The other day an old school friend of mine Ajay (not his real name) came to meet me when I was visiting Nagpur. Talk came around to how his son was doing. Ajay said that the kid was doing well, finally.
“Why,” I asked, “what was the matter?”
“He was not doing well at all in his studies. He was not able to focus on his school work. His confidence level was low and I was really worried about his grades. You know, his board exams are right around the corner.”
“So what happened?”
“I was referred to a person who is an expert numerologist,” said Ajay. “He recommended that I add another letter to my son’s name. So I added an ‘a’ and now his name is spelt Vijaay. Since then I have noticed a remarkable change in Vijaay’s character.”
“Wait a second there. This guy saw your son and recommended this treatment?”
“No, that numerologist is in Delhi. I merely sent him my son’s name and his birthdate and that is all. He was able to, based just on that, suggest the required change. Bloody amazing. I have started believing in numerology. Totally.”
“You are kidding me, aren’t you?” I said.
“No, Atanu, it is really amazing. It is like magic. I am very impressed. The guy was right on the money. Don’t know how he did it, but the change in my son is amazing. And the best part was that he did not even meet my son. He remotely diagnosed the problem and gave the solution.”
“And how much did this man charge to work his miracle?”
“That’s the best part. All I paid was Rs 500.”
I sometimes wonder: which planet do these guys come from–certainly not from the same that I come from. And these people are allowed to breed?
That brought to mind the “Wonder Rabbi” story. It is a Polish folktale quoted in “Adam Smith Goes to Moscow” by Walter Adams and James Brock:
It is said that a wonder-rabbi of Chelm once saw, in a vision, the destruction by fire of the study house in Lublin, fifty miles away. This remarkable event greatly enhanced his fame as a wonder-worker.
Several days later a traveler from Lublin, arriving in Chelm, was greeted with expressions of sorrow and concern, not unmixed with a certain pride, by the disciples of the wonder-rabbi. “What are you talking about?” asked the traveler. “I left Lublin there days ago and the study house was standing as it always has. What kind of wonder-rabbi is that?” “Well, well,” one of the rabbi’s disciples answered, “burned or not burned, it’s only a detail. The wonder is he could see so far.”