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Sanjay Jumani - Numerologist

I am about to make a big prediction - this time of year (in addition to Halloween) many papers will run articles on soothsayers, astrologers, palmists and numerologists. Maybe because it is the end of the year and we tend to look forward or maybe its because it's the end of the year and we like to reappraise and try to do better. So it was without any surprise that in a recent New York Times there is a story about Sanjay B. Jumaani, a famous Mumbai numerologist. The only surprise is that the article was in the business section.

Mr. Jumaani studies birth dates, names and other personal information and then suggests changes to names, wardrobe or jewelry that can improve their fortunes.

After seeking help from him and other numerologists, actors have added or dropped letters from their names — the actor Ajay Devgan recently became Ajay Devgn. Filmmakers have deliberately misspelled the titles of their movies — “Singh is Kinng” was a recent hit. And companies have redesigned brands and logos.

In a country where privation is prevalent, people have long sought comfort and hope from astrologers and gurus of varying stripes. Now, modern Indians who want a bigger slice of a growing economy are turning to a new breed of soothsayers who are different from the gurus of their parents’ generation. Changing names or ordering license plates with certain auspicious numbers has become accepted practices in recent years.According to Mr. Jumaani, people’s personalities and destinies are shaped by the interplay of various numbers. Among the most important are numbers derived from birth dates, like the sum of the digits that make up the day of birth. Babies born on the 28th day of a month, for example, are said to have a good life ahead of them because 2 and 8 add up to 10, and 1 plus 0 equals 1.

One, three, five and six are considered auspicious numbers: Mr. Jumaani points out that Bill Gates was born on Oct. 28, 1955. Numbers correspond to the sun, the moon or a planet; one is the sun, two is the moon, three is Jupiter and so on. But people who are not born on a fortunate date need not despair. While he cannot change their birth dates, Mr. Jumaani said clients can benefit by changing their names. (He would not disclose how numbers are assigned to letters.) Wearing appropriate gems and colors can also change fortunes.

“We cannot give you Mr. Ambani’s date of birth,” he said referring to the Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani, whose birthday adds up to one. “But we can help you with your name.”

The article includes the usual skeptic who professes to offer a reward to anyone who can prove that the numerology works. But we know that even if proof is given they will find a way to avoid paying it out.