The sweet smell of rotten fruit fills the air. Probably offerings to the gods left in the Kathmandu heat for too long. A baby goat is tied up nearby, and a man wearing white linen clothing sits close while chanting. Dust churns in the air as motorbikes speed past, honking at one another to signal their advance into the busy intersection. I can’t help but get lost in the intricate woodwork of the small temple where I’ll have my fortune read by an astrologer in Nepal.
The guru arrives wearing an all-white cotton outfit, a tailored charcoal suit jacket and a topi hat. He speaks to Pooja who was kind enough to offer to translate for me. They start to walk away from the temple, and I hear the word office muttered amidst the words I don’t recognize. We cross the street and walk to the back of a small convenience store where a plain room has been built within the tiny shop. A royal blue carpet lines the floor, and plain white walls crowd around us. All three of us enter the little nook and although there wouldn’t be room for anyone else, it still feels cozy rather than claustrophobic.
The office is an odd juxtaposition from the dusty temple across the street. I imagine all fortune tellers to have their walls painted with images of the stars and the gods. Perhaps some red fabric should be draped over a light, creating a warm glow. A crystal ball sitting on a table and an eccentric woman muttering words that can sound enlightening and toe the line of crazy. But none of those things are here, and right when I think I couldn’t be caught off guard any more, he whips out a laptop and opens an app with a logo of Ganesh (the Hindu elephant god). This is not what I expected at all.
He types in my birthday, time of birth, and the area I was born in. Then, he looks briefly at my hand while twisting and turning it different ways. He glances at my forehead and then my eyes. He takes out a notepad and as he writes, he begins to talk quickly in Nepali. “You have a very nice life.” There’s a long dramatic pause between each sentence. “But, present is not good. The most difficult time of your life is now. One year.”
“Minus point. You want to tell people everything you are thinking. Don’t do that. If you want to succeed, zip it. Keep secrets. Don’t tell everything.”
“You are spending too much. You need to save money. You need to do for yourself. Once you have success, then do for others.” He picks up my empty water bottle, “Fill your bottle first and then you can fill others bottles. If yours is empty, you cannot share. These are your minus points. Negative things first, then we do positive. Don’t feel hopeless.”
“Your parents… you need to serve your parents. Are you in touch with them?” I explain that my mother and I are very close, but my father passed away last year. “The day your father passed away… Do some prayers on that day. Feed some hungry people. You have some negativity with that aspect of your life. Some strain with your parents. Your father is expecting something from you.” I tell him that tomorrow is my father’s birthday. “Do some prayers tomorrow, and donate something. Your father is watching you.”
“Do you have problems with your eyes? Protect your eyes. Take calcium. Wear glasses when you are outside and on the computer.”
“You are very modest and very nice person, but for next five years it’s very difficult times for you. After that it’s good, but for 4-5 years you will struggle. After one year it’s going to be very nice for you.”
Then Pooja’s voice raises to a high pitch “Oh my god! You’re getting married next year!” We both burst out laughing, knowing I don’t even have a boyfriend at the moment. “He says you are going to marry interracial. That is common for you though.” In Nepal, it’s still uncommon to marry outside of your caste, let alone a different ethnicity. “Your husband will do very good after you get married. You’ll be very lucky. You will have one son, maybe more but definitely one son.”
“If you don’t save money, you’re going to have a very tough time. Ten percent you have to save for yourself, then think about others. You are going to work for the community. You have to save money for yourself for older age. You really need to save money. He is focusing on that a lot. You will spend that money when you are 60. You will spend it on others.”
“Headaches?” She looks at me and I shake my head no. “You will have headaches. It’s important for you to choose a god. Christian god, Hindu god, Buddhist god, whatever god you believe in. It’s important for you to have faith in one. You will learn a lot if you meditate and focus on your career. Work hard now, and then in five years you can enjoy and travel.
“How far are you in your studies?” I confirm that I have my bachelor’s degree. “If you study, you have the ability to do a PHD. Are you very sharp at your studies?” I laugh because I’ve always been a terrible test taker. “No, not really.” I reply. “Average?” she asks. I laugh again and give the hand symbol for I’m kind of so so.
“Your things might get stolen.” It’s such a weird change of topic, that I jump in and ask, “What kind of things?” I don’t know why this upsets me so much since I try not to be attached to material items. “Your phone. Your money.” I relax a little. I’m sure that’s bound to happen to everyone in their life.
“You’re very independent.” Then Pooja starts laughing, “108 years you will live.” She laughs some more, “This is why you must save money.”
The gurus voice gets a little sullen, “You will leave the USA and you will live in another country.” I’ve become increasingly aware of how much Nepal has become my second home, so this doesn’t seem so far-fetched. “You won’t live in America.”
“Don’t wear green. It is not auspicious for you. White, Red, Black. These are good colors for you. White is very good. Wear this 55% of the time. Blue is okay too.”
“Wednesday is not good for you. Don’t start new things on Wednesdays.”
“People will try to use you for their benefit. You should be very mentally strong. Be very wary of what kind of people you interact with.”
“You should focus on doing more meditation. You need to go to do meditation when you are in Nepal. It’s a good place to meditate. Meditate more than traveling. Don’t leave meditation while you are traveling. Because you need to focus to get your success. He is focusing on this a lot.”
“Things will get better after one year. You will get a lot of work after one year. Work more, and travel less. You must work much more for five years. After that, you can relax. You can get fame out of your profession, whatever you choose.”
“Save and be secretive and work hard. And, don’t forget your parents. Bless your father and talk to your mother every other day. Keep in touch with them.”
“You have to work very hard, and then, you can relax when you get what you really want in five years. After one year also, it’s very nice for you. You need to work independently. Don’t work for others.”
“He says you have a very nice life. Very lucky.”
The guru turns to me with a big smile and says, “Come see me in a year.”
I can’t wait to look back on this post in one year or in five and see if any of it was true or if it was all just make believe. Would you go see an astrologer to see what the stars say about you? Tell me in the comments!
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Michelle Della Giovanna
Writer at Full Time Explorer
I’m just your average New Yorker who quit her job in the fashion industry to explore the world. Come find out what it’s like to trade in five-inch heels for squat toilets.