Aarush and Radhika were sitting in a dingy, low lit room with weird stuff hanging around them from the ceiling. The creepy red walls were freaking them out even more, and the carpet was leopard print, as if the lady hunted a live leopard and used its skin to cover her floor.
‘What in the name of humanity is this?’ Radhika pointed at a skull which was staring at her, with weird bright red glowing eyes gleaming every two seconds.
‘That’s what we call – fooling people! And people like bua will gladly transfer all her property in such people’s name too!’
‘Shh…Aarush she will hear it.’
‘I don’t care! What I don’t like, I don’t like – simple as that. I don’t care about my impression on others, I don’t have to impress anyone here. You don’t like me – your problem not mine!’
‘I know your rules and regulations, but till the time we are with your relatives, please behave properly. God knows when you meet them next.’
‘Just because you turn me emotional, I stop. Otherwise every time I make them realize how wrong and immature they are. If I am sitting inside this shit, it’s also because of you!’ Aarush pumped up his face.
‘You look so cute, can I kiss you?’ Radhika pulled his cheek.
‘Aarush, Radhika…come inside.’ Chinkee bua asked them to come, she had entered her private cabin five minutes earlier than them.
‘How’s the job of promoter and assistant going on, bua? My company needs some, seriously!’ Aarush mocked.
‘Aarush, you can insult and don’t believe in it, but I do, and that’s my belief.’ Chinkee bua was firm.
‘I know, but this is stupid – do you know your belief is stupid too?’
‘Say what you want to, I believe in this, so I believe in this. Simple as that!’
‘Anyways, what exactly is this? Tarot card reading or crystal ball predictions?’ Aarush wanted to know what to expect once inside.
‘Neither of them. Its simple palm reading and face reading.’
‘Bullshit! I don’t believe in that at all. Had it been some crystal ball or Tarot card stuff, at least I would have some fun. This is not only stupid, but boring too!’
‘Son, come inside…’ the woman chanted from her inner chambers.
‘Coming!’ Aarush removed his footwear and joined Radhika inside.
‘Have a seat son.’ the woman was wearing black from head to toe, around twenty rings in her ten fingers and more than a hundred necklaces and neck-pieces surrounded her neck. If it could turn any weirder Aarush would seriously leave the place with his wife alongside. But he was sitting there for Radhika’s sake, who didn’t want to insult Chinkee bua.
‘Show me your palm, young lady.’ the woman said in a heavy, scary voice. Radhika stretched her palm forward.
‘Show me the other one too…’ Radhika stretched the other one alongside the first one.
The lady joined both the palms, and using a stick she started tracing some lines on her palms.
‘Now I will tell you some things about yourself, which you might already know. But I need to confirm if I am right or not, so please help me, will you?’
Radhika nodded in approval.
‘This is your second love-affair, right? And first marriage.’ the lady said.
Both Radhika and Aarush were shocked beyond their wits.
‘Yes.’ Radhika nodded.
‘You will give birth to the child of your husband in less than nine months after marriage. Are you pregnant, young lady?’
‘Yes!’ Radhika went pale with shock. She didn’t expect such accurate predictions. But still she thought that it might be a joke too. Some guesses can be right, that does not mean everything she says is right and true!
‘Show me your hands, young man…’ the lady asked Aarush, and he obeyed her immediately. All his jokes and mockery were deep asleep now.
‘Hmm…you have had a terrible, struggling life. This is your second marriage, is it? You could not conceive a child in your first one, and your wife left you for someone else.’
‘No, this is my first marriage. I had a live-in relationship before this, and yes, my ex-girlfriend had a miscarriage.’
‘Having sexual relationships with someone is considered marriage only, so that means I was right. Did she leave you for someone else?’
‘Why else do girls breakup anyway?’ Aarush said.
‘Alright, I see some hot-blood here.’ the woman tried to calm him down.
‘You have started your own work, you worked under someone for five years, that’s what your lines say here, that this man cannot be dominated. He is born to rule.’
‘Yeah, somewhat…’ Aarush didn’t want to agree, but he knew the lady was right.
‘Show me your hands, young lady…’
‘Can I predict some of your future if you permit me?’
‘Is it scary and horrible?’
‘I don’t know yet, I will see it only if you allow me to read it for you.’
‘Fine, you can. Go ahead.’ Radhika was terrified. She was strangely believing everything that lady was saying.
The lady traced her palm and fingers again, and made some more calculations.
‘You have a very struggling future ahead. You will have a battle between life and death.’
‘What is this?’ Aarush raised his brows.
‘Your wife has a complicated future.’
‘Madam, please go ahead, ignore him.’ Radhika wanted to listen to it more.
‘What are you saying Radhika, can’t you see this all is made up stuff!’
‘So what? Let me listen to what she has to say.’ Radhika asked her to continue, and the lady resumed her practise.
‘You will have complications in your pregnancy.’
‘Will my baby be alright?’
‘Show me your hands, young man. I have to see both of your hands, compare the lines, and then make the prediction.’
‘Your second child will also die…that’s what your lines say here.’ she pointed at Aarush, who was anyways annoyed enough.
‘What the hell is this?’ Aarush got up. He couldn’t listen to all of this anymore.
‘Son, I am predicting what I am seeing here. I speak only the truth.’
‘Do you know your own future? What if I slap you right here, do you know it was coming?’ Aarush grabbed Radhika’s arm and walked out.
‘What happened? What did she say?’ Chinkee bua rushed after them.
‘As usual, bullshit!’ Aarush was in no mood to discuss anything. Chinkee bua went inside that dingy cabin of the lady to know what she said about both of them, and came out shocked more than ever!
‘I knew it something was up with you Radhika, I knew it! You are pregnant?’ Chinkee bua shouted in enough-loud voice for entire Himachal Pradesh to listen!
‘Thanks a lot, bua!’ Aarush held her head, as everyone started gossiping about them both.
‘How can it be possible?’ said one man.
‘They have married last week.’ said another.
‘Did they live together before marriage?’ said a woman.
‘You must be knowing it, right?’ someone asked Aarush’s mother.
‘Yes! I lived with my wife before marriage. We slept together. She’s pregnant now. I married her. And now I am the legal father and guardian of the baby that’s inside her. Anyone has any problem? He can come and talk to me directly!’ Aarush shouted and everyone shut up. The crowd scattered and they started boarding their cars. Radhika was crying profusely for both the episodes – first that unwanted prediction that the lady made and now this. She didn’t want all this to happen.
‘Come Radhika, we are leaving right now.’
‘Where are you going, son?’ his father tried to stop them, but Aarush didn’t reply. He knew that if he would try to explain something, he will rather start an argument and surround himself in the middle of a never-ending fight. His relatives and his parents will forever become enemies because of him, which he didn’t want.
‘Goodbye dad…’ he touched his father’s feet, Radhika repeated the gesture, and they both boarded the car and asked him to drive straight to Delhi. Once in Delhi, they booked a hotel near the airport, as their flight to Varanasi was next evening. Neither Radhika, nor Aarush discussed anything about that weird prediction or the public episode in the middle of streets in Himachal. They weren’t even talking properly. Aarush wanted Radhika to forget it, while Radhika was crying, and just crying since a day now.
‘We have our flight in an hour. Get ready, please and stop crying!’ Aarush said for a hundredth time, but Radhika was still sitting in a chair, and crying.
‘Radhika!’ he shouted.
‘What?’ she yelled back.
‘Why the fuck are you crying? I am so angry right now, I feel like breaking all this…’ Aarush slapped a crystal vase which scattered into pieces on the floor.
‘Why are you breaking hotel things, what pleasure does that give you?’
‘I am angry, not at you, but because you are crying because of such stupid reason! I wish I could just go back and kill that woman for saying such shit…’
‘But what if she’s telling the truth, Aarush? At least consider the possibility.’
‘Radhika, these people just know how to mint money, nothing else! I am not going to discuss it anymore. I have had it enough in last two days. You want to believe it, I can’t do anything in that, but I don’t believe it. I still know that I will have a healthy, happy baby in my arms very soon.’ he kissed her forehead, picked the luggage and checked out. They boarded the flight in an hour, and reached Varanasi.