City Life – Meraj’s Future Telling Machine, Daryaganj
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
We all have our own way of making a living, but Mr Meraj is definitely a trailblazer.
He goes around the city with a machine that would be hard to duplicate. Resembling a giant toaster, it “predicts your future” electronically.
Next to the machine is a promotional sign that proclaims in Hindi and Urdu: “Hear your future with the electronic machine. Question, Rs 5. Answer, Rs 5.”
“Most of my clients are pedestrians,” explains Mr Meraj, when we caught up with him in Daryagani. On a good day he might pull in Rs 150.
We go on chatting till a customer turns up.
Mr Meraj inserts a stethoscope-like device into the guy’s ears.
The young man listens intently, sometimes nodding as though in agreement with the prediction.
The Delhi Walla has to give it a try.
A recorded voice speaking in Hindi provides us with a predictable analysis: “You aren’t very happy. You break your resolutions too easily…” And so on, but then a real prediction: “You’ll be meeting an interesting person today!”
But, has the machine ever provided Mr Meraj with hints about his own future?
He smiles, saying. “I have no future.”