The pursuit of happiness

May 11, 2010



Among the various encroachments on Pakistan's footpaths are the bright-kurta clad local fortune-tellers sitting with their parrots picking up 'fate' cards for their customers.

This old practice has been flourishing in various ways; some of them grab a small space on the footpath and use parrots to pick an answer while others read palms. Some reach the elite by sitting at different restaurants and hotels, offering their skills through tarot reading, palmistry and numerology. But the questions are typically the same; revolving around health and marriage mostly.

The pursuit of knowing things is an undefined part of human nature. Aslam, a fortune teller who sits near Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s Mazaar said “I’ve been in this business since 15 years and have regular customers who come to me every Thursday, asking almost the same questions every time they visit, the war is between money and love ... some ask more about paisa and others ask about mohabbat”.

Why are shrines such a popular location for this trade? Regardless of evolving as a society, gaining awareness and education, time and time again people flock to these palmists and fortune-tellers to know their fate. Do most people actually believe in what they find out or can this be considered just a 'fun-activity'? How superstitious are we as a society and how far would we go on our quest to find out about the future? - Eefa Khalid /

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