it quits after dating each other for a year."
TAKE A LOOK
Like Singh, there are a lot of people who believe that zodiac signs have a lot of relevance to their loves and lives. So what is it with these signs and why do they fascinate people so much?
It’s hard to explain, says astrologer Rishikant Menon. But the answer lies in the question itself – it’s a strange sort of fascination. "After all, isn’t it uncanny that people born under the same sign generally show similar traits?" he asks. "That is what makes these signs so interesting. While it isn’t true that two people born under a particular sign are clones of each other, there generally are similarities between them."
This is something that has been and will be debated endlessly, but for a lot of people, zodiac signs are things to be taken at least semi-seriously. While some of us at least begin our assessment of other people on the grounds that their zodiac sign indicates their possible personality, others read their daily and / or weekly horoscopes for one purpose only: to try and learn what is likely to happen to them today / this week.
"I hope to know what’s in store for me on a daily basis, which is why I read my horoscope in the papers," says lawyer Arpit Mehra. "I got hooked because often, the predictions do come true. But that’s about it. I don’t really base my relationships with people on their zodiac signs."
WRITTEN IN THE SKIES
It’s true that predictions do hold a lot of importance for people who would scorn ‘this sort of superstition’ in myriad other ways. But the belief that zodiac signs hold at least some clues to personality is quite strong in many people’s minds. Which is when interpersonal relationships can get a bit fraught.
"Capricorns and Aquarians are people I wouldn’t want to hang out with," announces accessory designer Vishal Mehta. "I don’t say all of them are bad, but personally I have never ever come across a single person from these two signs who I have been comfortable with. Though I don’t begin my acquaintanceship by asking people their signs, I have realised that all the people I have had differences with, with very few exceptions, have been from either of these two signs. So now I stay away from them unless I have to do otherwise. But I get along well with Cancerians, Geminis and Librans. I like being with them."
Once again, it’s not easy to explain why such an attitude exists, but for most people, thinking in stereotypes makes life much easier to cope with on a day-to-day basis. "We read a lot of these things and believe in them if even one of five factors holds true," says psychologist Arvind Thakur. "It is human nature. Cynics dismiss a lot of things as mere coincidences – which they probably are – but most of us will believe in them. Also, if we do not like a particular trait, the human mind tends to associate that trait with a particular kind of person or character. In this case, the associations happen with zodiac signs. So when we do or do not like a particular personality type, we categorise the person according to his or her zodiac sign, and react accordingly."
SEE NO EVIL
But it doesn’t get more serious than that. Or at least, it shouldn’t. Most people who read their horoscopes, or try and figure out personalities according to sign signs, claim they only do it for fun.
"I loved reading Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs and Love Signs in college," says journalist Parul Tiwari. "We would check out our compatibility quotients with the boys we had crushes on. It was great fun, plus we got a broad idea of what the person would – or should – be like, and behaved accordingly."
But that’s no more than a starting point, adds Tiwari. In a committed relationship, zodiac signs matter not at all. "I am a Gemini married to a Scorpion," she says. "Going by the sun signs, we shouldn’t get along at all. But we gel brilliantly. We dated for a long time, married, and remain great friends. So though I read the weekly sun sign predictions for both of us, I don’t take them too seriously."
Which is how it should be, says psychiatrist Dr Anurag Khanna. "It’s okay to know about zodiac signs, but to make decisions based on them is a bit much. Every person has a distinct personality, and for any long term alliance, clicking with that personality is what matters."
Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20) You’re lively, energetic and daring, and a fighter too. You crave adventure, and love to travel the world. You’re a pioneer, and have the ability to lead.
Taurus (Apr 21 – May 21) Cautious, practical and purposeful. Once your mind is made up, you have amazing persistence and follow through, plus tons of energy.
Gemini (May 22 – June 21) Gemini is about intelligence and communication. So you have a talent for and a love of using your mind.
Cancer (June 22 – July 23) Cancer is a water sign, which signifies your highly emotional nature. But it also makes you caring, generous and intuitive.
Leo (July 24 – Aug 23) You are warm, bright and self-motivated, and you want to make an impression everywhere. But you also have a need for one-upmanship.
Virgo (Aug 24 – Sep 23) You are known for your perfectionism and highly analytical mind. You are extremely fastidious and also critical of the world.
Libra (Sep 24 - Oct 23) Your love of communication makes you an excellent mediator and negotiator. But you also want to please people, which makes you unreliable.
Scorpio (Oct 24 – Nov 22) Magnetic, elusive, sexy and determined, that’s you! You’re an emotional being, and you take it to the limit. You can also be vengeful at times.
Sagittarius (Nov 23 – Dec 22) You are jovial and confident in whatever you do. Fortune seems to favour you. But you need to learn there are limits to what you’re capable of.
Capricorn (Dec 23 – Jan 20) Few people are as practical and ambitious as you. Caution is your second name. You are sometimes shy and lack self-confidence and self-esteem.
Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb 19) You are forward thinking and self-directed. You’re a born revolutionary and don’t want to be like others and take pride in the fact that you’re so unique.
Pisces (Feb 20 – March 20) You are a truly compassionate and loving person. You have a universal approach to the way you live and this is seen in most of your actions.
What’s Your Rashee?
In the film What’s Your Rashee?, actor Harman Baweja set out to meet 12 women, each born in a different zodiac sign, to find the best match for himself. He wanted to check out each sign and see who he – a Scorpio – was most compatible with. Actress Priyanka Chopra played all 12 women.