Orange Men Like The Astrologer

“Duuude wake up”.

“Sorry…”

“Third time man. Like what the hell?”

“Don’t take it the wrong way. It’s been a weird day.”

“As in?”

“Umm… it feels surreal. And the story kinda makes me seem like an idiot.”

“That can’t be too hard”

“You were in ICSE right? Remember that short story the astrologer’s tale? R.K Lakshman.”

“Yeah.”

“Well you know the astrologer? Like how he’s smart and all and can see throw people? He can guess all people problems and he’s so good that he’s almost not a fraud.”

“Do you spend all your time reminiscing about your textbooks?”

“No… Ugh  I can’t think of a comeback now just let me tell you the story-“

“K”

“-I. Okay so this morning I was hanging around the back of my house, doing something on my laptop probably.”

“So intense man”

“I’d left the front door open, like it wasn’t fully open but you could see in. You’d know people were inside. I was the only person there but you’d know. I mean people don’t keep their door open and go out. So there was this priest guy outside. Like the proper orange-

“Saffron”

“- getup. He seemed unreal. When they come asking you for donations at your house they don’t look like priests. But this guy had ash on his head and all. Normally I’d just have sent him away but he didn’t start by asking me for donations or anything. Like he just stood there and started saying nice things.”

“Nice things?”

“Yeah like he was blessing stuff and people. Like I don’t believe in all that but I couldn’t just shut the door on him. I had no idea what he wanted. I actually though he was just going to stand there and be nice, for a second. I was like a little inside the door. He gave me this book and asked me to read it.”

“Wait, you can’t speak anything other than English.”

“Yeah I told him. But I understood a little Kannada. He asked me to forward a bit. I realised that I was now outside the door with his book and couldn’t just shut the door on his face anymore. Smart isn’t it?’’

“He seems like a good sales man.”

“Yeah just like the story remember?’’ Okay so he kept praising me, I couldn’t get a word in. Not that I wanted to. I don’t know Kannada and I didn’t want to look like an idiot. Don’t smile like that”

“Like what?”

“Never mind. Then he asks me to write a number and all. He said my mother had told him to perform something in my name and all.”

“Did you ask him for her name?”

“No but the way he said it made it seem like he knew that she was a single parent. I wrote  and only then realized the amount was supposed to be a donation. I wrote a random number instead of the specific amount written on the sheet. Like you had to give 101, 505, only certain numbers. I changed 101 to 500 when he asked for more-“

“Wait you actually paid him?!”

“I couldn’t just close the door on him. And no one lives without some cash at home, plus I had his book in my hand. So I gave him a 100 but he kept asking for more. See this is where he was like the astrologer in the story. He said didn’t you have a burn your arm? Or something like that, I was shocked he noticed ,he was so observant. It was a glass cut but a fire a good guess. It looks like that. See? So then I realized how carefully he was watching me.”

“You’re a moron for paying him.”

“No you don’t get it. It might not sound that impressive but the way he watched me and his friend who also entered the gate started trying to convince me. It was impressive. They asked about the money in my wallet, the money my mom had stored away. I didn’t have either but the way they said it was so sure. Like you would not doubt the fact that they knew everything about you. Then when I told him I had no cash, he asked for my old mobile phone. Then he asked for the emergency light that was almost impossible to see from his angle. Like anyone less intelligent or poor would believe everything he said. You could see they were sharp and cunning.”

“Why do you say less intelligent? It’s not like you didn’t give them any money yourself.”

“You have a point.”

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