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In the story "An Astrologer's Day," the main character is a man who works as an astrologer. He claims to be authentic. He has all the equipment that an astrologer would use. He begins his work at midday at a public place. He works next to vendors of all sorts:
Punctually at midday he opened his bag and spread out his professional equipment, which consisted of a dozen cowrie shells, a square piece of cloth with obscure mystic charts on it, a notebook, and a bundle of palmyra writing.
No doubt, the astrologer looks the part. He acts the part of an astrologer. While he may appear to be genuine, he has other means of determining his clients' fortunes. He allows his clients to talk for ten minutes. By this time, he has enough information to appear as an authentic astrologer:
He had a working analysis of mankind’s troubles: marriage, money, and the tangles of human ties. Long practice had sharpened his perception. Within five minutes he understood what was wrong. He charged three paise8 per question, never opened his mouth till the other had spoken for at least ten minutes, which provided him enough stuff for a dozen answers and advices.
The astrologer works on guesswork. He is shrewd and knows what people want to hear. He had not intended to be an astrologer. He did not really know what was going to happen in the future:
He knew no more of what was going to happen to others than he knew what was going to happen to himself next minute. He was as much a stranger to the stars as were his innocent customers. Yet he said things which pleased and astonished everyone: that was more a matter of study, practice, and shrewd guesswork.
As the evening approached, the astrologer sees a man who could be a potential client. He presses that man to sit down and chat. The man is not interested at first. The astrologer insists that he sit down for his fortune to be told. When the stranger lights a cheroot, the astrologer recognizes the man as Guru Nayak. The stranger is a man the astrologer thought he had killed years ago. The astrologer tries to back out of the agreement, but the stranger will not hear of it. The stranger insists that the astrologer answer his questions. The astrologer begins telling Guru Nayak what he wants to hear. He tells him that the man who cut him with a knife is dead. There is no need to seek him any longer. He died by the death of a lorry crushing the life from him. Guru Nayak is regretful that the man who stabbed him has escaped his hands:
"He has escaped my hands. I hope at least he died as he deserved." "Yes," said the astrologer. "He was crushed under a lorry." The other looked gratified to hear it.
Then Guru Nayak paid the astrologer and went home. The astrologer is relieved to know he has not killed the man he thought he had killed. He shares the good news with his wife. A burden is taken from him. The astrologer is relieved to know that he has not murdered Guru Nayak:
"Time to sleep." he said, yawning, and stretched himself on the pyol.
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