Of fortunes and families

Do you believe in Tasseography? I don’t know if I do, but I do know what it means and in all probability you don’t!:P

Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments.

The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic tassa (cup), and the Greek suffixes -graph, -logy, and -mancy (divination).

Source :Wikipedia

Before you start accusing me of getting sucked into the familial obsession for fortune telling, let me assure you I am in no way obsessed. I am but curious about the subject. Let me share with you the history that goes along with my out of the blue interest in tassegraphy…..

Typically we eat early at home. While our neighbour’s teenage daughters return from tuition class and jive to the latest Bollywood numbers in the evening, we eat our dinner. (Remind me to do a post on them sometime. They are perfect post material). The loud Bollywood numbers, we believe, add to the ambiance and make the dining experience just perfect. Because we eat early and because we are addicted, in a small way, to tea we sometimes indulge in a steaming cup at 9.30 -10.00pm. Ever since we were gifted large packs of aromatic garden fresh tea by a friend we have been indulging more than we should. While indulging in lemon flavoured brew tonight, I stared into my cup and these words popped out of my mouth “See the tea leaves at the bottom of the cup ma? People can read your future in them.” Mom nodded “Yes, yes. I have heard of that” and then put on her reading glasses, picked up her book and began flipping through the pages to find the exact page where she had left off her reading yesterday. Mom may not have been too interested in reading tea leaves, but my curiosity was piqued. I wanted to know what this whole tea leaf reading jazz was all about. I turned to God Google for help and stumbled upon some interesting articles. I found this site that gave the basics of tassegraphy and even had a guide on how to interpret common symbols. An angel stands for protection and good news, a book – if open means an answer to a question; if closed, a question that needs to be investigated. Bubbles floating on surface of tea or coffee means money coming. A cake stands for a wish fulfilled or a celebration and a rainbow means your wish will come true; if it is similar to an arch, it links represent the path between today and your destiny. Fascinating stuff, I though to myself.

Essentially tasseography is a method of fortune telling that uses tea leaves or ground coffee. The drinker must first drink all the liquid, leaving behind in the cup only a small amount. The remaining liquid is poured out gently and the leaves left at the bottom hold clues to your future. These have symbols like animals,objects,people that are interpreted by an expert. It is not customary for a person to read their own cup. The reading should be done by a fortune teller or clairavoyant. Cups used are generally preferred to be white in color.

For the fun of it I paid a visit to a website that offered to do a simulated reading. It made me chose a type of tea and a tea pot to pour it from and then a Chinese looking young lady typed out this for  me:

As the steam from the tea evaporates, I see many interesting events in your future! The shapes I see at the rim of your cup provide insight into what your future may hold.

Ya sure! Does it get any more unclear than? “The shapes I see at the rim of your cup provide insight into what your future may hold” provides no hint whatsoever  at the future ! And the first sentence is as generic as they come.

I looked into my tea cup again. It was white.  It had tea leaves settled at the bottom. I obviousimage007ly had some kind of a future. What I didn’t have was an expert to read the leaves. But I didn’t really need someone to read the leaves, I had a hint or two about what was coming up. If someone tried to read my tea leaves today,99% they would take on the form of a cake. For two reasons a- its Astro Aunt’s silver wedding anniversary on Sunday so its time to bring out the “socially perfect” mandira along with adressy salwar kameez and heels and b- I have been churning out cakes like crazy. It’s been one cake per weekend for like two months now- nothing fancy, no icing or decoration, just good old home made cake. Its Friday, the next cake is due tomorrow.

I think it’s the impending visit to Astro Aunt’s place that is making me think of fortune telling, tea leaf reading and such like. They say you start thinking and behaving like the people you hang out with. In all sincerity I admit I don’t spend all that much time with AA (I should stick with Astro Aunt. AA makes me think of Alcoholics Anonymous!) And her family, but whatever little I do, leaves a lasting impression. I have mentally prepared myself to be totally, utterly, thoroughly, indefinitely bored at the approaching family do. Reliable sources have informed me that Astro Aunty has cordially invited 50+people for the celebrations. No matter how big your house is, if you live in Mumbai and invite over 50 people, you are completely off your rocker. Unless of course, you are Shah Rukh Khan.Then your concept of a “large house” is large enough to fit in 1/20th of the population of the city.  I hear the guest list is largely composed of people I haven’t seen or spoken to in 10 years or so. And the ages range from 6 months to 80 years. The food platter caters to the wide age  range and consists of everything from “Chinese pasta” to the staple dal-roti-sabzi. If you can figure out what “Chinese pasta” is by Sunday afternoon, please let me know. I’d like to be prepared. The anniversary is also the occasion when Astro Aunt will introduce her scholarly daughter’s, I am assuming equally scholarly, boyfriend to the family. I might add here that she was shaken to the roots on discovering her daughter was dating someone. Dating is a crime in her eyes and dating a man who wasn’t from the exact same class, caste, region as her family is not just a crime, its a scandal. I am told when she discovered about the boy  she nearly suffered a heart attack. No amount of reassurance from friends and family could convince her that it was quite ok. ‘My daughter?! Mine!?! How could she? How will I face people now??’ went round and round and round in her head, till she was so completely exhausted that she gave in to her fate. Now she has the tough task of politely introducing the boy, who she hasn’t fully accepted herself, to the rest of the family.

Come Sunday I will dress in my best and putting to good use all the manners my parents hammered into my head as a kid while I socialise with people I don’t really recognise. I will patiently  explain to everyone who asks, and trust me everyone will ask, what I do for a living and why I am not married at my grand age. People won’t follow  the explanations on eitherof the two issues.  I will, if I gather the gutts, try out the “Chinese pasta”. And I will for sure  exploit the gprs on my mobile phone to the fullest.  I am sooo looking forward to Sunday.

Thank God we can chose our friends.

PS: In unrelated news, people now have a problem with India being a secular state. Read details here. Could it get more ridiculous?

17 thoughts on “Of fortunes and families

  1. Heh! yea.. had heard about the whole-fortune-telling thru tea leaves, but didn’t know it actually had a name to it!

    ditto. i discovered the name very recently myself.

  2. Now that’s a whole new reason to drink more tea till I see bubbles. More bubbles..then some more.

    LOL @ “I will patiently explain to everyone who asks, and trust me everyone will ask, what I do for a living and why I am not married at my grand age.”

    Tell them abhi tak koi munda fansa hi nahin jaal mein. Apka beta free hai kya? Now that should shut at least some.

    totaaallly loved your suggestion… its goingto be used sometime,pucca se!

  3. ‘The reading should be done by a fortune teller or clairavoyant. ‘

    may i offer my services, mandi?:ppp

    plus i love your Aunt A!!!! hehe she is great post material! 😀 can’t wait to hear the sunday story.

    also dont forget to do a post on the neighbor daughters. always fun to eavesdrop on fun loving teenagers. 😀 they hot?

    ur services are most welcome.. AA is entertaining na??
    the neighbours daughters are anything BUT hot!! lol

  4. LOL … I first read of tea leaves reading in Agatha Christie’s novels 🙂

    And ‘Dating is a crime in her eyes and dating a man who wasn’t from the exact same class, caste, region as her family is not just a crime, its a scandal. I am told when she discovered about the boy she nearly suffered a heart attack.’ is a very common attitude!
    And imagine parents arranging a marriage into a family that turns out to be totally not bothered about such stuff? They are a daughter’s in laws so they can’t possibly be wrong either! :))
    What a dilemma for Indian parents!

    :D..yes, its dilemma indeed…but its so much fun to watch these guys struggling with their dilemma!!

  5. I can smell a post coming up on Monday 🙂 Pls dont disappoint. I think tea leaves reading are mentioned in one of the Harry Potter books….but not sure. Sounds fascinating but dont know how reliable it is. Maybe you can ask your astro aunt about it 😉

    😀 i dont know how reliable this is either… will check with AA and let u know.. knowing her, she will believe ANYTHING!

  6. 🙂 Interesting..Never knew this earlier..Thanks for sharing.Next time i have my tea,will try to decode 😉

    if you manage to decode, tell me i will send u pics of my tea cups!!:P

  7. sorry to disappoint you but I think, teabags are more in use now than the traditional COOKED tea, if you know what I mean heheh…

    is there some fortune telling mechanism to check teabags also?

    arre! you calling me old fashioned!!! i hate tea bag tea..”cooked” tea tastes btr if you ask me..thats how we make it at home, at work its tea bags,for lack of choice.. donno if you can use tea bags for these expriments..

  8. Mandira, I have to admit that I, too, use tea bags.:)

    But I would love to read your post on Monday. And I enjoyed this one!

    aah! tea bags again.. will update with the lasts family drama on mon.

  9. Will definetly try…

    by the way for the comment tea bags above, i feel even if one who dont use tea bags will filter the tea leaves..

    i think here one shud drink tea without filtering..

    i dont think tea bags can be used.. its got to be real tea leaves…

  10. Interesting… Really! I didn’t think that I would come across divination in anything other than a harry potter book! I think if you’ve belief in something it’ll work for you! I don’t know if I believe in this, cos I’ve very little information But would like to know more. Thanks for the info though!

    its interesting stuff…and apparently in happens in the real world too.. not just in harry potter books!

  11. Fun post- I liked the thought progressions:)
    Now, a post on the Astro Aunt’s party, and how you fended off all dreaded questions!
    And where’s the tag?

    i throw dirty looks at elderly relatives thats how!! 😛 jokes apart, i give heart hearted smiles and look at ma for help!!
    the tags there..look! i was too tired to finish n publish it last night!

  12. of AA and tea cups, and fortune telling.
    But frankly, there was no fortune telling at all,
    what a waste of tea leaves.
    I have often wondered how they do it. Read about it long long long back.

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