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This post was first featured in The Friday Magazine

So, Zayn Malik, it turns out, was right to leave One Direction. He’s set to have success in his solo career, starting as early as this year.

Oscar winner Julianne Moore, meanwhile, may be one of Hollywood’s most bankable assets but she should watch her health. If she doesn’t take care, she’ll soon come crashing down.

And Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to be at the peak of his powers and running the country in 2021 as well.

Who says so? The numerologist sitting in front of me.

Dr Anuradha Rai reckons she can see a person’s future just by knowing their names and their date of birth. Destiny is all down to the digits, apparently. Fortune is in the figures.

Right now, I’m in her Sharjah office. She’s bare of foot and I’m in my socks. No dirt is allowed in here for fear it may disturb the cosmic energy. It’s all incense and candles, beads and garlands. The doctor – pierced of nose, flowered of dress, and the holder of a PhD in Sanskrit from Banaras Hindu University – is frowning as she flicks through bound books and taps at a laptop.

‘Zayn?’ she says through a translator (she chatted to me in Hindi) after I inquire what will become of the former One Direction member. ‘He will be having good times from July 14 to April 7 next year. His numbers are pushing him forward. That’s why now he should do a solo album instead of being with the group.’

If he’s reading Friday (and I think he does): you’re welcome for the reassurance, son.

Numerology is a growing industry. That’s mainly why I’m here, in this office, without my shoes. To find out who’s driving this boom, why it’s being driven and – most importantly – what the numbers might mean for you. But it’s not only numerology that’s gaining fans. Feng shui, vastu and graphology are all hugely popular.

Experts at places like Miracles – a wellness centre in Tecom specialising in such arts – say interest has grown as people have become disillusioned with the complexities and confusion of 21st-century life. More of us, they say, want to find an older and truer understanding of the world around us.

While exact figures are impossible to come by, anecdotal evidence offered by consultants like Anuradha suggests numerology is prime among that boom. The increasing Indian expat population drives it but south east Asians, Europeans and Americans are also among its customers.

Those who go, do so in the hope it will give them a clearer picture of who they are and help to identify personal flaws. Some people, including Anuradha, even suggest that changing the spelling of your name – and hence its numerical value – could actually change your life.

If the Indian PM were to use a double ‘I’ in his last name, she notes at one point, ‘it would improve his well-being’.
It’s not just individuals seeking solace. Some companies – none willing to be named – apparently use numerology to screen potential employees. There have been cases of potential spouses checking marriage compatibility, as well as house buyers enquiring what number property they should purchase.

One woman, Anuradha tells me, even phoned to ask if she should visit her ill mother back home in Hyderabad. ‘She was worried about taking time off work,’ recalls the 40-year-old mother of one who has been giving readings since 2004.

‘I said, “Do not worry about this, go now, there is not long.” The old woman died by her side a day after she arrived.’

Pythagoras famously said ‘all is number’. The ancient Greek – best known for his work with triangles – believed that eventually all existence would be explained by patterns within arithmetic.

Numerologists today largely subscribe to something similar. They reckon there is a cosmological relationship between numbers and the energy of the universe; digits create vibrations that alter flows of karma.

This, the theory goes, means that the figures associated with an individual – their date of birth, for instance – impact on both their internal behaviour and the external events that define their lives. They can help to identify romantic partners who will 
be compatible and career paths that will bring fulfilment.

Essentially, the message is that nothing in the universe happens by accident. It’s always because of the numbers. And if the numbers are wrong you won’t ever fulfil your potential.

Which leaves two major questions: how do you work out your personal digits, and what do they supposedly tell you?

There are three, mainly: the name number (which informs on career, romance and health), the destiny number (character and flaws), and the primary number (deeper personality traits).

The table on the right shows how you can calculate these but, in brief, the first is worked out by adding up the letters of your full name when each has a given value; the second comes from totting up the numbers in your date of birth; and the last is 
a combination of both of those.

‘If you know and understand these,’ says Anuradha, who is originally from Varanasi, in India, but moved to the UAE in 2014, ‘you can take actions to make your life immeasurably better.’

Among her customers are, she tells me, politicians, businessmen and sports stars. 
In 2013, she says, she was visited by the Sri Lankan cricketer Lasith Malinga. He wanted to know how he should resolve an issue in his personal life – although ‘client confidentiality means I can’t say what’. She gave him advice. He later phoned to say everything she’d said had worked.

Another client was the Indian singer Kanika Kapoor, who called her at the start of last year. Within a few months her breakthrough song, Baby Doll, had become a hit. ‘I told her that her career will soon fly,’ says Anuradha.

She further names several Dubai businessmen who have been to her or other numerologists she knows. It’s an impressive list including CEOs, entrepreneurs and company bosses.

I, myself, am not convinced. I’m a sceptic. My reading, for the record, tells me I’m ambitious but easily confused, bold but indecisive. The good news is I should be a writer. The bad news is that me and my partner aren’t compatible. So that’s 
11 years wasted.

Anuradha, who became a numerologist after visiting an astrologer who told her it was her destiny, is adamant numerology is real. How else to explain the success of the Kolkata Knight Riders – the IPL cricket team – for example, she asks? They had been one of the least successful cricket teams in the Indian Premier League until, so the story goes, their owner, Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan, went to see a numerologist.

There he was told his name was incompatible with the Knight Riders’ black jerseys. So they changed them to purple. The next year, in 2012, they won the title. They doubled that in 2014.

‘This is the power of numerology,’ says Anuradha. ‘It should not be underestimated.’

How to calculate your numbers

Name number

Every letter in the alphabet has a corresponding number in numerology – though where exactly these values come from is not entirely clear. Nevertheless, they are below:

A I Q J Y – 1

B K R – 2

C G L S – 3

D M T – 4

H E N X – 5

U V W – 6

O Z – 7

P F – 8

To calculate your name number, add up the corresponding values for each letter in your full name until you arrive at a single digit.

So, Zayn Malik’s name number is 7+1+1+5+4+1+3+1+2 = 25. 2+5 = 7.

What your name number signifies:

1 – a leader who enjoys success; 2 – a teacher with healing qualities; 3 – an artist, idealistic; 4 – a builder of vision; 5 – an entertainer and networker; 6 – a homemaker, a nurturer; 
7 – a poet and a philosopher; 8 – a worker with revolutionary tendencies; 9 – a humanist, a lover.

Destiny number

Add the individual numbers for your date of birth up until you arrive at a single digit. So, Zayn’s date of birth is 12–01–1993, that’s 1+2+0+1+1+9+9+3 = 26. 2+6 = 8, his destiny number.

What your Destiny number signifies:

1 – enthusiastic, accomplished, opinionated; 2 – charming, cooperative, enjoys solitude; 3 – prone to stress, hardworking, adventurous; 4 – highly intelligent, radical, never satisfied; 5 – lucky, tolerant, easily bored; 6 – family orientated, imaginative, a worrier; 7 – lively, sociable, unpredictable; 8 – fame-hungry, ambitious, occasionally depressed; 
9 – broad-minded, incorruptible, a workaholic.

Primary number

Add up the value of your first name with your date of birth. For Zayn, this would be 7+1+1+5+1+2+0+1+1+9

+9+3 = 40. So, 4+0 = 4; 
So, his primary number is 4.

What your Primary number signifies:

1 – sunny, energetic, occasionally cruel; 
2 – romantic, sensitive, sometimes repressed; 
3 – dynamic, cheerful, an egotist; 4 – powerful, rebellious, often abrupt; 
5 – youthful, progressive, fickle-minded; 6 – refined, charismatic, beauty-obsessed; 7 – spiritual, mystic, prone to be vulnerable; 8 – skilful, savvy, often ruthless; 9 – assertive, benevolent, known to fly into rage.

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