‘You are going to meet a witch tomorrow??? I so wanna go too!’ yelled the girl I had just met at a discoteca in Cali in Colombia.
Till then I hadn’t given my witch visiting decision too much thought. I was to travel to Buga, a sleepy town 74 kms away from Cali.
It was only a few days ago that I had arrived in the city to learn salsa. Ruben & July, a young Colombian couple had taken me in their house as a guest. Ruben and I would spend evenings chatting about the craziness that is Colombia. One of those days the topic of witches came up and I was hooked.
It was Ruben’s mother-in-law who turned out to be the connection. Like many women(and men) in small town Colombia she visited a witch pretty often. She felt that she got answers to many questions and also advise. There were two of them, she said. One, who read cards and another who smoked fat cigars on the terrace of her house.
It turned out that the cigar smoking witch was the only one free to meet me that weekend.
Ruben and I rode on his motor bike to her house.
A man opened the door. We then reached the terrace Ruben’s that mom-in-law had mentioned.
She did not look anything like a witch. No long nose or scary looks. In fact, she looked kind. Much like the many middle aged Senhoras who would help me out with directions while walking.
‘This is where I practice’ she said.
The terrace was sparse, with only a couple of chairs, a bed and a place where she sat. There were some jars with liquids and one of them was filled with cigars.
Ruben was there to act as my translator. But I was sure he relished the opportunity of meeting a witch.
‘You have a bright future. You will do well’ she started, taking a puff from not one, not two, but three cigars at the same time.
I was wondering ‘why the hell does she torture her throat so much?’
But my curiosity had to wait. First it was about her prediction about my life.
‘There is an elder, back home who is looking over you. That elder is sending a lot of positive energy your way.’ I needed no guesses to know that this ‘elder’ was my mother. The positive energy she was sending is called ‘money’.
Anyway, I had to continue to focus.
‘You are open to taking risks and working hard, so no reason why you won’t succeed.’ she continued.
Clearly this was a template prediction. I helped her to get specific.
‘Will I ever become a writer? How will my books do?’ I asked.
To which she exclaimed that she had guessed that I had a lot of books and papers in my life. And that most of my success would come from them.
But paper was not involved because I mostly wrote for websites and planned to launch online books. But I still accepted the prediction since it was positive. For me.
Her next unsolicited statement was that I would be even more successful after my first book. That was heartening, because I had been lately feeling that my travels and the book would eventually turn me into a penniless rag-picker.
Then I got to the most important question that bothers my family. Marriage.
‘You will marry someone from Europe or USA. You both will have two children. And your marriage will be a happy one’ she claimed.
For someone who has failed miserably even in relationships, this seemed like a tall order. But who was I to question a powerful Colombian witch.
‘Should I be weary of something?’ – I wanted to know.
To which she advised that I just needed to continue working hard. So there I was, doomed to this hard working existence. Clearly the yatch life was not a part of my destiny.
It was then time to get to know her.
She realised that she had some special power early on in her childhood. It all started with being able to see the aura around people and knowing what was going to happen to them. She was able to predict deaths, bad things etc. The smoking was the way that she started practising this craft in her teens.
‘But isn’t that too much smoking?’ I wanted to know.
She had an answer to this too. She took precautions and herbal potions so it did not affect her health.
‘What about magic?’ was my next question.
She only practised white magic, sometimes. But mostly she predicted and gave advise to people. Black magic, was a complete no-no for her. Being a devout catholic she would never use her powers to harm anyone.
After this conversation, it seemed, that her patience with me had ran out. She wanted us to leave citing that it was time for her to have lunch with family. It was a balance she maintained, she added. She did not let her two lives overlap and she never predicted for family members.
And just like that, Ruben and I were walking out into the blazing mid-day Colombian sun.
‘So European soul mate eh, Sachin?’ laughed Ruben.
‘If I don’t marry an eastern European super-model, then I am coming back for my money.’ I played along.
A few nights later, I was back at the discoteca. This time I was dancing with a pretty Calena (girls from Cali are known so). I tried to make small talk while dancing and mentioned the visit to a witch.
She found this interesting and wanted to know what the woman had told me.
I said,’she predicted that I would marry a beautiful Colombian girl like you.’
She laughed really hard.
You know, I am known to take my chances.