Vaastu Shashtra

There was this cousin of mine who fancied himself as a bit of a vaastu expert. On coming to know that I had bought a house in the city, he asked to be taken to the place and shown the house which was still under construction. “If there is some vaastu problem, you can correct it while the house is still being built and save yourself the trouble of making major modifications later,” he said helpfully.

Though a great disbeliever in vaastu at the time, I used to nod vigorously in agreement and promise to show him the house every time he broached the subject – which, by the way, was very often since we lived in close proximity of one another – without any intention of ever doing so. Vaastu for me meant breaking up one part of the house or the other, sealing the door or the window on one side of the wall and opening one on another, placing a yantra on this corner of the room and a statue of this god or that on the other and so on. It wasn’t exactly a welcome prospect for someone who didn’t give a damn about such things. Since the house I was buying was one out of a fairly large cluster of houses being built as per the same design and specifications by a builder, there was no way I could possibly ensure that my future home was vaastu perfect. And since the identical houses were allotted to individual owners through a draw of lots, there was no way I could ensure that the agni kona was at the right place in the house or that the toilet remained on the south. In any case, while the other buyers (or their spouses) had kept vigil, through sun and rain, for hours on end watching their houses being built from scratch, I had not bothered to pay even a perfunctory visit to see how the work on my house was progressing. Little wonder then that I kept finding one excuse or the other not to take this cousin, several years older to me, to what would soon be my abode.

Exasperated, he finally gave up the idea of accompanying me to physically verify the house and asked me to come to his place, barely a few hundred meters from the place where I lived, with the building design instead. Since the danger of being asked to modify something or the other remained even with this revised proposal, I kept dodging him with all the skill and guile at my command. For a while, I even stopped going to the weekly haat in the colony where we would invariably run into each other. In the circumstances, it was a minor miracle that I managed to check into my house without having to show him either the house or the design!

The going was unbelievably good for the first six months or so at my new found address in the city that I had fallen in love with at the very first sight. On only the 18th day of my gruha prabesh, I got an offer to work for a national news magazine. Barely two months later, I got another offer – this time from a Hyderabad based television news channel. And before six months were out, I bought a car, the only material dream I have ever had.

And then things began to go awry. Circumstances conspired to ensure that the magazine fell into bad times and I quit the news channel. Soon, the finances were in a mess. Money, which had flooded for a while, suddenly became a trickle. Standing on the roof of the newly built garage one not so fine evening, I was brooding over this sudden turn-around in my fortunes when, all of a sudden, a question leapt into the mind. “Could the dramatic fall have something to with the construction of the garage?” May be the cousin had a point after all, I thought, since the dip in financial condition appeared to have coincided with its construction.

The next day, the non-believer went with a friend to a vaastu consultant who, after listening to my woes and having a good look at the sketch of the house, said profoundly; “You have committed a serious mistake by constructing the garage and thereby expanding your house on the south side, which is not approved by vaastu shashtra.” “But there was no other side I could have constructed my garage on,” I protested, showing him the other corners in the map to buttress my point. “I know you couldn’t have done otherwise. But you could have certainly done the necessary upachara (treatment) before going ahead with something that is against the basic tenets of vaastu,” he said. “But even now, it is not too late,” he added reassuringly before listing out the various upacaharas available and their price tags – the cheapest of them coming for just Rs 2, 000.

By then, I was convinced that it was vaastu dosha which had put me in such a tight spot – so convinced that I decided to go back to a rented accommodation again vowing to do the upacharabefore checking into my house a second time. I did check in again five years later but without having done any. I have neither applied the vaastu treatment nor have I even thought about doing so in the period since my return. But the wheel of fortune has turned once again and the trickle has turned into a steady flow, if not exactly a flood. I am now convinced that you cannot change your fortune by putting a yantra here or doing a puja or even breaking down a wall there.

From being a complete skeptic to turning a believer and then back again to being a non-believer – it has been a fascinating journey lasting a little short of a decade. The roller-coaster journey has made sure that I would never go to a vaastu visharada ever again!