Please provide a summary of the short story of "An Astrologer's Day" by R.K Narayan.

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story begins with a description of the place and environment in which the astrologer meets his clients and does his work. He begins his work every day at midday in a public place under a large tree that is close to a public park in his town.

The astrologer sets up his equipment in a small place in India that is generally full of people. People are at the market place seeking to buy nuts, sweetmeats, and cloth, among other things. The lighting is poorly lit in the evening. The astrologer has no light of his own so he must depend on the light of the vendors around him.

In this short story, the astrologer sets out to do his day's work. Although he does not claim to be a real astrologer by birth, he sets up his equipment in the market place. He tells the fortunes of his clients as they pass by. First, he allows his customers to talk for ten minutes. Then he has enough information to go by.

When the day is done and nightfall is upon him, he begins putting away his equipment. Then, there in front of him is a man. The astrologer takes him for a possible client. He encourages the man to sit down. The man is not interested. He makes some rude comments to the astrologer, as if to say the astrologer does not know what he is doing.

When the man lights a cheroot, the astrologer can see his face from the lighted match. He recognizes the man as Guru Nayak, a man that the astrologer had left for dead many years ago in a far way place.

The astrologer backs out of telling Guru's fortune, but Guru will not go away. He exclaims that that the astrologer made a deal and must keep it.

The astrologer is afraid Guru will recognize him but proceeds to tell him some things about his past that are accurate. The astrologer tells how Guru was stabbed with a knife and thrown in a well and left for dead.

Then Guru begins believing the astrologer and demands to know where his attacker is. The astrologer assures him the his attacker was killed four months ago when a lorry rolled on him. Relieved to hear this news, Guru Nayak throws some coins at the astrologer and goes on about his way.

Reaching home at midnight, the astrologer is weary from his stressful night. His wife meets him at the door. She is ready for an explanation as to why he is so late in getting home.

Seeing the money her husband has made, she is happy for her child. She intends to buy her some sweets. The astrologer shares his burden with his wife, on how he had the blood of Guru on his hands until tonight. Learning that he is alive and well leaves the astrologer with a relieved mind, heart, and soul.