Murari maneuvered himself out of maze of chairs and human legs, adjusted his bulging belly by tightening of the worn out suede leather belt and winked at Khanna. He could foresee an evening of free expensive liquor and meals. It would be scheduled shortly, if he played his role with patience and right inducements to the various actors involved. Khanna seemed excited about meeting the girl. But first, he must judge how the Danish girl will respond. Being aware of many foreigner's penchant for staying focused on some weird set of visit-objectives, he decided to wait and plan a proper role for Khanna. His young friend Bhushan will certainly provide clues and opportunities to spend ample time with her. His father Bhayaji had strong faith in astrologer’s predictions and disapproved of his son mingling with amorous foreign girls.
He approached Bhushan and the girl, sitting on a corner table.
' Hello madam! Welcome to the Pink City?'Murari smiled and bowed elegantly, his best act to melt away white suspicion, arrogance and open closed doors. He never failed. The girl shifted her large blue eyes to him from the group of deaf and dumb boys and girls, communicating animatedly in sign language. They could be discussing the latest romantic movie showing in the nearby cinema.
'Oh uncle, please have a seat. Pat, meet Mr. Murari the famous story teller of Pink City.'
They have decided , how Bhushan will introduce him to foreigners. Murari's English involved speking- great, you are beautiful, yes, that’s right, you are right, excellent, oh no, its not like that, I don’t agree and similar rudimentary expressions of agreement, appreciation and disapproval. Here Bhushan's impeccable public school English helped Murari to communicate with English speaking foreigners. Bhushan will translate and communicate with his customers, who longed to know the Pink City, beyond lousy brochures, hurried and ill-informed, crafty tourist guides. Customers with impressive shopping list, demanded Bhushan’s presence on sight seeing, or he will depute one of his able assistant’s to translate Murari's impressive monologues to bewildered foreigners.
'How was the coffee?' Murari kept smiling and surveyed her closely, trying to read her.
'It was good, thank you.' She looked up and shook Murari's extended hands.
'You are welcome.' Murari sat down.
'Are you a writer?' Pat enquired.
' No! I hate to waste ink and precious paper, so I have decided to tell stories instead. I must have saved hundreds if not thousands of trees.' Murari said with an air of a seasoned savior of the earth, enough to put a hardened eco activist to an instant disgrace. An amused Bhushan decided to translate his pompous dialogue, verbatim to an expectant Pat.
' Oh, that’s is a wonderful thought.' Pat sounded curiously pleased, trying to judge and place him.
Bhushan smiled indulgently, he was amazed at Murari's hidden repertoire of hereto-unknown nuggets of wisdom, a very economical proposition for him indeed.
' Murray..I mean your name? . I mean, what did you say Bush?' Pat tried hard to decipher his name.
' Never mind, call me More.' Murari sat on a chair near Pat, noticing her shapely legs only few inches away.
‘OK! Did you say more or Moore?'
‘Fine. You call me Moore.' Murari was pleased at expected easy goings.
'Moore, wow, that sounds familiar.'
'Is it? That’s good for me indeed! But please lets not talk about sculptures of Henry Moore, right now. He deserves a separate dedicated discussion in an appropriately artistic environment and I am quite sure, you did not mean Roger Moore, the James Bond?'
Bhushan could see Pat’s hereto-hesitant expression turned comfortable as she nodded appreciatively at Murari.
She nodded in cheerful agreement.
“Oh sure, you are quite right Mr. Moore.”
Murari suddenly felt pangs of hunger turning wild. The strong aroma of steaming hot dosas being carried away to the nearby cabin hit his bulbous nose hard. Presence of a fat pursed Bhushan, encouraged him to announce his intentions. Bhushan always paid bills with out signs of, at least any visible annoyance. Even if Bhushan dared to show any discomfort, Murari was tactful enough to ignore miserly signals of a rich boy, with the deserved contempt.
'Son, I will have a double mutton dosa, and madam what would you like to have? I suggest you must taste mutton dosa, its delicious. And what about you, Bhushan?'
Pat mumbled something about the not taking any spicy Indian food. Murari assured her of his old friendship with the head cook that can manage to arrange a special light spiced one, just right for her delicate Scandinavian palate. An indecisive Pat looked impressed. He didn’t waste time and signaled a hovering waiter and shot crisp instructions about light spiced dosa for the guest and usual spicy variety for him, served twice along with the coffee for all. The waiter stood still and eyed him with his usual suspicious direct gaze, until a discreet node from Bhushan made him assured of the payment. That immediately broke his stillness; briskly he wiped the table with a damp cloth, deposited glasses of cool water and proceeded towards the counter, swiftly. Murari artfully avoided the clinching exchanges of uncertainty and assurance between Bhushan and the stupid waiter and turned to face Pat. She was once again looking at the deaf and dumb young pairs, silently laughing heartily, enjoying, their eyes filled with happiness .A girl looked too coy, may be on her first visit with her first boyfriend.
'In Hindi, More means a Peacock.' Bhushan tried to pick up the thread of conversation, back.
'Oh really a Peacock! Are you one?' Pat laughed loudly and turned towards Murari.
Khanna could hear her laugh, sitting expectantly on the edge of his chair, desperately waiting for signal from Murari to join. He felt jealous watching Murari with the gorgeous girl, wondering what they were talking? He tried to concentrate and recollect some thing interesting to tell the foreigner. But he knew he was no match for Murari in storytelling and history knowledge. It suddenly occurred to him, that Murari was capable of forgetting him all together and can offer numerous reasons for it, with a practiced and deceptive deadpan. Khanna could feel an impending gloomy scenario-may he was stupid enough to not to offer him the coffee, he wanted so badly. He cursed himself profusely, and decided to be much wiser in the future.
He becomes aware of his awkward posture, which must have been surely noticed by his foes. He slowly made himself comfortable; hoping non has noticed it. He smiled at Jain, who was looking at him in a rather strange way. May be the old man disapproved his childish eagerness to meet the white girl. And if Jain decides to be inquisitive, he better be ready with a reasonable explanation. He scanned the list of various viable reasons of meeting this gorgeous girl, and bingo- he got it fast and a very conveniently suitable explanation for the obtrusive old man. He smiled broadly, got up and went to the public telephone near the main entrance.
'And madam its another name of Lord Krishna.' Murari felt good and settled in the cushioned chair. Bhushan looked happy at his expert and seamless introduction to a sophisticated Pat.
'You mean... Lord Krishna, the god with those... numerous heavenly consorts?'
'Well.... I suspect this scoundrel must have told you some thing naughty about me. Yes, you are right. But please correct your self; those consorts were quite real earthy nubile girls of the Brij and not some imaginative stuff drawn by a painter.' Bhushan eyed him for a moment and communicated with out editing.
“Oh, I see. I stand corrected, thanks a lot. Can you tell me how many real earthy consorts you have?' Pat laughed and looked at smiling Bhushan.
'Only one old wrinkled lady.' Murari made a sad face, Bhushan laughed and did his job.
Bhushan had to leave to attend some new business developments. He drew Murari aside and has discreetly slipped few notes of five hundred-rupee in his hand and left Pat in his care. He informed that he must drop her in the hotel whenever she feels going there. But not later than 11PM, and he has to keep Bhushan informed discreetly on the cell phone, if there is any change in the plan. Nothing must be done with out informing him. Her comfort and care were supposed to be his responsibility in India.
Murari hurriedly introduced a nervous Khanna to suspicious Bhushan as an intellectual who would volunteer to help him communicate with Pat and would translate expertly. Bhushan cautioned him about Pat being very important and a sophisticated guest. Murari assured him to leave these worries to him and attend to his business.
Khanna looked at Pat with profound erotic interest as smell of her light perfume made his head foggy. Those erotic images she had revived some time ago kept on flooding back and hit his brains hard. He has been listening carefully to the Murari’s seemingly unending strange tales and translating to a curious and receptive Pat. Who was visibly engrossed and seem to enjoy what ever he was translating. After some time Khanna felt assured enough to be adventurous by adding his own interpretations to various questions Pat asked about certain enfolding historical facts. The result was mixed one, some times it went un noticed and on few occasions Pat was so curious about certain aspects, he had no option left but to take help of Murari to extricate himself safely from a deep trouble. An amused Murari obliged heartily looking forward to reap rich harvest in future. He decided to over look Khanna’s blatant attempts to hold him responsible for his own crazy and wild interpretations of known historical facts and events. Murari knew Khanna would have to pay back with out grumbling, for a long time to come.
Khanna was surprised to know that Pat was here to collect research material for her doctoral thesis on “Hindu Temples and Rituals” and it was her third visit to India in last five years all devoted to her mysterious fascination. He was intrigued by such a boring venture of a gorgeous lady and wondered whether she would be interested in the Erotic Art of Ancient India. But that might be risky as Murari held all strings in the show and he might ridicule and veto the subject and his attempts to get intimate with her. He was once again forced to envy the pompous bastard. Her fascination with such bland and boring subject made her more intimidating.