Three years ago, my jyotish asked me if I was a writer. I laughed. I told him I had no talent for writing. He insisted I had to be writing something. When I refused for the third time, he told me calmly, I will write someday. And now here I am writing a weekly column.
The word jyotish literally means “science of light”. And whenever a patch of darkness has loomed threateningly on the horizon, I have gone searching for that enlightenment. That little bit of reassurance. That comfort. And nine times out of 10, the shadows have lifted. If you are a believer, I’m sure you know what I mean.
Who doesn’t like to hear that your career will flourish.. that the money will come.. that the love of your life is around the corner; that under your hardheaded exterior you are a deeply sensitive person? As my friends rightly say, visiting a psychic or an astrologer, a tarot card reader or a numerologist is a substitute for therapy. Sometimes you just want someone to listen to you, show some concern for your problem, tell you good things about yourself that you are unable to see.
I think it all started in school when we collectively discovered Linda Goodman. We all had copies of the book, religiously studied our own sun signs and of course those of all the guys we had a crush on. We read each chapter aloud and squealed with delight at how accurately the book knew each of us.
It was a revelation. Funnily enough, that sun sign craze has not faded even today. Just a few days ago over drinks after a show the following ensued:
A: What’s you sun sign?
B: I’m Leo
A: Hmmm… big ego. I’m a Libran so we don’t really get along.
C: Librans are meant to be fickle…because they are ruled by mercury.
A: And what sign are you?
Me: I’m Scorpio…
(A collective gasp ensues)
All: Scorpio?!...Watch out for that sting!
I don’t know how many times I have had this conversation. With those much older and those much younger. And I have never tired of it. Of course there will always be a few non-believers muttering in the corner that we are being childish. But who cares. It is such fun.
Or what about the times when we go to a Chinese restaurant and get thrilled when the Chinese horoscope is under the glass tabletop. “I’m a rabbit. What are you?” “Oh, I’m a rat.” And over dim sums and chopsuey we laugh our way through roosters and horses. Even the fortune cookies are so exciting.
Or the joy of totaling the new car number plate and finding out that it adds up to your lucky number. Or the excitement of discovering that a colleague can read palms. In a flash your hand is under his nose, insisting that he tell you everything.
I even enjoy reading my daily horoscope. Just yesterday it read that I would be busy refurbishing the house and I am! Talk about coincidences. There must be billions of Scorpios reading this very same horoscope. How did they get it right for me?
I think it’s the belief that a mysterious force is working to shape our destiny that makes us go back for more. The conviction that everything in life happens for a reason. That beyond science and logic and fact we are all wonderfully connected to the entire cosmos.
And of course that wonderful assurance that things will get better, the tide will turn, my time in the sun will come.
But of all the different belief systems I have encountered, the most potent has been my complete faith in angels.
I know that my guardian angel is protecting me. Looking out for me. Ensuring that no harm will come to me. I know that when a curtain unexpectedly flutters or a door suddenly slams it’s just my angels reassuring me that they are there in the room. And in this mad and perplexing universe I am not alone.