This afternoon, I was wandering around in a mall, having arrived too early for an appointment with someone, when a middle aged Indian man approached me with "Miss, are you Indian?"
On telling him that I was indeed Indian, he asked where the McDonalds was since he was "wanting to take a bite". I said I didn't know, but there were plenty of restaurants and fast food outlets on the 6th floor, and pointed him to the nearest elevator.
He was not satisfied with the answer. "Miss, I am yogi, mind-reader and astronomer. I cannot eat meat." I assured him that vegetarian options, though limited, were certainly available on the 6th floor and turned to leave, when he said:
"Two boys are there, very much in love with you. Only one is your true love. I can tell you the name of your true sweetheart, but you must not be angry with me."
"Miss, I am yogi and mind-reader. I see from your face lines that two boys love you very much. But I can tell you the name of your true sweetheart. If you have 5 minutes?"
Now, I knew this was going to be a con job, but I had time to kill, and I wanted to see what he would say. So I said ok, and he brought out a little writing pad, wrote something on the top sheet, crumpled it up and gave it to me to hold in my right hand.
Then he asked me to name a number, a flower and my heart's desire and wrote that down on a second sheet of paper.
All along he's giving me his spiel on how my "brain line" was very strong, that I would have good luck for "2 months and 7 days, from June 1", that I would "do well in my studies" and that if I married my "true sweetheart" he would bring me much luck.
Then he asked me to put the crumpled piece of paper in my right hand back on his writing pad. He drew a box around it and put some random numbers in the box and then told me to pick up the paper, this time with my left hand.
Having reminded me that he had written down the stuff on the paper BEFORE I named the number, flower and my heart's desire, he then blew gently on my left hand and asked me to open it and read what was on the paper.
Sure enough, there was my chosen number, flower, and heart's desire, written down on that piece of paper.
I was impressed. I knew that it was sleight of hand, and that he had managed to switch papers sometime between my putting it down on his pad and picking it up again with my left hand - but it was so cleverly done, that even though I was watching for it, I couldn't spot it.
So I smiled brightly, said wow, that's wonderful, now you should go get your lunch, and I have to go meet someone.
But he wasn't done yet. He wrote down 3 numbers on another sheet of paper - 501, 1100, and 3001 - and said, "Poor people give me this much, rich people give me that much, and others give me what's in the middle. I can see from your face lines that you are neither poor, nor rich, but that you have a generous heart"
Yeah right, nice try! I ain't going to pay 500 bucks for a simple magic trick. But then I thought, he'd entertained me for 10 minutes, so I looked around in my purse and gave him a 50 baht note. What the heck, his lunch would be on me.
But he was persistent. "Don't you want to know your true sweetheart's name?" Ok, tell me then, I said. "Ah, but for that you should pay me 501"
Sorry mystic mind-reader, if you really could read my mind, you would know what I think of that! Although I was tempted to get him to give me the name of this "true sweetheart" that I would marry, just to be able to see his face when I revealed that I was already married!
But it was time for my appointment, so I said no; he wished me well and I hurried off.
And I thought to myself, if he - no mind reader, but a normally observant man - could mistake me, married four and a half years now and a mom to boot, to be an unmarried student of the sort who could have 2 boys madly in love with her - that's worth 50 baht to know, isn't it? :-)