Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Shazia's Week: Mum Ask the TV Psychic Questions Live on Air as Dad Watches the Show and Take Notes

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Shazia's Week: Mum Ask the TV Psychic Questions Live on Air as Dad Watches the Show and Take Notes

Article excerpt

My parents have always been slightly absurd. But now they have taken that absurdity to a whole new level. With old age, they are becoming increasingly deranged, distracted, foolhardy and preposterous. What is more worrying is that they are in denial about their behaviour. Their word for it is "normal". Sometimes when my dad is feeling trendy, he calls himself "eccentric".

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The crisis they are currently having has spanned 20 years. It reached a high point last week, however, when my mum called a psychic astrologer on the Pakistani Channel, live on air, to ask him why none of her five children was married. She was in one room talking on the phone to the man on TV, while my dad was in the other room watching the programme to see what reply he would give and writing down all the points.

Later, my mum called me to tell me what he had said. Of course I went crazy; I couldn't believe she had done something so ridiculous. I said, "Mum, have you gone mad? What's the point of calling a psychic--on TV?"

She said, "I can't believe you are so ungrateful! Me and your dad are old. We only want to know if you're going to get married before we die, and it was [pounds sterling]1 a minute. We spent nearly [pounds sterling]30-we had five kids to get through!"

Apparently, people call this man from all over the world.

Equipped only with your date of birth, he can read the stars and tell you immediately what you want to hear. He's like the Mystic Meg of the Pakistani world. I think they call him Mystic Mo (short for Mohammed).

My parents are quite specific about what they want to hear. They ask very poignant questions, like: "Will my daughters marry doctors? Have some little doctors? And then will we be entitled to free health care? Will my sons all be millionaires very soon?"

On the Tube the other day, I overheard a woman saying to her friend: "I'm off to see my psychic on Tuesday. …

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