Two suburban tales

When some of the optimistic predictions came true, they trusted him.

One morning Kora, our domestic help, surprised us by coming an hour sooner than usual, that is, on the days she deigns to turn up. But instead of starting her routine of dusting and cleaning, or tarrying at the stove for her tea and snack, she moved to the front balcony and peered intently down its corner into the next compound.  Kora told us of a happening in the ground floor apartment where an NRI family was living. 

It transpired that the teenage daughter of that family had a cell-phone which Kora admired for its compact elegance, apart from its capacity to transmit email, photos and text messages from the US. The mother apparently kept an eye and an ear open to follow the trends of her daughter’s contacts in the new India. When the morning call from a man was going on too long, Mom asked who it was at the other end. The girl was peeved and sulkily hid the phone and went off. Mom’s curiosity was now heightened to suspicion of a driver lad who had been getting too familiar to the girl.  The cell-phone was nowhere to be found, because the girl had flung it over the low compound wall into the wild growth next door.  Kora was keen to find it there, but could not glimpse its sheen from our balcony. 

We never learnt how the budding affair continued or withered on the vine; an unsuitable alliance, surely, but still a possible romance of imaginable joys and pains, cut short by ‘e-disconnect’ and a young girl’s frustrated fling of her coveted cell-phone out of the house.

The second story is also from Kora, our roving correspondent, who is worth our indulgence to her in skimping work, choice eats and a hefty new advance  of pay. Near the hazardous ‘circle’ trifurcating our street is a big house where the residents are in disharmony, as hearsay goes, and also beset by misfortunes like debts, law suits, bad health, failing marriages, job losses, college and school problems. Here came a vagrant prophet one day, sneaking past the gateman, blowing a large conch and loudly chanting a strange hymn. The mistress of the house came to the portico, curious to see if this fortune-teller could foresee anything of interest to her and her own family. The man offered to read her palm. 

We are folk who compensate for the travails of the ‘present continuous tense’ by ‘futurology’ or heavenly visions, at least in our next life. That palmist was either unusually foresighted or he relied on hearsay research about that rich household, but he apparently told the lady some home truths that astonished her by their veracity, and predicted a hopeful future for her son, a great alliance for her daughter and a far greater income for her husband. 

Thus began a bond between that futurist and that family. When some of the optimistic predictions came true, they trusted him and helped him to get a job and eventually to migrate to the west. By then the palmist had attained celebrity in our suburb and adjacent settlements of similar middle-muddled classes.

One prediction of his came true as we heard later. The palmist had told her that her life-line was truncated as it ran down to her wrist, but this was not a sign of mortal danger, because there was a fainter line adjoining it and curving in sideways. She would have something like a new and different life. The lady did suffer cancer and did survive by timely medical and home care, not least by her husband and son.  

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