Pandit Saurabh Tripathi walks into the foyer of my hotel. He’s tall and burly, poised, and draped in a crisp white shalwar qameez. A string of wooden beads is draped around his neck and his forehead is a horizon for his crimson tikka. There is humbled kindness in his voice and his lips can’t stop smiling. After an obligatory exchange of the Namaste greeting we sit on a secluded couch to start our session.
Astrology, or the science of the stars, lies at the heart of Hinduism. Many of the Hindu faith undergo astrological analysis from the time they’re born and it’s a constant factor in their lives. Astrology is used to pick baby names and predict the future, to provide guidance and wisdom for important decisions in one’s lifetime. Pt. Tripathi is a prominent figure in the world of Astrology as well as Palmistry, and he has treated esteemed clients both in and outside India.
As a non-Hindu, I’m not too sure whether my 1,500 Indian rupees will bring me profound predictions for my future, or whether I should spend my cash elsewhere. Still, I’m sitting in good company. Here in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan in northern India, Maharaja Jai Singh II built Jantar Mantar, Jaipur’s observatory, between 1727 and 1734. At the observatory, some of the best preserved instruments from this time can be found and it’s where Pt. Tripathi bases his work. I sit patiently, ready to follow his instructions.
He asks me to complete a short form in his bulging record book. He needs crucial specifics – full name, date of birth including exact time, place of birth and contact email address. I hand Pt. Tripathi his notebook before he fishes out a magnifying glass, complete with torch, from his bag. He inspects both of my palms, showing particular attention to the right one. With his magnifying glass, he analyses my eyes, including my spiritual third eye that’s buried deep within my forehead. He pulls back and retrieves a sheet of paper with intriguing sub-headings – ‘love’, ‘work’, ‘health’ and ‘instruction’. Pt. Tripathi starts scribbling away, writing down numbers and words almost immediately. He then raises his head from the page.
“You will have two children by the time you’re 37,” Pt. Tripathi predicts, in a soft yet assertive voice. I take this on board flippantly. I’m a married woman and I’m in my mid-30s so babies are to be expected. Yet, he tells me things about my life and what he says is eerily uncanny. He indicates three age ranges when I’ve experienced significant events in my life; times when I experienced graduating university, travelling overseas for the first time and the passing of my much-loved grandmother. He tells me I’m very open-minded but I’m too fast in my life, referring to my tendency to do things too quickly.
“Your lucky numbers are 9, 18 and 27”. Apparently, this is a perfect set as all three numbers relate to the base number 9. This is very lucky for me and very rare in Astrology. “Your lucky day is Tuesday,” he insists. Strangely enough, today is Tuesday. Things are looking up for me. “Your life is perfect overall.”
But, there’s a twist. “I am concerned about your stomach, but there’s nothing too much to worry about.” He is right, though. I suffer from bloating and indigestion, plus I have a tendency to hold stress in my gut. He scribbles away and prescribes me some simple remedies. “Travel is good for you. And walking, walking is good”. Pt. Tripathi also instructs me to wear a ruby set in a gold ring on my right ring-finger. Then, he excuses himself to travel back to his office.
Three hours later, Pt. Tripathi returns with my astrological charts and personality profile, as well as my predictions for the next 12 months. He guides me through my pack with an encouraging smile. He is friendly, gentle and happy for me, my apparent “perfect” life and string of lucky numbers. I bid Pt. Tripathi thanks and farewell. With a glowing smile he spins around and floats out into the dark alleyway outside, leaving me feeling assured that his calling price was money relatively well spent.
Earlier in the evening, I experienced something unexpected. After Pt. Tripathi left to prepare my charts, I sped upstairs to dump my belongings and change for dinner. I arrived at my hotel room door only to struggle with the lock. I realised that I was one floor lower from where I should’ve been. I swung around in frustration, and raced to the nearest flight of stairs. As I raced, I tripped over an uneven step in the corridor and fell heavily to the marble floor. My belongings scattered everywhere and my knee, which took the weight of my fall, cried out in pain.
I think this was a sign. I think it’s time to start slowing down.