Seeking a soothsayer

The fortune teller, his parrot and his guinew pig

As I stepped off the bus and onto the beach, the sky was already getting dark, even though it was only 6.30pm. The ominous black clouds roll in from the northeast, being pushed in by a strong wind that could only indicate a coming storm. Thankfully, it hadn’t yet begun to rain. I was here at the beach for one purpose: to seek a soothsayer and discover my untold future. The beach at night is nothing like it is at any other time of the day. The sunny, busy sand becomes a festival of spinning lights, sandwich vendors, and wanderers. The lighthouse turns in the background and its beam sweeps across the sky cutting through the black clouds, but only for an instant, and then it’s gone.

My translator inquires to several vendors about finding a soothsayer and we finally happen upon a woman who immediately tells me to sit and hold out my hand. She pulls my hand toward the light and touches it with a stick, which I later find out is called ‘Jakkama’s rod,’ through which she was able to determine that I was a lavish spender and independent. She also told me that I’ve emerged from the bad things in life and will soon be rich. Cool huh? After hearing my fortune, we stood up and ran off at the urging of my translator because the palm reader tried to squeeze an extra hundred rupees out of us.

We continued down the beach and we happened across a man sitting cross-legged in the sand, adjacent a small cage and a table on the ground. The man showed little notice of me as I sat down across from him in the sand and snapped a few pictures. His face was obscured by the flickering shadows of the propane lamp, but I was able to see his deep, heavy eyes that reminded me of something that I couldn’t quite place. The wind had picked up slightly by now; it was completely dark, and no moon peered through the thick cloud cover. He asks me to choose between the Guinea pig or the bird andnaNturally, not being a bird person, I choose the Guinea pig.

The man, Sendel, laid out a deck of cards opposite the small cage, overlapping them in a neat line. He then lifted the cage door, like that of the Roman coliseum, but instead of a tiger, the little Guinea pig emerges and wastes no time in getting down to business. As if guided by some otherworldly force, the small soothsayer immediately pulls out the card to foretell my future. He chooses, the Virgin Mary, which, apparently indicates that I have bright things in my future. However, he also told me that I was a big mouth, and that I shouldn’t keep sharing my plans with everyone, because they won’t come true if I do.

The furry little sage was mysteriously able to predict my future and even told me of my present life, but what role did the man play? He was perhaps the interpreter, but it would seem as if he was just a medium through which the spiritually endowed piglet communicated his miraculous gift.


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