Gone are the days when bespectacled pundits rolled out bulky horoscopes to read fortunes. The latest fad is tarot, colour, coffee, numerology and aroma. And the new generation fortune-tellers are glamourous women—dressed in glitzy designer wear—a far cry from the image that one conjures up of traditional astrologers.
Some are avid travellers, some rub shoulders with socialites on the party circuit, are eloquent in English, conversant with shlokas and shastras.
Their clientele range from politicians and film stars, cricketers and industrialists and they are visible everywhere – on channels, in newspapers and in the party circuit. And they are all women.
Names like Sunita Menon, Ma Prem Rithambara, Meenakshi Rani, Mita Bhan, Poonam Sethi, Renu Tanishi, Pinky Vaid, Renu Mathur, Kareena Narwani, Pooja Changlani, Riya Iyer, Swetta Jumani,
Sonal Verma, Ma Prem Usha and of course Shakuntala Devi, ring the bell. There is no way one can ignore veterans like Bejun Daruwala, Sanjay B Jumaani and Neeraj Manchandani, but women seem to have penetrated deep into the one-time male domain. Is it just the glamour quotient? No, it’s the intuitive power, say the contemporary astrologers.
Most tarot readers ‘learn by themselves’ from books, though there are Tarot Certification Boards in U K, Australia and the U S. However, there is no database or directory of women tarot readers and numerologists, though there are some online Meet Up groups.
As their clientele has no geographical limits, these tech-savvy women provide online therapies. Buoyant with the success of her recent world trip, Poonam Sethi who has 21 years experience in the field recalls how a famous cricketer had approached her in Chandigarh a year ago, desperate to know about his love life. She read his cards and advised him to put his love life on the backburner for some time. “ He seriously took my advice and is now in his form,” smiles Sethi.
A Greek lady told her at a very young age that she would be reading cards one day. Sethi got her first set of cards from London, as they were not easily available in India then. Now she has 500 decks of cards from all over the world, and gets 25 clients a day. She is now into coffee reading.
Bhavikk Sanghvi who has made a niche for himself at age 27 says, “ My female counterparts have two advantages. One, female clients are more comfortable talking to a woman astrologer about their love life or personal issues. Second, the chances of a woman astrologer cheating a client are far less.” However he insists that “There is no gender bias in our field.”
Mita Bhan, a postgraduate in mass communication, has been practising for over 12 years. She says with aplomb, “Women have intuitive power. They are gifted with sensitivity. Tarot is all about symbols and the use of intuitive powers to interpret pictures and power to heal.”
She admits there aren’t many men in the field of tarot worldwide, and their domain has somehow remained restricted to Vedic astrology. Bhan does about 100 readings a month, both online and offline, with 40 per cent of her clients abroad.
Riya Iyer switched to colours from tarot and reiki after her guru from London, Sarah Raineblake, taught her three years ago in Mumbai. And she feels it is their sixth sense that puts women on a higher pedestal than men when it comes to tarot, reiki and colour reading.
While she entertains clients over the phone, as she can catch their vibrations even from a distance, she refuses online guidance. “It’s all about our sensitivity to all type of energies. It has also to do with a comfort level,” she says.
Swetta Jumaani, daughter of late Bansilal B Jumaani and sister of Sanjay B Jumani, says, “From the days of Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai to Singh is Kinng, it has been proven that numerology is the only science which gives you immediate results.” Kareena Narwani of Mumbai believes that tarot is basically a ‘learn by yourself’ art that women can pick up in a short span. “It is more about practice,” says Narwani speaking from eight years of experience.
She also believes that women make better tarot readers, as they are more intuitive. “Men are more logical — they work more with facts and figures – that explains their success in Vedic astrology,” she adds.