What did the Parrot Say about You?
He looked at me intently, without batting an eyelid. I did the same.
Of course, I was scared. His eyes intimidated me or perhaps, even haunted me. Who knows?
Silence enveloped us, but I could hear the soft pumping of my heart. Maybe, he heard it too and enjoyed. Who knows?
He was clad in a sparkling white-coloured dhoti (traditional men’s garment) and rust-coloured kurta (collarless shirt). A bright turmeric gamucha (cotton towel), adorned his upright shoulders. He was immaculately clean, spotless.
To avoid his gaze, I peeked at the horizontal green stripes of his inner sweater—a mixture of lime and forest green in colour. Sitting comfortably on the bright-yellow tattered plastic mat, he was definitely amused by me.
Maybe because I was laughing with fear in my eyes!
And no one randomly laughs in front of a parrot astrologer. At least, sane people.
“How old are you?” he asked in an authoritative tone. The indifferent timbre of his voice lacked the local Rajasthani accent. In fact, it did not look as if he belonged to Ajmer, where I had found him.
“25.” I answered, quite automatically. I smirked to myself. Ah! He couldn’t guess.
Anyway, he looked at me, with ample disinterest which added to my fright.
After all, within few minutes, this very man sitting in front of me would act as an oracle. He would reveal my future. Or to be precise, his parrot would. Parrot astrology in India is an age-old tradition. It is mainly prevalent in South India.
He looked left, lightly whistled and immediately, his little parrot peeked out of its cage. By slowly poking on the wooden railing of its cage, it instantly walked out, finally sitting on top of it.
It amused me. This delicate, little creature! It had strong legs, upright stance and strong curved beak. Quite young, I must say.
“Rajesh!” ordered the astrologer, looking at the parrot. The black neck-ring and pinkish nape revealed its masculinity.
Quite obediently, Rajesh fluttered his wings and picked up one card out of the 27 Tarot cards stacked in front of it. For sure, parrot astrology in Rajasthan was going to be different experience for me.
Flaunting its attitude, Rajesh returned to the cage’s roof, as soon as his task was done. Quite triumphantly. I could have clapped.
Instead, I took a deep breath.
The astrologer opened the card, which supposedly carried my entire fortune, future and fantasies.
He remained silent, staring gravely at the card. My child-like enthusiasm was as usual making me nervous. And obviously, it delighted him. What a drama!
Finally, he looked at me, starting the rendezvous with my eyes, once again.
‘Something really terrible happened with you in 2014. Didn’t it?’ he asked, with a piercing look.
Define terrible, I said in my head. In front of him, I remained quiet. My heart sank and it missed a beat. My mind immediately replayed the entire year, in bits and pictures.
I did not know the answer. Would you know if someone asked you? I bet, most of us can’t! That’s the beauty of life.
Anyway, as exotic as he was, he did inundate me with details about my future. All the little things like marriage, children, husband, in-laws, so and so forth. I had no interest in them. He revealed traits of my behaviour, my past and my birth horoscope. According to him, I was an Aquarian.
No, I wasn’t. I am a hard-core Sagittarian.
Of course, parrot astrologers are not always right. But yes, they are often entertaining. He made Rajesh imitate few Hindu verses, in an attempt to make me laugh. I did.
He wasn’t very open to questions. Or perhaps, he could not understand them. I don’t blame him for that. But something about him did disturb me a lot. Call it his aura, vibe or just the ambience.
After paying him a little token, I silently headed towards Ana Sagar Lake of Ajmer, which was artificially constructed in between 1135 -1150 AD by the Chauhan family.
For hours, I just sat looking at the vastness of the lake, thinking what had just happened. Hearing the loud flapping of migratory birds, passing over my head and touching the unknown horizon, was peaceful.
My analytical mind laughed at my pursuit of trusting the clairvoyance of a parrot. How dumb, isn’t it?
And slowly, I realised what disturbed me the most. The parrot astrologer had not mentioned a single word regarding my career. Don’t ask me why? Perhaps, it did not exist for him. Did he have a career, I asked myself? Perhaps, no! A part of me felt sorry for him, in a weird way.
Anyway, what exists and what does not, is always debatable. Every form of reality is not palpable.
Even today, as I write about it, it remains an open-ended narrative. Every time I think about it, it reveals a new face, a new emotion.
While returning from the lake, I noted that the parrot astrologer had left. Who was he? Where did he go? How has he survived so long? How long will he survive this way?
Sigh! Nothing remained to validate that he existed there, just a few hours ago. Not even leftover crumbs of seeds, fruits and buds that could suggest Rajesh’s presence. So, did it happen? Did I really meet him? I don’t know.
Perhaps that’s how future is. Nothing remains to validate anything. But what I guess is the most important idea is to remain in the present. Not in the future, or the past. Just here, right now.
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