- Different types of astrologer.
- Dress and appearance of a roadside astrologer.
- His methods of publicity and dealing with men.
- His almanac, charts, dice, etc.
- Sweet and winning manners.
- Expert in human psychology.
- He makes money on the ignorance and weakness of men.
There are astrologers everywhere in all parts of the globe, but the best of them looks quite ordinary when compared to Pakistani astrologer, Some sits on the road-side, in the shade of some huge tree; some wander on the road, or from house to house, offering to read men’s features, while some have regular rooms for consultation. I shall not discuss whether astrologers are humbugs or prophets. I am in love with the picturesque personality of the road-side astrologer.
As I was passing along the road, rather absent-mindedly, I heard somebody calling me, but I did not stop. In a minute, I felt a hand touching my shoulder and as I turned back to look, I saw an impressive looking, middle-aged man. He had a long beard some of the hair in which had turned grey. He had some papers and some books in his hand. His head was covered with a pink mass of the turban. As I looked back, he assured me that he meant no harm and that he would tell me all my future.
I only smiled at him and started to go but he seemed to be an excellent businessman. He walked a little with me, and fixed his catlike eyes on me. He said, “Babuji, I know why you are so sad and serious. I know, you love a girl!” I was silent, but my silence seemed to encourage him and he said, “She does not care for you, but I will show you how to win her.” When I told him that I was not in love at all, he was a bit perplexed, but it seemed he was not the man to be easily beaten. After clearing his throat, he said, of course, I know you are. also worrying about your examination.” Again I said that it was not true. Perhaps, he found it difficult to please me, and so, seeing a youth coming from the other direction he left me and walked away.
Next day when I was walking leisurely, I found that I had walked into a colony of road-side astrologers!
Before I had gone very far I met an astrologer. He pulled me by the arm toward the shade of a tree, and having nothing particular to do, I thought of enjoying the joke. We sat under the tree. Looking St the deep cut on my forehead, he said, gazing at the sky, that when I was a small boy I must have fallen down from great height. I pretended to be surprised at the correctness of the prediction. He said I was born in the bright half of a month and that I had six sicknesses, one of which would have proved fatal, but for the grace of God. Again I nobbed my head. Then he took out his almanac and some charts, and wrote down something on his slate. Then as if he had found out the truth after serious thought, he told me that I was not very happy into my life. Then he asked me to throw dice and he made some calculations and told me that my best time would come after three years, but the current three years were to be watched carefully.
As he was talking to me, I marked that his manners were sweet and wisome, though his learning was nil and knowledge next to nothing. He had a polished, sweet as honey tongue and he always addressed me respectfully as “Sir” or “Babuji.” During his conversation he did not forget to smile profusely or suddenly to turn ink-back with worries on my account. This clearly showed that whatever his other defects and draw-back, he was an expert in human psychology. His knowledge of human psychology told him that a young man could be worried either about the love of a girl or his examination. The middle-aged must be worried about his business. Working on these weakness of human nature, these Pakistani astrologers eke out their living. They take advantage of the ignorance and suppositiousness of the common men and give them rosy pictures of prosperous future.
In order to fool the astrologer and to have a little more fun, I looked serious and asked him what I should do to please my hostile stars. He was again busy making some calculations on his slate and referred to some almanac. I was idly watching him doing this when after careful survey I found it was the same astrologer whom I had met yesterday! Oh! the man fooled me! instead of his turban he had a cap on! I saw through the game, but kept quiet. Taking me to be the same old fool, he said that if I fasted on Saturdays and gave him two rupees for his labour in praying to the stars on my behalf. I would secure a job fetching Rs. 500 a month. He stretched out his hand to receive two rupees from me. I brushed his hand aside and getting up I said, “Don’t fool me. You are the same old fool I met yesterday. I don’t believe a word of what you say.” He fretted, and I walked away laughing loudly and merrily.