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Fortune Teller (standard:Fan Fiction, 3346 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Nov 06 2010Views/Reads: 1601/1026Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A fictional story of a man who uses a parrot to help him make a living as a fortune teller.

Fortune Teller 


Subba Rao 

Koneeru means a lagoon, pond or a water reservoir, but this pond is
special, it is called Peerla koneeru, since it is here the town Muslims 
gather during the celebrations of Moharram, to dip colorful replicas of 
Martyr's tomb made from bamboo and colorful cloth that they carry on 
their head to immerse. Long processions of Muslim mourners dancing to a 
particular drum beat carrying the colorful replicas would reach peerla 
koneeru during evening hours to immerse their contraptions into the 
pond. Except for Moharram celebration, the peerla koneeru is a just a 
pond surrounded by Gul Mohar or Poinciana trees with its bloom of 
bright red flowers particularly in summer. 

On one edge of the pond was the City Police Commissioner's office, an
old building built during British era with local stones cut unevenly 
with sharp edges protruding outwardly as if intended to stop intruders. 

A wide cement foot path around the pond is home for scores of people.
Mostly beggars, some selling traditional medicine, others provide 
services such as hair cut, clearing earwax, body massages or telling 
fortune. The Poinciana trees around the pond are only shelter to the 
foot-path dwellers. 

Basheer, a slender, dark skin man remembers visiting the pond when he
was just a boy along with his parents and extended family members 
during the annual Moharrum festival to immerse the colorful replicas of 
martyr's tomb in the pond. For a longtime now, he has been living under 
the shade of Poinciana tree on the edge of the pond. The sentry outside 
the Commissioner's office made him feel secure in the night time. He 
never attended a school but learned how to write and read Telugu, the 
regional language. He washed his clothes and took bath in the pond 
whenever he feels like it. 

On a regular day, the only commotion occurs under Poinciana trees are
gathering of footpath dwellers to buy left-over lunch from lunch 
carriers. Scores of working men and women and school children get their 
home made lunch delivered by lunch carriers to their work place and 
schools every afternoon. After delivering lunch, on way back, the lunch 
carriers sell the leftover food in the containers to the people living 
on the edge of Peerla Koneeru. It is a great bargain, the lunch 
carriers make little money on the scraps and the poor people get to eat 
quality scrap food at cut rate prices. 

Basheer has an idea how he looks like, though never looked into a
full-size mirror on a regular basis. On occasions, when somebody 
transporting furniture pieces, one with a mirror, he will run and try 
to stand in front of it to look at himself in full length. Living on 
the edge of the pond, under the Poinciana tree, eating scrap meals, he 
made living as a fortune teller. 

Basheer is a fortune teller, but he won't read palms nor he refers to
any astrology books, but with help from Rama, a parrot to pick a card 
from a deck of cards placed in front of the bird, he reads loud what's 
on the card to the customer for a small fee. There are several roaming 
fortune tellers around the town, some using parrots, but Basheer is 
only fortune teller permanently stationed on the edge of the Peerla 
Koneeru adjacent to the Police Commissioner's Office. 

Basheer made a parrot cage with steel spokes from an abandoned bicycle
wheel and splinter wood. The cage has three compartments separated by 
steel spokes. Each compartment can be opened by a sliding door. Every 
time, he slide open the door, Rama would jumps out from the cage and 
walk slowly towards the deck of cards placed on a cloth. Rama would 
pick up each card carefully and drop it next to the deck, after 
discarding few cards; it will hold a card carefully with its beak and 
gives it to Basheer. He would receive the card with one hand and give 
some seeds or a piece of fruit to Rama with other. Rama slowly walks 
back into the cage with food in its beak. That's about it as far as 
Rama is concerned. 

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