The story opens with an account of the place and environment in which an astrologer meets his clients and does his work. Every day he starts his work at midday, under a tamarind tree that is close to a public park in the town.
The place which the astrologer chooses for his work is generally full of people who pass by or gather there. They are attracted by vendors of nuts, medicines, stolen hardware, etc. It is a place poorly lighted in the evening. The astrologer has to depend on lights coming from the flickering lamps kept by neighboring vendors because he has no light of his own.
The astrologer knows nothing about astrology, but with his experience he manages to earn money which he carries home at the end of a day. He has a working analysis of the common problems of most people. He makes people believe that he has an unusual ability to tell people’s fortunes.
One evening, the nuts- vendor blows out the light and is ready to go home. This compels the astrologer to leave the place. When he picks up his stuff and puts into a bag, a stranger stands before him. Seeing the opportunity for one more possible client, the astrologer invites the stranger to sit and chat. The stranger challenges saying that if the astrologer gives him the right answers for his questions, he will give him eight annas and if he fails, the astrologer will have to pay him back twice the amount. The astrologer happily accepts his challenge. But when he sees the stranger’s face from the light of a match stick, he feels very uncomfortable and quickly gives back anna he has taken.
The stranger holds the astrologer in his grip and says that he can’t get out now. The astrologer finally agrees to speak for a rupee. He tells the stranger that he was once stabbed through the chest and left for dead. The stranger is excited at the information and exclaims that the only thing he wants to know from the astrologer is when he can find the assaulter. The astrologer instantly replies that the culprit had died being crushed under a lorry four months ago. The astrologer calls the stranger by his name ‘Guru Nayak’ and advises him to return to his hometown immediately as his life is in danger. He gives the astrologer money and leaves.
The astrologer reaches home late night. His wife is very happy with his earning. But he is upset since he is cheated by Guru Nayak not paying him as much as promised. As they lie down to sleep, he reveals to his wife that he has got rid of a great burden. He confesses to his wife that in his youth he was into bad company. One day he drank, gambled and quarreled badly. He had a fight and stabbed Guru Nayak and left him for dead. He thought himself to be murderer. This was the reason why he fled from his home and started a new life in the town. But now he is content that he had not in fact taken a life. Satisfied by this, he goes to sleep.