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The subtle art of signspotting

Updated on: 28 May,2024 06:52 AM IST  |  Mumbai
C Y Gopinath |

I find it impossible to forget birth signs of people I met fleetingly, some of whose names I never found out. Here’s how I think I do it

The subtle art of signspotting

Making a person’s birth chart shows me how a person is unique and unrepeatable. But just as all cars share certain features, birth signs too have broad streaks of similarities that don’t diminish the differences. Illustration by C Y Gopinath using Midjourney

C Y GopinathPeople find many things odd about me, such as my lifelong habit of snorting at inconvenient moments. The quirkiest thing about me, however, is that I effortlessly remember the birth signs of people I met fleetingly, some of whose names I never found out.

For example, a person I met just a couple of times 50 years ago at the Delhi IIT found my column and emailed me a hello a few months ago from London. The only thing I could recall was that he was a Leo.

To be clear, I don’t believe all people born under a particular sign are identical. Making a person’s birth chart shows me the exact opposite—how they are unique and unrepeatable. But just as all cars share certain features—four wheels, a front and a back, a steering wheel, gears and so on—birth signs too have broad streaks of similarities that don’t diminish the differences. It’s like sniffing a new fragrance. You can quickly decide if it is citrusy, woody, smoky, spicy, and so on—the main characteristics—but guessing the specific notes is another game altogether. Was that vanilla? Cedarwood? 

Patchouli? Bergamot?

My personal ‘science’ of guessing someone’s birth sign includes their body type, face shape, how they look when they think no one’s watching, what they say (and don’t say), and even how they relate to me. Here is my 
personal how-to guide.

Aries: Intense self-interest, especially when I try to guess their birth sign. Also warm, affable and relaxed, if a tad impatient. Older ones might be interested in herbal medicine or things like palmistry and oddball psychology. Females are warmer than males but equally driven.

Taurus: The quiet fellow and the chatty filly. She loves talking about astrology, the tarot and other mystical things. Taurus men appear stolid, and the women are gregarious busybodies. Under the surface, both have plodding, patient minds that understand the value of time and slow cooking. Taurus women can be sharp-tongued gossips. An additional clue is there’s a sense of chemistry with me.

Gemini: I’m one, and grateful that I’m not typical. They’re generally slender physically, clever and impossible to trust. They could show up late for their own wedding. They’re master storytellers and can prove opposing points with the same set of facts. Gemini women, warm at first sight, can be withdrawn and aloof under the surface.

Cancer: Males will be taciturn and acerbic, looking thick-skinned but quick to take offence. Females will be either overly flirty and touchy-feely or guarded and easily vulnerable. Often they have heart-shaped faces and an early tendency to gain weight. Both sexes can be touchy, possessive and clingy in close relationships. When a quiet-ish person opens up to me, that’s usually Cancer.

Leo: I’ll be honest. This is not a sign I have been very good at guessing. I just haven’t found any generally typical traits—except perhaps their hair.  Like real lions, many Leos seem to have a mane, or at least be hair-conscious.

Virgo: The biggest giveaway is an easy rapport with me and a sense that they find me or my personality interesting. At first meeting, they’re the ones splitting hairs about trivia. Both genders are ineffably easy on the eyes.

Libra: Bad Librans, male and female, are fiendish, but the best Libran males are principled, driven and admired by all who know them. Their loved ones accept their oddball traits—think Gandhi’s notorious penchant for having young women sleep by his side to test his restraint. Libran females are delightful, intelligent and experts at making you believe you thought of that clever idea first.

Scorpio: Females radiate warmth and generosity and will want to know everything without giving much away about themselves. Males are usually either quiet and intense or the high-energy life and soul of the party. Sarcasm is a dead giveaway. It’s a clue for me if I find myself wanting to meet them again.

Sagittarius: Secret hippies. That’s how I sniff them out. They believe everything belongs to everyone. They are lifelong nomads and lone wolves with a strong intuition and like to talk in riddles. Sagi men are charmers while Sagi women trust the wrong men too easily, stumbling from one bad choice to another. 

Capricorn: Deep self-interest, as with Aries, but often without the warmth, though they are socially gracious and charming. Capricorns usually become quite interested in what I do, resulting in many guru-chela conversations. Usually workaholics, unable to balance life and work.

Aquarius: A good-looking sign. Males always seem vaguely French, with pleasant faces and easygoing temperaments. I try to imagine what he would do if someone suddenly called his mother a slut—calmly discuss or punch first and discuss later? If the latter, I go with Aquarius. Females are usually gorgeous, pig-headed, and in my experience, insecure if they can’t control people and events in their life.

Pisces: Pisces females are generally compassionate and super-intuitive, but the warmth can turn cool on a dime. Both genders are excellent at looking the other way and pretending all is well when everything is crumbling. Incredibly kind and selfless. Males I know seem incapable of deep emotion, even when they’re being romantic with someone.

And with that, I’ll, umm, sign off.

You can reach C Y Gopinath at
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The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.

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