Thursday, April 14
Alarm woke up Cynthia at 6.30 in the morning. She went downstairs, Rishi was still sleeping and he still had low fever. Looking at his peaceful face she creased his forehead and went out on the beach to jog. Russet Frazier was not at home. While jogging, Cynthia called Mitsuki, assured him that Rishi didn’t mind his behavior but wanted to see him at night but he was sick so she brought him home. Mitsuki was relieved to listen to her, asked her if Rishi will be coming to visit him, she said he is still sick but he is welcome to visit him at her home.
“Then I will walk to your home, it is a pilgrimage to me.”
“Mitsuki, please don’t walk, Rishi is a very simple and ordinary person; he will be equally pleased to see you regardless how you arrive there to meet him.”
“No I will walk.”
“In that case take the BART train, cross the bay and walk from some suitable station.”
“OK, I can do that,” he said, he was not sure if pedestrians were allowed on the bridges across the bay, probably not.
“Mitsuki, still you may have to walk at least twenty miles, most of it is in the wilderness. No restaurant, no water and no food.”
“That is even better.”
“And listen, don’t leave till I come.”
“I will tell Rishi that you would be coming, so he stays at home. Anyway I don’t want him to wonder around, you can keep an eye on him.”
“Please don’t tell him, I want to fate to decide our meeting.”
“OK, I won’t tell him.”
She returned to her home, took a bath, dressed up. She still had time, she wanted to take Rishi’s blood to the lab; luckily she had a couple of venipunctures in her car.
Hearing her coming, Rishi woke up. He saw her with a long, thick needle. Rishi was not scared of anything in the world including ghosts but there was an exception – he was scared of needles. He tolerated needles in the hospital because he was very sick then but this time he was not going to let anybody touch him with a needle.
“No, please no.”
“I will freak out, I am scared of needles.”
“It won’t hurt you, just a piercing sensation.”
“No, forget it. Please go away.”
“I have lidocaine, you won’t feel anything.”
She didn’t give him much choice and drew his blood.
“I am leaving Rishi, stay at home and rest.”
“Always keep your cell-phone with you.”
“Colombo called, asked me if you are doing fine. He will be visiting you around ten. He said he just wants to meet you as a friend.”
“Did you notice the doormat at Dr. Kiyoshi’s home?”
“No, what was special about it?”
“All Friends are Welcome - was printed over it.”
She giggled, “We need those doormats here. I will be leaving in five minutes. Elysia, our Filipino maid will make you breakfast and lunch. You can check internet on the computer in the next door room. And bye Rishi.”
Cynthia went to her room, checked her emails in a rush. Rishi friends Kulcha, Kulfa and Fulka wrote her a joint email asking her about how Rishi was doing, because he didn’t call or emailed them. Kulcha and Kalpana had another fight; she was not coming on the phone to reply to any of his phone-call. They asked her, did she ask Rishi about that 3800 paged book, they made another bet with each other about the source of that book. Cynthia laughed, forwarded that email to Rishi and went to her work.
Rishi had a bath; Elysia brought him a cup of coffee and a bagel with cream-cheese with scallion, in his room. He went to other room and checked his emails, replied to his friends. He read the email that Cynthia forwarded him and laughed because they were again going to lose bet. He replied them to place his own money on the bet.
On the Google he typed: Cynthia Frazier, MD. About three hundred results were found; he browsed many but selected one. Three years ago Cynthia wrote a paper on Renal Cell Carcinoma, Rishi read it and took some notes.
Rishi typed Mitsuki on the Google, then typed Mituski Monk and then Mitsuki Buddhist Monk and then Mitsuki Buddhis Monk in San Francisco. That brought a surprising result. Mitsuki was not his real name but changed name, he used to be an inventor and billionaire in Japan but gave up his money and business to Buddhist establishments, and he became monk and arrived in San Francisco about six years. He typed Dr. Kiyoshi’s name, Dr. Kiyoshi was doing some serious research work on Cancer.
His sister Rarisa also mentioned that her brother could make hundred times more money if he starts his private practice but he had dedicated his life to the research.
Rishi came out, went to the swimming pool. There was a float tied up in the water, he untied it and lay on it took his weight and he was now floating in the water, wearing all his clothes. He closed his eyes; it was a bit cool but pleasant morning.
Detective Levis Hopkins arrived at Russet Frazier’s Bellaire Mansion, only to visit Rishi. He parked his car and looked around. Rishi was lying on a float wearing all his clothes, he felt it very comic. Then he noticed the float was moving in the water at random, he was curious, how was that possible? It couldn’t be the air pushing the float. He walked to pool and looked in the water and laughed. Rishi had tied up float to the automatic scrubbing machine that was moving in the pool at random, dragging float with it.
He said, sitting at a patio table, “Hello Rishi, you can call me Levis.”
“Nice day, today.”
“Yes it is very nice day and how are you?”
“Fit as a horse.”
“I am glad to hear it. And nice invention - this moving float.”
Elysia brought coffee and Egg Sandwiches. Float was now near the edge; detective carried the trey and rushed to Rishi before float could move him again in the water. He pulled the float and handed coffee in Rishi’s hand. He was giving him an egg sandwich.
“Thanks I already had breakfast.”
Levis Hopkins let go the float, it now moved in between the pool. He sat on the chair, ate both sandwiches and had coffee.
Rishi waited for the float again to touch the edge; he stepped on the pavement and sat on the patio chair next to Levis.
“How you caught the bullet in your teeth?” Detective said, “You don’t want to answer me but I was wondering.”
Rishi pondered over what Detective had said, Detective was not expecting any answer.
“That bullet – it was not fired at me.”
“Yes I know,” Detective said to deepen the riddle, “That makes it even more difficult. One got be at the right place, at the right time and at the right fraction of moment and then there is a person who is going to fire and then there is a person who is going to get hit, and then there is a person standing in the middle to catch the bullet.”
Rishi said, “There are too many variables in this polynomial equation.”
“Yes I know.”
“Let’s say if we slow down the bullet.”
Now Detective was very alert. He asked, “How slow?”
“Three and a half day, till you stand in the path of trajectory.”
“I had a question but now I have more.”
Rishi said, changing the subject, “Levis, what happened to your Colombo style.”
“Oh – I am not at the job. You start doing it to please people and then it becomes your habit.”
“After all it didn’t become habit.”
Detective said, rising up, “Right, right, after all it didn’t become habit.”
“I got to go Rishi.”
Rishi said, wearing his shoes, “You can take me with you and drop me off at some place. I will walk home.”
“Are you sure, you want to do that?”
After about three miles Detective stopped his car near a scenic outlook.
“I think this is a reasonable distance to walk back to home.”
“You stalled the bullet for three days,” Detective said, shrugging his shoulders, “Huh.”
Rishi came out of car and closed the door.
“Bye and take care,” Detective said.
“Levis, I have a friend, I think he can hack your official email password, and you will never know about it.”
“This answers everything,” Detective said, waving his hand, “Thanks.”
Slippery as an Eel.
Rishi started walking in the same direction Detective drove off. Road was scenic, time to time redwood and eucalyptus trees covered the road like a tunnel. He walked four miles and stopped at a place a slope went to the woods. He went in the woods and lay on the grass and listened to birds. Cool air had ocean and eucalyptus scent. He spent two hours there and then came on the road. As he was going to turn in the direction of Russet Frazier’s estate, he saw a man walking on the road, a man wearing monk’s clothes.
Rishi stopped there to wait for him, as he approached nearer, Rishi knew he was Mitsuki on his pilgrim venture.
When Mitsuki saw him his heart skipped a beat, he bowed to Rishi several times and in reply, Rishi bowed back several times.
“Mitsuki, what brought you here?”
“I was coming to see you at Cynthia’s home to apologize.”
“For what I did to you, yesterday.”
“We all do what deems suitable and best at that time. You can not and could not control whatever you had done. Why apologize?”
Mitsuki was flabbergasted; he stood there by the road, trying to absorb what Rishi said.
“Let’s have a walk.”
“We will walk this way,” Rishi said, looking in the direction in where Mitsuki came.
“But, we have to go to that way.” Mitsuki reluctantly pointed in the opposite direction towards Cynthia’s home.
“Why we have to go to that way Mitusik?” Rishi asked him to amuse himself.
“Because I thought I was suppose to meet you in Cynthia’s home.”
“OK, let’s split and meet again at Cynthia’s home.”
Mitsuki now knew that Rishi was pulling his leg, he laughed. Mitsuki’s face was telling that he was thirsty and hungry so Rishi turned in the direction of Cynthia’s home.
“What you were doing at the road?”
Rishi lied, “I was waiting for you. If you can walk for me I should walk for you.”
“Thanks,” Mitsuki said with joy.
“Did you love your walk?”
“Then why you walked?”
“I walked as a pilgrim, to meet you.”
“Self mortification is a form of vanity.”
Mitsuki felt as Rishi struck him on the head with a hammer. He had no strength left to walk further. He sat by the road on the grass.
A car appeared, Rishi waived it to stop, driver was not going to stop it but he stopped when he saw a monk sitting by the road. Driver was a very old man, he was at least 75 years old.
“We are going to Russet Frazier’s home.”
“Sit in please, I have to turn a mile before but I will drop you there.”
Rishi and Mitsuki sat at the back seat of the car and in ten minutes they arrived at Cynthia’s home.
Rishi asked to driver, “Would you like to have a cup of tea or coffee.”
“It is Russet Frazier’s home.”
“We are allowed to bring in our guests.”
Man was very excited to enter in Billionaire Russet Frazier’s home he accepted their offer.
“My name is Mike McDonald.” He shook hands with Rishi and Mitsuki.
Before Rishi could lift intercom to speak with Security Company, gate opened.
Rishi and Mitsuki were hungry they asked Elysia to prepare for dinner.
They sat in the atrium. William only accepted tea after he drank it he stepped on his feet.
“Today was my lucky day,” he said, “Good bye fellows. Here is my card, I owe you a cup of tea, feel free to come.”
Rishi pocketed his card and walked him to his car.
They ate dinner in the atrium; Mitsuki visited Cynthia’s home before so nothing gave him any new surprise. It was 3pm. After dinner they came downstairs and lay on the carpeted floor in the central area, using sofa cushions as pillows.
Mitsuki fell to sleep.
Cynthia sent Rishi’s blood samples to lab, no serious damage was found. He only had inflamed kidneys and liver. She was busy for whole day because of the backlog of patients, because she took off for two days. Whole days she was hearing interesting rumors that Ryan’s several girlfriends were worried about HIV, many were gone to lawyers to find what they could do about it. She checked Ryan’s test reports; indeed he was HIV positive and chronic drug abuser.
Luckily she was very busy for the whole day and was not distracted or sorry about Ryan. She was too eager to meet Rishi and Mitsuki she postponed writing her reports for next day and left hospital for home at 4pm.
When she was near the place where she had breakfast with Rishi, suddenly she was very depressed. Nobody said anything to her in the hospital but she felt insulted there, many doctors and nurses looked at her, she felt they all were smiling at her foolish pick, Ryan as her husband. He only had a face, nothing else. Like a God Rishi saved her life by jeopardizing his own life. She asked herself why she was rushing to her home to meet Rishi, he wouldn’t be staying in her life forever. He could leave her anytime; he could simply walk out with or without his backpack. He won’t be marrying her; he is 5 years younger than her. Now where would she find a decent man to marry? She had no friends, either people tried to make her friend because she was the daughter of a Billionaire or they shunned away from her. Her father won’t be around her forever, anyway he is always gone out to raid other companies. Why God made him a woman, a helpless woman.
She stopped her car and at the outlook, looked around and wiped her tears.
From the garage she went straight to downstairs, Rishi and Mitsuki were lying on the carpet. Both were sleeping, it was very funny.
Rishi was not sleeping but only closing his eyes, he heard her arrival, muffled laugh and then she touched his forehead for fever. When she turned to go to the stairs, he made a loud snoring noise.
She jumped and turned to look, who made such clownish noise, probably Mitsuki. But it was only one time noise.
She again turned but then she heard another hellish snoring sound. Sure it must be Mitsuki, wish she could see him making such noise but it was always coming when she turned. Had not there two people sleeping she would have though about some cattle hiding in her home, making such notice.
She turned, pretending that she was ignoring that sound, she abruptly turned and, it was Rishi. He was enjoying the game.
“Hah, I caught you.”
She sat down on the carpet to laugh. Rishi shook Mitsuki and woke him up.
They had tea at the same place, sitting there cross-legged.
Mitsuki was very quiet; he was only thinking what Rishi said to him.
We all do what deems suitable and best at that time. You can not and could not control whatever you had done. Why apologize?
I was waiting for you. If you can walk for me I should walk for you.
Self mortification is a form of vanity.
He was foolish to make this or that pilgrimage. He was foolish not to recognize Rishi, but then his thought reversed the direction – How I could be foolish when whatever I do or did, I can and could not control.
He was on a rollercoaster of thoughts.
For the last six years, he was gathering pitiful shreds on the name of enlightenment, arranging and manipulating them, so that they glitter and caught light. Fool’s gold. His thoughts made him tired; he was having a severe headache. He wanted to go back.
“I must leave,” Mitsuki said to Cynthia, “I will be back tomorrow.”
“How would you come tomorrow? Walking?”
“No more walking, I will be bringing my car.”
“But I will be coming to Buddhist Center tomorrow,” Rishi said.
“In that case I need not to come here then.”
Cynthia asked Elysia to drive Mitsuki to the Buddhist Center.
Actually she was glad that he left because she was feeling a great turmoil and conflict breeding in his mind. She wanted to have some time with Rishi.
Rishi and Cynthia were strolling at the beach.
Cynthia asked Rishi, “Did you say something to Mitsuki, he was very disturbed.”
“Maybe or maybe not, it depends upon how he interprets. Yes he was very disturbed.”
“What do you think; what will happen to him?”
“A fire is burning in his mind; it may burn off everything there?”
“You mean everything?”
“Mind is like an onion, you keep peeling layer after layer and at the end nothing is left except tears.”
She laughed, she herself was realizing what Rishi was saying was true.
“My own mind too was in turmoil when I was with you in India.”
“Your mind was simple and is simple but his is very complex, filled with many ready made conclusions, judgments and theories. He was always very ambitious, now he has different ambitions.”
Cynthia thought she was learning new things from Rishi.
“Look you are not learning anything new with these talks, but only finding fancy definitions, these will lead you to readymade conclusions, opinions and judgments. So let’s put an end to this junk.”
“How do you know I was thinking that I am learning new things?”
“Rishi your friend Rarisa called, she was asking about you,” Cynthia said, “By the way your tests are close to normal and I believe you had no fever today.”
“I am fine, thanks.”
Rishi lied, “Dr. Kiyoshi called me, and asked me how I am doing?”
“That is so nice of him.”
“I asked him how he knew you.”
“People know me because I am Billionaire Russet Frazier’s daughter.”
“Not him, he was saying that some time ago he read your some paper about some Renal Cell Cartoonomea in some medical journal.”
She abruptly stopped and looked at Rishi’s face. “He read that paper?”
“That’s what he was saying, Renal Cell Cartoonoma or Cartonoma etc.”
“You big dummy, it was about Renal Cell Carcinoma or Cancer of Kidney, not something about Cartoons or Cartons. I spent six months on that paper and nobody ever gave me a single compliment.”
“Weather is very good today,” Rishi said, looking in the direction of Pacific Ocean, to hide his mischievous smile.
“Tell me everything that Dr. Kiyoshi said about me.”
“Like things, he read your paper in some journal, discussed it with his colleagues and students, and then inquired more about you and then found your pictures on the internet all that stuff.”
She was still standing and wondering.
“Why are you looking at the water, is there something?”
“I saw a funny bird there.”
“That’s why you are smiling.”
“Is it illegal to smile at some funny bird?”
“I guess not. Why he found my pictures on the internet.”
“How do I know why he found your pictures from internet? You type someone’s name and pictures come. That’s how things work on the internet.”
“I know, I know,” Cynthia said, annoyingly, “don’t give me a lecture about how things work on the internet.”
She was still standing there, wondering. Now she was smiling. Rishi pulled her by her arm, they begun walking again.
Sun was setting. It was 7.00pm.
Did you read your friends email that I had forwarded you.
“Where did you buy that thirty eight hundred, paged book,” she giggled.
“Yeah, they all have placed a bet, me too.”
Cynthia said laughing, “One says, you borrowed it from your collector friend; other says you found it in China, third says you picked it from the trash bin, I told them to place my ten rupee too.”
“What is your theory?”
“You stole it form British Museum.”
Rishi laughed. “It is like stealing an elephant from a carnival in the broad daylight.”
She too laughed.
“OK here is the deal,” Rishi said, “I don’t believe if there could be a 3800 paged paperback. It is impossible.”
She was laughing again. “You want to bet with me, the proof is lying in your own home in Bangalore.”
“For ten rupee.”
She said, looking at her watch, “Your friends must be at home.”
She dialed Kulcha.
“Hi Cynthia, how is Rishi?”
“He is here, with me, listen he says that there can’t be a 3800 paged paperback, it is impossible. He wants to bet.”
“This time we will nail him, we all want to bet, ten rupee each.”
“Four versus one, OK”
“Coach doesn’t know that we still have that book, he think he is enlightened enough to make it disappear.”
She laughed. Now they all were talking on speaker phones both sides
Rishi said, “Bring that book.”
“Kulfa is bringing it, Oh-oh! It fell on his foot and he is doing pom-pom dance.”
They were laughing.
“Well Coach you lost the bet, this time we nailed you by the tail.”
“It is not one book but all same thirteen books I glued together.”
“Yeah-yeah-yeah, like we can’t read page number?”
“I altered the numbers of last fifty pages, by a black pen.”
There was a silence at other side. Cynthia could imagine what could be happening there. They were all inspecting the giant book closely.
“Coach robbed us this time.”
“This time it is cheating.”
“Broad daylight robbery.”
They could hear cries and roars of laugh. Cynthia lay on the sand to ease her laughing and heaving. Rishi took off his T-shirt, raising her head with his one hand; he slid the T-shirt under her head so sand won’t enter in her hairs.
She said good bye to his friends and disconnected the phone.
At night Rishi called Rarisa.
“How are cabbages doing?”
“They are doing fine. Thanks for asking.”
“How is Doctor Kiyoshi?”
“Zucchini is fine too.”
She asked, “How are you?”
“Turnip is fine too.”
“And how is you mammy Cynthia – the carrot.”
“Mammy is fine too; tomorrow she will be taking me to Chuck E. Cheese,” Rishi said, “And then happy meals at McDonald.”
She was laughing like a lunatic.
Rishi continued, “Hope this time I may find a good toy.”
“Find one mammy for our Zucchini too.”
“He can take mine.”
“You want her or not.”
“Rishi-Rishi-Rishi. Be realistic,” she sighed, “Life is not easy, a billionaire’s daughter and my poor idiot Zucchini. Tissue culture does not match.”
“Tell me how to grow a tree?”
“You prepare the ground, make it soft.”
“And then, second step?”
“You sow the seed, not too shallow and not too deep.”
“And then, third step?”
“Make the ground moist, not too little water and not too much.”
“And then, fourth step?”
“Plant emerges out, you take care of it.”
“I already prepared the ground, made is soft. I sowed the seed, not too shallow and not too deep.”
She paused for a minute, Rishi could hear her breathing.
She said, “I am pressing my phone to my heart. You listen.”
Rishi was hearing: thump-thump-thump-thump-thump.
“Did you listen?”
“You should get your heart checked. It is galloping like a wild ass.”
“My heart was fine but …….. But then your joke ……,” She sighed.
“Make the ground moist, not too little water and not too much.”
She sighed, “OK, hope it is not another of your cruel joke. I spoke your name and a monk fainted in the temple.”
“Yes I know,” Rishi said. “Bring your brother in the temple tomorrow at 6pm.”
“I am crying Rishi.”
Rishi lied, “This makes two of us.”
“Let me tell you Rishi, I and my brother we both fell in love with her.”
“That’s why I sowed the seed, weather is right too.”
“I stopped dreaming Rishi, dreams are hurtful.”
“Welcome to the life.”
“Rishi,” she said, “Who are you?”
He saw in the mirror, Cynthia was standing on the door he disconnected the phone.
“Did you hear what I was saying on the phone?”
“Yeah, I am not nosy but overheard that you are growing something?”
“But you won’t be around here to take care of it,” she said, “What is the sense in sowing it and then abandoning it.”
“A perennial flower, it takes initial effort to grow it and then it grows by itself and blooms for years.”
“Good luck then.”
She checked his temperature, blood pressure, pulse and all, gave him medicines with water.
“Good night Rishi, see you in the morning.”
“Good night, Cynthia.”
“You are allowed one beer if you want.”
“Thanks, not today.”
Mike McDonald phoned his two daughters, two sons and all ten grandchildren, giving them the news that he was invited in Mighty-Mean-Billionaire Russet Frazier’s home. To told them about the Palm lined driveway, porch, fountains, Bellaire mansion, Olympic sized swimming pool, golf courses, Atrium, half dozen living and dining rooms, tennis court sized bathrooms, at least 4000 square feet kitchen, clock tower sized wall clocks, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Roles Royse cars etc. etc.
To spice up his story he added he saw three helicopters, and a pet elephant and a camel.