An astrologers day plot summary
Jeremias Rivera. Steve Anthony Cortez Principe. Donnabelle Varona. Pamphlets Commodification Media Market Regulation. Fabien Larroque. Prince Joseph Hortilano. Rahul Kumar Sen. More From sudhanshu. DrKapil Jain. Narinder Kaul. Popular in Culture. Guilherme Felippe. Marilu Velazquez Martinez. Danny Garcia. Robert Oconer Aguilar. Joseph Cloward. Sijie Wang-Belcher. Brod Lenaming. Jorge El Curioso. Niz Ismail. Krishnamohan Vaddadi. We wanted to improve this temple. I sat down on the temple step. I thought you'd be pleased to know these things," he said, watching me.
For this we went to the court and had the priest dismissed and fined. He cannot come near the temple now. We spent one thousand rupees in lawyer fees alone ; we were prepared to spend all our fortune if only to see that priest removed. It went up to Malgudi court we got a vakil from Madras. Morning till night he was drinking, and he performed all the puja in that condition. We did not know what to do with him. We just tolerated him, hoping that some day the goddess would teach him a lesson.
We did not like to be too harsh, since he was a poor fellow, and he went about his duties quietly.
But when we added these two dwarapalakas at the doorway he got a queer notion in his head. He used to say that the two doorkeepers constantly harried him by staring at him wherever he went. He said that their look pricked him in the neck. This went on for months. In course of time he began to shudder whenever he had to pass these doorkeepers. It was an acute moment of suspense for him when he had to cross that pair and get into the sanctum. Gradually he complained that if he ever took his eyes off these figures they butted him from behind, kicked him, and pulled his hair, and so forth.
He was afraid to look anywhere else and walked on cautiously with his eyes on the images. But if he had his eyes on one, the other knocked him from behind. He showed us bruises and scratches sometimes. We declared we might treat his complaints seriously if he ever went into the shrine without a drop of drink in him.
In course of time he started to seek his own remedy. He carried a small mallet with him, and whenever he got a knock he returned the blow ; it fell on a nose today, on an arm tomorrow, and on an ear another day. We didn't notice his handiwork for months. Judging from the mallet blows, the image on the left side seems to have been the greater offender. Next morning he declared he saw it walk off and plunge into the river. He must have felt that this would serve as a lesson to the other image if it should be thinking of any trick.
But the other image never got its chance. For we dragged the priest before a law court and had him sent away. It took time for me to recover. I asked : " Didn't you have to pick up the image from the water and show it to the judge? I did not know till this moment where exactly it could be found. The doctor had just returned for a short stay. I told him everything. He was furious. I didn't know what to say.
I mumbled : "I am so sorry, sir.
We stood frowning at the roaring fire for a moment, and then he asked, pointing at the image : " And what will you do with it? After all, you picked it up from the water that piece of nonsense! I had never seen him in such a rage before. I wrapped the image in a piece of brown paper, carried it to the seashore, and flung it far into the sea. I hope it is still rolling about at the bottom of the Bay of Bengal.
I only hope it won't get into some large fish and come back to the study table! Later a brief message appeared in all the important papers : " The manuscript on which Doctor and assistant were engaged has been destroyed, and the work will be suspended. He had spotty eyes and undistinguished carriage and needless pugnacity.
Before he was two years old he had earned the scars of a hundred fights on his body. When he needed rest on hot afternoons he lay curled up under the culvert at the eastern gate of the market. In the evenings he set out on his daily rounds, loafed in the surrounding streets and lanes, engaged himself in skirmishes, picked up edibles on the roadside, and was back at the market gate by nightfall. This life went on for three years. And then occurred a change in his life. A beggar, blind of both eyes, appeared at the market gate. An old woman led him up there early in the morning, seated him at the gate, and came up again at midday with some food, gathered his coins, and took him home at night.
The dog was sleeping near by. He was stirred by the smell of food. He got up, came out of his shelter, and stood before the blind man, wagging his tail and gazing expectantly at the bowl, as he was eating his sparse meal. The blind man swept his arms about and asked : " Who is there? Come with me " He threw a handful of food which the dog ate gratefully. It was perhaps an auspicious moment for starting a friendship.
In course of time observing him, the dog understood that the passers-by must give a coin, and whoever went away without dropping a coin was chased by the dog ; he tugged the edge of their clothes by his teeth and pulled them back to the old man at the gate and let go only after something was dropped in his bowl.
Among those who frequented this place was a village urchin, who had the mischief of a devil in him. He liked to tease the blind man by calling him names and by trying to pick up the coins in his bowl. The blind man helplessly shouted and cried and whirled his staff. On Thursdays this boy appeared at the gate, carrying on his head a basket loaded with cucumber or plantain. Every Thursday afternoon it was a crisis in the blind man's life.
A seller of bright coloured but doubtful perfumes with his wares mounted on a wheeled platform, a man who spread out cheap story-books on a gunny sack, another man who carried coloured ribbons on an elaborate frame these were the people who usually gathered under the same arch, On a Thursday when the young man appeared at the Eastern gate one of them remarked, " Blind fellow!
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Here comes your scourge " "Oh, God, is this Thursday? He swept his arms about and called : " Dog, dog, come here, where are you? Still pretending you have no eyes. If you are really blind, you should not know this either " He stopped, his hand moving towards the bowl. The dog sprang on him and snapped his jaws on wrist.
The boy extricated his hand and ran for his life. The dog bounded up behind him and chased him out of the market. One evening at the usual time the old woman failed to turn up, and the blind man waited at the gate, worrying as the evening grew into night. As he sat fretting there, a neighbour came up and said : " Sami, don't wait for the old woman. She will not come again. She died this afternoon " The blind man lost the only home he had, and the only person who cared for him in this world. The ribbon-vendor suggested : " Here, take this white tape " He held a length of the white cord which he had been selling " I will give this to you free of cost.
Tie it to the dog and let him lead you about if he is really so fond of you " Life for the dog took a new turn now. He came to take the place of the old woman. He lost his freedom completely. His world came to be circumscribed by the limits of the white cord which the ribbon-vendor had spared.
He had to forget wholesale all his old life all his old haunts. He simply had to stay on for ever at the end of that string. He ceased to take notice of other dogs, even if they came up and growled at his side. He lost his own orbit of move- ment and contact with his fellow-creatures.
To the extent of this loss his master gained. He moved about as he had never moved in his life. All day he was on his legs, led by the dog. With the staff in one hand and the dog-lead in the other he moved out of his home a corner in a choultry veranda a few yards off the market : he had moved in there after the old woman's death. He started out early in the day. He found that he could treble his income by moving about instead of staying in one place.
He moved down the choultry street, and wherever he heard people's voices he stopped and held out his hands for alms. Shops, schools, hospitals, hotels he left nothing out. He gave a tug when he wanted the dog to stop, and shouted like a bullock-driver when he wanted him to move on. The dog protected his feet from going into pits, or stumping against steps or stones, and took him up inch by inch on safe ground and steps.
For this sight people gave coins and helped him. Children gathered round him and gave him things to eat. A dog is essentially an active creature who punctuates his hectic rounds with well-defined periods of rest. But now this dog henceforth to be known as Tiger had lost all rest. He had rest only when the old man sat down somewhere. At night the old man slept with the cord turned around his finger. Sometimes his legs refused to move. But if he slowed down even slightly his master goaded him on fiercely with his staff.
The dog whined and groaned under this thrust. Don't I give you your food? You want to loaf, do you? The dog lumbered up and down and round and round the market-place on slow steps, tied down to the blind tyrant. Long after the traffic at the market ceased, you could hear the night stabbed by the far-off wail of the tired dog. It lost its original appearance. As months rolled on, bones stuck up at his haunches and ribs were reliefed through his fading coat.
The ribbon-seller, the novel-vendor and the perfumer observed it one evening, when business was slack, and held a conference among themselves : "It rends my heart to see that poor dog slaving. Can't we do something? He has become a very devil for money " At this point the perfumer's eyes caught the scissors dangling from the ribbon-rack.
The blind man was passing in front of the Eastern gate. The dog was straining the lead. There was a piece of bone lying on the way and the dog was straining to pick it up. The lead became taut and hurt the blind man's hand, and he tugged the string and kicked till the dog howled. It howled, but could not pass the bone lightly ; it tried to make another dash for it.
The blind man was heaping curses on it. The dog bounced off and picked up the bone. The blind man stopped dead where he stood, with the other half of the string dangling in his hand. Where are you? The perfumer moved away quietly, muttering : " You heartless devil! You will never get at him again! He has his freedom! He nosed about the ditches happily, hurled himself on other dogs, and ran round and round the fountain in the market-square barking, his eyes sparkling with joy.
He returned to his favourite haunts and hung about the butcher's shop, tea-stall, and the bakery. The ribbon-vendor and his two friends stood at the market gate and enjoyed the sight immensely as the blind man struggled to find his way about. He stood rooted to the spot waving his stick ; he felt as if he were hanging in mid-air. He was wailing.
Where is my dog? Won't someone give him back to me? I will murder it when I get at it again! However, the old man struggled through and with the help of someone found his way back to his corner in the choultry veranda and sank down on his gunnysack bed, half faint with the strain of his journey. He was not seen for ten days, fifteen days and twenty days. Nor was the dog seen anywhere. They commented among themselves. They saw him again coming up the pavement led by the dog. He ran up and said : " Where have you been all these days? I should have died in a day or two, confined to my corner, no food, not an anna to earn imprisoned in my corner.
I should have perished if it continued for another day But this thing returned " " When? At midnight as I slept in bed, he came and licked my face. I felt like murdering him. I gave him a blow which he will never forget again," said the blind man. He loafed as long as he could pick up some rubbish to eat on the road, but real hunger has driven him back to jne, but he will not leave me again. I have got this " and he shook the lead : it was a steel chain this time. Once again there was the dead, despairing look in the dog's eyes. He tugged the chain, poked with the stick, and the dog moved away on slow steps.
They stood listening to the tap-tap going away. Trolleys and barrows piled with trunks and beds rattled their way through the bustle. Fruit-sellers and beedi-and-betel sellers cried themselves hoarse. Latecomers pushed, shouted and perspired. The engine added to the general noise with the low monotonous hum of its boiler ; the first bell rang, the guard looked at his watch.
Rajam Iyer arrived on the platform at a terrific pace, with a small roll of bedding under one arm and an absurd yellow trunk under the other. He ran to the first third-class compartment that caught his eye, peered in and, since the door could not be opened on account of the congestion inside, flung himself in through the window.
Fifteen minutes later Madras flashed past the train in window-framed patches of sun-scorched roofs and fields. At the next halt, Mandhakam, most of the passengers got down. The compartment built to " seat 8 passengers ; 4 British Troops, or 6 Indian Troops," now carried only nine. Rajam Iyer found a seat and made himself comfortable opposite a sallow, meek passenger, who suddenly removed his coat, folded it and placed it under his head and lay down, shrinking himself to the area he had occupied while he was sitting.
Rajam Iyer threw at him an indulgent, compassionate look. He then fumbled for his glasses and pulled out of his pocket a small book, which set forth in clear Tamil the significance of the obscure Sandhi rites that every Brahmin worth the name performs thrice daily. He was startled out of this pleasant languor by a series of growls coming from a passenger who had got in at Katpadi.
The newcomer, looking for a seat, had been irritated by the spectacle of the meek passenger asleep and had enforced the law of the Third-class.
An Astrologer's Day
He then encroached on most of the meek passenger's legitimate space and began to deliver home-truths which passed by easy stages from im- pudence to impertinence and finally to ribaldry. Rajam Iyer peered over his spectacles. There was a dangerous look in his eyes. He tried to return to the book, but could not. The bully's speech was gathering momentum. A pause. Rajam Iyer felt encouraged and drove home his moral : "Just try and be more courteous, it is your duty. Learn, sir, that your days are over. Don't think you can bully us as you have been bullying us all these years.
Oh, Brahmin, Brahmin. I should like to see you trying a bit of bossing on us. The newcomer went on with no obvious relevance : " The cost of mutton has gone up out of all proportion. It is nearly double what it used to be. I remember the days quite well. It is nearly twelve annas now. Ask them what it is, and they will tell you that it is plantain.
Plantain that has life, I suppose! I once tickled a fellow under the arm and out came the biggest fish in the market. Hey, Brahmin," he said, turning to Rajam Iyer, " what did you have for your meal this morning? I had rice, ghee, curds, brinjal soup, fried beans. Didn't I see you this morning going home from the market with a banana, a water banana, wrapped up in a towel, under your arm?
Possibly it was somebody very much like you. Possibly I mistook the person. My wife prepares excellent soup with fish. You won't be able to find the difference between dholl soup and fish soup. Hundreds of Brahmins have smacked their lips over the dholl soup prepared in my house. I am a leper if there is a lie in anything I say. You call me a leper? I call you a rabid leper. And you will see more of them yet in your miserable life, if you don't get beaten to death like the street mongrel you are," said Rajam Iyer in great passion. There they stood facing each other on the floor of the compartment.
Rajam Iyer was seized by a sense of inferiority. The newcomer stood nine clean inches over him. He began to feel ridiculous, short and fat, wearing a loose dhot and a green coat, while the newcomer towered above him in his grease-spotted khaki suit. Out of the corner of his eye he noted that the other passengers were waiting eagerly to see how the issue would be settled and were not in the least disposed to intervene. Rajam Iyer removed his coat and rolled up his sleeves.
He rubbed his hands and commanded suddenly " Stand still! He stood for a second baffled. Rajam Iyer gave him no time to think. With great force he swung his right arm and brought it near the other's cheek, but stopped it short without hitting him. What will you do? I will slap your right cheek and at the same time tug your left ear and your mouth, which is now under your nose, will suddenly find itself under your left ear, and, what is more, stay there. I assure you, you won't feel any pain. Don't believe it," said Rajam Iyer carelessly. Have you heard of a thing called ju-jitsu?
Well, this is a simple trick in ju-jitsu perhaps known to half a dozen persons in the whole of South India. He drew a line on the newcomer's face between his left ear and mouth, muttering " I must admit you have a tolerably good face and round figure. But imagine yourself going about the streets with your mouth under your left ear. Rajam Iyer continued : " I felt it my duty to explain the whole thing to you beforehand.
I am not as hot headed as you are. I have some consideration for your wife and children. It will take some time for the kids to recognize papa when he returns home with his mouth under. How many children have you? She will have to pour it in. You may try even European doctors. I will jerk your left ear, and your mouth. Rajam decided to leave the compartment at Jalarpet. But the moment the train stopped at Jalarpet station, the newcomer grabbed his bag and jumped out. He moved away at a furious pace and almost knocked down a coconut-seller and a person carrying a tray- load of coloured toys.
An Astrologer's Day
Rajam Iyer felt it would not be necessary for him to get out now. He leaned through the window and cried, " Look here! The meek passenger still sat shrunk in a corner of the seat. Rajam Iyer looked over his spectacles and said : " Lie down if you like. Rajam Iyer added, " Did you hear that bully say that his ticket was for Jalarpet? I saw him get into it just as the train started. The watchman stood on the tank bund and took a final survey. All the people who had come for evening walks had returned to their homes.
Not a soul anywhere except that obstinate angler, at the northern end, who sat with his feet in water, sadly gazing on his rod. It was no use bothering about him : he would sit there till midnight, hoping for a catch. The Taluk office gong struck nine.
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The watchman was satisfied that no trespassing cattle had sneaked in through the wire fencing. As he turned to go, he saw, about a hundred yards away, a shadowy figure moving down the narrow stone steps that led to the water's edge. He thought for a second that it might be a ghost. He dismissed the idea, and went up to investigate. If it was anyone come to bathe at this hour.
From the top step he observed that it was a woman's form. She stooped over the last step and placed something on it possibly a letter. She then stepped into knee-deep water, and stood there, her hands pressed together in prayer. Unmistakable signs always to be followed by the police and gruesome details, bringing the very worst possible reputation to a tank. He shouted, " Gome out, there, come out of ik" The form looked up from the water. You'll catch a cold, come up whoever you are. He hurriedly lit his lamp, and turned its wick, till it burnt brightly, and held it up, mur- muring : " I don't like this.
Why is everyone coming to the same tank? If you want to be dead, throw yourself under an engine," he said. The light fell upon the other's face. It was a young girl's, wet with tears. He felt a sudden pity.
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He said, " Sit down, sit down and rest. Don't sit so near the water. He sat down on the last step between her and the water, placed the lantern on the step, took out a piece of tobacco and put it in his mouth. She buried her face in her hands, and began to sob. He felt troubled and asked : " Why don't you rise and go home, lady?
Surely, you didn't grow up with- out a home all these years! She has been looking after me ever since my father died a few years ago. She has just a little money on hand left by my father, and she spends it on us. She is good to you. Who am I? I won't live on anybody's charity. I want to study and become a doctor and earn my livelihood. I don't want to marry. I often catch my mother talking far into the night to her eldest son, worrying about my future, about my marriage.
I know they cannot afford to keep me in college very long now ; it costs about twenty rupees a month. It was his month's salary. That would have saved me. But this evening they announced ; others have got it, not I. My name is not there " and she broke down again. The watchman looked at her in surprise. He comprehended very little of all this situation.
An Astrologer’s Day by R.K. Narayan
She added : " And when they come to know of this, they will try to arrange my marriage. I want to study. Seeing her suffer, he found his own sorrows in life came to his mind ; how in those far-off times, in his little village home an epidemic of cholera laid out his father and mother and brothers on the same day, and he was the sole survivor ; how he was turned out of his ancestral home through the trickery of his father's kinsmen, and he wandered as an orphan, suffering indescribable hunger and privation.
My wife bore me eight children. Only one daughter lives now, and none of the others saw the eleventh year , ,. The Taluk office gong struck again. She replied : " I have no home. You should not be obstinate " " You don't know my trouble," she said. He picked up his lantern and staff and got up. He put her letter down where he found it. No one can blame me. The moment he came back to duty next morning, he hurried down the stone steps. The letter lay where he had dropped it on the previous night.
He picked it up and gazed on it, helplessly, wishing that it could tell him about the fate of the girl after he had left her. He tore it up and flung it on the water. As he watched the bits float off on ripples, he blamed himself for leaving her and going away on the previous night. He could never look at the blue expanse of water again with an easy mind. Even many months later he could not be certain that the remains of a body would not come up all of a sudden.
Years later, one evening as he stood on the bund and took a final survey before going home, he saw a car draw up on the road below. A man, a woman, and three children emerged from the car and climbed the bund. When they approached, the watchman felt a start at his heart ; the figure and face of the woman seemed familiar to him.
Though altered by years, and ornaments, and dress, he thought that he had now recognized the face he had once seen by the lantern light. He felt excited at this discovery. He had numerous questions to ask. He brought together his palms and saluted her respectfully. He expected she would stop and speak to him. He stood staring after her for a moment, baffled. The men who had laid it low were the heroes of the day. They were garlanded with chrysanthemum flowers and seated on the arch of the highest bullock cart and were paraded in the streets, immediately followed by another bullock-drawn open cart, on which their trophy lay with glazed eyes overflowing the cart on every side, his tail trailing the dust.
The village suspended all the normal activity for the day : men, women, and children thronged the highways, pressing on with the procession, excitedly talking about the tiger. The tiger had held a reign of terror for nearly five years, in the villages that girt Mempi forests. We watched fascinated this scene, drifting along with the crowd till the Talkative Man patted us from behind and cried : " Lost in wonder! If youVe had your eyefull of that carcass, come aside and listen to me. You might wonder what I was doing in that desolate corner of the Earth. I'll tell you. You remember I've often spoken to you about my work as agent of a soil fertilizer company.
Twenty-five days in the month, I had to be on the road, visiting nooks and corners of the country and popularizing the stuff. One such journey brought me on to the village Koppal. It was not really a ' village ' but just a clearing with about forty houses and two streets, hemmed in by the jungle on all sides. The place was dingy and depressing. Why our company should have sought to reach a place like this for their stuff, I can't understand. They would not have known of its existence but for the fact that it was on the railway. Yes, actually on the railway, some obscure branch-line passed through this village, though most trains did not stop there.
Its centre of civilization was its railway station presided over by a porter in blue, and an old station-master, a wizened man wearing a green turban, and with red and green flags always tucked under his arms. It had one or two windows through which the station-master issued tickets, and spoke to those occasional passengers who turned up in this wilderness.
A convolvulus creeper was trained over its entrance : no better use could be found for an ex-carriage. The station-master, with the flags under his arm, became excited on seeing me. He had seen so few travellers arriving that it gave him no end of pleasure to see a new face. He appointed himself my host immediately, and took me into the ex-compartment and seated me on a stool. He said : ' Excuse me. He locked up the station, and took me to his home a very tiny stone building consisting of just one room, a kitchen, and a backyard. The station-master lived here with his wife and seven children.
He fed me. I changed. He sent the porter along with me to the village, which was nearly a mile off in the interior. I gathered about me the peasants of those forty houses and lectured to them from the pyol of the headman's house. They listened to me patiently, received the samples and my elaborate directions for their use, and went away to their respective occupations, with cynical comments among themselves regarding my ideas of manuring. I packed up and started back for the station-master's house at dusk, my throat smarting and my own words ringing in my ears.
Though a couple of trains were now passing, the only stopping train would be at 5. After dinner at the station-master's house, I felt the time had come for me to leave : it would be indelicate to stay on, when the entire family was waiting to spread their beds in the hall. I said I would sleep on the platform till my train arrived. Saved Essays. Topics in Paper. Example Essays. Conflicts in An Astrologers Day.
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