The Price of Blissful Hope by Brown Girl Daily
If it’s desperate, expensive, embarrassing, I’ve done some version of it to get married… and I have spent a pretty penny on some pretty impressive karmically promising beliefs in the vain hope that I was surely to be wed by the dreaded age of 30.
From dropping off brooms at my local gurudawara like a furtive thief to getting ashes smeared across my forehead (did you know you’re not supposed to take it off until it comes off naturally…how do ashes come off naturally?), I’ve fallen to prey what most Indian women do – the time-honored tradition of having your stars reviewed by an astrologer.
Whatever you call it – janam patri, kundli, astro data, destiny, ill-fate – your Desi roots were likely caught up in the twists n’ turns of the cosmos in some vain hopefulness and genuine bewilderment to omens & portents. No black cats here, people. We’re talking about a pre-Jesus era of planetary credence, where no mortal has a chance to escape the wrath of Saturn unless you bow down. And, mean it.
But, being the eternal, incurable romantic I am, I can’t help but have my star-doomed curiosity piqued by such supernatural phenomenon. Perhaps, there is something to this science of stars. I mean, how off can they be if my local weather guy can’t even predict rain for this Friday? I decided to tally up my total spendings on such shenanigans to see who came out ahead. And, by my count, I should get a tax break for incurring such huge romantic losses.
Mummy decided to run my digits through a Southie astrologer, who foretold my entire life in Sanskrit. I was 11. He was 92 years old, had crookedly chipped teeth frayed wispy hair, and flipped papads on the street for a living. But, he also had a rep for his innate knack for doling out some fantastic planetary predictions with an insufferable accuracy.
Verdict: So far, spot on. His predictions on job (work in the public eye), education (went back to school in the year he stated), and my unique talent for being a bad driver (my propensity for scamming out of tickets is proof positive of this), among other personal milestones have been passed. The final word on marriage? Pundit Papad says one to come with child. Tick tock…
When a girl hits 30, she starts to wonder if something is preventing her from meeting the fated one. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction; one that kicks in at midnight, sending her into mute waves of hysteria, cos’ of course, it can’t be MY fault! First line of defense? The ubiquitous kala tikka – the black dot to ward of any evil. Used across generations in Africa, Turkey, and India, how hard can it be to place a black dot with my Mac eyeliner behind my right ear each morning?
Verdict: Surely, it must freak out my hair dresser. But, no pain and yes…no gain. Literally.
The key to desperation after your first act of hope is typically to seek out validation. Here’s where you take the first step onto the slippery slope. A referral from girlfriend (who swore on her dead grandmother’s grave, this is the ‘one’) to Robert Koch led to my first waste of cash. He hypothesized that I’d work in the restaurant biz, be married by 32, knocked up by 34, and my Dad would die in 2005. Well…he said those things much more nicely.
Verdict: All prophecies failed. Running Subway franchises wasn’t my future. Daddy is still hanging around to remind me of why I have failed as a Punjabi daughter. If it isn’t obvious, I say it – I’m NOT preggers. And, while Venus has gone into retrograde several times since my reading at 28, I still haven’t come close to a definable relationship. Robert Koch, on the other hand, is selling his systemized quackery by an Internet bought astro program through his self-deprecation, humor and outright incorrect lies.
Moving on to full blown anxiety, the next step is to make sure the naysayer from before was duly wrong. During a girl’s night out, one bestie says this is the guy that the local Hindu temple pundits even trust. So, in my vino haze, I ask, really, what can I buy from Zappos for $50? Two weeks later, I hunker down on Yoda the Pundit’s couch trying so hard not to roll my eyes up, when the cherubic, stoutly Uncleji busts out laughing – I know, I know. I have seen that look before! Array chori, I have had many girls like you, who don’t believe. But, [wink, wink], you vill come back to me & thank me. Ummm, not likely. His forecast? I’d get the ideal job and meet Mr. BGD within the same month, have a short courtship and be knocked up by August 2011. To assist the stars and their directional gaze, I should wear copper toe rings (blessed by a $40 puja) to bring Mars’ energy to help me manifest this fate.
Verdict: It’s April, and I’m reviewing advertising decks, not baby shower invites. The hot shot job came last summer. But, even after jamming to some Rahu/Ketu mantras on my walks with my puppy, nary a man popped from behind any bushes.
Copper toe rings. Just in case.
Verdict: They look pretty.
When you’ve grown tired of the web-based doozies, family can always dig up that story with mirth, which serves as the end all, true affirmation to the zodiac. When Preet Aunty heard of my cosmically challenged stars, she swore Jassi (her neigbor’s daughter’s husband’s younger sister’s cousin’s best friend) in Ludhiana had tried the ‘Great Broom-Drop Off’ and was engaged 3 months later. I swear!!! The plan? You wait for the first Saturday after “msaya” (14 days after a full moon), buy a broom ($6) from your local India Sweet n’ Spices, and drop it off before sun down at a gurudawara ($1). Three Saturdays in a row.
Verdict: I wasn’t engaged within 3 months but had the juiciest thrill of screaming I-told-ya-so’s for the next 6 months.
Yes, you read correct. I saved $170.00 after Preet Aunty insisted I do the Shivji fast for 17 Mondays, where I eat before sunrise, sip on water and nibble on fruits during the day, and gorge everything in sight after sundown. The way I saw it, I saved $10 for lunch for 17 days. Of course, I’m skimming over the early morning rituals of pouring milk over a phallic statue (cos’ that would kill my cravings) and praying with zest before eating. This one, I’ll admit I did lower my expectations to the point of genuine optimism. I don’t know if it was my yearning to connect with something from beyond or thinking how cool it is to say I gave something up for some one God. But, for 17 Mondays straight, I did adhere to the nerve-wracking strict regime of eat, pray, and love.
Verdict: I lost 4 lbs.
*I did spend $10 on fresh fruits and juices, $2 on milk jugs, and $6 on vegetarian meals for a total of $180.00.
Say what? You’re still reading this and wondering how could I spend even more? I haven’t yet. But, the hallmark of any singleton who’s trying her darn best at keeping the hope alive is the not-so-discreet yellow sapphire ring worn on her right index phalange prescribed by a soothsayer. Karishma Kapoor wears one. Your Shaadi.com date probably wears one. Heck, your Mum prolly wore one. Apparently, you need to let Jupiter know he’s your BFF, so he can remove any obstacles to wedded bliss. And, the yellow sapphire is your testament to your dedication.
Verdict: I haven’t made the jump to astro-stone-ology just yet. I mean coffee grinds and mandarin oranges all seem so much cheaper. But, I’m still not sold on the idea that a stone will attract a planet’s energy and help a sista out. I mean, why can’t my ankle strap sandals do the same? Einstein says objects with zero mass presumably have zero energy. By my theory of relativity, if shoes have mass, they, too, have energy.
Total Tab: $166.50*
The heady notion of wanting to know the unknown can be all-too-easily diluted by low-risk, web researched conversations before the stars strike. I mean, who doesn’t fear those time-bomb eclipses that make the Yahoo home page news headlines? There is a fine balance between humility in your belief that love with come and some fancy despondency to verify it actually will. It’s all about unfaltering hope in some one thing – a stone, a statute, a heart, or just in myself. Do I believe that astrologers, diviners and psychics are just a bunch of deceptive crooks? Some are. Some are not. Papad Pundit did envisage some of my confidential karmas with pinpoint accuracy. Freakishly so. Do I side with Carl Sagan who says astrology simply defers some celestial significance to our daily routines? Maybe. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think any innocent hope in some intangible form can have the potential to turn a set of misaligned constellation into true love…
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