As it turned out, they were quite capable of producing charts for the British. Or for Mexicans. Or Polynesians. Or really, anyone from anywhere. The secret? The Britannica Atlas! To figure out the exact time of birth, the guy at the shop spent 15 minutes finding the towns I gave him, and then found out the latitude/longitude co-ordinates and time zone.
Once the dates and places were keyed into the computer, here's what it produced - an analysis of the two charts, and a recommendation. The report starts with a little disclaimer:
"It should be understood", says the disclaimer, "that marriage is pre-ordained by Almighty Providence, and actually one has no control at all over the selection of one's partner in life". Some other very sensible advice on the disclaimer: "Astrology is only capable of indicating tendencies and potentials. The user of this service should treat these predictions with due discretion".
Vedic Astrology is a practical sort of thing - it determines the compatibility of horoscopes by checking whether the couple is mentally and sexually compatible, whether the marriage will bring luck or prosperity, whether the attraction in the relationship will last, whether the bride and groom will live long, and of course, whether they will have children. A reasonable recipe, actually, for a successful marriage.
The methodology is complex, but primarily includes an analysis of the major gunas (characteristics) of a person. The assumption is, of course, that the position of the stars and planets at the time of your birth influences your gunas.
There's a scoring system to see how well the gunas of the man and woman match. If you don't make the minimum cut-off (18 points), then the match is not considered very good. An average "acceptable" level is 18 - 24 matching gunas, but the higher the score, the better the marriage. Scores of 32 or above indicate that the marriage will do really well.
I don't know if Anne's horoscope matching was correct, or whether she figured out new secrets for great client-vendor relationships. But I'm hoping it will give her a couple of anecdotes at least, for her next presentation!
Apart from horoscope matching, you can also get a glimpse into the future - a 20-year prediction costs 700 rupees and tells you everything you want to know about yourself, year by year. What's more, this is a multi-lingual service. You can order the prediction in Gujarati, Hindi or English. While I waited at the shop, several prosperous looking people came in for future predictions, and remedies for current problems. They got neatly stapled printouts, with advice on what lucky stones to wear, what mantras to chant, what prayers to offer, and what colours to wear.
Me, I prefer not knowing the future. My grandmom had a simple philosophy - do what you have to do, don't harm others, don't think bad thoughts, and let the future take care of itself. If my future is meant to be good, then it will happen anyway. And if the future's bad, I don't want to ruin the present worrying about it.