This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.

                                   WANNA  BE   AN   ASTROLOGER?


            I felt a jolt when Bob threw this question at me?  Bob is my morning-walk-companion.    "Don't be silly man, I know  nothing about the planets and stars. And you want me……?


            "You don't have to, Pal…., "  he interjected cutting in. " Nor do the regular and famous Astrologers know anything about them for that  matter.  But they are thriving. See what I mean?"


            "Don't tell me they are fakes?"


            "I wouldn't  say  ‘fakes' but they are clever tricksters." 


            "And yet, every newspaper and magazine the world over publish a column known as  ‘what the stars foretell or some such title.   Are they all wrong or what?" " I persisted.


            "Jay, what I am telling you is a result of my extensive research over the past few months?"


              Surprised I asked, "You did  some research on this darned thing , eh?  You know Bob, I don't read this weekly concoction at all. I don't believe a thing what any astrologer says about what will happen to me during the ensuing week. There are better reading materials  in a newspaper or magazine, you see?"


            "Well, to tell you frankly  I too  don't read the stuff.  But something forced me into this investigative work.  And I am of the view now, one could make a business out of  it.  That's what I am proposing to you. Don't you want to make some money?"


            Becoming curious, I asked him to go on.


           "You see, no matter who the astrologer is, all of them seem to follow a set of standard phrases, like our weather reports on the TV.  So, I collected some hundreds from different magazines, foreign publications included and presto, I found some stereo type forecasts with small modification here and there.  For instance, if you take all the predictions for the month of July, you will find some common factors and it is not at all difficult  to produce your own version…"


           I became somewhat interested but as we  were nearing  our home after the morning constitutional, I asked him to summarise his proposal within the next few minutes.  I didn't like the idea of carrying it over to the next day.


          Bob pressed on his tongue-accelerator.


         "You  see, once you have mastered the language style, concentrate on ‘pleasing every body' so that each reader gets involved, excited or revels in what you have written and they in course of time will  become your fans.


         Consider the  prognostication like: Venus and Saturn will be at odds for the next few weeks and so you may not see eye to eye with several people. And truly one of the readers had a bout with his boss and an young couple had the usual tiff entering into the  non talking mode for  some 3 hours.    


          Tell me, is there any office where there is no difference of opinion or a home without some mini fights?


          ‘A great time for job hunters,' the great prophecy  would say. ‘But watch out  on interviews. Some people may make unreasonable demands.'  Sure enough, some tout will come and say, ‘give $100 and the job is yours.'  There you are, your foretelling has borne fruit.  And the reader is impressed.


         One week, I read a promise of a windfall.. ‘You are a lucky guy. Some money will come from unexpected quarters.  Could be a  treasure from mother earth also.'  And on my way home, I stumbled on a ten paise coin ( roughly equal to  2 Cents) lying on  the dusty road.  I picked it up since it was from mother Earth.


        Finally, word your prognoses colourfully without being very accurate but psromising to all and bravo, you would become a famous astrologer and thousands will rush out to read what you have said. Thereafter, you can  demand a higher remuneration from your editor as well."


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                                                                    Israel Jayakaran [Sweet grace]