We all grew up on the story of Cinderella, her godmother and the clock striking twelve when all the magic evaporated with the clap of the two hour hands together. Time did not stand still for her and she had to make a run for reality. Like all fairy tales there was an out for her and she left her glass slippers on the flight of stairs leading up to the prince’s palace. Only when I grew up did I ask…when every bit of the magic…the mice, the rat, the pumpkin, the pretty ball dress all went back to their origins, how did the glass slippers not disappear as well! But….it is a fairy tale that my mother told me, I then read it for myself and read it aloud to my daughter and then to my granddaughters with the rule clearly stated “Don’t ask questions!!”

Lily James is Cinderella in CINDERELLA , a live-action feature which brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually dazzling spectacle for a whole new generaton.

Much happens at the witching hour….in western thought, traditions and fantasy. The eve of a festival like Christmas gains great importance just as the 12 o’clock change of day when you can gain or lose a day of your life or the calendar. In India it is the dawn ruled by the sun that is the change of calendar and for us midnight is strictly sleep time or the time of evil doings. The hours between 3 and 5 in the wee hours of the morning are very important. It is called Brahma Muhurtham and the mind is said to be at its sharpest and most receptive state. Music, learning, meditation, yoga is practised in these hours for optimal results.

However, the modern world has adopted midnight as a time for new beginnings that bring with it hopes, wish fulfilment and a better tomorrow. We are in the last month of a nightmarish year and when 2020 comes to a close, we all hope for a better year ahead where some semblance of our routines will be restored.

Come 31st December, at ten minutes to twelve, we will look back on the Year of the Corona, heave a sigh of relief and look into the future. Most of us will evince a desperate desire to know what lays ahead when the clock strikes twelve. “Will there be rainbows day after day” asked the song Que sara sara.  New Year’s day will be a time to look forward and ask questions…Will I pass exams? Will I fall in love? Will I get married? Will I get a baby? Will I get a promotion/new job/change of place? Above all will I be prosperous and healthy is the prime query that will plague our minds.

So, the world will look into a crystal ball, or to astrology, soothsayers, fortune tellers, annual forecasts et al to shine a beam of light. Every New Year’s Day, Hope is promoted and expectations are somewhat answered by people who look into the future through various methods. People all over the world have always been fascinated by secrets held by the future. Mankind has always longed to unlock these mysteries. While some believe in fate and that the future is already written, there are others who believe that it depends on the individual’s actions. However, everybody has a sneaking desire to know what lies ahead… good or bad and how to cope with what lies ahead. When predictions of the future comes true even partially then astrology/ fortune telling gets validated.

Individuals and families have their own pet astrologer or fortune columnist whom they consult for problems in their lives. Our paternal uncle, Neelakantan was an astrologer and he practised the Solar method which at that time was done by just a handful of experts in India. Strangely enough, he was a Theosophist all his life and lived in the compound of the society in Adyar, Chennai. His wife, our aunt was famous in those circles as Seeta Teacher. She started her career as a teacher of science in the Theosophical Society’s Besant School. Later she became famous all over the world as a Theosophist evangelist, helped to establish their iconic library and headed the Youth Wing of the society well into her 70’s.

Many people came to consult him. However, he rarely looked into the charts of the clan members. Our father and younger uncle would regularly pester him with our horoscopes and ask for predictions. He would inevitably say, “Our great grandfather was a deeply religious and spiritual gentleman. He had accumulated enough good karma to last for the next seven generations. So, there is nothing to worry about”! When something did go wrong in our lives he would say, “I told you…I cannot predict for my family members. I am too close to all of you with pre-set impressions and knowledge. When it is family, the planets mist my eyes and I cannot read the charts realistically”!

I have met people, strangers, later in life who knew him and had benefitted positively from his reading of their charts. They were in awe of his knowledge. It was not ten to twelve that bugged him as much as the conjunction of the twilight time when Thursday evening darkened to meet the Friday. He used to have a cycle shop and at this time he would not sell even a tube or pin for a wheel from 10 minutes to six on a Thursday evening. He would chase away customers whatever their needs or emergency requirements.

He was called Neelu by his siblings and so all the nephews and nieces who were very close to him as he did not have children, called him Neelappa (Appa=father)! In my life he predicted many events that came to being. When my son was born, he cast his horoscope and said that this boy will become a lawyer or take up a career in a field that will be totally new and path breaking. My son used to call him BlueDad (Neel in Sanskrit means blue) and went into Animation, a totally new field at that time.

Ten minutes is an important time span in any situation. Today, ten minutes to twelve is the time when I get up to lay the table, heat the food and get ready for serving lunch. Ten minutes to twelve is the time when my husband calls out to me saying, “What are you doing? Come to bed” after he has had his two plus hours of sleep and my pottering around doing this and that and unable to fall asleep.

This is my take on this week’s Friday blog post topic suggested by our youngest school going blogger, Sanjana. Does she believe in Cinderella, fairy godmother’s, midnight alerts, I do not know. Maybe she will talk to us about why this time tag inspired her to suggest it…..And I am curious to see how the other bloggers handle this odd topic suggest. Do drop in to see what they have to say on the same topic every Friday. Shackman, Conrad, Ramana, Sanjanaah, Gaelikka, Srinivas and Raju.







About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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  1. Conrad says:

    Padmini, you covered almost every approach to the topic in one blog! I followed you all over the globe.


  2. rummuser says:

    Good Lord, the last thing that Neelappa would have expected is to be included in a blog post on such a topic. I can’t remember him ever having been up at midnight! Mind you, I lived with him for a whole year!


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