I’ve never been particularly sure when it comes to things like the zodiac, palmistry, tarot cards, and the like. I’ve definitely used them for humour but never took any of it seriously. It doesn’t seem too dependable. I’ve ended up in a couple of heated arguments in the past regarding their validity. More often than not, I dropped it when I realised the other person was highly invested in it.
It fascinates me, that I am sure of. I find the idea of getting an insight into who I am as a person exhilarating. I’ve been known to take multiple Buzzfeed quizzes and have taken that 16-type personality test in the past (I’m an INTJ if you’re guessing). It’s interesting to read a complete stranger’s take on your life and see if they’re right about you. You can pass it off as fraud if they’re wrong and you can bask in your good fortune if they by mistake happen to be right.
I watched a magic show on TV as a kid and the magician who was hosting it once had an episode on Tarot readings. He revealed how easy it was to convince someone of their fate, all it took were keen observations and some vague generalisations. The people who went in thinking he was for real, were so shocked about how close to home he hit. When they were told it was just a trick, they were completely shocked that he wasn’t a real astrologer. I know, it could have been staged, those people were actors, I know.
But I use the above episode as an example, just to say that a lot of all of this has to do with flamboyance and being observant. I am not here to debate whether it’s real or not, that’s a debate for another day. I know people who have never dabbled in this stuff because they had a much stronger sense of self than I, they didn’t need a website to validate their personality.
That might sound rude, but it’s true, our insecurities feed our curiosity to know the future, to know who we are. I am a Leo. When I used to read about Leo as a kid, the internet threw up adjectives like – confident, flamboyant, arrogant, extroverted, the life of the party, popular – none of these applied to me in the way they were intended back then, and even now the only one in the above set that applies is- arrogant.
For a while, I wrote it off, as a lie. But when I was sixteen I realised I could look at it in two ways. Either I could see those adjectives as describing who I am, or they could indicate who I could become. I am not the only Leo out there, and we’re all different, it was up to me to choose what applied to me.
My family always treated the zodiac predictions that came in the Sunday paper while I was growing up as breakfast table entertainment. My parents always cautioned me not to take it too seriously. Of the four of us, I was the most susceptible to fantasy and magic, and I still am.
Even now in times of complete nervous breakdowns, I give in and check my zodiac predictions. Eventually, I realised, the cryptic messages, were like checking WebMD when you have a common cold. You should not. These predictions are great when you’re in a good place, not when you’re in doubt.
My sister and I would sometimes look at each other’s palms, trying to deduce when we’d get married, how long we’d live, our fortunes and debate whether our estimates of how many children we’d each have was, in fact, the truth. It was fun, I won’t lie. But to be honest, I don’t even know if we were looking at the correct hand.
I suppose there is a science to all of this, I don’t know. But in my opinion, it should remain a mystery. We love putting a value on things, we love slotting ourselves, we do it enough already. If we could determine every step of our lives, we should be given an instruction manual when we’re young. But wait! In Hinduism we do! When children are born, an astrologer writes up something called a ‘Kundli’. It’s based on the position of the stars at the time of a child’s birth. When two people deside to get married, their Kundlis are matched to see if they make a good pair.
My parents didn’t get one made for me or my sister. Why dwell over things that will end up happening to the child anyway? It’s unfair to the child if someone predetermines their future, restricting them more than they will no doubt already be.
None of this means that I’ll stop taking those quizzes or looking for my zodiac sign’s prediction of the day. It just means whether I decide to believe it or not, I can change it. If you’re told that tomorrow will be a bad day, try to make it good. If you’re told you will make many enemies, maybe try being a better person. If your heartline says you’ll have a troubled love life doesn’t mean that you can’t turn it into a good one or that you have to fall in love at all. If something was not right in the alignment in the stars when you were born, doesn’t mean the stars stand the same way today.
Perhaps we should leave the extremism. You don’t need to marry a tree to get rid of the error in the stars, you don’t need to do what the prediction tells you, just change it. At least that’s how I see it.
I’ll decide if I am extroverted. I will decide who I marry and how many children I have. I will decide how I spend my money. Unfortunately for my life line, science has come a long enough way to help me live. Oh! And I have a rough idea of how smart I am, there is nothing my head line can tell me that I don’t already know. I have had to face enough bullies in my life, my future will not join that club.