They predict about a movie’s fate at the box office and a single * one becomes a roaring hit (film critics are now nothing but failed astrologers). They predict about elections and the party, which had been absolutely ruled out, wins with absolute majority. They predict about a rainy day and it rains somewhere else. They predict about Sachin’s back and he gets injured in the elbow. Prediction is big business with millions of small players. In Hyderabad, if an average street has five theatres and 3 wine shops, then the number of astrologers will surely be in the double figures. So how do these smaller players conduct their business. Here’s a sneak peak from very close quarters.
The signboard reads… Name: Dr S V Panduranga Murthy, MA, M Phil, PhD (who needs resumes if you have names like these) Profession: Astrological predictions, palmistry, face reading, computer “horror”-scope (Is anything left?) Apart from all these Mr Murthy claims that he is also learning tarot card reading to attract celebrity clients. By the way, on an average morning in front of his residence in one of the not-so-busy localities of Hyderabad, where I also live, you can at least see 10 to 15 people queuing up to consult him. From a distance one gets the feeling that it’s a private clinic of a doctor rather than the house of an astrologer.
The similarities don’t end there. There is also an attender who writes people’s names on a notebook, collects the consulting fee and then gives them a token. While his house looks like a private clinic, Mr Murthy looks more like a Godman with his sparkling white robe and a tilak on his forehead. Now, let’s come to the prediction part. Since, I was very much intrigued by his status in the colony, I paid a visit to his house. After waiting for around half an hour and playing my neighbourhood card, I finally got a chance to meet the man who could see my future. And there he was sitting amidst a plethora of images of Gods and Goddesses and a P4 Compaq Presario.
Even before I could ask my questions, he blurted out, “You will go to the US next year.” An average Hyderabadi answer would have been, “How the hell did you know?” Because half of the Telugu engineering graduates after a short stint in the United States of Ameerpet (that’s where all the computer institutes are situated) anyways plan their way to the US. But here I was with no intention of going to US but still getting the same answer without even asking any questions. Somehow, I cut short my appointment with Mr Godman and headed back home. And then came a good one. All my friends who stay in the same locality and have had the misfortune of meeting Mr Murthy, also had to eat the Big Apple theory!!!