My grandmother had a sort of her own spiritual advisor. It was a nomadic woman in her mid twenties that would stop by once a months or so to remove spells, get rid of a Jinn (Genie) or two that permanently lived in their basement it seemed, and finally write some prayers that my aunt in particular needed to wear around her neck until her next visit.
I never liked her and could copy a couple of her acts even better than she performed them but confronting her with all her tools was hard, particularly after she made a Jinn speak one day and even put imprints of her hoofs on a plate of soft flour as a form of a signature to promise to leave the family alone.
After her, my exposure with people of â€œcelestialâ€ powers has been limited to the Bahama Mama (her words) who tried to lift my wallet while performing her magic, the Toronto â€œGypsyâ€ (her word again) who made me leave upon seeing my palms and declaring my â€œevilâ€ and “probably anti-Christâ€ and finally one last example that I will leave out as it involves the pubic area and not that fun to read.
But last week Iâ€™m in San Fernando Valley (I know, I got to stop going there) for an appointment and as soon as I get out of my car, somebody calls me from behind. I turn and this Sikh man about my own age in a light blue turban is rushing towards me. I am not sure if he was speaking to me in Hindi or his English accent was so thick I really didnâ€™t understand what he was saying. When he got to me, he started with â€œyou are a very lucky manâ€, pointing to a small mole on my forehead that presumably acts as a third-eye.
I thanked him and asked what I could do for him, thinking his car has broken down or needs to use a cell phone or any of other thousands of reasons we could need one another as human beings.
Thatâ€™s when he crumbles a tiny piece of paper and puts it in my palm and while writing on another small yellow square piece of paper, starts to dissect my life, or at least my future:
â€¢ I am one lucky man (general.)
â€¢ 8/26/2008 will be a lucky day for me.
â€¢ Two garlic every morning (not clear as to cloves or whole pieces) good for my health.
â€¢ I have two children. You have none? Then you WILL have two.
â€¢ His prediction; my favorite color is blue and my favorite number between 6,7 or 8 is 7! I picked blue and 8 but he quickly scratched 8 and made my second choice 7!
Finally and after about 7-10 minutes of this, the main pitch comes. He opens the brown hand-made but inexpensive small folder he has been using all this time to write on to show me two of his pictures while sitting in a temple. â€œMy name is Baba ___â€ (I canâ€™t remember it) â€œand people help me with 100, 150â€ (never mentioning â€˜dollarsâ€™) and closing with â€œwhat can you help me with today?â€
With that, the back and forth volley of demands and excuses between us starts. I start with â€œgot no cash on meâ€ but he points to my hand â€œyou have your checkbookâ€, ouch, a good shot but Iâ€™m not done. â€œIâ€™m going to an appointment and thatâ€™s for themâ€ forces him to back down and go back to a cash position: â€œwhat can you help me with right NOW?â€ I need to go for broke, besides Iâ€™m being late: â€œRight now? Nothing. If youâ€™re still here after I get back in 20 minutes, Iâ€™ll help you with $5â€ He is disarmed but tries one last time â€œOkay, help me with $5 right now!â€ and I question his honesty next: â€œWhy? Are you taking off and will not be here in 20 minutes?â€ Heâ€™s defeated. All he can do is threaten now: â€œIâ€™ll see you in 20 minutes then!â€
As I turn and within 20 feet, I see an older partner of my â€œZoltarâ€ with a similar handbag offering advice and seeking â€œhelpâ€. Seems like helping is a group sport.
Meanwhile, all I am thinking is that I wish they indeed had the ability to foresee the future. They would then know that my appointment is for two hours and Iâ€™m planning to get some food afterward.
In my head I say goodbye to them; â€œSee you in 4 hours Zoltars!â€