A Conversation With God

It is redundant to mention WTFness when one speaks of Bejan Daruwalla. Here’s a gem:

One night during my moment of revelations with God, I learnt that ‘devi maa’ will conquer the world through her splendid glory. As I was writing my conversation with God and I wrote Ganeshji will support this year through its turbulent times. Next morning to my surprise the letters changed and it was the Goddess in its place.

If you said something like this in any context besides religion, your loved ones would be calling a psychiatrist. But somehow religion makes it all okay.

And hey, remember Pratibha Patil?

The Great Tantra Challenge

This is hilarious:

On 3 March 2008, in a popular TV show, Sanal Edamaruku, the president of Rationalist International, challenged India’s most “powerful” tantrik (black magician) to demonstrate his powers on him. That was the beginning of an unprecedented experiment. After all his chanting of mantra (magic words) and ceremonies of tantra failed, the tantrik decided to kill Sanal Edamaruku with the “ultimate destruction ceremony” on live TV.


India TV, one of India’s major Hindi channels with national outreach, invited Sanal Edamaruku for a discussion on “Tantrik power versus Science”. Pandit Surinder Sharma, who claims to be the tantrik of top politicians and is well known from his TV shows, represented the other side. During the discussion, the tantrik showed a small human shape of wheat flour dough, laid a thread around it like a noose and tightened it. He claimed that he was able to kill any person he wanted within three minutes by using black magic. Sanal challenged him to try and kill him.

The tantrik tried. He chanted his mantras (magic words): “Om lingalingalinalinga, kilikili….” But his efforts did not show any impact on Sanal – not after three minutes, and not after five. The time was extended and extended again. The original discussion program should have ended here, but the “breaking news” of the ongoing great tantra challenge was overrunning all program schedules.

Now the tantrik changed his technique. He started sprinkling water on Sanal and brandishing a knife in front of him. Sometimes he moved the blade all over his body. Sanal did not flinch. Then he touched Sanal’s head with his hand, rubbing and rumpling up his hair, pressing his forehead, laying his hand over his eyes, pressing his fingers against his temples. When he pressed harder and harder, Sanal reminded him that he was supposed to use black magic only, not forceful attacks to bring him down. The tantrik took a new run: water, knife, fingers, mantras. But Sanal kept looking very healthy and even amused.

After this the tantrik dude “tried to save his face by claiming that there was a never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction, which could, however, only been done at night.” The channel called his bluff and kept him on air. Edamaruku survived, and seemed mighty amused at the end of it.

The irony here is that many tantra believers, far from reevaluating their faith after this incident, will instead be outraged that this faith was questioned in the first place. They will rationalize away Sharma’s failure, and might even stick small pins into a TV made of wheat flour dough that has “India TV” written on it. And then, when that channel’s TRPs fall…

(Link via email from Anil Gulecha.)

Written in the Stars?

This surely has to be the line of the day:

We regret to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, the publication of The Astrological Magazine will cease with the December 2007 issue.

I have never before been so tempted to put a smiley on my blog!

(Link via email from Narasimha Shastri. Earlier posts on superstitious nonsense: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.)

Sachin Tendulkar is a Buffalo

In the WTF story of the day, Bejan Daruwala, speaking to Rajesh Pansare of DNA, suggests a cure for Sachin Tendulkar’s “nervous 90s”:

It’s well known amongst the astrology community that Sachin Tendulkar is a Taurus and that numbers 3, 6 and 9 apply to him.

But according to Chinese astrology, Tendulkar is also a Buffalo, a cousin of the bull — and these two systems combined make him a Double Bull.

The Bull is steadfast, a sign of strength and consistency. The weakness of Bulls and Buffalos is that they get into a rut and often cannot think out of the box, something which applies to Tendulkar. […]

Because he is a loving and faithful husband, to get out of his nervous 90s, I would suggest that Tendulkar follow four steps:

1. Sleep in the lap of his wife and tell her to love him sweetly and gently

2. Cook his own mutton cheese burgers and eat them

3. Have a terrific bath

4. Jump in his Ferrari and go for a drive

There is no indication on that page that this is a joke of some sort. It reads like a parody, but Daruwala always reads like a parody of himself. Anjali Tendulkar, of course, must be befuddled at what Sachin means when he asks her to love him “sweetly and gently.”

“What do you mean, sweetly and gently,” she could respond. “How else have I been loving you all these years? You can cook your own damn mutton burgers from now on. And take a bath, you’re stinking—now wonder Dada likes to run you out.”

(Link via email from reader Gokul. Earlier posts on superstitious nonsense: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.)

Technique and attitude…

… are irrelevant in the case of Virender Sehwag’s loss of form, according to one group of people. The problem might just be evil spirits. MSN reports:

An interesting Tantrik Pooja was held at the banks of Yamuna near Delhi’s Kalindi Kunj to bring Virender Sehwag back to form.

According to an India TV report, the Mahakali Pooja was allegedly organised by the dashing batsman’s relatives and implemented by a distant relative, but there was no quote or evidence to suggest their involvement. Probably, it was a fan’s idea, masquerading as a distant relative.

However, the visuals did show Havan fire, two pair of stumps – one on each side, some statues, a photograph of Sehwag and a bat with which “he had been dismissed without scoring.”

So the next time Viru swishes outside the off stump, the evil spirits that made sure it hit the edge of the bat will stay away, and good spirits will probably make sure he middles the ball and it goes for a boundary. Why didn’t we think of this earlier? Can we have a “Tantrik Pooja” for the entire team, please? And one for this blog also, so no one is ever displeased by what I write!

And while checking my earlier posts on superstition, I came across this one on the predictions made by astrologers before the World Cup. Heh.

Now I’m off to get me some spirits.

(Link via email from Ullas Marar.

Some earlier posts on superstitious nonsense: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.)

Astrologers, dead men and the World Cup

given their predictions for the World Cup. Daruwalla says:

In 1983, the combination in the Indian team was that of Capricorn (Kapil Dev), Cancer (Sunil Gavaskar) and Libra (Mohinder Amarnath), which worked wonders. Even this time, captain Rahul Dravid (Capricorn), Sourav Ganguly (Cancerian) and Virender Sehwag (Libran), may repeat the success story.

With 15 guys in each squad, you can probably get any combination of sun signs that you desire, and it is not unlikely that all the squads may contain a Capricorn, Cancer and Libra. Note that both gentlemen are being cautious, though Jumaaaaaaani more or less counts Australia out of the running. No matter what happens, though, I’m sure believers will note only the parts of their prediction where they seemed to have got it right. Always, the confirmation bias.

(Some earlier posts on astrology etc: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.)

My take on the World Cup: After a close perusal of some fine coffee beans (followed by their consumption, as is necessary for the ritual to be successful), I have come to the conclusion that my earlier post on this subject, written months ago, was somewhat off target. To my list of seven favourites, I add an eighth: New Zealand. I don’t think I can get any more precise than that.