A multi-faceted personality, Sonal is also a Creative Ideator & Conceptualizer and is a consultant to many organizations in fields as diverse as Pre-schools, FMCG companies, Tourism & Hotels, Govt Ministries, Advertising agencies and socially active NGO’s. Well-known for her expressive writing (in both English & Hindi!), her forecast columns haave appeared in National daily newspapers and magazines. Her book “Kali Hariyali” is a moving testimony of the changing lives and times of the tribals of Jharkhand ever since coal was found on their lands, changing their lives forever.
On being asked as to how she got into Tarot, she laughs and says that with her it was the other way round, “ because it was Tarot that got into me. I had just entered my teens and was living in a small insconpicous town in South India where my father, an armyman, was posted. I had always been extremely intutive and sensitive to unseen influences but nothing could have prepared me for my encounter with Tarot.” She was taken completely unawares by the strange images that started entering her dreams. Unable to understand the meanings of these strangely significant visions that she was seeing, she went through a traumatic time trying to come to terms with what was happening and for which nobody seemed to have answers. “ Just imagine, most people still havent heard of something called Tarot despite most newspapers carrying a coloumn. And here I was , 24 years ago, in the back of beyond where I could not even clearly describe what I had by now started seeing in my waking state too. ” It was to take a further 2 years before her father was posted back to Delhi and she started living with the larger joint Varma family. “ It was this cousin of mine who got me a deck of Tarot cards from the International book fair held that year and I cannot describe the sheer relief I felt on finally understanding the meaning of my visions. This Tarot card deck contained the very images that had been coming to me as dreams and visions since the age of thirteen! After that it was only a matter of being reminded of the meanings that I seemed to know from some lost forgotten memories.”
Soon Sonal was casting spreads and holding Tarot sessions for her huge circle of family and friends. She firmly believes that she gained top marks in her college because of her forecasting abilities. After taking an honours degree in history from Miranda House, she joined HTA (presently known as JWT), India’s No 1 advertising agency as trainee copywriter. “I was a typical giddy young party girl, thoroughly enjoying life and having great fun. I played hard and I worked hard. I had some very good breaks very early in my career. The 7up launch, the UNICEF immunization campaign, the 1991 Congress(I) election campaign, etc, I was all set to make a leap to the top.”
But something happened that meant a paradigm shift in how she viewed her life. Her father was diagnosed with cancer 16 yrs ago and was categorically given 3 months to live by the doctors. It was a traumatic time for the whole family. “From choosing to work because I enjoyed it I now had to work because I had no choice. I was the only breadwinner of the family. This was a time of constant doubt and questioning, of losing all hope and grieving over the futility of life. How could God do this to us? Why did it have to happen to me only? What did I do to deserve this? The same thoughts that arise in everyone’s mind when the bad times come.”
So has she found her answers? She says she has, at least to some extent and no longer has any doubts whatsoever that she will be shown the rest when the time comes. The complete credit, she says, goes to her Guru. She thanks God with all sincerity for granting her that traumatic period of her life because, as she says, “ You can never appreciate the preciousness of a Guru’s love till you have passed through a time of complete hopelessness with not a single friend to share your lonely burden. My Guru saw me fall and picked me up, He saw me cry and wept with me, I lost my way and he took me home again. He gave me and my father a miracle to light our lives. How can I not believe in miracles when, by the grace of my Guru and my God, my father today walks and even drives without a substantial portion of his spine. He is a walking talking miracle. I don’t just believe but know that God listens to sincere prayer and heartfelt needs.
She realized that she had been put through these trying times so that she could use her gift of Tarot the way God wanted her to. It has given her the ability to empathise with people. To not just hear their problems but to actually feel their pain and knowing sorrow, to give relief and ease to the suffering person. Tarot Cards, she says, are the best means in this frantically paced complicated life of the 21st century. She has studied other systems of divination such as I Ching, numerology, crystal gazing, etc. and finds Tarot most appropriate for solving today’s problems.
She believes that a Higher Force controls our every action. Tarot Cards are a means of getting in touch with this Higher Force. “It is like making your own connection into an immense river of electric power in order to use a current to do what you need to, light a lamp, turn on the TV, or find a solution, resolve a conflict or change your life. You’ve just got to know how to plug in.”
From time to time Sonal takes on a student of merit to teach Tarot and pass on the grace that she believes has been bestowed on her. “I don’t think that real occult knowledge can be passed on like in school with a whole bunch of students of varying abilities doing text book lessons. I think a genuine Tarot student needs individual attention and complete personal guidance tailored to his or her need.”
She does not do short or casual readings. Her sessions are of at least one hour duration. Sonal is available for consultation by appointment only at 23619852, 9868124770.
Sonal’s rooms are a treasure trove for book lovers. Litarally thousands of books surround one. Ranging from science fiction and fantasy to esoteric occult subjects and covering the entire gamut in between. Her taste in books crosses the border from wide to limitless. It takes a while to get over the sheer impact of so much knowledge around you. But when you do catch your breath, you lose it again on seeing her collection of crystal artefacts and miniatures of all kinds. She has created mini replicas of a bedroom, a drawing room, a study and a children’s room containing all concieveable items, with nothing bigger than six inches!!!
One thing not many people know about Sonal is that she is an excellent poet. But according to her, her poetry is stictly for “private consumption”. After much persuasion she finally agreed to let us print two of her poems.
Maybe the fourth star to the left of the zodiac,
Perhaps that is the key to the whole mystery.
I have mapped the skies for countless lives,
And there is not much choice left now
Of uncharted stars that offer hope still.
For countless lives the night has fled before me,
Hiding in its heart the key to the whole thing.
For countless lives I have pursued,
Till my trail blazes permanent across the sky -The Hunter.
I am the hunter hunting the key
That opens the dimly remembered doors
Of the lost fortress of I.
The night breaks into fragments,
And the moon is a frozen sliver of a mirror.
Your face arises from the mists like a sigh.
Wraith-like you walk the echoing corridors of memory.
Footsteps form where only dreams lie thick.
The shadow of your voice touches my ear,
Murmuring, murmuring, rippling against my ear:-
“Dust to roses, ashes to wine”
Cool lips press ghostly kisses to my lips.
“Goodnight Love, Rest in Peace.”