Mr. S.G. Punjabi, who describes himself as a Hindu Sindhi astrologer, is my most regular contact. He rings me up almost every day. Sunday's excepted, with his forecasts. Mainly they are weather forecasts, essentially dealing with the arrival and volume of rains, but occasionally, when the going in good, he also makes political forecasts.
"Mr. Narasimha Rao will be finished by September 20. I cannot say how, but he will be finished. Will you acknowledge it?" he announces it in his gravel voice. I tell him I can acknowledge it only after it happens. "All right," he says, and puts the phone down.
Mr. Punjabi's great quality is that he does not make long conversations on the phone. He announces what he has to say and that's that. He also does not charge or make a living out of astrology, he is a retired clerk from the sales tax office, and he did once forecast a minor earthquake 12 hours before it happened.
Jagjit Uppal is a professional astrologer. He is properly organised, has an office at the Taj, his daily and weekly astrological forecasts for the newspapers come well in advance, in bunches of 30, properly typed, with charts attaches. His wife helps him in his work, and, of late, astrological columns appear in her name also, though I suspect he ghostwriters them.
The Uppals, husband and wife, are also great travellers, they disappear into the mountains regularly, trekking. And, I think, it is their love for the outdoor-life that has made them shift to New Bombay, from where he takes a hovercraft to the Taj each day, enjoying his ride across the harbour.
I do not know how good an astrologer he is, but he writes judiciously, each of his forecasts may be interpreted in several different ways. And the trick of successful astrological writing is that.
Bejan Daruwalla is an astrologer, friend, poet, and a bit of a character. He now lives part of the tie in the US, where he is a great success on cable TV. In India, he is a success with film producers, for whom he works out auspicious muharats for their films. He had forecast my marriage, after I had announced, after I had announced it. And for a wedding presetn, he gave me my horoscope, which I have not understood nor bothered to understand.
Hatha Yogi Rao was a yogi, astrologer and friend. We used to meet at Mahalaxmi races, where he would ask me for tips. Desperate punters, who used to see us talking, thought he was passing on divine information to me and asked me what tips he has given. I enjoyed telling them, he does not give me tips, I give him.
Right now, I would like somebody to tell me what my immediate future, as of this afternoon, is. But then I don't believe in astrologers.