Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Palm Reader

There's Always Scope For A Horoscope



This week's letter for the ABC Wednesday theme at Mrs Nesbitt's Place is P, so I figured I would pay heed to John Lennon's lyrics and give Ps a chance!

In December I spent a day and a half in Singapore, walking many miles and shooting about 900 photographs. My first day there, the weather was overcast and rainy and I had to stop three or four times to find shelter and protect my precious camera as the rain bucketed down.

After the first downpour, the torrent cleared to a light drizzle and I walked on, determined to capture as many scenes of the island-state that I have visited several times since I was eleven years old. I must have looked like one of those old-fashioned marionettes, with my head twisting in every direction because I didn't want to miss a single image.

These palms caught my eye near a major pedestrian crossing as I followed a main road to Chinatown. They were just such a verdant green, and of course the thing that really caught my eye was the structure of the plants. They actually looked like papier-mache bows, angled every which way to catch the light.

I shot this horizontal frame (above) because it looked like a multi-layered piece of 3D art, then I stepped back a bit and realised that the best view was a slightly different aspect. As you'll see from the shot at the bottom of this post, the second frame is probably a better representation, because the lines are stronger, and there are darker shadows interspersed with the beautiful variations of green.

Palm trees were very much a part of my childhood in India, because the avenue on which we lived was lined with palms that were probably at least half a century old when I was born. I can still hear the distinctive crack that signified the sound of a falling branch, with its incredible span.

But there were other palms that were extremely significant in India. It is a country where astrology holds great infuence and I can remember my father telling me about a palm reader with the lyrical name John O'er The Water. My family wasn't into astrology in any way, but from what we were told, John was reputedly a very busy man - and his celestial "vision" was completely impeded unless a customer crossed his palm with silver!

In my early days as a cadet journalist in India, I soon realised that the most popular page in the weekly news magazine that employed me was - yep, you guessed it, the horoscope page. Back then, there was no email, so the astrologer who wrote the page each week had to write it in longhand and mail it in to the magazine.

One week, there was no horoscope. We waited until the last possible minute - nope, nuthin'. What were our options? This was a very serious issue. We couldn't publish the magazine without a horoscope page. That was just unthinkable. The readers would have called for a mass revolt and the editorial staff would have been banished to the tumbrils.

Then someone very senior called me aside. It was now my responsibility to lose myself for a couple of hours, with the other cadet - and we had to write the horoscope page ourselves. The other cadet wrote six and I wrote the other six. But he insisted on writing one of the star signs. Why, I asked.

Turned out there was this girl he had his eye on (or maybe both his eyes) and he knew she read the horoscope page each week. So he tailored her horoscope to make himself sound like the best thing since Sir Gallahad.

Despite his best efforts, he never managed to hook up with her. Just another case of star-crossed lovers!

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

56 comments:

Shrinky said...

Oh, that's so romantic, such a pity it didn't work..

lime said...

gorgeous shots there. and such a funny story. reminds me of a similar one mr. lime tels. he spent one summer working for a weekly publication that put a horoscope in it. his first week he was directed to go into a particular drawer and pull out 12 slips of paper from the hundreds there. each one was the prediction for whatever sign it got lined up to for the week.

Craver Vii said...

Only 900 photographs? Slacker! ;-)

Uncle Joe said...

That story sounds like a great theme for a movie or book.

Hilary said...

Great photo..beautiful colour and shading. And a very amusing horoscope story about you and your bud.

With fronds like this...

Kimberly said...

What an incredible green!

As for that fellow, I find myself wishing it had worked just because they'd have had so much fun telling the story of how they connected.

Hammer said...

Horoscopes, people live by them I'm not surprised your friend tried to use it to his advantage :)

dot said...

Funny story! Maybe if he could have written it a few more times he might have convinced her.
I love both of the shots. Beautiful greens!

San said...

I see why you prefer the lower shot, although both are magnificent. The rhythm of the lower one is most appealing.

Had to laugh when I read about crossing the palmist's palm with silver. Decades ago I visited a palm reader and she said, "Place $10 in my palm and tell me your concern."

I'll admit: when I pick up our local weekly, I almost always turn to the horoscopes. They're written by a man who can actually "write" and they are hilarious and somehow inspiring too. I've often thought I'd like to do that. Too bad your friend's foray into the field didn't produce the desired results. Just wasn't in the stars, I guess.

Akelamalu said...

I love that story! How romantic to write a horoscope for someone you fancy, well not you, your colleague. :)

Maggie May said...

The ferns look lovely just like fans. Exotic looking.

K. Bear-Mom said...

very beautiful shots, really...

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

What a hoot! I'd find it rather scary to have to conjure up a horoscope, never knowing what it may stir up on the readers' end of things!

photowannabe said...

Maybe the writer read his own Horoscope and felt he couldn't show up for work..
I do like your P posts and the palms have a lot of strength in the photos.

BlueBella said...

Thanks for stopping by! And lovely photos! Thanks for the great story . .. made me wish I was there, even with the rain:)

Anna said...

David this is really nice picture. Oh and it sounded like me in Singapore, when I visited for a week, and finally when we had time for walking around, it rained and it rained really hard. BTW this is really cool horoscope story, now I will have doubts, lol, when I read one. Anna :)

Pernille's ting og tang said...

John Lennon's Give peace (P's) a chance is one of my best favorites! I have to listen to it every day in christmas and other days too.

No over to Abc: I love palms and your photos is just fantastic. Like always;)Very nice story too:)

Have fun:)

GoneBackSouth said...

Hello again David.
Maybe she forgot to read that day and still harbours a secret crush on him ...? Yours, ever the optimist, GBS.

mrsnesbitt said...

LOL! David,,,,did you own up!

Sandi McBride said...

Lovely shot of the palms...I love palms myself but the closest we get is the Palmetto...no so pretty, just prickly...if that cadet had been a woman, no doubt it would have worked. Not to say men aren't smart...they just have this tendency...
Sandi

imac said...

Nice pppppp P Post David.

Please visit my Pots

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hee hee I loved that. And gorgeous pictures David.

Kathryn said...

Those palms are just beautiful. So vibrant and I love the way they curl and overlap. Wow!

Great story. Too bad that the love didn't work out. It would have made for an even greater story. ;)

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Gosh, stunning Palms and an entertaining story!!
Rocky Mountain Retreat

Celebration of Life said...

David,
Your photos and wit never cease to amaze me!
Jo

willow said...

Wonderful palms. They look just like green paper Chinese fans.

Cute horoscope story.

Jonna said...

Very clever photo. 900 photos. That is a lot of snapping.

Diana said...

good story! nice palms

MamaGeek said...

OH wow, talk about BITTERSWEET!

Betsy said...

Thanks for sharing....funny story!
Love the green! The tone on tone makes a beautiful photograph. Can't believe you took 900 shots!
I remember you mentioning living in Darjeeling....that is one of my favorite teas!

leslie said...

Beautiful photos of the palm leaves, David! Enjoyed reading the write-up, too. You know, we have palm trees in Vancouver! ;D Yes, we do and everyone is awed when I tell them that. Of course, they're the hardy variety!

ellen b said...

Oh that is rich! I love that story. We've had fun sitting around coming up with fortunes...

Texas Travelers said...

Great post of P.
I may have to read this a little more slowly later.
Terrific job as usual.
Liked the green and pattern.

P is Posted.
Come visit,
Troy and Martha

Neva said...

I can't tell what I like more, your photo or your stories. You are awesome.

CrazyCath said...

These are beautiful shots. With your pun, for a moment I thought I would get to see that bowl of peas...
I'm patient. ;0)

I prefer the second shot for the shading and depth of the colours - but both are great. They DO look just like paper fans.

I've joined ABC Wednesday and just put mine up - would you come and look?

Very romantic your mate - obviously it wasn't in his stars to hook up with her that time!

Catmoves said...

Hi David. Many years ago (in the hot metal days) I worked as a lino operator on the Melbourne Sun.
As luck would have it I became mates with a compositor and one day we were talking about the horoscopes he dutifully put in the paper every day. "Mate," he said as he slipped a block of type into the form, "I just take them from the drawer there and slip 'em in. They fit whatever the blokes want them to mean." We had a good laugh and I shouted an extra beer that night.

quilly said...

I am so GLAD it didn't work. One does not pick their life mate by order of the horoscope pages! Most of those things are made up by staff writers!

I love the palm frond photos. All the shades of green .....

Lynette said...

A perfect ABC Wednesday post, David, the photos and the story of your time in Singapore.

Picturing of Life said...

Beautiful Palm photo you have.

My P post in here Thanks

Paulie said...

Interesting perspective! I enjoyed the storyline also.

Blue said...

A very amusing read!

Ida said...

Beautiful photos of the Palm. :)
The lines, the light, the colours....

Romantic story.
I hope that the readers didn`t read the paper with a total literal look that week..... ;)
I guess it was fun, writing the horoscope. The easiest way is to use an old one..... LOL! ;)
It`s the same words over and over again....... ;)

Ida

RuneE said...

One could say that you held the P safely in your Palm...

(Not to mention your Photos!)

Andrea said...

Beautiful shots and the story was really funny.

VP said...

Now just cross my palm with silver...

holly said...

as always, you have me eating out of the palm of your hand.

actually, the trouble with all of my photos is that they are always better from a slightly different aspect - but i never seem to find it!!!

nice shots, lovely story. thanks david. :)

i'd love to know
a) what you told readers to do
b) if they did it...

Judy said...

Wow 900 pictures. Great pictures and I loved the story.

Therese said...

Two pictures in 3D to reflect on! Must be nice as well in B&W They remind me of the mediterranean palms that we have here in AZ but more compact.

MammyT said...

These are lovely photos. What a nice way to look at a palm tree - up close and personal.
Nancy

Snooty Primadona said...

What a wonderful post. And I love the palm pictures. Exquisite!

John said...

Great shots and funny story David!

joan said...

That's a great story and a good photo. You got to give him credit for creativity. Too bad it didn't work out.

Janet said...

Beautiful photos to go along with a delightful story. I live in a town called Palmdale so palms are rather significant for me, too!

Ruth D~ said...

Great story! And the palm photos? Superb.

Helena said...

Great shot. WOuld be good in a blog background :)

Shashikiran Mullur said...
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