I've always been partial to getting my tarot cards read. Some people swear by hypnosis, others by pranic chanting,others by runes, but it's tarot for me. I mean, picking cards at random out of a pack and having a stranger deduce your personality and the events of your future by them - what could be more scientifically accurate than that?
Recently I was at a fusion Chinese restaurant at Siri Fort called Chopsticks for dinner. At one end of the restaurant sat a portly middle aged woman, on her own at a table covered in a long red velvet cloth. Occasionally people would wander over to her, sit down, chat for a bit, then hand her some money and return to their tables. I couldn't get my eyes off her. Was she dealing drugs? Was she some kind of footsie prostitute? So I went over to investigate.
She turned out to be a tarot reader. Shovelling mouthfuls of chicken manchurian and noodles into her mouth with one hand, she handed me a note with the other. "You must agree to these before I read your cards."
The note set out the terms for her reading.
* 100 rupees per question
* Special: 6 questions for 500 rs
* Questions must be so they can be answered with a yes or no.
* No long answers will be given.
* No responsibility will be taken if life events don't match reading.
This was the first time I'd ever encountered a closed-answer question only rule at a tarot reader. I sat down. "Two questions please."
She stopped shovelling the food down her mouth for long enough to spread the cards out for me. Tapping the pack with her talons she said, "pick five."
I picked out five.
"Think of your questions," she ordered.
"What will happen for me career-wise?"
She shook her head. "Not specific enough. The cards will not answer that. You must make it tighter. And set out a time frame."
"Umm... how will my career pan out over the next five years?"
She shook her head again, increasingly impatient. "Too long. Make it one year. And you must be more specific."
"Okay. Will my career pan out the way I want over the next year?"
She paused, running her fingers over the cards (no doubt leaving traces of Manchurian sauce on the Queen of Wands.) Then, sighing theatrically, she pronounced, "Yes."
Was that all? I said, I'm sorry but that's not enough. You have to give me more. You can't just say yes.
She said, eyes narrowed, you knew the rules, pointing at the rule card.
I argued a bit more, and she relented and said, "Okay, I will tell you that the cards tell me that your career wishes will be more than well and truly fulfilled over the next year. Next question."
"Will I get value for money from my time here today?"
She shot me a death glare, then turned back to her chicken noodles and resumed the shovelling. My time was up.