Sunday, June 28, 2009


If all those predictions of wealth that appeared over the years under my zodiac sign in the newspaper columns had come true, by now I should have been hob-nobbing with the likes of the oil sheiks of Arabia or computer tycoons of the Silicon Valley, if not the King of Brunei. But alas, it was not to be.

Yet, on that Sunday morning, when the column prophesied that "a great opportunity would knock at my door and a long time endeavour was about bear fruit", a seed of hope had sprouted. Like all true Taureans I was quite bullish about the forecast.

There was a time when I turned to forecast column solely in quest of a hearty laugh. And whenever it said that 'a tempestuous romance with my neighbour was in the offing' I would promptly hide the newspaper from my wife (an ardent believer) to avoid being hit by a hurricane.

Those were the days when I was a hard-boiled maverick. I fought many a pitched battle of words with my believer friends whenever the talk veered round to the star forecasts. "Wouldn't it sound preposterous if a Swamiji, who renounced everything worldly, were to find under his zodiac sign something like ' a domestic disharmony looms large on the horizon. Keep your wife in good humour', I would argue. But all that changed after a tete-a-tete with my bosom friend, Chandru.

Chandru reasoned that the wordings of a star forecast were like the clues of a crossword puzzle. Without taking them at face value, one needed to interpret them logically. To illustrate his theory he said that once a column predicted for him victory at the court. Of course he had no pending court cases. But, as it turned out, he had string of victories at the tennis court!

Chandru's position was vindicated by an event involving my wife. A forecast in her case said that "someone would make her an offer that promised to keep her on her toes for a long time". And sure enough, on her birthday an aunt presented her with a pair of high-heeled shoes that literally kept her on toes for the best part of a year.

To cap it all, what happened last month reinforced the premises on which Chandru's hypothesis was based. "You are at the risk of being exposed", forewarned my favourite columnist. The very next day, as I was walking out of the bathroom, my lungi slipped from my waist down to the knee for a fraction of a second before I could draw it up in a jiffy, but not be before I was exposed to the chill of the winter and the giggle of the housemaid.

As I was musing upon the march of events (such as the ones just described) that dragged me into the twilight zone between rationalism and blind faith, the doorbell rang.

Shaking my thoughts, I got up and opened the door. There was a young man standing on the doorsteps, clutching a briefcase. He said, "Good morning, sir. I represent Messrs Jackson Farms Limited. Here is a great opportunity to own a hundred jackfruit trees. You will get fifty times the invested amount in ninety years. Our unique scheme......." I slammed the door on his face. Jackfruit, my foot!

Well, if opportunity didn't actually knock at my door as was forecast, it certainly did knell through the doorbell, albiet abortively. And my endeavour was about to bear fruit - of the jack variety.
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