Chapter 1 Embrace your pain
Life is all about losing yourself in pain said Ruchika a Thirty-eight years old woman to me. Those were the first words I heard from a depressed daughter!!
Oh! Let me introduce myself. I am Julie a counselor and tarot card reader from Bangalore (India). I have been into reading cards from a very young age.I am also a part of the privileged community of tarot card readers which reaches people worldwide. Often we all chat and discuss cases online and call each other too if required. Our small world is full of magic and it gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction to contribute my knowledge and my sincere efforts in making this world a better place to live in.
I was looking through my case files today and recalled Ruchika and her story. I had met Ruchika through one of my clients Meera, who had benefited from my readings some time ago. Meera was also from Bangalore and she and Ruchika were best friends. Bereft of the material and the spiritual world Ruchika had knocked the doors of my house on a sunny morning three months ago. The door was answered by my maid who had directed her towards my “magical room”.I have named it magical room but it is my professional area where I meet my clients. When I met her for the first time she passed a half smile to me. The girl had twinkling hazel eyes and her hairdo was simple. She let her hair dance around and the length of her hair was kissing her shoulders. My eyes were also scanning her attire which was perfect. She was dressed in a white and grey suit and one could make out that the girl enjoyed taking care of herself. But! yes, the story gets stuck when we use the word but. But her voice trembled when she whispered a hello to me while biting her parched lips with her teeth.
I smiled and asked her to take a seat and offered her some water. Her hands were nicely manicured with red nail polish shining on her nails. Looking at her hand I realized it was time for me also to get manicure and pedicure done. After all, that is the time you let go of pains and enjoy some good massage.
She was wearing diamond rings on almost all her fingers. I was gazing at her beautiful rings when she broke the silence by clearing her throat. Sigh! My aura of Venus didn’t last long and I was back to the world where pain lies. I smiled and asked her if she would like to draw the cards first. She smiled in affirmation and I directed her towards my desk where I usually do my tarot readings. She sat in front of me and I shuffled my cards asking her to think about her question and stop me when she feels that her question is crystal clear in her head. I prayed for the divine guidance and started shuffling my cards. Ruchika was too quick to stop me as if she was already ready with her question. I opened my eyes and let Ruchika draw a card from my deck and It came out to be the queen of cups. I asked her if her query is related to her mother and she nodded in a yes with lots of nervousness on her face.It seemed as if I was going to tell her the result of her test. I asked her to breath deep and feel at ease. One more time I offered her water and she gulped it all in one go, spilling some on her clothes too. I asked her to draw another card and this time it was Tower. I told her I could see some major problem and she again nodded in affirmation. I asked her to open up and come out clearly with the question now. She said, My mum, I mean my mother. She has been suffering from throat cancer and what if she dies. I don’t want her to die and she started crying. I asked her to calm down. I asked her if she was married. Her reply surprised and confused me.She replied no I am responsible. Confused I asked her what she meant by these words. She said that she chose not to get married because she had grown up seeing her parents fight constantly.Life is all about losing yourself in pain. She had a younger sister too who had gone abroad for studies and decided not to come back ever. Her younger sister was now happily married and was a mother to a beautiful daughter.
I could feel that Ruchika was not happy. I asked her if she ever fell in love and she nodded a strong NO and added I am only concerned about my mother. I am taking good care of her besides there are nurses too who are taking care of her but I want to know whether my mother would survive or not.
I wanted to take a deep breath, I wanted to talk to her but I saw how restless and closed she was so without wasting further time I asked her to draw another card and this time it was the Hanged Man. I could have interpreted it correctly for her but this was the first time in my career of tarot reading that I chose to lie. I told her that her mother would be okay soon. The truth was that I could see that her mother was stuck in this world and the world beyond, maybe because of her love for her daughter. But I chose not to tell her. This girl Ruchika was surrounded by strong negative forces and I could see that no amount of counseling would help because she was adamant in not listening to. Ruchika took a deep breath and before I could utter another word she opened her purse and many notes of 2000 spilled all over my desk. I looked at the notes and then at her. She squinted at me and then apologized for not keeping money intact in her purse and asked me how much she should be paying for the reading.
I thought for a while because I knew I had not given her the reading right. I did not want to take any money from her and let her go but if I would not take the money then she could doubt the reason beyond hence I smiled and uttered a 500 rupee note would do.
That’s it! Meera told me that you charge 3000 rs for an hour said Ruchika.
Yes, indeed, but I do not see you opening up to me. You got your reading done to look for only one particular answer and not a solution You are closed to everything.
She looked down as if she was thinking something. I got up from my seat to show her the door. She followed me and then suddenly stopped. I asked her if she was okay?
I am sorry. I just don’t know what I am doing right now. I am confused, disturbed and scared at the same time and while saying these words Ruchika sat on the sofa again where she was sitting earlier.
Hmmm now she is talking I thought to myself. I sat beside her. I held her hand and told her to speak her heart without any fear.
For next half hour, she sat by my side and cried and told me how much she loved her parents. I asked her what profession her father followed and she told me that her father used to be a businessman and after he met failure in his business he decided to shut down everything and stay put at home. He declared his retirement to the family. I was 20 at that time, and my sister was 4 years younger to me. I chose to work for a call center at that time. The downfall that we had faced was recovered in a year. After that, I was offered a job of a senior manager in a factory and my salary doubled to one lac per month. No doubt the job was tough and it also required me to travel. I worked extra hours and made handsome amount. With time, I kept on changing jobs and landed up here in this company that offers me 3 lac per month and overtime too. I was engrossed in earning money to give a luxurious life to my parents and all was going well. My sister was happily married by now and we all were happy for her too.
Then one horrific day, my mother who was suffering from viral vomited blood. We at once rushed her to the hospital and after series of tests, the doctor told us that she was suffering from throat cancer. My mother was kept under observation and was also operated thrice. Last two times she recovered too but this time the doctor says there is no hope.
I have brought her back home with little hope. I try to do all her things on my own.I try to keep her happy. I keep praying for a miracle from God but I am not able to see a positive ray.
I calmed her down and asked her what has she done for herself while earning all this money. She stared at me and said I am a typical Indian obedient kid of my parents. For me, my duty towards my parents comes first. They brought me into this world, they took care of me when I was a kid and now when I am a grown-up woman, it is my duty to take care of them and especially my mother because she has gone thru lots of sacrifices for me and our family.
Yes, you are right and I too have my family values like you but that doesn’t mean that I should get so engrossed in taking care of everyone that when the time comes there might be no one to take care of me.
Now, these words made her sit straight and Ruchika questioned me what do you mean?
What I mean is. It is good that you are taking responsibility for your parents but what about you. You have to have a family too so that when you become old or sick someone should be able to take care of you.
We are born in this world where nothing lasts forever, Your mother, look at her, she is suffering and she is holding on to life only for you because she is not able to see you settled in your life Ruchika.
Ruchika sat there thinking and staring at my desk.
I gave her time to contemplate on what I had said. There was pin-drop silence. I let that silence stay for a while. I sat near her and touched her shoulder as if I was trying to call her back from some unknown world.
Ruchika whispered. You lied to me
Excuse me. I was not expecting her to utter these words.
She looked at me and repeated, you lied to me that she is going to live.
I was in dilemma. She was telling me on my face that I had lied and I didn't know what to say.
She stood up and I asked her to wait. She looked at me and said why? You could have told me the truth but you chose to lie.
That was when my voice became firm and strong and I knew it was not me who was talking to her. It was some other mysterious voice who forcibly made me say “I did not lie, I said nothing lasts forever and she is stuck between both the worlds because she wants to see you happily married”.
With tears in her eyes, she left in a huff saying she has my number and she will call me.
That day onwards I never met her. I did not discuss this case even with my Tarot community but I believe that whenever the chapter lived repeated it holds an insight. I wonder why after three months of this episode, her name had appeared again? What is the insight? Am I going to meet her again or I am going to encounter the same kind of an episode with someone else. What is my learning and where do I fall in between the war of truth and lies.
I turned her page and closed my diary. I felt cold, the weather signaled the beginning of winters. There was a knock in my magical room.Suddenly my two naughty toddlers entered without even seeking my permission. Hearing them giggle and holding them in my arms was my biggest blessing at this very moment. I took a deep breath and offered my gratitude to God for my happy world.
Chapter 2 Julie’s Aniversary
The alarm clock was buzzing at six in the morning. Oh no! my dream is yet to complete, I uttered and tried getting up reluctantly. I was in no mood to get up today I wondered why? Usually, this feeling creeps in when I am unwell or had a late night. How can this feeling trouble me today I wondered, because today was a very special day for me? Today is 3rd December. That's the day Richard and I got married. I smiled and recalled the day when destiny had chosen Richard for me.
This was five years back. On 30th November I heard the popping of a notification for an email on my phone at 4 am. I heard my phone buzz and wondered who would shoot a mail at this hour.I was worried a bit and also curious too. It made me sit straight on my bed.I opened the mail with thousands of thoughts running through my mind. I started reading the mail. It read as :
You may call me old-fashioned when it comes to talking to a beautiful girl like you. Pardon me! but I love writing long letters.
This one is very special for me because I am writing to ask you something. Instead of wasting your precious time I would like to introduce myself again in case you have forgotten me. I am Richard Greengrass.I stay in Canada.I am a psychiatrist and have my own practice. A few days back I met someone and fell in love instantly with her. I also came to know that she loves her family way too much to settle down abroad, so now I am trying to settle down in India.
Julie, we both have a lot of things in common for example, my friend Bob, he is your friend too. Oh, by the way, we met at Bob's son's birthday party last week remember? You told me that you are a Tarot Card Reader. Unfortunately, I was rushing that day and left early without even exchanging our phone numbers. I got your email id from Bob who was adamant about not giving me your phone number without your permission.
I feel that our profession somewhere crosses each other's end, as we both help people in crossing the bumpy roads of their lives.
I was wondering if we could be partners for life and hold each other's hand and cross those bumps of our lives together. I mean.... you know what I mean..
He ended his letter by leaving his cell phone number.
Till date whenever he calls me our conversation starts with asking each other: Hope you have not touched any bumpy road without me.
Such is our love, even after five years of our marriage we love each other and each day our love blossoms into something beautiful.
I smiled and left my bed thanking God for blessing me with a wonderful life where I have a handsome, caring husband to die for, my twin toddlers and a beautiful magical job of a Tarot reader. I love exploring my areas as spiritualist, whether it is connecting Tarot with astrology or numerology. I enjoy exploring this intriguing world.
I started my routine of welcoming the day with a small prayer holding gratitude for all my blessing. Happily, I switched on my work phone. I was amazed that lots of my clients remembered my anniversary. The phone was full of beautiful wishes. I was scrolling down my whats app messages when I noticed an unknown number with a text saying you were right nothing lasts forever with a sad smiley. Who it must be I wondered. I tried looking at the display picture of the sender but there was no picture of the person. Then I searched the number on truecaller and to my horror, the number was listed in the name of Ruchika.
I was sweating recalling how yesterday my dairy had fallen and Ruchika's case had appeared in front of my eye. My attention diverted as I heard my husband calling me. I was attuned back into the energy of love.I left my phone behind on my bed only and went to see what my darling hubby was up to.
My husband had taken a day off to surprise me so that we could spend some quality time together. We planned to drop our kids at my mother's house so that we both could rekindle the romance in each other.
I was happy. My mother stayed next door only so it was easy for me to send the kids along with the maid to her house.
We both were having fun recalling how we got married, we shopped till we dropped, watched a movie together. The day ended exactly as we had planned.
Upon reaching home we were surprised by the special party thrown by our beloved siblings and elders. We had the time of our lives leaving behind our phones and clients.
The day only finished at 2 am in the morning with us bidding goodbye to our family and friends.
I was in a blithe mood and before sleeping like always offered my gratitude to God for the awesome day I had.
Next day, life was back to all the routine works. But sometimes the day holds a silent thunder to be blown in your face and for me, the thunder was on my work phone. When I saw my phone there was a text message from Ruchika. Also, there were around 20 missed calls from Meera. Now I was a bit concerned because Meera was not only my client now but with time we had developed a good friendship too. I usually do not get friendly with my clients because that is the way they expect me to give free readings along with remedies but with Meera it was different. We have never crossed the line between professionalism and friendship.
Did I call her back to ask the reason for 20 missed calls?
Indeed I did and she picked up her phone instantly.
I could hear the sadness in her Hello! she continued saying I think I have lost Ruchika. Do you remember my friend who had come to your house for a personal reading?
How can I not recall Ruchika I thought to myself. While fearing the worst I asked her what happened?
Meera said I don't know. I received a text from her yesterday saying that she is going to accompany her mother to heaven.
I have been calling continuously on her cell but she is not responding. I really hope and pray that she has not done anything stupid with her life like committing suicide. Can you please accompany me. I will pay for the traveling part and...
But before she could finish her sentence, I told her to meet me at the airport. Something inside me was strongly pushing me towards this girl. I could not understand what was happening but I chose to go with the flow. I booked a taxi and while moving towards the airport I sat in the cab and canceled all my appointments for the day.
I had left my husband sleeping. I sent him the text saying, my dear, I need to travel urgently to Delhi. I am already on my way to the airport. You will have to take care of the kids today. I requested him to take the day off. He read the message and instantly called me confused and worried. All well my love he asked. Why are you suddenly traveling to Delhi?
I told him that a girl I did a reading for a girl three months back, is stuck with a bump on the road of her life and I have to go and help her out with it.
He gave a chuckle and said he understood what I was talking about and this is how Psychologist communicates at times I believe!
I met Meera at the airport and she told me that Ruchika's mother passed away the very same day she was here in Bangalore for the reading. She heard from Ruchika's younger sister that Ruchika's mother's transition to the other world was difficult because she was not wanting to leave. After her mother's death, Ruchi has refused to speak to anyone.
I asked: What about her sister?
Meera: Oh! don't you know she is in America? She could not even come to the funeral. I don't know if she supported her through virtual world after all she has a family of her own in America now!
I heard Meera and choose silence in response. I cannot have a judgemental attitude I said to myself. I felt a connection with Ruchika. I recalled times when I too had refused to marry because I wanted to take care of my parents. In my case, I was fortunate to have a husband who could take care of me and my family too but not everyone is lucky, I thought to myself.
Meera continued her chatter with her judgemental thoughts about Ruchika and what Meera thought about her family. I call this her perception. After all, when we all look things from a distance we judge and perceive things only our way, isn't it!
But here it was about Ruchika and her inner turmoil which she was going through if she was still alive I thought!
I did not stop or intervene Meera on what she had to say. Soon from Ruchika's story, she jumped on to her personal issues with her family life and then to her career. I could feel that she was telling me all her problems because she was seeking a remedy, a help on what she should be doing and I felt I was giving her remedy by listening to her.
Sometimes, you can give simple solution by lending your ear to the person.
Simple. Just let them spit out the garbage that they have been holding inside in the form of words and they will thank you for being there. This is what I have learned in my career of 30 years. To be a good listener.
God, Meera didn't stop till we landed and my ears were soring. All I wanted now was a minute of peace. I was desperately waiting for the flight to land. My focus was on Ruchika. Would she be alive? Will I be able to help?
I was carrying my Rider-Waite deck which I normally use but this was not the place and time to pick a card for guidance.
While Meera didn't stop chattering, I interrupted her in between asking her if we could go to our hotel directly instead of Ruchika's house first. Probably Meera got my indirect message and she thankfully kept quiet for a while and we took a cab to our hotel first !!
The flight had landed to the not so awesome weather of Delhi. After coming out of the plane, it was difficult for me to even breath.
Delhi is so polluted, I said to Meera
She laughed and said welcome to Delhi my birthplace.
One of the agents outside the airport took us to a hotel in Paharganj. I personally, didn't like the area but I thought to myself that it was only a matter of one night. We checked into The Rosewood hotel.
After two hours chatter of Meera, finally my ears found some relief and I had my ME time in my hotel room.
I freshened up and took my cards out asking for the guidance. My Angels guided me to The Magician card. That was it! I knew what I was supposed to do.
The magician is one of my favorite card in the deck. It can be interpreted in many ways but in this case, I knew that I would be guided by my higher self and my divine power would support me.
Before leaving to Ruchika's place I chose to sit down with the card of Magician in my hand and mediated on it for a while.
After 15 minutes, I heard a knock. I knew it was Meera and I was ready inside my heart. It was time for us to go to Ruchika's house.
Chapter 3 Visit to Ruchika’s home
The pollution of Delhi was killing my lungs. The roads of Delhi were full of potholes, and the weather was misty.
Meera knew Ruchika's home location. She asked the auto driver to take us to a place called Ramesh Nagar.
I enquired if she knew the exact location of Ruchika's home.
Meera: Come on Julie. I was born and bought up here. I know Delhi in and out like the back of my hand.
I started looking out of the window at the bromidic view. The dust was dancing in the air because of Metro work all over Delhi.
Meera was directing the tuk-tuk driver. She was telling him that we needed to visit Plot number 15 hence he should keep driving on the right side only.
I don't know why my mind started adding the numbers of Ruchika's house, 1+5= 6. I recalled that in numerology Number 6 house tends to have more happiness and the families keep multiplying. That gave a positive vibe to me and I thought it's going to be easy as number 6 house never tends to be empty. There is always hustle bustle in such a home. People keep coming and going. Depression does not stay for long in this house number. The only demand that this number makes from the owner of the house is that cleanliness should be of utmost importance. I remembered Ruchika was nicely dressed when she had come to meet me. I thought to myself then her house should also be neat and tidy. Maybe somewhere in my mind, I was making things easy for myself and was looking for an early escape from Delhi because honestly, I was hating this city.
Tuktuk stopped after taking numerous turns. I thanked God for our safe arrival. With the potholes on the roads and rash driving my back had gone for a toss.
Meera paid the driver and started walking in haste towards Ruchika's home. I had to brisk walk to catch up with her.
Finally, we reached Ruchika's lane. Meera pointed towards a white house. I was left aghast when I looked at the house. The house desperately needed repairs and painting. The front door was full of Algae.It also had a blocked sewage which was now overflowing with dirt and muck!!
The Astrologer in me started making mental notes of what needed to be done immediately. I learned my first lesson, that no matter what the number of the house is if it is not clean it will not keep you happy. The algae outside the house stated ill health for the members of the family. The paint was coming out and the walls of the main entrance were broken that shows bad Saturn. How can happiness enter this door I wondered. I saw a car parked which had a number plate with number 1. It is the number of Mars and negative Mars gives instant negative effect for the person who has a negative Mars in his/ her chart.
Blockage in the sewage that too in front of the house gives rise to nodes that make you live your life in an illusion. Things that you see and feel right later turn out to be a disaster and you cannot come out of it easily. Phew!! where have I landed I asked myself silently.
The main gate was open. We stepped in and a whiff of a foul smell welcomed us from the house. We looked at each other. Ignoring the smell we knocked on the door. A woman opened the door. Before we could say anything we realized that the house was filled with vagrant women. It looked like a mini village of the lower class homo sapiens.
No wonder they were accustomed to the smell. There were sitting and gossiping. I already felt suffocated in their living room.
I could feel Meera giving me an apologetic look for bringing me to such a place. She asked the lady if we could meet Ruchika.
The lady asked us to wait and went in to call someone. My eyes were roving all around on the walls and the showcases behind me. I saw idols of so many gods wrapped in cellophane paper. Electronic items like VCR & VCP were lying there with lots of dust on them.
A lady patted on my shoulder and asked me to take a seat. It seemed as if I was called back from another world.
I had actually gone back in those days when we used to watch video cassettes instead of DVDs. I saw audio tape recorder of those days with audio tapes lying on its side.
For a while, it felt as if Meera had taken me into some kind of a time machine which had taken us to the time of our teenage. Everything about the house was old, rusty and dirty.
No wonder why depression rested so well in this house, I said to myself. After all, the house was not pampered by the members of the family at all. It was only surpassing negativity.
I saw another lady coming towards me holding a glass of water. I refused as I saw the lady was not only unhygienic but, her hands were full of dirt.
Soon a short looking man came out from the next room. He was nicely dressed up. He was wearing a heavy gold chain. He smiled at both of us and hugged Meera. His eyes were questioning Meera about me.
Meera introduced me as her close friend.
Meera: Uncle, Ruchika knows Julie very well and we both are here to meet her. Is she okay?
Old Man: Of course she is okay.
Meera: No yesterday, I received a depressing message from her and she was not picking up her phone too.
Old Man: Oh you know my daughter. He started boosting. She is very hard working. She is a senior manager at a big company earning 3 lakhs per month and with this, he shifted his attention from Meera to me saying that his younger daughter was married in America and last time when his younger daughter had come to meet them his elder daughter i.e Ruchika, she had gifted 5000 dollars to her niece.
I could not understand whether to laugh at his ancient wisdom or to keep quiet. I stared at Meera and asked this boosting man if we could meet Ruchika.
The old man got up instantly saying sure please come. We followed him to a room which was locked from inside. He knocked the door three-four times calling Ruchika's name but she refused to open. Meera and I looked at each other wondering if she was okay. The old man turned around and reading our expressions said not to worry she is working right now. Sometimes she does not listen even if I call her 4 or 5 times.
Meera knocked the door and called for Ruchika. Ruchika it's me and Julie. Can you please open the door.
After waiting there for 30 seconds the door opened. I was shocked to Ruchika. Is she the same girl I had met.
She had black circles around her eyes. Her hair was untidily tied in a ponytail and she was wearing a torn yellow Capri. Her weight had dropped almost to 40 kgs. My eyes widened in shock. I don't know why I hugged her like my own but she did not hug me back in return. This made me feel that she was uncomfortable and I stepped back giving chance to Meera but she did not hug her too.
The old man left saying you all talk. I could see she was in severe depression.
I wonder why the old man could not see her depression.
We all sat on her bed which was pointing towards the north. It is wisely said in Astrology that those under depression or having ill health should not sleep or sit in the north direction.I was observing left right and center!!!!!
We all maintained silence for a minute or two and then I broke the ice by asking her what had she done to herself.
She stared at me and started cutting her parched lips with her teeth. It looked like she was possessed. She looked at Meera and suddenly she made a face as if she was in immense pain. She held her leg and started screaming Ma please help me.
The old man came running into the room and said please don't worry. She is having pain in her leg. It will go away in a minute or so. Meera sought permission from her father to take Ruchika to the hospital. Her father laughed and said please don't worry. We have already been to the hospital and got her tests done. All results are negative. We don't know the cause of her pain.
I spoke to Ruchika and inquired if she was still going to the office. She nodded in a yes.
I asked her today is Sunday, why are you home. Why don't you go out with some friends? Her father was standing and listening to our conversation. He intervened and said she is a senior manager. She is working from home and that is why she can not go out with anyone.
Meera asked her father if she could get a glass of water to which he went out asking one of the vagrant women to bring some water for her.
We were quiet again and I touched Ruchika's shoulder. She looked at me and said you know where I am sitting right now?
This is the place where my mother took her last breath and now she is calling me.
Meera asked her to shut up and screamed, no one is calling you anywhere Ruchika.
I added, in fact, I am here to invite you to my house in Bangalore. Since it is a long Diwali weekend, take a break from your work and come with us.
I could tell from her behavior and looks that she was not only mentally sick, she gave a damn about what we were saying.
Her father once more entered the room with a tablet. Here take this tablet, you will find some relief. The girl bashed her father saying she knew which medicine to take and when. He should mind his own business. The old man quietly walked away from there.
I was observing her silently. Meera looked at me asking what should we do next.
I took a deep breath and asked Ruchika the reason for her rude behavior.
Don't you get it? she shouted while looking at me with anger on her face. I have lost my mother. I, I who took care of her for months could not save her. She is dead.
I could not save her. I knew which medicine to give when and how. For one day that I flew to Banglore to get that stupid tarot reading done the nurse could not take care of her. By the time I reached home, she was no more. I should have stayed back and should not have trusted that stupid nurse. Suddenly she broke into tears like a little girl. The old man was standing outside and listening and crying along. He intervened and said, my child, if you have lost your mother I too have lost my wife, can't you see that.
He looked at me and said tell me what should I do with her. I tried to pacify her but she refuses to listen to me. I doubt if she might be carrying the same cancer germs inside her, and that can be the reason for her unknown pain.