Ms Speakeasy Eveready greeted the news with much gusto. Sitting cross-legged before the idol of the elephant god, she burned up the whole bundle of incense sticks—101 of them she had purchased in the local train at just Rs 10 as a bargain deal.
In deep meditative pose, she chanted the vashikaran mantra 84 times, keeping count by the string of beads she rotated by her fingers. The parrot perched on her shoulder religiously repeated the mantra after her. The parrot prattled with precision all the intonations his patron uttered in her nasal tone.
“At long last, the Rahu kaalam is over. Happy days are here again. Henceforth, everything is going to be very nice, very lovely, very beautiful and obviously fortuitous,” she soliloquized.
Ardent practitioner of the art of mumbo jumbo that she was, Ms Speakeasy firmly held that positive words such as nice, lovely and beautiful have positive effect on the persons who utter them as also on those who hear them. Specially when preceded by the adjective ‘very’.
She was particularly chirpy on this Monday morning because of a two-paragraph news report that had otherwise gone unnoticed but had caught the attention of her beady eyes. “Universities to teach Vedic Astrology”, the news report buried deep inside the newspaper proclaimed.
“We are going to be back in big business, Mitthu,” she said addressing the parrot. “Back in big business,” repeated the parrot.
It had not been easy going for Ms Speakeasy and her parrot for quite some time. Her down-to-earth bureaucrat father had thrown them out of the official bungalow for having wrongly predicted about his promotion.
Instead of the long-overdue promotion, the burra babu was suspended from service facing corruption charges.
Ms Speakeasy had blamed her misfortune on the wrong feng-shui of the official bungalow. For giving out wrong prediction of her father’s career graph, she had punished the parrot by denying it the weekly ration of carrots. Apparently, the parrot had picked up the wrong sets of tarot cards.
Since then, she had taught all the tarot card tricks to the parrot. They were simple tricks. She would stick pastry crumbs on the cards which had ‘positive’ phrases inscribed on them. Ms Speakeasy would then read out these phrases as surefire solutions to the plethora of problems her clients brought forth before her for astrological atonement.
Usually, Ms Speakeasy’s clients were people with weak constitution of mind. They were mostly men and women who relied more on stellar configurations than on their own physical and intellectual efforts to overcome difficulties of earthly life.
Ms Speakeasy’s words carried conviction as, while delivering celestial prescription, she would liberally throw in such pedantic phrases as ‘your Venus is on ascendancy, eclipsing the evil Saturn who was the root cause of all your problems’.
For her own problems – and they were aplenty – Ms Speakeasy apportioned the blame on a freak combination of Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Pluto and Neptune.
She was firm in her conviction that it was because of the evil influence of Neptune that her fortune had been eclipsed. Venus had shied away from her all these 40 years, turning her moon-faced and bereft of much-needed love, Platonic or otherwise.
Now that Indian universities had decided to include Vedic Astrology in their curriculum, Ms Speakeasy had all the reasons to believe that her fortune was going to take a U-turn, eclipsing all her present misfortune.
“Surely, the local university will confer a D.Litt. degree on me. It is time the Vice-chancellor returns me the good I had done him. Remember, Mitthu, how I had juggled with his daughter’s horoscope to make a perfect match with the horoscope of the minister’s son,” she said offering a green chilly to the parrot.
“Horoscope of the minister’s son,” parroted Mitthu in an equally jubilant tone.