Discovering the road ahead: a palm reading in Udaipur, India

Just ten days into my trip around India and I was already feeling like a pro backpacker. My hair was braided, my makeup bag neglected and my wardrobe made up entirely of various elephant-printed ensembles that I’d sourced at the local market. My friends and I paraded around town, unperplexed by the vibrant sights and smells that often catch newbies to India off-guard. After all, we’d been here a whole ten days, man. Yup, by this point I was well and truly turning into a total ‘Gap Yah’ gal (for those unfamiliar with this all-too-common breed of backpacker, you can enlighten yourself with this video here).

“Let’s get our palms read…” My friend suggested. We had just got ourselves adorned up to the eyeballs in henna and junked up on Chai Masala tea. So we were already feeling pretty cultural.

“Sure, why not.” I replied. I wasn’t really into the whole ‘spiritual world’, but hey – I was in India and doing the whole “no regrets/living in the moment/finding myself” palaver. Plus a palm reading was exactly the kind of thing I needed to plump up the ‘backpacker’ plume that was growing so voraciously around my shoulders. And with an authentic palm reading to my name, surely I’d hold the top trump card at the next family gathering? (Sure cousin A, its great you’ve just opened your own medical practice and all, but have you had an enlightened healer stare deep into your soul and predict your future? Nah, didn’t think so). Needless to say, I was in it for all the right reasons.

So I paid the slightly overpriced fee of 480 rupees (that’s five quid to you and me) and followed the squat Indian man up the stairs to a dingy little bedroom. The man ushered me inside and I followed his directions to a small wooden chair. Sat opposite me was my guru; younger than the wizened old man I’d expected, but dressed in a long robe, turban and a swipe of heavy eye-liner that ticked off the uniform I’d hoped for. So far, so good.

He explained his name and the process for the palm reading; first he was going to do some calculations based on my birthday to understand my personality, and then he was going to get to the good stuff and use my palm to see what secrets my future holds. Juicy.

My feelings of skepticism continued as the guru’s initial calculations highlighted common personality traits that usually come up in my Cosmo horoscope – because of my relationship with the moon, I tend to change my mind a lot and have the odd mood swing, and my connection with Uranus (of all the bloody planets…) means that I tend to doubt myself. I’m good with people, which means I must work in HR marketing, and right now I need to focus on my passions which lie in cooking dancing writing. Ahem. Things then got a little awkward as the guru kept missing the mark and I felt bad for his miscalculations, so decided to just play along – oh my god, yes I love wrestling! How did you guess?? – when finally we moved on to the more juicy topics: relationships.

The guru’s mouth curled at the sides as he studied my palm.

“Oh…”

“Yes…?” Oh what? Oh you should have held on to that last one because there’s nothing left in the pipeline for you? Oh you’re definitely doomed in love and going to end up alone, save for an impressive stamp collection and a doting Labrador? Oh what??

“You will have many relationships…” The guru shot me a knowing look.

“Well I mean, I wouldn’t say I’ve had many…” Just an average amount for a girl my age.

“No, no, no.” The guru’s vision was getting clearer. “Not have had, will have. You will have five relationships in the future.”

“Oh right…” I pondered on this. Well, I guess I can’t complain. 5 is most certainly better than none, even if it is a little on the steep side. I’ve probably got 50 years left in me too, so that averages out at one a decade. That’s doable.

“And you will meet your life partner at 27.” The guru chirped.

“27? But I’m only 24 now…” And I’m 25 this year. The guru nodded mysteriously. I chuckled, “so my life partner will be number 5?”

Another nod.

“That’s an awful lot of relationships for someone to get through in such a short space of time…” I laughed nervously and the guru smiled back. It was either a kind, reassuring smile that said ‘don’t question fate’, or it was a dangerously knowing smile that said ‘I know exactly how many guys you can get through, madam. You don’t fool me’. I wasn’t sure which, but I was instantly suspicious of who this gurus been talking to.

So, I have 5 relationships to hammer out over the next two and a half years before I’ll find the one. Well, its not ideal, but…

“Also, I see more than one.” The guru grumbled.

“More than one what?”

“Man. At a time.”

Multiple lovers? My palm reading seemed to be taking a rather seedy turn.

“I don’t understand.” I feigned confusion. I can’t possibly have multiple lovers, I’m a lady.

“You always have more than one person on the go, and then you pick your favourite.” The guru was nodding eagerly.

“Well I wouldn’t say always…” There had been one occasion in my teens when I’d held the affections of two different guys, but that favourable situation had failed to resurface since.

“Yes, yes. You very active in love.” The guru nodded, getting more certain of himself by the second. “Many men.” He grinned.

I shook my head, but he protested and drew out a crude picture of my hand. He pointed to the part below my pinkie finger that represents relationships, and there it was; a series of wiggly creases. Many lines. So many relationships. The proof was in the palm.

In a bid to steer some substance into my future, I tried to ask about my career path: “should I go back to uni?”

The palm reader shook his head. “Ah sorry, no more time. Please pay downstairs if you have not already.” He shot me an expectant grin and I gathered my belongings.

Downstairs I met Beth, who was giddy with the promise of her future. “Oh my god, mine told me that I have a caring soul and I should give up my job in finance and do something rescuing animals, which is what I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid! He was spot on! What did yours say??”

“Ummm…” That I’m a bit of a slut and won’t settle down until I’ve got five solid relationships under my belt? Somehow it didn’t quite compare to Beth’s life changing epiphany. “He just said I’ll have a plentiful love life.”

“Oh right.” Beth frowned, unsure of how to interpret this. “Its crazy how accurate they are isn’t it?!”

I smiled. “Yeah crazy.” I wasn’t sure whether to be pleased or disappointed with my reading, but I decided to take it on my chin. After all, if the 5 relationships prophecy is right, I’ll have enough stress to last me a lifetime coming my way in the next few years. Better keep a level head while I still can. And it’s just a palm reading… right?

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