Known as the cultural capital of India, Varanasi is rich on many counts including number of astrologers, who are available at ease in every nook and corner of the city. Once a friend of mine took me to one of them during my stay at Varanasi. There was much of rush of the visitors at his house mainly including ladies, more of them from the rural areas. The astrologer gave me a VIP treatment because of my friend, who was a frequent visitor to him. He gave me his full attention entertaining the other visitors in the meantime one after the other in between my talks with him. His disciples monitored the whole schedule. One lady caller appeared. She narrated her problems because of the ill treatment her husband was giving her. She looked badly perturbed and shaken. The astrologer named several stars like rahu, ketu, shani, etc. as responsible for her bad days. He made some suggestive remarks too asking ‘…your dining table is of red colour’. The woman replied ‘… I am from a village and I don’t have any thing like dining table’. No, no, it can’t be, you must be having some thing in red colour around you, retorted the astrologer. No, replied the lady. The astrologer lost his temper telling ‘…how come you are disputing my vidya (knowledge), there must be something red somewhere. The woman replied in a ‘no’ again adding of course that ‘…my Bhabhi (elder brother’s wife) uses a marooned colour saree at my maternal village, which is at a far off distance from mine, at times. The astrologer thundered ‘….say that, that is what I mean, and that is the cause of all your troubles. Look, I will do some pooja for you and you will get rid of all your problems, and for this you will have to pay Rs.1001/ right now’. The woman said ‘ I am from a poor family and I can’t manage this much amount’. ‘That’s not my concern and if you fail to do it you will suffer most in days to come’, reacted the astrologer. This was the stage for me to realise what was there in store for me when I raise my problems for which my friend insistently forced me to join him to the astrologer. Disillusioned and dismayed, I called it a day with the astrologer. Exploiting the people in some name of a ritual or the other is order of the day in our culture and it is nothing but a sheer loot at a very large scale in the society.