My father never believed in the godhead, preferring simply to talk to his Lord Muruga, but he had an abiding belief in astrology. He was a doctor and one of his regular patients was Mr. Gurumurti, who knew astrology well. They would talk for hours about how the planets affect us. I often heard these animated conversations and would scoff at the idea that distant planets could even influence my digestion and health!
One day, father came home all excited because the roadside palmist had predicted that our family would soon acquire a piece of land. He whistled raga bilahari jubilantly. A piece of land in Chennai means money!
A week later, we had a visit from our neighbour, a robust man who always gestured grandly with his hands when he spoke. He had learned that the gate of his family’s compound was wrongly cemented; their family astrologer advised them not to shift the gate but to redo the compound wall according to vastu shastra. He said that since we had been their neighbours for more than four generations, a piece of land just over one foot wide was going to be gifted to us. He declared this with the expansive gesture of a king giving away bounties to his people.
This generous decision brought two coconut trees and one-fourth of a mango tree into our compound.
of tree branches —
knots in the air
stories in the trickle of an hourglass rain