Kashmere Gate may be one of Delhi’s many connecting points to the rest of the country, but it is also home to a connection between spirits and spirituality — Shailja Gupta. The 47-year-old mixes the two to foretell your future, and is perhaps the only psychic healer in the country to do so.
When you visit her or invite her to your place for a wine-reading session, she places before you two wine glasses: One red, the other plain. There are also two wine bottles, one of white wine and the other red. She also uses rose petals and aromatic candles to heighten the sense of energy and aura of spirituality. As you sip the Sauvignon Blanc, she observes the colour of your drink, the way you hold the glass, how you pour the wine and sip it. These signs help her scan your inner state and tell you what the future holds for you.
Since I meet her for an interview and not a wine-reading session, she reveals only the primary conclusions she draws about a person. If you pick white wine and pour it neatly without bubbles forming in the glass, you are a perfectionist and ‘transparent’ person. If you prefer red wine, you are loud and colourful. If you mix white and red wine, you are a bit directionless in life. And if you fill the glass to the brim, you are greedy.
Gupta will have you believe that the bubbles you leave in the glass create specific patterns, which reveal a lot about you. “Spirits and spiritualism have gone hand-in-hand in our country since ages. I am essentially a psychic healer. Wine is a healthy drink; it serves as a catalyst to triggering my intuitive power, which helps me figure out the person in front of me and his future,” explains Gupta as she sits in the living room of her century-old Kashmere Gate home. There are scores of family photographs on the walls.
Dressed in a hand-woven off-white sari, her hair cut short and her English impeccable, Gupta comes across as a suave and sophisticated seer.
She ‘developed’ the art of wine-reading in a visit to the US a few years back and says her intuitive powers have been strong since she was six. “One day, I foresaw the death of a young neighbour of mine. He died the next day in a road accident,” says Gupta, who was born into a conservative Brahmin family of Dehradun. She was brought up in Delhi, studied at the Frank Anthony Public School and got married at a young age of 20.
Sharing some more instances, Gupta says she correctly predicted the circumstances of her own marriage, economic rise and fall of her husband and even the death of her father-in-law. “He was going to fix his daughter’s engagement. I had warned my husband that he should not be allowed to undertake the journey,” says Gupta. Her husband, an IT professional, is no more. Her family now includes a son and a daughter.
She draws most of her clients from the well-to-do class of the Capital: Politicians, businessmen, CEOs, fashion designers and models. Most of her clients come from posh South Delhi areas such as Vasant Vihar, Sainik Farms and even from Gurgaon. She holds only four sessions of wine-reading in a week, and not more than one in a day. She either visits the client’s home or calls them to her chosen venue, which could a spa, a five-star hotel, etc.
Wherever she goes for a session, she carries her own kit of wine bottles, glasses, aromatic candles and imported table-spreads. “These sessions happen behind closed doors and are one-to-one affairs. So I check the background of the person who wants the session to take place at his/her place. I know people who misconstrued what I do since I use wine in my readings. I tell them it is not about the drink, but spirituality. I am not a bar girl,” laments Gupta.
And her sessions are not for the average Joe for she charges her clients R5,000 for answering one question. “If someone asks me 20 questions during the session, it will cost them R2 lakh,” says Gupta.
Her rich clients, she says, ask her about everything: Love, relationships, business and career prospects. “Recently I had a session with a very well-known 67-year-old married businesswoman who wanted to know when she will get love in life,” Gupta reveals. Her sessions have led her to believe there is a lack of commitment in relationships due to which a sense of loneliness is pervading among the city’s elite.
But what often peeves Gupta is that many of her clients argue over her prognosis and how she arrived at it since, she says, most of them do not want to hear the truth. “I tell them there is no logic and rationality in spirituality. It’s not my heart or mind, but my spirit that answers all the queries. The wine helps me establish a connection with the client,” she says.
These days, a lot of college-going girls are contacting her for wine sessions. “I am associated with wine, and many of these girls think I am some freaky guru with whom they can discuss sex and romance. But most of them return spiritually enlightened,” she says, adding, “One needs to understand that I use spirits to only promote spirituality.”