Friday, April 15
Rishi and Cynthia had a long walk in the morning; they took shower and left the home. Cynthia made sure that he was carrying his cell-phone. He insisted her to drop him at BART station but she didn’t want him to wander around so drove in the traffic and dropped him at Buddhist Center. She arrived ten minutes late at her work.
Rishi sat on a bench, watched people going in the temple, monks going around on their daily errands. A monk brought him a cup of green tea. Someone gave the news to Mitsuki, he came to him, sat next to him on the bench. Then had more herbal tea but none spoke a word. Air carried the fragrance of flowers and incense sticks.
“Mitsuki, so you were a rich man in Japan.”
Not many people knew about this, he looked at Rishi in bewilderment.
“I discovered if from the internet.”
“After I had a heart attack, I asked myself it this kind of life worth living? I gave it up, went to many temples and monasteries and here I am.”
“First you were running a business, and now you are running a monastery.”
Mitsuki was now uncomfortable with Rishi.
Rishi said, rising, “I am going to have a walk. Cynthia will pick me up from here in the evening. If you are uncomfortable with me, just say so. I will go elsewhere; there would be no hard feeling.”
“You are welcome here; I have prepared a room for you. Come,” he said,
”see the room first.”
“Thank you very much Mitsuki, for the room.”
Rishi flowed behind Mitsuki, he led him to a room in the back of temple. It was apparent that the room was in use to store religious artifacts, things were moved to a side to make place for a mattress, a chair and a table.
“You can come here and go at your will, BART station is only five blocks away.”
“Thanks, and anybody can share this room with me.”
Rishi walked out, spent some time under the redwood trees in the park, he went to Dr. Kiyoshi’s home. He was not home. At the garage a sign was posted.
Dr. Kiyoshi MD. (Oncologist)
Weekdays 6 to 8
Saturdays 10 to 4
And at the bottom of the sign, an insignia of some charitable agency was printed with a toll free phone number.
Rishi called Rarisa she was in the field walking in the horticulture yard.
“Hi how are the cabbages.”
“You never ask, how I am, instead you always ask for cabbages.”
“Sorry, how are you Rarisa.”
“Fine, thank you.”
“I am standing at your brother’s home,”
“At the right hand of his main entrance, there is a flower pot, red croton plant growing it. You will find the key in the pot.. My brother trusts everyone in the world. One day when he will find his home empty, only then he will learn his lesson.”
“Thanks, I won’t be going inside. I have given a room in the Buddhist Center.”
There was a silence.
“How many monks fainted this time?”
“I got your clothes and sandals that you forgot in my car.”
“Keep them at your home so I have extra clothes to wear there.”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.’
“Your brother sees patients at weekdays 6 to 8. How can he spare any time.”
“Oh, he can spare any time he wants. Agency reschedules the patients and some times he attends them in the park if weather permits. He seems busy but he has lots of fun his own way or if your definition of fun is same as his. Not I.”
“I emailed you something, forward it to Dr. Kiyoshi and order him to read it.”
“He already read it; he said Cynthia wrote an interesting paper. But he is nervous about the whole thing, about billionaire’s daughter etc. I am nervous too.”
“I see. You come here today and drag him to the temple at sharp 5.30. I will block all the exits of escape.
“I will tell him your exact words but make it near six.”
“And listen, it is not a laughing matter, playing with my brother’s emotions.”
“I will block all exists of escape for all the parties involved.”
“Well, whatever. Do not wonder around, go to your room in the temple or stay at my brother’s place.”
“One day you will thank me for my wanderings.”
Rishi was listening her breathing and then he heard: Thump-thump-thump-thump. She was pressing her phone to her heart.
Rishi went to the Croton plant and key was hidden behind it.
“And I have changed my mind; I found the key and going inside.”
“Feel free, make tea or whatever, you can wear his pajamas, use his tooth brush, and eat whatever you find in the refrigerator, he is vegetarian.”
“And Rishi San,” she said, wondering, “Who are you?”
Rishi disconnected the phone, unlocked the door and entered inside. He went to kitchen and made an herbal tea, ate some cookies. Rishi wondered how a single man can keep him home so clean and orderly. House had only bare essential thing, like Dr. Kiyoshi’s simple mind. He watched TV and spent two hours there. At 2pm he left the home, locked it, and placed the key back to the same place he took it. He went to shopping arcade and ate two slices of pizza, walked further to another big park. There he found a small rubber ball, he pocketed it.
He returned to Buddhist Center at 4pm, went to Mitsuki’s office and waited for him there. He arrived and ordered jasmine tea.
“Rishi San, I have though about what you said today.”
Rishi closed his eyes to listen to him attentively.
He continued, “You said: First I was running a business, and now I am running a monastery.”
“I thought about it, I figured out that I am always running things.”
“We all are always running things.”
Mitsuki stayed silence for five minutes, meditating upon what Rishi told.
Rishi said, “Yesterday we met on the road.”
“Yes. You said you were there to meet me at halfway.”
“I was there to meet you that fate had decided. We were walking in opposing directions and happened to met.”
Mitsuki was puzzled, he thought about it for another five minutes.
“Look we were to meet so we met. You can run thing, always, but things are running us. Creation is running us. We are nobody but Creation.”
Rishi abruptly rose and left the room, to leave Mitsuki alone, so he could deal with himself.
Mitsuki completely reclined on his chair, closed his eyes. We are running things but things are running us. Creation is running us. He asked himself what I do now. If I have nothing to run, how I would be able to leave my bed in the morning. I will be facing a wall forever. How? Why?
Rishi sat on the bench in silence, had another unsweetened herbal tea, dry mulberry leaves, Ginseng roots, and jasmine flowers boiled in water. It was 5.30pm, Rarisa and Dr. Kiyoshi could arrive at anytime. Rishi returned to Mitsuki’s room
“I gradually understand what you have said.”
“Then you are wrong, understanding happens in a moment. Anything that is happening gradually is the activity and conclusion of thoughts. But thought is still active, it will move and shuffle things again and new conclusion will form. It will go on and on.”
“Oh yes, yes, that’s what I have read. We only prepare ourselves so that moment may happen.”
Rishi sat in silence. Hurricane was building up in Mitsuki’s mind. On the one hand he was thinking that there was no sense in thinking. Suddenly his thoughts realized their own moment and disappeared. He was vaguely wandering, what has happened suddenly. This had never happened before but then his thought realized that that too was though. He saw a bird sitting at the window grill, looking at him. Their eyes met his saw the bird in his round eyes, dark beautiful circle around it, and a red patch under it. Then his vision spread to whole window, he was not focusing upon anything but looking at everything. Things were very bright, he was hearing his own heartbeat and all sounds in the air, two monks were passing, he heard rustling of their clothes, he heard the air, smelled the pine and eucalyptus aroma in the atmosphere. Then his thoughts returned.
He whispered, “It happened.”
“It is always happening but you are interfering.”
He sighed, “Yes, maybe.”
He rose, asked Rishi to sit on his chair, manager’s chair. Rishi didn’t resist him. He sat where Rishi was sitting. Rishi was tired, he reclined and placed his feet on the foot rest of the table and closed his eyes.
A slight knock on the door made Rishi to open his eyes.
“I didn’t know you are new manager here Rishi, I asked about you and they sent me here.”
“Come have a seat.”
As Rarisa saw Mitsuki she was nervous.
Mitsuki laughed and pulled her to a chair next to him.
“Mitsuki, you met Rarisa before.”
“Yes, I met Rarisa San two times and both times I scared her up. I apologize.”
“Do you know Dr. Kiyoshi?”
“Oh yeah, Cancer Specialist, he comes to temple each day. He is a very quiet man, treats people for free. I helped him buy that home where he lives.”
“Small world Mitsuki, Rarisa is his sister.”
Rarisa and Mitsuki rose at the same time and bowed to each other.
Rishi asked Rarisa, “Where is your brother?”
“He is in the temple. I will go, tell him to come here.”
Mitsuki called a monk, asked him to bring Dr. Kiyoshi in the office and then bring tea.
When Kiyoshi came they all bowed to each other, now Rishi too knew Japanese tradition.
Rishi did not beat the bush; he straight came to the point.
“Mitsuki, I want Cynthia and Dr. Kiyoshi to meet here today, I request them to make a sincere effort to know each other.”
Dr. Kiyoshi protested, “She is a billionaire’s daughter, I gave this matter a though but it will not work out.”
Rishi made an enormous effort to stop his tears but failed. Nobody spoke for some time. Then they looked Mitsuki was crying.
“Dr. Kiyoshi, everybody discriminated Cynthia because she is a billionaire’s daughter,” Rishi said, “and you too…”
Dr. Kiyoshi was stunned. He remembered the peaceful but pretty face of Cynthia and how she was nursing Rishi.
“Let me go to temple first,” Dr. Kiyoshi said.
“Can I have a word with you in private, Dr. Kiyoshi San,” Mitsuki pleaded, “Rarisa San you too kindly step out?”
Mitsuki took both brother and sister outside.
“Why you want to go to temple?”
“To meditate about what Rishi said, about discrimination, I am very disturbed on that accusation and Rishi San is correct.”
“Kiyoshi San you don’t know who is Rishi. You are going to temple to pray at a concrete idol and Buddha is sitting inside my office – This Rishi.”
Rarisa wiped her tears. Mitsuki told them whole store about his visions and water.
“There is more, but he is Buddha to me or Cynthia. You can believe me or not.”
Dr. Kiyoshi, Rarisa and Mitsuki came in the room and took their seats. A monk brought tea. They sipped the tea without saying a word.
Dr. Kiyoshi said, “Rishi San, I apologize for my behavior. You made a small request that I and Cynthia should make a sincere effort to know each other, but still I find discrimination in my mind that I cannot get rid it off. She is very rich. I will make an effort, as you said a sincere and genuine but I am not a rich man. I am not even earning a doctor’s wages, could she too make a sincere effort.”
Mitsuki said, “She will make a sincere effort, she is like my daughter, I know her.”
Rishi said, “She is like my daughter too. I know her. She will make a sincere effort.”
Dr. Kiyoshi said, “But how am I to get rid of the feeling that she is a billionaire’s only daughter? I don’t want that life style. I am happy with my life. I can’t drag a billionaire’s daughter into my life, it won’t suit her. And she is the only heiress of his father.”
Dr. Kiyoshi, “Do you do any meditations.”
“Yes I do meditations, each day for one hour.”
“What do you do?”
“Time to time I use different technique like Vipassana etc. I watch my thought.”
Rishi said, “Cynthia will be arriving soon, meditate upon your discriminations. Make a sincere effort to know her, and then let the fate guide you. It if works fine, if not then still no hard feeling to any person.”
What Rishi said hit Dr. Kiyoshi. He rose and went in the temple. He sat on the floor and watched his storming thoughts.
Cynthia is a billionaire’s daughter - Cynthia is a billionaire’s daughter - Cynthia is a billionaire’s daughter - Cynthia is a billionaire’s daughter was whistling in his head. He shivered and realized that indeed he was discriminating. He was not looking at a person but was looking at other things. He was ashamed. He took an oath to Buddha that he will set aside the fact that Cynthia was a billionaire’s daughter but make an honest and sincere effort to know here. His thoughts calmed down.
Cynthia arrived at Buddhist Center at 7pm because she left late from the work; she found Rarisa, Rishi and Mitsuki, in Mitsuki’s office. They all greeted her with a mysterious smile.
“What’s happening here?”
Rishi said, “Nothing.”
She said taking a seat, “Something is happening.”
A monk appeared with more tea and Dr. Kiyoshi too appeared at the door.
“Hello Cynthia, we were remembering you. Ask all these guys.”
She laughed, “They are saying nothing was happening here.”
Rishi said, “Dr. Kiyoshi, I want your opinion about a tumor I got. Can you take a look at it today?”
“OK, but better if you come to my office, I have equipments there.”
“Nah, just take a look here, it is on my hip.”
Cynthia knew that another joke is under construction. She pressed her upper lip to stop her smile.
Rishi climbed on the table and lay there on his stomach; a ball sized round object was protruding from his hip.
There were two women in the room, Cynthia and his sister. Not to embarrass them he said, please leave me alone with the patient. Rarisa, Cynthia and Mitsuki all walked out, Cynthia was laughing.
Dr. Kiyoshi touched at the large boil bulging from his hip. “Do you feel any pain?
He pressed it hard, “Now?”
“How long it took to grow this big?”
“For many years it was of marble sized but it is growing like crazy from last three days.’
“Oh now I wonder about your fever,” Dr. Kiyoshi said, “oh boy – oh boy – oh boy.”
“Is it serious?”
Dr. closed the door. “You must take off your pants.”
Rishi took off his pants and a rubber ball fell down. Dr. Kiyoshi had a very loud laugh; he opened the door and showed to all.
“Here is the tumor.”
Cynthia said, “Dr. Kiyoshi that was very fast diagnose.”
Dr. Koyoshi said, “Not just diagnose but treatment too.”
Rishi said, “Didn’t I tell you that Dr. Kiyoshi is a very talented doctor.”
Everybody was laughing.
Rishi suggested, “Let’s all go to park.”
They walked to park and sat on a picnic table.
“I read your paper Cynthia,” Dr. Kiyoshi said.
“Thanks, Dr. Kiyoshi.”
“Please call me Kiyoshi.”
“Thanks Kiyoshi San.”
Dr. Kiyoshi laughed. They fell into talking and failed to notice that, one by one Rishi, Rarisa and Mitsuki disappeared.
It was dark when Cynthia and Rishi were returning.
“Kiyoshi said you set me up with him.”
“How did it go?”
“It didn’t go that bad. He is a gentle man.”
“He makes good tea.”
She giggled, “Is that all you looked in him.”
“Number nine shoe size.”
She laughed. “And what else?”
“I am wondering, his eyes are not slanting, neither his sister’s.”
“Yeah, because their grandmother was married to an American soldier.”
“So what is next?”
“He wants to take me to an English titled Japanese movie tomorrow after work.”
“That is nice of him.”
“I am on call today and tomorrow; I have to take a chance.”
“He is a doctor himself, he will understand.”
“You can join us if you want.”
“I will be equally happy anywhere else. You two go.”
When she was parking her car, at the same time Russet Frazier’s arrived on the helicopter. They met in the Atrium; he was not wearing arm support.
“Daddy, how are you?”
He replied, kissing his daughter on her forehead, “I am find honey.”
He said to Rishi, “What’s up Rishi.”
Cynthia’s cell-phone rang. She was required at hospital immediately, she was on call duty.
“I got to go to the hospital; a patient is having complication on dialysis.”
Russet Frazier was disappointed.
Elysia put coffee and cookies on the table. Cynthia and Rishi drank their coffee in the rush.
“Daddy, what happened to your arm-support?”
“I can live without it, pain is almost gone. Arm support was a nuisance.”
“Did you consult with doctor?”
“No, I was busy, all this time.”
“Daddy, I got to go.”
“Let’s go,” Rishi said.
Russet Frazier said, pulling Rishi’s arm, “Hey where are you going. You stay here.”
“Yes Rishi you stay here, please.”
Cynthia left in a rush, when sitting in her car she was worried that Russet Frazier may drag Rishi into another drinking competition. Excessive hard liquor was not good for Rishi’s kidneys and liver that was already recovering from the poison. Russet Frazier was allowed to drink, if he keeps eating something along the drink, to avoid hypoglycemia and he always ate while drinking. She sighed. Things were not in her control anyway.
“Mr. Rishi,” Russet Frazier said, “this time you can’t cheat me.”
“Russet, I apologize for what I did and accept my defeat in advance.”
Russet shouted, “No, we have some unfinished business.”
Russet dialed a number and talked with someone on the phone.
He rose and shaking his index finger he gestured Rishi to follow him.
“Come downstairs to the bar.”
Rishi followed him, they crossed Atrium and then another living room and then another and took a stairs that directly led to the bar downstairs.
“Have that seat.” Russet said, pointing to a cushy seat. Area surrounded by the bar was lined with the mirrors.
Russet went to the bar and returned with a tequila bottle, two glasses and a bottle of soda. He made another trip to bring ice.
He said with ice tone, “Bear with me till some food and a bartender arrives. I called the hotel.”
Rishi’s cell-phone rang it was Cynthia.
Russet said, “Shut the phone down.”
“It is your daughter Cynthia.”
Hand me your phone, I will talk with her.
Rishi slid his phone to Russet.
“Honey it is your daddy, we are busy right now. Bye.”
Russet Frazier turned off Rishi’s phone and then turned off his own phone. He filled up glasses with ice and poured tequila to the brink.
Russet Frazier said, turning the bottle’s label towards Rishi, “Remember this liquor.”
“I can guess some three thousand dollars tequila.”
“So you do remember. Finish your drink.”
Russet finished his drink in a single gulp. Rishi took his time. Elysia came with her cell-phone.
“Mr. Frazier, Cynthia wants to talk with your or with Rishi.”
“Go away and if you return with your goddamn phone again, you are out of this job.”
Elysia rushed out back to the stairs to avoid his further wreath.
Large drink of liquor instantly hit Rishi, he felt little drowsy and had a stretching feeling in his liver as something was ballooning there.
Russet Frazier said, “I spoke with police, autopsy report of Ryan has arrived.”
Rishi said with a mischievous smile, “And?”
“Poison that you gave him and its complicity with cocaine has killed him. That was homicide.”
To make him react and angry, Rishi said, “I will join you on his funeral.”
Since Russet Frazier made his first billions nobody ever talked with him such way Rishi has talked.
“Hey you shut up,” Russet Frazier roared, “you don’t know whom you are talking with, and listen to me. Mind your attitude, you are under my roofs.”
“Mr. Russet Frazier, I compete with people on the equal terms. Bring this bottle to the beach that you don’t own we will drink there.” Rishi said standing up, “See you at the beach.”
Russet Frazier felt his heart beating violently, he tried to calm himself down. Liquor was hitting him too.
He said, suppressing his anger, “Please sit down Rishi. I have to talk to you.”
Rishi sat on the chair. Russet Frazier made another two drinks, bottle was one third empty.
They sipped the drink, when it was half finished Russet Frazier said, “Your sole intention was to murder Ryan, and then to steal Cynthia.”
He stood up, saluted Rishi. “I salute you Sir, not because on your success – that is your illusion but accidentally you saved my daughter’s life from a monster.”
“Thanks for your compliment. Can I use your bathroom?”
“Go ahead; use the bathroom or swimming pool or what ever. I permit you to spend two more nights in this home including this night. You are my guest.”
“Thanks for your hospitality.”
Rishi went to his suite, took out sniffing snuff from his backpack. Mixed a half spoon of it in the water and drank it up. In only half minute it made him very uncomfortable, he was wet with sweat and waited at the toilet bowl to throw up. He had to poke a pencil in his throat but he vomited, most of the liquor came out. He gargled with a mouthwash and returned to Russet Frazier, who had finished his drink.
“Finish your drink, Mr. Rishi,” he said, “So we can have a next. Then I have another bottle.”
A young man in his twenties, dressed in a waiter’s dress arrived. He waived to Russet and then Rishi, walked to the door that opened to the path that went to swimming pool and then to the driveway. Waiter opened the door and two people pushed a trolley filled with snacks, vegetarian and meats.
Rishi finished his drink; he was feeling something was growing in his stomach with slight pain. Russet filled his glass again.
Waiter was arranging the food but Russet said, “You all can leave now. I need some privacy.”
“But the food will go cold, Sir, I am here to reheat it.”
“Den we will eat cold food, now leave.”
Waiter and catering crew were gone.
“Mr. Rishi, I want you to leave Cynthia alone. Name your price, today I am in generous mood. No reasonable offer will be denied. I start the bid with quarter million dollars.”
“Russet, since now we two are together, I am also here as a messenger. Mr. Arvind asked me to talk with you to restore the ownership and orders at LaserGear Electronics Corporation.”
Russet Frazier laughed like a demon.
“I starded the bid with a karter millieon dollars and you starded yours at threeeee billion dollars plus. I lige your guts.” Russet stammered with a grin, “Mr. Rishi.”
“Mr. Russet Frazier, “Rishi said, “Message is delivered and my job is done.”
He gulped his drink. Not enough liquor remained in the bottle to make two drinks; Russet Frazier went to the bar to bring another bottle. He was now walking straight as a soldier. He returned with the new bottle, emptied the first and used another to make two drinks. He was trying to sit on his chair but fell down on it but controlled himself.
“I can’t have this drink,” Rishi said, “You win Russet.”
Russet yelled, “Shud up. We will dring till one of us fall.”
He rose and went to the bathroom, marching very stiff like a soldier.
Rishi went to his room and took another spoonful of sniffing snuff in water and waited in agony to throw up. This time it took longer but it worked again.
He returned back to Russet and they had another drink. Russet was keeping an eye on him so Rishi won’t get a chance to drain the liquor.
Russet was now talking in senseless gibberish. He was saying that he can reopen the Dr. Ryan’s death case and get Rishi indicted etc. etc. if Rishi won’t leave alone Cynthia.
Russet kept making drinks till second bottle was only quarter left. He went to bathroom and Rishi went to his bathroom for his another dose of snuff. Rishi was now very drowsy, his head was spinning. Walking or standing up was now endeavoring to him.
They both returned. Rishi sat on his chair but Russet Frazier fell down on his chair, it turned and he fell down, landed again on his right shoulder. He cried in pain and then passed out.
Rishi went upstairs to fetch Elysia, he himself was not in the state to do anything. He left Russet to Elysia.
She called Cynthia, who was on her way back to home. Rishi staggered to his room, vomited again with the help of sniffing snuff and fell down on the carpet. He had pain in his liver and kidney region but passed out.
Cynthia struggled to save life of a teenager girl who suddenly developed autoimmunity kidney disorders. Her both kidneys were failing. Girl stabilized at about 10pm, and then she returned to her home. She parked her car in the driveway, expecting another disaster at home. Elysia met her on the door and updated her situation. Both Russet and Rishi had passed away, Russet on the tiled floor and Rishi in his room. She first went to Rishi because she was worried about the amount of alcohol her father had made him drink. He lay on the carpet, wearing his shoes. She took off his shoes and socks, eased him, placed a blanked under his head and checked his stomach area; it was red, hard and swollen. His pulse and heart beat were normal and had no fever. There was no immediate danger to him unless any secondary infection sets in. Depending upon, how much liquor her father made him drink he could be worse in the morning because his liver was still processing the liquor. With the help of Elysia she raised him and forced medicines in his mouth and made him drink water in his sleepy state. She put a blanket on him and went to look at her father, he was lying straight on the carpet because Elysia dragged him up there but she didn’t do anything else, fearing his wreath at the next day. He took off his shoes and socks and eased his head on a blanket and put a blanket over him too. She had no pity or sympathy left for her father anymore; many years ago she concluded that he was not a considerate or sympathetic person.
She was very tired, she came to Rishi’s room and tried to sleep on the carpet next to him but carpeted floor was not soft enough. She slept on the bed where Rishi was supposed to sleep. She remembered that Rishi had slept on the concrete slab, in the bitter of cold and next days didn’t even tell her or complain. What good was her home if her friend was not comfortable or welcome in her home?
“Is it my home?” she asked herself, her head shook from side to side.
She knew Rishi will leave her home in the morning, never to return. She cried and fell to sleep at midnight.
Dr. Kiyoshi hugged the pillow imagining Cynthia but then pushed it aside. He remembered his sister’s pet phrase: “I stopped dreaming, dreams are hurtful.”
He liked Cynthia and fell in love with her, but saw a remote chance to have her as his wife. He was an ordinary person and she was a billionaire’s only daughter. And even if she agrees to marry, her father won’t let it happen. Too many constrains, to little chance. She was Caucasian and he was Japanese. Two idiot ascetics, Rishi and Mitsuki were making a futile effort to make it happen.
Neither had he believed if Rishi is not a Buddha nor he disbelieved, or at least Rishi was not pretending to be one. He walked, talked, laughed and joked like an ordinary young man. That was it. But Rishi wanted the things to happen fast, a man who lived in action rather in reaction.