List descriptive details that help you visualize the marketplace in which the astrologer conducts his business, in the story "An Astrologer's Day"

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The marketplace and its vendors is described in fairly vivid detail in "An Astrologer's Day" by R. K. Narayan. India is often described by first time visitors as a place of many colors, smells and textures, especially the outdoor markets where vendors of food, crafts and clothing sell their wares. The astrologer wears a "saffron-colored turban" wrapped around his head and "this color scheme never failed." He says customers are drawn to him "as bees are attracted to cosmos or dahlia stalks." Before we even see the marketplace we see that it will be a place of visual splendor, based upon the description of the astrologer's preparations.

The place itself is a bustle of activity. The astrologer's location in the market is "under the boughs of a spreading tamarind tree." One visual detail that seems important and which makes it possible to imagine how it looks is the fact there there is no municipal lighting, so vendors must provide their own lights. So the market place is not consistently lit and this adds to its unique visual appeal:

One or two had hissing gaslights, some had naked flares
struck on poles, some were lit up by old cycle lamps, and one or two, like the astrologer's, managed without lights of their own. It was a bewildering criss-cross of light
rays and moving shadows.

This passage is followed by a description of the astrologer's way of doing business: it is discovered he knows almost nothing about astrology, and simply speaks as the mood takes him, so the random quality of light and shadow seems appropriate here.



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