I am Henry Cavendish

What with one thing and another, I had completely forgotten that I was once an award-winning physicist, one who had possibly invented/discovered many things.

Luckily, I was reminded of what I was in my previous birth by a website that analyses people’s past life based on their “sub-conscious memories”. I am not giving out the link for this website because one of your friends will already have put a link to it on your Facebook page. We all have that one friend who unerringly picks out such stuff and keeps forwarding to us. They have made what Facebook is today. Zuckerberg was probably their slave in his previous birth.

I understand that some of you may have a lot of reservation about previous life, reincarnation and such like, but even though I myself was a sceptic I became a quick convert when I checked what L K Advani was in earlier life. The website immediately answered that Advani, who by a conservative estimate is 723 years old, has still not completed his previous birth.

This is how the whole thing works: The website asks you a series of questions about yourself, and once you answer them truthfully, it puts to use some high-end technology to analyse your responses and then — rim shot — plays some advertisements for you. At the end of the ad, it, of course, tells you what you were in your previous birth.

The website works out your previous life based on your memories. The past-life website says that  “…human subconscious always keeps some dim memories of previous life.” Which is kind of surprising, because in this life itself it doesn’t keep even less than dim memory of what we need the most, like ATM pin or wife’s birth date. What human mind usually keeps record of are things that we generally have no earthly need for. I, for one, for some reason can recollect the exact lyrics of Vaadi en kappakizhange, while I will have to check my files to recall what my blood type is.

Doctor: What is your blood group?   

Me: Doctor, but I can quote verbatim the lyrics of Vaadi en kappakizhange…   

Doctor: *High-fives* Same pinch. Starts humming the line “…ABCD goppan thaadi doi”.

Getting back to the past life website, it also says “only 0.3 per cent of people can bring back memories”. The rest 99.7 per cent have difficulty in bringing back their past life memories mainly because they didn’t bother to participate in the website’s quiz. For, as far as I can tell, anyone who answers the queries get told what they were in their previous birth.

The questions are standard, but, as you’d imagine, deeply scientific. Like the first query, for example: “What sex you are?”  The second is: What is your date of birth? It goes on to ask you about your zodiac sign, which is baffling because you have already given your precise birth date. Based on it, the website could have worked out your zodiac sign. But apparently the website is good at in figuring out your past only, not present.

But these questions are not random as they may seem. “What scares you most?” is another one. As the website helpfully points out, “from psychological point of view, your fear is hidden in subconscious and comes from the death in your previous life. If you are afraid of heights, it is quite probable that you died falling from high place.” If you are afraid of darkness, you died after watching a Maniratnam movie.

Okay, the last line is just a joke. Only just. The website also asks your favourite number and deduces, most logically I should say, that it could be your date of birth or death in your previous birth.

It goes on to query you on the subject you liked the most in school because “it clearly gives a hint about your profession in your previous birth”. My favourite subject is maths and it doesn’t give a hint to my profession even in this life.

Still, based on my answers, the website said I could have been a well-known philosopher and physicist, like Henry Cavendish. Cavendish, among other things, figured out the density of earth, discovered Hydrogen, and later went on to become a popular humour columnist. OK, not really.

I was quite surprised to learn that I could have been Cavendish, and you would have been, too, if you had seen me in my physics class. When the rest of the class was trying to figure out what was, say, Log 47, I was busy looking for my Logarithm book. That I could have been Cavendish will send K Krishnan, who was my physics master in school, into seizures.

Not to get metaphysical here, but what if I were indeed Cavendish, what if I were a genius of science, what if I were one of the original thinkers the world has seen? Well, at the minimum, I think it deserves to be put on the headline.