Life was simple when I was growing up. There was one radio station on air, one channel on the tube, one shampoo in the market, one brand of bread in the Kirana store. We had an uncomplicated, unidimensional existence. Then liberalisation and technology opened a pandora’s box of choices and our simple life was, as they say, history. Complex choices confused us to the extent that we started asking existential questions about things that were just ‘understood’ before.

So, when I was growing up there was a single astrological chart based on the Hindu calendar. The one my parents had got made and never revealed to me, fearing quite rightly, a demotivating bias. I knew it existed but was blissfully unaware about the details except that I was a ‘tula’ or a libra in the Hindu calendar. But it was all too confusing for me to understand what that meant. Life was simple.

In my teenage years, I was introduced to Linda Goodman and zodiac signs. This was an exciting discovery, as she explained what signs meant in layman speak, adding juicy details like the compatible signs, famous people with the same sign and Alice in wonderland quotes. It fired my imagination and within weeks I had memorised (whatever happened to by-hearting things?) her chapters on my sign. By the zodiac calendar, I am a Cancerian, which means that I am intuitive (check), sensitive (check), imaginative (check). I would also like to believe that I am meticulous, ambitious and the best mom ever. On the flip side, cancerians tend to be moody, introverted and despondent (who me?). True or not, these maxims stuck to my head as I explained away my many outbursts to the moon cycle, diligently looked at every scorpion as if he could be the ‘one’ and blamed the mercurial Cancerian nature for my emotional binges.Feverishly I began to follow the daily horoscope, dutifully avoiding walking under ladders on unlucky days and filling out applications when the ‘time’ was right. I used to marvel at newspaper astrologists, who knew exactly what was going on in my mind that day, until my college friend pointed out how general the predictions were- they would be true for everyone! Which is probably why I married him even though he is a Capriconian.

When I was in college, everyone discovered feng-shui. Tentacle-like plants sprouting from gaudy beads entered Gujju drawing rooms and acupuncture became the neighbourhood cure-all. The Chinese zodiac was introduced to me in placemats of Chinese restaurants adding another dimension into my astrological hotch-potch between courses of sweet corn soup and Hakka noodles.
So I discovered that I am a horse, which means that I am supposed to be a simple, outgoing, fickle, strong minded creature. Which was difficult to reconcile given that I grew up thinking that I was complex, moody, imaginative and sensitive. Yet if you really thought about it, I was sensitive and moody, yet I was outgoing when I was in a good mood. And if you counted changing channels while constantly reaching out for popcorn as activity, I was super active, just like a horse. And I definitely had a great sense of humor and sharp intellect of the horse coupled with the crab’s imagination with a maybe a teeny bit of the horse’s arrogance. Errr….I think I have covered almost all human characteristics.

Nowadays I have a rather pragmatic point of view. I adopt whatever prediction suits me. For 2012, Cancer predictions are dire. ‘Negative thinking could be the bane of your existence. Hard work shall be required, if accomplished, efforts maybe rewarded’ prophesizes indastro. More on the same lines follow. It was enough to upset me the whole of Jan.

Until the tinsel and christmas trees were swiftly replaced by red lanterns everywhere in Singapore. Which is when I remembered that I was also a Horse and there maybe still hope for me. Sure enough, Goto Horoscope predicts that in the Dragon year of 2012, ‘Horse shall be in spotlight. If he is in creative field, he will achieve maximum success in his work’ and such like. I cheered up immediately, threw out the tinsel and got a new feng-shui plant.

Already my year is improving-we have four straight holidays in a row in Singapore, so soon after Christmas.I am writing with full enthusiasm (its wonderful what confidence does to you). The air seems warmer and happier somehow. Expectant mothers are floating about everywhere- everyone wants a Dragon baby.

So, Happy new year and Gong Xi Fa Cai !( Have a prosperous year)