Pandemic effect: Fortune-telling practices see rise in demand among Delhi residents


Express News Service

Many have lost their loved ones, their jobs, their peace of mind in the brutal second wave.

While some have turned to mental health experts to cope with these uncertain times, others are desperately turning to astrologers, healers, numerologists and tarot card readers, to predict their future in the hope to limit unwelcome surprises like the Covid-19 pandemic and provide answers on how to restore their fortunes.

Astrologer, Vastu expert, and Numerologist Ridhi Bahl gets 25-30 queries a day compared to the pre-pandemic figure of less than 20.

She says, “Astrologers have always been in demand, but the demand has certainly increased in the pandemic. There’s uncertainty in their minds and they are looking for the right guidance and I would say that these sessions do instill confidence and help them,” adds Bahl.

Bahl gets the most number of queries from people aged between 25 and 35. She informs that the main areas of concern are career, financial issues, relationships, and health.


Rainar Singh, Director, Tarot by Thyy Grace, who started practicing occult just before the pandemic, says she was unsure about the response.

“Initially, I would get two-three queries in a day but now I get 12-15 bookings per day. People have to wait for two – three days to get a slot. Since tarot concludes everything, most of the queries are for these sessions, and from there we hop on to numerology, especially for those who want to get married and want to get a compatibility analysis.”

Though her clients fall between the 20- 60 age group, most inquiries from the 20-35 age group.

Singh takes not more than four-five sessions per day, and only online. She feels that somewhere people are seeking to fill in the void caused by the pandemic in their lives.

“Many have lost the hope for survival, and these simple tips and tricks help them get rid of such negativity. I have seen a very good change in people within a couple of days of my sessions,” adds Singh.

Tarot reader Madhu Kotiya hasn’t had an increase in queries but since people are scared of the disease, there have been more queries related to health over love.

In a month, she gets an average of 150-200 queries and the number has been more or less the same.

“I make it a point to not take more than 3-4 sessions in a day. Each session takes time because I aim to give quality services. During the second wave, I have received more queries for healing. People were more concerned about getting healed during this pandemi c than knowing about their future. These healings help people to recover and keep them immune. People are not accepting the future as it is, they want to know how they can change it – to improve it. Therefore, the queries are now channeled to how to change the future,” adds Kotiya.

Acharya Shreya Kalia received 20-30 per cent increase in number of queries during April and May among her clients.

“These were mainly queries from the families of Covid patients about their health and well-being. These sessions gave them positivity and guidance on what’s going to happen in future,” adds Kalia.

GemPundit has also witnessed a surge in astrological queries since the last week of March 2020.

“Most of them are related to health and finance. We have four astrologers on board, and are receiving approximately 180-200 astrologerbased queries in a month, with the maximum traction coming from Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Gurugram,” says Nitin Yadav, CEO, GemPundit.

Physical vs online sessions

“Earlier, when the cases had gone down I had started doing in-person sessions. But I am not planning to resume these anytime soon because people are still sceptical about contracting the virus, and online is convenient for everyone. With everything being digital, I am using all platforms like Zoom, Google Meet,Video Call, Whatsapp Call, and certainly regular calls,” adds Bahl.

Kalia says that people have started coming for in-person sessions at her office, “but all sessions are appointmentbased and no walk-ins are being entertained.”

Kotiya also feels that the online model is a very good approach.

“Anyone from around the world can connect without taking the trouble to travel to meet personally. Moreover, the online meeting gives a personal touch as if the consultant and the client are meeting in an offline one-on-one meeting,” she adds.

The only issue of the online model, she feels, is the people, especially senior citizens, who are not very tech-savvy.

Online Pujas

While some astrologers are conducting online havans and pujas, others don’t believe in the idea. Bahl recommends that one should always do the puja themselves.

“It’s not necessary to do an elaborate pooja. One can do a simple mantra jaap, but do it yourself rather than getting it done from someone,” she says.

Kalia also gives people mantras for chanting because she feels it gives them peace and power to face the circumstances.

Kotiya does it differently.

“If any of my clients want to get a puja done, I pre-book it and then do those pujas at my home. But havans can be done online and clients can attend it as well, but as I said it is not mandatory for them to join it.”

GemPundit also has a dedicated team of pandits who specialise in online energisation and purification pujas for the gemstones before these are shipped.

Yadav shares, “These priests don’t eat garlic and onion when they perform the havan, which typically lasts for an hour where the customer also joins the process over a Zoom call. If the customer is not able to join in, the priest records the session and sends it across to their customers. Some havanas have lasted for 6-10 hours in the customer’s presence online with a temple setting.”

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