Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Unfortunate Fortune Teller

Mysore. Mid-seventies. I would go to the sprawling campus of the Mysore University, flop under a tree and read. (Alas, the compound building mania has struck the university too and the grounds are not easily accessible anymore.)

On one such occasion, a couple of men in dhoti, kurta and Gandhi cap walked by. One of them came to me and started pestering me for business. He wanted to tell me my future. They were itinerant fortune tellers from North Karnataka. In the typical patois of his profession, he harangued me to show him my palm and tell him my date of birth and name and so on, so that he could foresee and tell me what great good fortune awaited me or what great misfortune. If it was the latter, I am sure some money would have to change hands so that he could intercede with the powers that be on my behalf so that the effects of the misaligned stars and planets are nullified and the misery that awaited me is averted.

I kept refusing. What I did not tell him was that my pocket was empty and there was no use revealing to me my imaginary future. He kept at it like a lone house fly on a lazy summer afternoon and droned and buzzed around me.

I sat upright suddenly and asked him, "You don't even know your own immediate future! You don't even know that I am not going to pay you to foretell my future. How do you expect to foresee MY future?"

He either saw the impeccable logic of my argument or the wild look of a cornered cat turning back on a chasing dog, he beat a hasty retreat.


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