I would like to share with you something that happened to me when I was coming back from Bangalore yesterday. I was walking from Railway Station to the Bus Stand at Kottayam and while I was walking one guy who was telling fortunes stopped me and invited me to take a session with him. He insisted very much and made a huge fuss about not needing to pay anything that caught me by surprise. I went to talk to him and I found something interesting. Even though he initially said he didn’t want any money he asked for some money (amount of my choice) to be given. He said you can think of it as helping an old guy out and so I gave him 10 bucks . Then he insisted that he be given money for a Meal (“Not a Biryani, an Ordinary one” ). So I gave him 10 more to see where this was going. I have touched upon the advantages of forcing the price upon the other person before.
Now let me first of all say that I do believe that there can be extra ordinary stuff happening in this world that science cannot explain.
Some stuff he said was right. But they were too general to have impressed me. Some of them were:
“Your hand says you are technical”
Well, I was wearing jeans and a shirt that people usually wear in technical field. I doubt if he would have made that statement if I was wearing more traditional attire.
“Three letters in name of mother in Malayalam.”
This was correct, but it was too general. If he had named the exact name of my mother, I would have been impressed.
Then there were some random statements:
“Looking at your forehead, you studied LLB. You just did not complete it by action.”
“You will live till 85 years. Have 3 Kids”
Now, it was when he started trying to predict stuff that I caught his bullshit.
“You are living in a house, which is under construction.”
This was not correct. First of all, I am living in a flat in Bangalore, which is fully constructed, and I am living at my home in Kerala which is also fully constructed. When I informed he was incorrect he asked how many floors it was. I said one and he said that is what he meant. It will be reconstructed to add more floors. Well, then he should have said that shouldn’t he? At this point he correctly predicted that the house occupied a large piece of land, but define large? How large is big enough? Does he mean the length of the house is big or breadth? That statement would simply statistically have worked on a large number of people.
“Tell me a number greater than 7”
I said “2 00 000”
“Now think about a number between 1 and 5. Is it 3?”
When informed I thought of 1, he said he wanted a number not including the limits (?)
Now be very careful of the deception here. First he asked me a number greater than 7 and here I unfortunately gave away my intentions by saying a number that goes beyond what would usually be said. So he realized that I was going to test him and reduced my intervals to 1 – 5. If I had just said something like 10 he probably would have given me a longer interval. Also I think that first he asked me to tell him a random number to test how my mind works. He probably could have got some information that would have improved his chances of guessing my number correctly.
“Think of a flower. Is it Rose?”
Now here I was careful to think of an exotic flower. When I said no and told him the name of the flower, he emphasized he was correct in his guess and said something about colors. Here he really blew it. I don’t think he knew how many colors my choice of flower came in and quickly moved on to something else trying to invoke my Confirmation Bias.
Now here comes his masterpiece.
“You loved a girl, but the hearts never matched.
Some girl is watching your moves and she wants to make contact.
If I say her name will you happily pay me Rs 1000? Other boys like you would usually give 5000.”
I said “No” and he said “You do have the money, but it is set aside for something else”.
I said “No. I just don’t believe in all this”.
Now he was very careful to add more details and advice to his deception like “Do not tell anyone when you call her over the phone, exchange letters etc”.
Now look at the deception here. First he notices my unshaven chin, my loose clothing and takes a guess about my life that would have fit well with a lot of folks that dress like me: love failure. Many of my friends and cousins have joked this about me. Now, he adds hope into the equation by saying that all is not lost; some other girl is watching me, longing for me and wants to make contact. Then he asks for Rs 1000 for her name, but it’s OK, because others would already have happily given him Rs 5000. Ha!
He said that he knew I was not an atheist. Well, duh. I was wearing my rosary and it was visible through the top of my shirt.
Now when all this failed he tried to extract at least Rs 100 from me by using a Bible. He realized that he was in a Christian majority district and had a Bible ready for use when needed.
I probably came of as an easy prey when he saw me walking by: with my loose clothing, unbuttoned shirt, rosary, unshaven chin and everything.
He probably wasn’t expecting someone with least bit critical thinking.
Well, at the end of the day despite losing 20 bucks I learned two things
1. These kind of very smart deceptive people exist.
2. I am not conventional