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Saturday October 27, 2007
Is astrology a sort of meteorological science of life’s weather or is it just mumbo-jumbo?
By ALEXANDRA WONG
Blue door, office fronting stairwell,” the text message on my mobile said.
Lot 4. 44 , 4th Floor Wisma Central, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. It’s not exactly auspicious – the address – from the Chinese point of view.
I turn the doorknob, half expecting smoky darkness and ornate velvet curtains, but – hey! – where are the schlocky trappings? The office is bare, the only “decoration” being news articles of the man tacked onto the whiteboard by the door.
Wait, correction, astrology is less art than science.
“Astrology is actually the supreme science of all sciences,” begins G. Suresh.
“Everything in life emits energy, including astral bodies. The presence and positions of astral bodies at the moment of that first breath drawn, and their subsequent movements in that individual’s daily routine living, greatly influence his life.
“So, Miss Wong, what makes you believe in astrology?” he asks, peering at me closely.
“I don’t know if I believe. I’m here to let you convince me,” I reply.
“So you are a child of modern science and want empirical proof and such before accepting any kinds of wisdom?” he looks at me questioningly.
“Excellent. I was once like you too,” he says unexpectedly, making me sit up.
“I never believed astrology either, even though I was exposed to it as a child. I grew up in Champakulam, a remote village in Kerala. Cars and buses only came to my village five-six years ago, but it is one of the few states in the world with 100% literacy.
Kerala is well-known for its culture. The writings are in Malayalam. After a hard day’s work, the ladies would sit outside their houses and talk about arts, culture, and, of course, astrology. We were a learned society.
“My grandmother was an expert in astrology. As a child, I was very naughty and whenever I misbehaved, she would say things like: ‘Why are you behaving like a man who has Jupiter standing at 12th house?’ If somebody couldn’t complete their studies, she would say something like, ‘Fourth house Saturn standing’.
The belief in astrology was such that even my father seeded the padi field based on planetary positions.
“Thanks to my grandmother, I picked up astrology.
“But I wasn’t interested in pursuing it. I was an active child and took an interest in many things . . . academics, swimming, art, business. In fact, I excelled at everything I tried but there was one strange thing.”
“What?” I ask.
“I had no staying power. After making my mark, I would get bored, and move on to other things.”
Middle-age was a wake-up call for Suresh, though. One day, he woke up and grappled with the sobering realisation that his peers were carving firm niches for themselves, whilst he was still a rolling stone. That was when he decided to revisit astrology.
After all, he had tried to find answers in just about everything else but failed to come up with anything satisfactory. He began to draw a chart of his history. To his amazement, the chronology of his life matched the chart closely.
“To test out my newfound knowledge, I began talking to my friends and making readings about their life. But they were sceptical, and said, ‘Suresh, of course, you can tell all these things about me. You know me already’.
“They were right. That’s when I started talking to strangers about their lives. They were shocked that I could tell such intimate things about them, things that even their wives or close friends didn’t know.”
The uncanny accuracy was enough to convince Suresh to plunge into astrology full-time. Today, he has racked up a bulging portfolio of clients, who include high-profile politicians, businessmen and movie stars.
He travels regularly to other countries to provide consultation services, and has been interviewed by Astro.
“In fact, today I believe that astrology is 100% accurate,” he concludes boldly.
By now, my curiosity has been stoked to boiling point. I urge, “Mr Suresh, can we get to the charts already?”
He flips open a wad of notes scribbled in Malayalam and begins with a reading of my love life. My eyes nearly fall out of their sockets when he tells me something that a boyfriend would have to get to, uh, fourth base, to find out. How in the name of Ramayana did he glean something so profoundly personal?
“You can glean THAT kind of information from the stars?” I ask disbelievingly.
He answers with a smile and continues undeterred, clinically reciting a laundry list of predictions in his singsong voice.
He hits several more home runs, but there are also some misses. I point out that I don’t drink or smoke, for instance.
“You may not have it now,” he insists.
“But it doesn’t mean you will not develop substance addiction later. Where astrology comes in handy is that it can offer insights into trends or likelihoods. When any person anticipates a threat or imminent danger, he naturally gets into a defensive mode. But the action that you take depends entirely on your experience, attitude and character.
“In astrology, we are predicting the weather in our life. Think about it as an umbrella. If you know it is going to rain, you can either choose to go out, or bring an umbrella when you go out. But because you are already forewarned and prepared, you don’t get wet.”
He goes on for three more hours before we finish.
“Do you usually go into such detail?” I ask, wondering why he doesn’t look as winded as I feel. And he did most of the talking, mind you.
“I want them to understand the basis of what I am doing,” he nods.
Some of the online testimonials on his official website testify to his personalised attention.
One gushing acolyte says: “Very analytical and scientific. Suresh really takes the time to explain his findings to make sure you understand.”
A news reporter says: “As a journalist, I must say you did very well against my very sharp scrutiny.”
The session piques my curiosity enough to ask around. Is astrology really catching on like the new black?
I find out that more than one my friends – all educated professionals in well-paying jobs – confess that they swear by astrology.
Noni, an accountant who left a high-profile position in a listed company, consulted an astrologer when she was at a crossroads.
“Business was very slow, and I wasn’t sure if I should go on being a freelancer. I had offers, and it was very tempting to take up a salaried job again. But he advised against it, and said my work would pick up after August.”
She hung on for a few more months, and subsequently sealed a few retainers and landed herself a junket to romantic Rome next year.
A case of predictive accuracy, or self-fulfilling prophecy?
I’m neither a sceptic nor a believer. But this much I am sure of: If you know that something good is coming around the corner, you work towards it. By the same token, if you know something bad is looming, you take preventive steps.
It’s human nature and, in that sense, if you regard astrology as a meteorology report that helps you prepare for the worst, you can’t go very wrong.
After all, knowledge is only as useful as you want it to be.
If your curiosity is piqued, you can find out more at www.abahayam.com or call G. Suresh at 016-3969907.
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