The clairvoyant, Mr.Altaf
The clairvoyant, Mr.Altaf5 mins 258 5 mins 258
Human beings are endowed with senses more than the usual five senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. Most of us have a “sixth sense”, one which creeps into us unknowingly and gives us the uncanny feeling or idea of events yet to happen. In the English movie “The Eyes of Laura Mars”, if you have watched it, the protagonist gets to see murders which have not yet happened; that too in details! More commonly, we sometimes have premonitions or forebodings of meeting with someone, someone visiting your house and even some event happening.
This does not happen at our will, nor do these flashes come all the time; hence we do not believe in them or depend on them, though we make many decisions based on our “gut feeling”.
I have always looked upon these “powers” with great disbelief even though accounts of such “powers” by men and women, notably Linda Goodman ( an American astrologer and writer) in her bestselling book “Sun Signs”. I have always felt that such a belief could lead one to become superstitious and damage the confidence in one’s own self.
This belief held true until I came across Altaf. It was the mid-nineties and one of my dear friends was going through a rough phase in his life. He faced many hard situations in his personal and professional life, and when beset with such challenges for which one cannot find logical reasons or answers, one seeks for answers from outside. This happened to my friend. Soon, he started visiting men and women who claimed that they can foresee past, present and future and recommend remedies for problems of the heart and mind.
During this phase of hunting for a magical solution to his problems, my friend was recommended and referred to men and women possessed with “special powers”. He met dozens of them without results until one day one of his friends suggested Mr Altaf.
Mr Altaf, we got his name much later, was believed to be clairvoyant, one who can see the normally invisible. He could be contacted, said the friend, only through the phone. The friend advised my troubled friend to call Altaf and narrate his problems to him without waiting for Altaf to ask questions or speak to him, for this was the practice. My friend dialled Altaf on the number but could not reach him even after attempts till one day Altaf picked up his call.
As advised, my friend began his narration without waiting for Altaf to speak. Altaf listened to the narration and told him that the problems would disappear soon. No reason was given, nor was there any explanation for why this would happen. Instead, Altaf asked my friend to prepare to cross the ocean and fly overseas. He told him that there was every chance of my friend changing his current job and taking up an assignment somewhere in Africa!
A month passed with no fresh developments, and we decided that Altaf was just another imposter. My friend had no plans to leave the job or go anywhere out of the country. He did not even have a passport. His only connection with Africa was with his younger brother, who had gone to Kenya and was working there.
We had all but forgotten about Altaf when my friend received a call one day from his brother in Africa. There was an opening, he said, in his company’s office in Kampala (Uganda). The Chairman of the company would be in Mumbai next week and he suggested his brother meet with him to discuss the opportunity.
My friend made the appointment and met the Chairman; and was selected for the position in Kampala! Now we remembered what Altaf had told my friend and wondered whether it was possible that Altaf was genuinely in possession of the power of clairvoyance! How could he have predicted so accurately?
We decided to meet Altaf and thank him. Altaf had demanded no money or gifts for his services, which was unusual. Somehow we traced his residential address and drove to his house on the outskirts of the city. The area where Altaf lived was a low-income group colony comprising small flats with a small room and kitchen. Whoever Altaf was, he was not a rich man.
We went up to the ground-floor flat where Altaf lived. The front portion of the flat was covered with a grill to make it look like a separate room. Through the grill, we saw an old and sickly man lying on a cot strung with ropes made of coconut bark. Before the cot lay a tall stool, and on it was a lone telephone. It was past noon and perhaps time for Altaf to take his nap. He woke up when he heard us and opened the door for us. He did not know who we were and seemed suspicious about our visit.
A small girl came from inside the room and offered us water. My friend introduced himself and told Altaf about the conversation they had some time ago. Altaf could not recollect having spoken to my friend but seemed pleased that he could be of help to my friend. I had one question for Altaf. I asked him about his power to solve the intractable problems of human beings.
Altaf smiled wryly and confessed that he had no such powers he was conscious of. Still, forces sometimes guided him within to see certain things. It did not happen always, but as so many people called him for solutions and many more to thank him for resolving them, he admitted that there might be something in him.
What was remarkable was that Altaf never even met most of his customers? They all spoke to him over the phone and poured their problems while he listened to their voice. It was the voice that triggered something in him, the vibration, the energy that came across. People called him from across the country and some, even from overseas destinations. He was not doing this for money, yet grateful customers sent him money and gifts as they deemed appropriate.
After the meeting with Mr Altaf, I could not help believing that such kindred souls exist. Sadly, they are far and few and mostly money minded and hence commercial. Mr Altaf, to me, is an unsung hero, a saviour of many souls, and a selfless saint.