An Astrologer's Day

by R. K. Narayan

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Characterisation of An Astrologer's Day by R.K. Narayan?

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The title of the story "An Astrologer's Day" seems to imply that the astrologer's day was "special" and at the same time "ordinary." It was special because he ran into the man he thought he had killed some years before. It was ordinary because he went to work as usual and went through his usual routine until the ground nuts vendor turned out his light and there was nothing to do but go home. As usual, the astrologer brought his wife all the coins he had collected during his long day. Then he went to sleep in order to be rested for the long, hard day tomorrow. His life had been in extreme danger. His nemesis Guru Nayak only failed to recognize him because of the darkness, along with the fact that the astrologer looked different with his turban and his painted forehead and long beard. He was in danger of losing all the coins he had worked so hard to collect that day.

"Stop," said the other. "I don't want all that. Shall I succeed in my present search or not? Otherwise I will not let you go till you disgorge all your coins."

That would have been a serious loss. The astrologer and his wife and child are living from day to day on the coins he collects. Losing just one day's collection would mean going hungry. They must have experienced many hungry days. He doesn't have any options of choosing a new career. He has no trade. He is uneducated. He is probably illiterate, even though he pretends he can read the stars. He is a former peasant with a long line of peasant ancestors. Now he is thrown into a tough urban environment where everything depends on money.

The astrologer leads a precarious existence. He doesn't know from one day to the next what is going to happen to him. He has developed a stoical philosophical attitude. Whatever happens will happen. His really harrowing experience with Guru Nayak that day does not prevent him from putting it out of his mind and falling asleep. Tomorrow is another day.

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