“Are you going to bring the girl with you?” Hira asked right away.
There was a long silence at the other end.
“I was not planning on it.” Rajiv replied.
“Okay” Hira said after a pause.
“I was going to come over by myself this morning….if that’s okay with you.”
“Come on over, we can talk!” Hire said and put down the phone.
Hira Patel got up slowly. Rubbing his eyes, he dragging himself out of the large wooden chair. His dark brown shirt was tucked inside the khaki rumpled pants, over his protruding belly. The receding hairline made him look much older than his age of 45. Warm air from a small electric heater next to the chair made him sleepy; he did not realize he was dozing off.
He looked out of the window into the deserted parking lot. Then, he checked the the coffee pot next to the reception desk and walked back to the chair.
“It is so chilly outside, and it is not even December yet!” Rajiv said as he pushed open the door and walked in.
“Yes, the winter is coming! How are you, Desai Sahib?”
“I am good, not bad. How is the business?” Rajiv walked over, they shook hands.
“Slow, very slow! Nobody is spending like good old days!”
Rajiv looked around.
“Have a seat,” Hira gestured to the empty wooden chair that Rajiv was already walking towards. “Do you want some coffee? It is freshly made.”
“No, no!” Rajiv replied looking at the big coffee pot with white plastic cups and a sugar jar next to it.
“My wife said she met you this week-end!” Rajiv said, while rubbing his cold hands.
“Yes, I ran into her at the temple, on Sunday.”
“So, you already have met Henna then, right?”
“Yes, she was there with your wife.”
“yes, she is still homesick, slowly adapting to this country.”
“Your wife said that she wanted to pursue studies?” It was more like a question..
“You mean Henna? Yes, she does; but who can afford the tuition in this economy…”
“A lovely young woman. There is something about Gujrati girls, natural beauty!” Hira said admiringly.
“No doubt! Natural beauty.” Rajiv agreed after a pause.
Then, there was an awkward silence for a few seconds. Rajiv tried to drag his chair towards Hira, making a screeching sound in the process. The heavy chair moved only by a few inches.
“So what do you think? Did you give any thought to our discussion from last week?”
“Yes, I have.” Hira replied in a firm tone.
Rajiv waited for Hira to continue, but there was a long pause.
Hira spoke,finally, “Well, she can come over this week-end and I can train her. She needs to learn the American ways, you know. I think she has not left your house since she came from India, so this is going to be a big change.”
“I know, this is not easy for me either. My wife does not even know about it!” Continue reading