You have to meet a graphologist,” my editor proclaimed as she stormed into my cubicle while I gnawed on a raw tomato. “I am sorry, chief, but I have always been bad at maths. I only passed thanks to extra marks given for neat handwriting. Can’t you find someone else?” “Well, then, you are perfect for the story.” A graphologist, as it turned out, was someone who studied handwriting. A few days later, I meet Dr Parag Khatri, founder of The World School of Graphology, in Andheri. I was looking forward to a school the size of a football field. As it turned out, it didn’t require more space than the size of a clinic.
Dentist turned graphologist
Dr Parag Khatri is actually a dentist. The World School was merely a name for the registered office from where he took listings for his courses in graphology. Dr Khatri is is tall and extremely affable. He is also packed with wisecracks that will make your teeth crack. On second thought, it just might be the ‘nails in front of a puncture shop’ syndrome.
His classes in graphology are conducted in Narsee Monjee College and he has been an active proponent of the subject for the past 10 years. His own education in the discipline was stimulated while reading books on the subject by Bart Baggett, an exponent of graphology. My little bit of research on Baggett revealed that apart from being a graphologist, he is also an entrepreneur and has worked as an extra on many a direct-to-DVD Hollywood B films, including Moby Dick 2010 and Paranormal Adoption. Both are arguably the worst movies ever made.
All in the mind
Dr Khatri says, “A person’s handwriting is dependent on signals sent from the person’s brain. The muscular movements are controlled by the central nervous system. While writing, the ego is active and hence, a fairly accurate personality estimation is possible.” Dr Khatri asked for the pad on which I had been scribbling notes. In the subsequent 15 minutes he went on to blow my mind.
“You are an argumentative person,” he said, “Stubborn, you plan well, are organised, physically driven and have a strong materialistic drive as well. You are literary and imaginative.” I was making mental notes, assessing how he had arrived at these mind-bogglingly accurate assumptions. Plans well and organised seem like generalisations anyone could have made, physically-driven might have been deduced by my fairly fit frame (he did not say modesty, so there!) and literary and imaginative might have been calculated out of the fact that I was a writer.
Best for last
As it turned out, all of that was par for the course, for the good doctor had saved the tastiest tidbits for last. “While watching a movie, you constantly process what will happen in the next few scenes before they actually happen. Your assessment of a good thriller, therefore, is based on one that genuinely surprises you. You are physically frustrated as well.” Erm… say what? Dr Khatri chuckles and says, “Don’t misunderstand me, but do you work out?” I nod.
“Have you not been going to the gym for a few days and is it frustrating you?” Spot on! But there was more coming from the man who could say no
wrong. “You also procrastinate a lot on projects you take on with a great deal of enthusiasm. Is there a project, a book or a script you have been working on for a long time?” A deep sea submersible couldn’t save my jaw, for it had just hit the bottom of the Mariana Trench. I have been working on my book over a period of time that has witnessed the death of Osama, Saddam and, oh, I don’t know, even Gandhi. He had figured all of that from the way I wrote, and he had barely broken a sweat.
But then the corollary to the idea strikes me and I ask him, “If the way I write can tell you about my personality, can you change my personality based on changes in my handwriting?” His reply is quick, “That is graphotherapy. I run a course on that as well. I advise minor changes in the handwriting of people to trigger a positive change in their personality.” “Does it work?” I ask him. In response he unveils a barrage of testimonials that speak in glowing terms of the course. One individual, Ajit Pathak, is certain he’ll become “more rich, successful and healthy owing to the way he strokes his ‘i’s and ‘t’s.
As I walk out of Dr Khatri’s clinic, I am still sceptical about graphology’s potential. Screening employees, carrying out career consultations were obvious fields in which graphology could be employed. But the idea of someone’s handwriting changing the way they are is still not something that is convincing. It seemed right in the same realm as Abracadabra and Scientology. An insight he shares based on my writing style is an anomalous example — he says that I had felt depressed and low when I entered the clinic and had been in high spirits when I left. In all honesty, I had been squirming uncomfortably all along.
The mind, decoded
> Making a cross out of my ‘t’s shows that I am blunt
> The greek epsilon style of ‘e’ shows a literary bent of mind
> Loops in ‘o’ reflect secretive nature
> Slash before the ‘t ‘reflects fast thinking
> Slash after the ‘t’ reflects procrastination
> Loop in ‘g’ shows strong physical drive and a materialistic drive