(These are real life incidents directly from the pages of my own life! These incidents arise many questions in me today, some times they defy logic and science but yet they happened just in front of me! As I set out to explore these questions I am documenting them in a form best known to me!)
As typical as it can get, growing up in Bengaluru North I always never had a dull moment while growing up! 90’s was fun where stress had no place in our lives. The floppy disks could hold up to 1.4 Mb’s of data while most of the afternoon was spent winding up the tapes back into ‘A’ and ‘B’ side cassettes. Traffic had no meaning and silk board junction was not even conceived.
The generation believed in simple things, door delivery was part of lives then too, ‘Yakub’, a stainless steel vendor carried a humongous basket made up of bamboo, he used to sell utensils on a barter system, yakub’s arrival into any streets of bengaluru brought smiles onto faces of many households
“Give me cloths, pay some money on top of it and buy your utensil” he screamed as he walked majestically as if he owned the streets.
“We have pure silk , what’s in for barter today?” exclaimed the house wives! It was a matter of ‘year long activity’ to collect as much as silk possible just to get the best deal from yakub! My mother was no different, she had her own rapport with Yakub, Yakub loved the puliyogre that was made at my place, he visited our house sometimes just to check if there was puliyogre on the cards for the day!
My mother grew up in an extremely Orthodox bhraminical family in Nanjinagud near Mysore, she had this special affinity towards astrology and jumped to find out about the stars with the slightest chance she got! It always sounded strange to me that my mother’s questions to the astrologer never involved herself. I sometimes wondered if she really meant those questions or was it all just a gimmick to bring in more seriousness in me. Her natural progression towards astrology had a story too; a astrologer had once read my mothers palm during her younger years and had predicted as
“You will grow up to hold a pair of scissors”
“Yes!, I will be a doctor” she exclaimed in excitement but ended by being a “Tailor” thanks to the poverty!
But the point of holding scissors was still right and that was her main motivation to drift towards astrology! Back then emotions worked more than logic.
“I will visit you next time madam!” Yusuf sighed in a fading tone on gloomy day which almost looked like side effect of a cyclone in Madras. As Yusuf left I retired home after a day long’s gully cricket match with 2 more kids, as typical as it can get.
“Did you buy more utensils today?” I questioned my mom trying to guess the reason for the glow on Yakub’s face!
“Did your finish your homework?” my mother shouted back at me, she had done theatre in her school and her base voice was not an issue!
Just when I was resorting to the most ridiculous thing found by the Indian Education system, ‘homework’
“I had a weird dream about this house last night..” uttered a women in her mid 50’s with a rupee stuck to her forehead, her hands smeared with ash, eyes sparkled with a thick layer of kajal. She draped a red saree which covered her till knee. She appeared bright and confident, she spoke each word very cautiously!
“Who are you?” I cried standing at the door quite appalled by her expressions
“What do you want?” questioned my mother!
“I saw a dream about this house..” she reiterated her point
“What do you mean by that?” my mother questioned back!
“I study astrology and the planets around this house doesn’t look good” she answered as she took a couple of beetle leaves and crushed them under her teeth after applying some kind of white powder which did appear to me like a high dosage of narcotic drug
I took a step back and hid behind the door, my father was out on work and I could see my mother’s senses drifting towards the line of astrology!
“What do you have to say, is there anything more?” exclaimed my mother giving the woman more clues on my mother’s interest towards astrology.
“I need you to come here and site next to me, there is something that the goddess want to convey it to you, I need you to get your most favorite 9 yard saree and place it on this platform” she claimed as she took out small pieces of small cloths and a strange looking bell with some shells, she was very quick to set up a strange looking chart that she drew from the pieces of chalk
“The Shani (Saturn) is sitting right here..” her voice had a layer of concern, my mother quickly ran into the house and brought her most favorite saree that the women had asked for and questioned “here you go, tell me more now”
“Go get 5 notes of 100 each” she replied back as my mother ran into the house to scout for five 100’s which was a rare sight back then considering our own and the country’s middle class economic status
The lady started chanting strange things which sounded like a ridiculous remix of a film song to me, she had an unique capacity to sound as genuine as possible,
“Its getting late” she shouted
“Are you sure?” I questioned my mother
“Do your work” my mother yelled back to me
“I could not get five 100 rupee notes, all I could manage was two 100’s and then a 20 and a 10, will this work, can you tell me more?” cried my mother out of desperation.
“I see..” she sighed after taking a deep breath
After an awkward silence “The goddess has decided to be kind to you and has agreed to co operate!” she uttered as if she was creating the big relief
I stood there watching this entire drama unfolding as a mute spectator, I don’t think I could do anything more given the fact that I was only 10 then.
“Come sit for the pooja” the lady ushered my mother assuring her all about the Saturn that was affecting the house
As my mother sat I could sense a uneasiness for a moment
“Are you ok?” I shouted and before I could digest what happened I saw my mother just getting up taking the money back and snatching the saree from the women and rushing inside the house only to close the door, she was in some kind of s strange denial; A expression which I had seen for the first time on her face. She probably realized the ridiculousness of the fact that the fate of the house doesn’t rests on the planets or ont he charts the lady drew out of chalk piece
She quickly took the saree into the bathroom rinsed it, washed it and instantly put it to dry at the backyard along with bunch of other cloths. The backyard was our safe heaven, it was covered by houses on 3 sides and strong grills on one side.
The women who was on the verge of her own victory stood there for some time puzzled trying to figure out reason of the snap. I was left in-between, I neither had a chance to look at my mother nor the women. The lady might have left after some time post which my father came from work and my mother resorted to a deep conversation of how she was almost on the verge of loosing her most favorite saree.
I jumped in joy thinking that science finally prevailed, more over my mother had suddenly lost her charm in astrology, that was a massive improvement!
The rest of the day passed out normally…
Only to find that ‘Particular saree’ that was dried up in the backyard along with many other cloths surrounded by grills was missing the next morning.
Everything else was intact…