A Date With An Astrologer Dad got worried stiff. I was to appear for final degree exams in a few days and am down with excruciating pain in my left ear. He & I were sitting on the mahogany bench for our turn. Dad was holding a small folded yellow bag in which he had carried a diary. As I heard the tick-tick & the “whir” before striking nine times from the large wall clock, we were ushered in by the ENT surgeon. He examined my left year with special tools and equipment that were glistening. The bright reflected light partially fell on my eyes blinding me momentarily. Now, young Surgeon softly spoke & advised that the problem is in the inner ear and needs mild surgery and left unattended - might deteriorate and diminish capacity to hear. Dad was in a quandary as surgeon opined that immediate surgery is need of the hour. When asked, doctor said it would cost around ₹400. Dad looked at me - my left palm holding on and stretching the ear lobe. He told Doc that he needs to talk to mom and would be back by evening. He took me to a nearby hotel. We each had one plate Idli & unlimited small onion sambar. While sipping sambar, I looked at dad’s eyes. They were sad a while ago. Now it look bright. He might have got some idea. We shared strong coffee served in ss tumbler. He took me to the end of a cul-de-sac. A small wooden name plate hung on the side of entrance door to a small space with make shift roof. I saw the name board In white-paint-written words Kunjidabadam - Astrologer; with three to four micron thick dirt over it. From an yellow bag, dad fished out the overused Hoe & Co diary and located the particular page where horoscope of mine - written with stout red-fountain pen. He showed it to Kunjidabadam . The astrologer looked at it for a while and then said “ if this horoscope is correctly made, then there must be mustard size mole on left thigh. Let him check right away and confirm”. I was in trousers that was with folded up slightly at its bottom. I could loosen the pant unbuttoning from its eye-hole, just enough so that my left thigh could be seen. Voilà - mustard size mole on the inner aspect of left thigh could be clearly seen. Then Astrologer got busy with his dog-eared almanac for ten to twelve minutes. Then he asked dad - what questions in his mind. Dad said about education, employment, marriage and health. He once again looked at the horoscope. In three to four minutes, he was ready with answers. “He would complete education in a year and will get away from parents as government job would take him to North. He will have robust health and happy family life”. Dad asked him - a bolt from blue - “would he suffer an injury to ear or head or any part of his body”. Getting slightly irked but rising with a smiling face from his wooden chair, gently patting on my back , Kunjidabadam responded, “This young Man would do wonders to parents & enjoy robust health & happy family life”. Dad offered him some money but for reasons unknown he did not accept it. Then we felt somewhat refreshed. My ear pain seemed to have greatly diminished after astrologer’s above prophesy. Dad & I walked to a general physician at the other end of the cul-de-sac. There were three four in waiting. But to our utter surprise, the doctor finished with them quickly and we were called in. Dad said the problem. This doctor seemed to be in his sixties examined my painful ear visually and then with a torch. Finishing with inspection, this old doc said looking at me, “It is just fungus. I shall prescribe drops. Have two drops at a time thrice a day. You would be alright. Right now I shall have you the drops here”. He did it. Dad paid his fees ₹5. The pain vastly diminished in a space of three hours and completely by night. I remember to have read Hitler Was crazy about astrologers. Once he asked a renowned astrologer as to when he would expire. With this ticklish dharmasankad question, the astrologer felt he was being cornered. But being smart, for a while he pretended to do lot of complex calculations and then responded carefully “Sir, according to my calculations based on your date of birth, you might expire on a day when Jews celebrate one of their religious holidays”. Herr Hitler turned ferocious, reacted to this statement loudly and shouted back “Look. Jews have too many religious holidays. Don’t try to hide. Tell me specific date. Otherwise... “ The astrologer unperturbed replied, “Sir, the day you expire - that day would be their religious holiday”.