Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jaipur Jeweler

The jeweler read my palm instead of selling me jewelry.

I had asked my driver, Bhati (to whom I will undoubtedly devote many posts, sweet fellow), where I could find an astrologer, as Jaipur is known for its fortunetellers. He winked at me and said that most people just used computers nowadays, I'd be better off getting my palm read.

"How much?" I asked, always the skeptic.


I had been told many times that the good fortunetellers don't charge for their services, as they regard them as gifts of God, not to be sold, so I was pleased with this information.

Bhati and I decided to swing by my favorite Jaipur eatery, The Rainbow Restaurant, before going to the jewelers.  The Rainbow is the only place in all of India where I can get food hot enough for my palate.  Most places, they take one look at my fair skin and take out the spices.  "I want it Indian spicy, not gora spicy," I plead, and the waiter laughs and brings it bland enough for my grandmother.  Makes me crazy.  But one time Bhati went in and read them the riot act, and I've always gotten spicy good Rajasthani food at the Rainbow.  If you look it up on line, Westerns review it on the power of its pizza.  I don't know what's wrong with people, sometimes.

Sated, I headed to the jewelers.  He was in the back office, looking at the books.  (Literally.  Ledgers.  Remember those?)  He sat me down and asked me to put out my left hand, palm up.  Men's fortunes are read on their right palms. I can think of several reasons this might be so, none of them flattering to women, so I don't ponder too deeply.

Indian men just don't touch strange women's hands, so he used the capped end of a ballpoint pen to move the fleshy skin of my palm slightly to see the lines. He said that he was going to tell me my past.  I wondered what the point was of that. He pointed out that I'd know if he was accurate about the past, not the future.

I determinedly didn't look up at him, didn't respond to what he said.  He talked about moving a lot as a child to new places, a loss when I was nineteen, told me that I was in my second relationship (I wore no rings) but that a third one was possible.  He tried not to look disapproving as he said that.

At the end, he told me that my lines were good, that all he saw was a bad influence of Saturn, but almost everybody has that. Saturn is trouble. He gave me a mantra, in Sanskrit.  He asked me to feed some cows, back in my home, as payment for his services.  I tried to imagine cows wandering the streets of Berkeley.

I asked (really, I asked--he did not try to sell me anything) about Indian gemstones.  He sold me a small sapphire to wear on the middle finger of my left hand to counteract that pesky Saturn.  He told me that I couldn't wear it until I got home, dipped it in milk three times at 7 am on a Saturday while reciting a mantra.  He said that I should not let anyone touch the ring, blessed by his guru in Varanasi, lest the power of the stone be diluted.  He himself only touched the ring, would not touch the stone.
Image from
Most of what he told me that day was accurate.  I did move around a lot as a child, I did suffer a loss at 19, and I was on my second relationship with a chance at a third.  He and I disagreed on whether it was advisable to take the risk on the third relationship.

I performed the ritual with the ring when I returned home, and I have never let anyone touch the stone.  I was unable to find cows in Berkeley, however, which may have ruined the whole thing.  I don't think so, though.