I was probably 7 or 8 years old when my cousin gifted me a pretty hand bag. The bag was a small shoulder sling bag in white color with Tiffney blue strap and a curious image on the front. I didn’t know much about that image and didn’t think of it either, instead, I simply swung it on my tiny shoulders and went to show it off to my other cousins. We are a huge family you see! Anyway one of my genius cousins quickly spotted the curious symbol and asked me if I knew about it and what was my star sign. I had no idea about either. So, like any kid, I went to my mother and repeated the questions.
My mother told me and my cousin that the symbol was of a ram, of the star-sign Aries and I belonged to the star sign Aquarius. Then it dawned on me that my well-meaning cousin bought me the wrong bag! Because the correct symbol for me would have been the water-bearer. My extreme joy of owning the pretty bag was dampened in an instant.
But then my genius cousin had an idea- why don’t we go and read the weekly horoscope column? My first question was, what is horoscope? For the uninitiated, horoscope is a forecast of a person’s future, typically including a delineation of character and circumstances, based on the relative positions of the stars and planets at the time of that person’s birth.
Thus, with abundant curiosity, I marched off to hear the predictions about my week. Without any surprise, the column had nothing that could hold the interest of a kid. Soon we were off to playing and horoscopes and star signs were promptly forgotten.
They remained forgotten till middle teens, that was when one of my close friends developed an interest in weekly forecasts that were published in newspapers. Naturally, I joined in too. After all, it was incredibly convenient to blame a bad week to the stars than to our actions and efforts (or the lack of thereof). Over the years I grew fonder of predictions and forecasts. Once I had even spread out my palm in front of strangers hoping he would have one look at the lines on my palm and tell me which career was best suited for me. Unfortunately, the future prediction did not work for me and the great astrologers could not help out a confused teenage mind in resolving the most important question- engineering or medicine as a career? (Eventually I became an engineer.)
After the epic disappointment over all predictions (none of them came true), I sore off from all things questionable (like forecasts based on stars or numbers etc.). No more star signing reading, palmistry, numerology, etc. for me. This would continue until very recently when the astrologer became an important force again. How? Well, the wedding industry of course! It is truly fascinating how many people survive on this industry! Apparently astrologers seem to have difficulty in figuring me out and figuring out my possible future. For this time also, the responses were extremely ambiguous. At least it has been so till now. If I can make a life as I want to, what are you being consulted for???
But now I am not the wishful teenager hoping that some stranger could “see” my future. Today I am the person who realized the wisdom in Shakespeare’s words, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene III, L. 140-141). It means that it is not fate, but the weakness of the character that forces a person to act against his will, or in other words, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” (Shakespeare).
Indeed, the fault is not in the alignment of stars or the position of planets but in our own decisions/judgments/ character. Wizened by time, I can now admit to myself that the things that went wrong were not so because of the anger of Uranus or something else but my very own actions. How can the stars predict anything when I am dynamically changing from one moment to the next?
It is popularly told that, the person you are, the person you think you are and the person who others think you are, are three different people. I think I am now a hardened soul who will not be swayed by predictions and star signs but then I wonder am I? Is it just a pretty lie I tell myself or my genuine belief? I hope I can take decisions based on logic and fact. And I hope I can own up my actions rather than conveniently blaming the sun, the stars or the moon.