The story begins with a description of the astrologer, who is the central character in the story. In minute detail, his appearance, his clothes, and all the materials he uses to ply his trade are described. The astrologer, who is not given a name, comes across as a type, one of the many street vendors in India, who sit under the shade of a tree or a temporary shed and sell anything from vegetables to newspapers. This astrologer belongs to the same category although, given the nature of his trade, there is a need to dress and behave in a particular manner. He does that effectively by giving the impression of a holy man whose special powers enable him to function as an astrologer.
Almost casually, the surroundings of the astrologer begin to take shape. While there are no clear references to a particular city, it is likely, since Narayan consistently uses the fictional city of Malgudi, that this story too takes place in Malgudi. In any event, one gets the impression of a somewhat backward city which still retains a measure of its rural character. The reference to "municipal lighting" is one of the strategies employed by the author to suggest a sense of the place. In... » Complete An Astrologer's Day Summary