Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Saturday, April 09

Rishi woke up early in the morning, to prepare for his flight. He took bath, brushed and shaved. He packed his backpack with two sets of all clothes and a night suite, chapels, shaving kit, toothbrush and toothpaste, a tiny sewing kit, a loincloth that he used as towel, etc. He always traveled with a small medicine kit, containing antibiotics, painkillers, antiseptics, antipyretic etc. He checked that kit and made a mental note of the missing medicines and packed it in the side pocket of his backpack. In other side pocket he inserted a paperback that he bought from a used book store. He removed all dollars from his pillowcase, except one he put all dollars in a sock, hung it inside of his pants and stapled it twice. He also packed little glycerin bottle containing eel’s blood.
Cynthia called him.
“Hello Rishi.”
“Hello Cynthia, how are you?”
“I am fine, just called to make sure all is well.”
“All is well, I am packing up.”
“Don’t forget to pack your passport and the printout of e-ticket.”
“Thanks for reminding me, Cynthia.”
“And listen, it is a bit cold here, I bought a light jacket for you, but also bring some sweater etc, just incase we are late.”
“Who is this ‘We’?”
She giggled, “I and Ryan, who else?”
“How is Ryan, Cynthia?”
“Poor Ryan, he is gone to Sacramento, his friend had an accident, he is dying.”
“Sorry to know about that, Cynthia.”
“Thank you very much, Rishi.”
“How is the weather in San Francisco?”
“Weather is fine, bit cold. You did any new Circus Rishi?”
“That, my friends can you better than I, because I never do any Circus.”
“For that you must ask my friends.”
She was giggling.
Rishi said, “Let me know if you want anything from here? It is last call.”
“No thanks bring yourself that is enough for me.”
“How are your friends?”
“Larry, Mo and Joe are sleeping, it is weekend, Saturday morning here.”
She laughed.
“It is still Friday evening here. Seven Thirty PM.”
“Say my hello to Dr. Ryan.”
“Sure, Bye Rishi and take care.”
“See you Cynthia. Bye.”
Rishi inserted his e-ticket and passport in the front pocket of his backpack and packing was done. He made tea and served it to Kulcha, Fulka and Kulfa who were now awake.

Rishi turned on his laptop to check his emails. He replied to some of his friend. He arrival time on San Francisco International Airport was at 10.30am Sunday. It was a 36 hours long journey with three stopovers, one in India and other in Singapore and last in Tokyo. Rishi knew that this time Ryan will know for sure that he was made fool. Now Rishi had to stop Ryan from seeing Cynthia at Saturday, the most dangerous day because it was weekend and both Cynthia and Ryan had that day off. Chances of any mishap with Cynthia were maximal.
Rishi gave the matter a long thought, and then he logged into Gmail at Won Chin username. There was no new message at that email. Rishi wrote another email to Ryan and clicked send button. Hoping that, this email, will keep Dr. Ryan busy for whole one day. He took a deep breath and turned off his laptop, packed it in its case and placed it in the closet.


At 9pm in Sacramento, California Dr Ryan was back on the highway to San Francisco. This time he knew he was made fool, not once but twice, but by whom? He suspected Bill because Nancy was not very intelligent. He knew much about women character, they were emotion driven, it was not the job of a woman but someone very intelligent person, who knew exactly what, will happen next. Either it was Bill Murphy or it was someone who knew how a human mind worked. It was Bill, he was playing a game, or he leaked this thing to a third party. He can not bypass Bill, because he knew the whole game. He felt little relief that he was made fool, there was no such government database existed where his name was in HIV positive list. He cursed himself, he knew it very well that neither anyone asked for his identification, not he voluntarily handed his identification at the AIDS testing facility. He went there as anonymous, was anonymous, is anonymous, will remain anonymous.
To sooth his nerves he had to take cocaine twice on the highway service centers, he arrived at his home. A girl called, she wanted to come over, but he shouted her to scram.
Upon arrival, he checked his email. There was an email from Won Chin.

Subject: Fresno 2pm. April 9th, Tomorrow.
To: Ryan Wilkins
From: Won Chin
Dear Ryan Wilkins,
I will come straight to the point, I know everything.
All I want is a small piece of pie.
It was necessary for me to observe your inclination to resolve this matter. You have demonstrated your seriousness by making two trips to Sacramento. Believe me, I am also offering you my valuable help, without which you will not be able to pull it by yourself. I will be earning my piece of pie.

See me in Fresno tomorrow, Saturday 9th April at 2pm, follow the exit of Big Farmer’s market, stand there at the entrance and I will find you. I assure you that you will be thanking me for the help I will be offering you. Till then do not take any action, it must be a coordinated effort.

Sincerely, xyz

Ryan was confused, he did not know weather to celebrate or weep. That official email was a scam too. It was definitely Bill Murphy; Nancy was not able to pull a sting of this magnitude. Bill was playing a game but wants to stay hidden in the background. He knows more about laws and is not taking any chance. Good for him and good for me. Let’s see who he will be sending to see me in Fresno. I will play along if the price is reasonable. Of-course it must be reasonable, he only asked a piece of pie. No problem, we will raise our rate to Russet Frazier.
He replied to Won Chin’s email, confirming his intention and told him that tomorrow he will be at Fresno Big Farmer’s market at sharp 2pm.
There were other email from seven girls, and one from Cynthia, he replied the girls first and then opened Cynthia’s email. She was very worried about him, expressed his sympathies and wished his friend will recover. She wrote: she was not calling him in the anticipation that he may wants to deal with his sorrow alone. She requested him to call her anytime without hesitation.
He wrote her back that his friend in Sacramento hospital has died of his injuries, funeral will take place tomorrow, Saturday at 2pm. He will be going there. He promised to see her at Sunday morning, at the time to pick up Rishi.


Rishi said, hanging his backpack at his shoulders, “Let’s go.”
“You are going to USA only with a small backpack,” Kulfa said, “You need more stuff.”
“Am I a donkey?” Rishi said.
They laughed.
All four sat in Kulfa’s car. Rishi asked him to stop at a medical store; there he bought medicines those he was missing in his medical kit. At other store he bought small toothpaste and a pack of sniffing snuff.
“What is this snuff for?” Kulcha asked, inspecting the packet.
“Tear it a little and sniff it,” Rishi said.
Kulcha was tearing the snuff packet, their car hit a bump, and he spilled it over Rishi and himself. They all were sneezing uncontrollable; Kulfa had to stop the car, they shook off snuff from their clothes and seats. From a store, Rishi brought an empty polythene bag; he repacked the snuff in it and put it in his backpack. He was getting late, Kulfa again drove the car, and they were sneezing all the way.
At the airport, Rishi changed into other shirt, put toothpaste, tooth brush and paperback in his pant’s pockets, passport in the shirt pocket. He checked in his backpack, took the boarding pass and waved them farewell. He walked in the boarding lounge, sat on a chair in wait for the gate to open, both passengers sitting at his both sides begun sneezing he went to the restroom, he took off all of his clothes and shook them all to get rid of snuff. He himself was sneezing.
Rishi was given window seat through out the flight, when he sat on his seat in the airplane, passenger sitting on the next seat begun sneezing. Rishi couldn’t do anything about it but wait till the smell of snuff dies out by itself, or that’s what he was hoping to happen and it happened.
He read his paperback, had two beers, after they served lunch he slept for three hours and then he was woken up to wear his seatbelts, they were landing in Singapore.
In Singapore, his next connection to Tokyo was after six hours. In a bathroom he brushed his teeth and washed his face. He lost track of time, he only relied on Airport clock to know the time, walked around on the airport and duty-free shopping arcades.


Russet Frazier arrived at 2am, sound of helicopter woke up Cynthia, she was able to go back to sleep at 5am. Ryan’s friend was dying; there was nothing she could do. She was upset and very sympathetic to him. She wished, he were there with her, she could have made him comfortable in her arms. Since his friend had accident, Ryan’s face has changed; his charm has been squeezed out of it. She loved him and wished she could do something for him, just something.
She woke up at 8am, jogged at the beach and sat quietly on the deck of her home for half hour, listening to birds, mostly seagulls and feeling cool air. Two sea lions were playing in the calm Pacific Ocean.
She always wondered what lies behind redwood trees on the hills that formed a natural boundary of their estate. She lived in that home for last eight year but first time she decided to explore the area, she was still wearing her jogging sneakers, she walked to the trees, signs were nailed to the trees: Private property. No trespassing or hunting. Trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extant of the law. She was not sure if it was their property but anyway she walked in the redwood forest. Noise of beetles and birds welcomed her.
She sat on a clearing, closed her eyes, was regretting not bringing of beach towel to lie upon and heard the nature and felt the air, heard the rustling of the leaves. She was feeling the fall of needles like leaves upon her bare arms, face and neck. Air was filled with juniper aroma; butterflies were hovering on the wild flowers. She wondered she was always living at the edge of heaven but never paid any attention.
She was distracted by the cry of the birds, she looked around. A sparrow was hovering over a small baby sparrow that fell from the nest. She looked above; sparrow’s nest was about ten feet high. She lifted the featherless crying baby, ants were biting it. She gently removed the ants. She remembered she saw some water in the puddle; she took the baby there and gave it a bath, made it drink water but dripping it with her finger, into its beak. Sparrow was following her. She returned to the place where she lifted the baby bird. She took off her shoes, put the baby in the pocket of her tee-shirt, climbed over the tree, luckily it was an easy climb and placed the baby in the nest. Mother sparrow instantly took hold of the baby and calmed down. Baby was still crying. While getting down she bruised her elbow on the bark, blood was oozing from it. She washed it from the same puddle of water.
She climbed further to the top of hill and watched the scene of the other side. A road passed under her to some more estates. She sat on a patch of a grass.
She called Kulcha’s number to check if all was well, may be Rishi called them from any stopover.
Kulcha picked up the phone. It was 10pm there. There was no news.
“Did I miss any fun, you guy have it all the time.”
“Yes you missed the fun.” Kulcha was laughing, “We all lost two bets because of that book. Coach was making us fool.”
She asked, surprising, “Another Circus?”
“Yeah another Circus. Coach never had that giant book in his pocket.”
“He never had?”
She could feel that speaker was turned on. Now they three were talking to her.
“Guess how many pages were in that book?”
She asked, wondering, “I don’t know, eight hundred, nine hundred….”
“It had three thousand five hundred and eighty four pages.”
She was laughing, waited till she was able to speak again. “I never saw this big paperback, what kind of book was that?”
“We don’t know. Front and last pages are missing.” Fulka said, “We forgot to ask him where he found it. You can ask him and let us know.”
Cynthia giggled, “I will, I won’t be able to sleep without knowing it.”
“Coach never had that book in his pocket?”
“Yeah I hear, you said he pulled it from his pocket.”
“He stapled a pillowcase in his pants; he pulled it out from there.”
She laughed for good two minutes. “I don’t believe it.”
“Yeah, that’s how we lost two bets, we too didn’t believe it. Then he demonstrated to us.”
Laughing was making her ribs paining.
Wiping her tears she wept, “That is so funny.”
“And he is bringing sniffing snuff.”
“What is that?”
“Some thing that makes you sneezes. We spilled it all over us; we were sneezing for one hour till we took another bath and changed clothes. At the check-in counter, everybody around him was sneezing.”
“I am disconnecting the call. It is too much laugh for one day. Bye.”
She laughed and laughed. It was noon, she hadn’t have breakfast. She went down, made a detour to check the sparrow and chick. All was well there; sparrow was calm, sitting on the edge of the nest, guarding her baby.
Her heart was filled with joy.
She sat down and closed her eyes, it happened again.
She was no more but her senses. Noises, sounds and smells of the creation. It lasted for some seconds and her mind and thoughts returned.
She was very happy, it happened, it happed again, it happened in America. Rishi’s magic is still working. Her face was wet with tears of joy.

She was very thirsty. She descended in the woods, to their golf course sized lawn, crossed the helipad and took the stairs of the deck.
Russet was standing in the atrium, watching her, with a cup of coffee in his left hand; his right arm was in the support hanging to his shoulder.
Gaspingly, she asked Filipino maid for a glass of water.
They sat on the sofa.
“Hi daddy, what’s up?”
“Fine, thanks. What you were doing in the woods.”
“I just went there to walk around, hope I didn’t trespass in other’s property.”
“To the edge of the mountain it is our property.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Don’t go there, it is not safe, animals or somebody can hide there.”
“OK.” She said to avoid the argument.
“How is Dr. Ryan?”
“Oh his friend died in a car accident, he has gone to Fresno at his funeral.”
“Tell him, I am sorry to know about it.
“I want to meet his family, ask him to call me. Event Management Company wants the list of all relatives those will be coming at your engagement party. We have only seven days left. About thousand people will be coming including Governor of California to name one.”
“Could we make is simple.”
“Honey it is too late now,” he said touching her face with love.
She was not feeling happy, she hated crowd and show of the wealth, especially now.
He said, “Make a list of all people you want to invite, including your Buddhist center buddies. We will arrange two buses to bring them here.”
“I will talk about it with Mitsuki.”
“At the ceremony we will announce one million dollar donation to them.”
She stayed quiet.
“Cynthia, you should be happy?”
“Daddy, can I bring a guest in our home for some days?”
“You don’t have to ask me, it is your own home.”
“Even if that guest is Rishi?” she said, looking at his face to know his reaction.
Russet closed her eyes, resting his neck on the sofa, he asked, “When is he coming?”
“I and Ryan will be picking him up from the airport, tomorrow.”
It was a blunt shock to Russet Frazier. He never expected to see Rishi in his home. But it was happening. He was not able to express his displeasure to his only daughter’s desire who always desired little. She was more of an ascetic than a billionaire’s daughter?
He thought about it, he has a score to settle with Rishi, a bill to pay. Let him come here, it is better to know your enemy. This time game will be played on his turf, with his terms, under his roof. Let him come. He is a man of men, a worthy enemy who dares to make his way here under a Russet Frazier – a billionaire’s roof. He loved challenges. LaserGear challenge had ended but a new challenge was beginning from tomorrow. Let the fun start.
He wants to play I will play.
He said, “Your all guests are welcome here in your own home, even if that guest is Rishi.”
Cynthia kissed her father, she was very excited, she was clapping her hands and stomping her feet like a small kid.
“Can I put him in the guest room?”
Guest rooms were on the ground floor, facing the swimming pool.
She kissed her father again, when she was rising he noticed her bruise.
“What happened at your elbow?”
“It is just a bruise, a scratch from a tree.”
“Don’t ever go there.”


Ryan fell to sleep at 2am and woke up at 10am. He was feeling tired, broken and beaten, felt insects crawling under his skin. He took a dose of cocaine, the last one he had in the vial. He decided not to buy more, because he was beginning to become addicted. Cocaine brought joy back to his mind.
He checked his email, some girls, but none from the Won Chin alias of Bill or whomsoever, he will know it for sure. Suddenly he remembered, he was not taking antibiotics, he took a caplet with a cookie and placed coffee pot on the machine. It was weekend, highways would be empty, Fresno was about two and hour journey and then he was to locate Big Farmer’s Market as email said: follow the exit of ‘Big Farmer’s Market’. He checked the Google map and noted the directions; route was same as to Sacramento till Tracy. He remembered, once Bill was telling him that his father has a vacation home around Don Pedro Lake, so it is definitely Bill, playing games, he wants to participate but hidden. Good. But there was not sense in making him go to Sacrament for no cause. He almost gave him heart attack, in just the age of thirty-four.
He left home at 11.30am, took the interstate, begun his journey to Fresno, he was going there first time.
On the way he called Cynthia, she replied instantly, was worried for him. He told her again that his friend has died and was going on his funeral in Fresno. She expressed her sorrow, advised him to drive carefully, and let her know as he returns. Then another girl called, she wanted to spend night with him, then another. Then he called two girls, smoking two marijuana cigarettes. He called Bill told him about his two trips to Sacramento, Bill pretended that he too was confused, he again advised him to cut the drugs, that he was using too many drugs and too much cocaine. OK, he told Bill that he has decided to quit cocaine and turned off his cell-phone.
He noticed he was near Sacramento; he missed the exit to Fresno at Tracy. He was cursing, took the next exit but it did not offer an easy U turn. After making many turns he was back on the highway to the San Francisco direction. He lost one hour, it was 1.30pm. At Tracy, he tried to stay alert and took the highway to Fresno. Around 2.30pm he was in Fresno city limits, looking at the signs of Big Farmer’s Market. In twelve miles he did not find any sign of Big Farmer’s Market. He went another three miles and made a U-turn, thinking, maybe the signs were on the northbound lanes. In anther twenty miles, still there were no signs. He made another U-turn, insects were crawling under his skin, severe tinnitus begun in his ears, ringing, buzzing and humming. He was having a severe headache, a feeling throbbing in his arteries and flushes of heat in his stomach region. He took the exit of city center, stopped at a Seven Eleven store and bought three Gatorades and drank them one by one. It was 3pm now. He asked people about Big Farmer’s Market, there were many farmer markets, many big ones and many small ones. They asked the complete address that he never had. He bought the map and drove around, went to Tourist office and travel agencies, nobody had any idea is a Big Farmer’s Market exists, yes there were several, many were big. Most were in the suburbs or by the farming area.
At 6.30pm he gave up. Except for one cookie, he had not eaten anything for the whole day, neither he was hungry. He had fever, was sick with peppery sensation in the mouth. He badly needed cocaine but did know where to buy it in Fresno.

He took the highway back to San Francisco, drove at eighty miles; traffic was backed up at bay bridge, arrived in the downtown at 9.30pm. Stopped his car at ATM, he had some money from his paycheck, left in his account, that was for rent, utility and telephone bills. He withdrew five hundred dollars from two machines, called his source and bought cocaine. Parked his car in a deserted parking lot and took a dose of cocaine, in his car and all was normal again. He went to McDonald and ate a grilled chicken sandwich.


Ryan called; he was on the way to Fresno, to attend his friend’s funeral. Cynthia ate lunch at home, bought a bouquet of flower and went to the cemetery, at her mother’s grave. At the path that led to the grave, she stopped and looked around. White crosses, neatly arranged in the green grass, she felt it tasteless. It only reminded her of a person she saw in India, with vary large white teeth, his mouth was mostly teeth. She laughed. She wanted to turn back from there but looked at the bouquet, to dispose it off at the destination she had in her mind, she walked to the grave, placed it, looked around again, at the same tasteless scenario, she returned to her car.
She sat inside the car, and thought it over. Things were not the same, her sorrow was not there, she visited here mother’s grave hundreds of times but this time she was not same. She looked around one last time, only a patch of trees at the end of graveyard offered some relief. Her mother was gone, the cycle of life and death. She will be gone too one day. She happened on the earth, she felt lucky for her happening and witnessing the splendor of creation.
When she was reversing the car from the parking spot, she knew she will never be coming here to visit her mother’s grave. There was no sense.

She stopped her car and had a cup of cappuccino in a cafeteria, sitting by the window she watched the world getting by. Most people were moving like robots, looking down instead of looking at front. She felt something is going on in everybody’s mind. Every person is watching a cinema where he or she is the star. Everybody has people living inside his or her head; people are making enormous efforts only to prove to only those people who were dwelling in each mind. She was feeling it all.
She felt cappuccino working on her body, she felt she had the urge to move her legs and arms, felt the hyperactivity it was causing her. She was feeling to clench her teeth. She rose and sat in the car and drove away with open window. She felt the air, she gradually felt the diminishing the effect of caffeine.

At 4pm she arrived at the Buddhist center. Parked her Mercedes, walked to the garden and sat cross-legged on a flat bench, watched the monks moving around, busy doing daily choruses and errands. Occasionally a visitor walked around. One monk brought her a bowl full of unsweetened herbal tea, it was cold but she took her time to drink it, sipping it feeling the taste, felt the liquid descending through her throat. She joined her hands, each hand felt the warmth of other. She closed her eyes and did not know when she fell into Vipassana Meditation.
Suddenly her body shivered, she felt a shock, like a rock fell down in a placid lake, and she woke up from the meditation. It was Mitsuki who tapped her on the shoulder. Everything was looking brighter and his orange monk’s cloak was very oppressive, she closed her eyes with her both hands and opened them gradually.
“I am so sorry,” he begged.
“Oh no Mitsuki, please sit here.”
He sat on the bench in silence.
She wanted to tell him about her experience in the woods but decided against it. She was felt something was running in his mind.
“Mitsuki, is there everything all-right?”
“Yes, everything is all-right, why?”
Embarrassingly she said, “I just asked, anyway, it was always you who asked me.”
They laughed.
He shouted to a passing monk, “Please bring us green tea with ginseng, full hot.”
They sat in silence for ten minutes; Monk brought tea in a kettle and two cup.
Monk said, before leaving, “Be careful, it is boiling hot.”
Mitsuki poured tea in two cups and they sipped in silence, then another cup and then leftover.
Cynthia was feeling Mitsuki had something in his mind, he was in conflict with himself to tell to Cynthia or not. He was an ascetic; his lifestyle did not allow him to hide things. Matter was a grave concern to him and Cynthia was involved in it or was the cause of it. Finally he decided to tell her what was in her mind.
“Dear Cynthia, I want to tell you something. I was fighting with myself to tell it or not.”
“Please Mitsuki, fell free to say anything.”
“Rishi is coming tomorrow at 10.30am at SFO. I want to go to the airport.”
“That is OK; we will pick you up from here.”
“It is about my vision. I want to be there alone without my monk clothes.”
“Mitsuki, Rishi is a simple person, a very much man like I and you but even simpler. Unfortunately I made it look like he is greater than life size.”
“That is not the point Cynthia. I want to be there discreetly.”
“Tell me what you want us to do Mitsuki? I will do it your way.”
“Tomorrow, I will be making a pilgrimage to SFO. It is fifteen miles from here; I have decided to walk all the way, I have figured out the local streets.”
“Mitsuki, if it is your decision, I respect it.”
“I want you to arrive late there, say at 11.30. If it is in my fate, Buddha finds me at the airport and gives me water; I will be prepared to meet him without any influence including yours. If you are there, you know him, you will find him first and then magic will not happen.”
She said, patting his hand, “I will stay in parking lot. You call me on my cell-phone, only then I will walk in the International Arrival Terminal.”
“But I won’t be carrying my cell-phone. I want to avoid all distractions.”
“You can switch if off, turn it when you have to make a call.”
“No, I will be there as it was in the old days, without a cell-phone.”
“But this Buddha carries a cell-phone. OK, you call me from any pay phone.”
“I have decided not to carry any money.”
Cynthia was feeling pity on the innocence monk, but he was very dear to her.
She said, “Mitsuki, you can ask someone to use his or her cell-phone. I promise I will wait for your call.”
Mitsuki smiled at her solution. He liked it, loved it and accepted it.
“I will beg people to let me make a phone call, we monks are supposed to beg. This settles my problem.”
“Mitsuki you have reminded me to buy a prepaid cell-phone for Rishi, I will stop by at the Wal-Mart.”
It was getting dark. One by one light were being switched on.
To convince Mitsuki that Rishi was an ordinary person, she told him Rishi’s new dramas about book in the pillowcase and about sniffing snuff. They had a hearty laugh but still he was considered Rishi, larger than life-size.
Cynthia left Buddhist Center at 8pm. On the way to her home, she stopped at Wal-Mart, bought a prepaid phone for Rishi, charged it with five hundred dollars,
Her next stop was ATM machine, she withdrew five hundred dollars, in case Rishi needs them and or accepts them.


Ryan arrived at his home at 11pm. He took another dose of cocaine; there were no further emails from Won Chin or whosoever. Someone played a cruel game with him, cruel joke, some sadist and some one very mischievous? It was not Bill Murphy, cannot be him. Probably some boy friend of Nancy, it must be she. Probably she suspected the whole game from the beginning, he misinformed her that Cynthia was HIV positive. But she anticipated his exact game and she know it is he-himself, is HIV positive. He wants to cash-up his misery, planning to pass his disease to Cynthia, and then divorcing her on the grounds that she passed him the disease and lots of money will be coming.
Nancy was not calling him, she was suppose to be in love with him, he promised her to marry her after his plan concludes but she never even made one intimate call. Then he remembered, he used condom there and she was wondering. Yes it is Nancy, taking her revenge, with the help of someone, her drug buddy or some boyfriend.
How stupid I am. How stupid I am. How stupid I am. How stupid I am. How stupid I am.
To stop his chanting he slapped himself, went to bath, checked his fever with thermometer, it was 100F. He took a double strength Tylenol with a cookie and tried to sleep.


In the last changeover in Tokyo, a young Japanese lady sat next to him.
She asked, sniffing him closely, “What kind of perfume are you wearing?”
“You like it?”
She replied, nodding, “Yeah, it is very good.”
“It is my smell.”
She said, laughing and shaking her head side to side, “No, it can’t be.”
“I was joking,” Rishi said, “In San Francisco, you can have it for free. It is in my checked baggage.”
“Really,” she said, showing excitement, “Thanks.”
“How big is the bottle you got?”
“It is not a bottle, it is powder,” Rishi said, “We will split up the contents.”
“Like talcum powder.”
“You can say that, but only thicker and black colored,” Rishi said, “In the beginning it may feel awkward but after twenty four hours ….. You must smell me again.”
She giggled, “After twenty four hours! You are kidding?”
“I am not.”
She laughed again. “My name is Rarisa.”
“If I tell you that my name is Rishi ……”
“No, you are making it up.”
Rishi showed her his passport; she saw his name in amazement.
They became friends and started chatting.
Rishi had two beers, Rarisa had two wines, and she became vary talkative. She was a devout Buddhist. When stewardess came, Rishi asked for another beer and she asked for another wine, after that she fell to sleep and slid in Rishi’s lap. Rishi made all the effort to make her comfortable. Captain announced that they were at date change line, it was morning, blue Pacific Ocean was shining in the morning sun.

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