Friday, August 3, 2007

Books: A Fortune Teller Told Me

It was 1976 when Tiziano Terzani was warned by the fortuneteller in Hong Kong: "Beware! You run a grave risk of dying in 1993. You mustn't fly that year. Don't fly, not even once." Sixteen years later, Terzani had not forgotten. Despite living the life of a jet-hopping journalist, he decided that, after a lifetime of sensible decisions, he would confront the prophecy the Asian way, not by fighting it, but by submitting.

One of the most enjoyable reads for me has been A Fortune Teller Told Me, a somewhat fabulistic account of travels in South East Asia by Tiziano Terzani. He sadly passed away recently, however his traveling style remains with me...not that I would dare emulating his itinerary but because of this last paragraph in the book, which always stays with me:

"I have heard that in India, not far from Madras, there is a temple in whose recesses three thousand years ago a great sage wrote on palm leaves the lives and deaths of all men of all times, past, present and future. When a visitor arrives, a monk comes out to greet him, saying: 'We have been waiting for you'. From somewhere he takes out one of those yellowed leaves, on which is written all that has happened to the visitor, and all that will happen to him in the future.

Now, going to to live in India, I shall seek out that temple. After all, one is always curious to know one's fate."

On the flight back from Bali, I mangled Tiziano's name in a conversation. This post atones for my faulty memory.

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