What did you say your Name was? – A Novel, Chapter 7

Demond and Nanji shook hands with Hari and left the restaurant. Once out on the street they slapped their palms together as they gave themselves a high-five. Demond shouted ‘Yahooo” and took a few dance steps on the street. They had made a commitment but had no idea whether they can produce the cannabis in more quantities. They had to think about buying more land for farming and employing more people, perhaps Demond’s brother Badri could help. With the money Demond was making he could have moved to a better place with his brother and sister. But he had decided against it. It was better not to show off too much to avoid causing suspicion. He was able to send Badri and Abebi to school and hook up a telephone line in their hut. He thought perhaps, if everything works out, he may be able to fulfill his dream of going to America. But there was no guarantee that Hari will keep his word? What if he was trying to raise their hopes and then back off?

In addition to increasing the quantity of the crop there was the logistics of packaging and exporting the stuff abroad.

A couple of months passed by and there was no news from Hari. Demond had left his telephone number with him. He thought he would call Hari if nothing happened for another month.

The phone rang as Demond was leaving for a short trip to Blantyre. Badri took it and called Demond, saying it was from someone with a name that sounded like Hairy. Demond smiled as he took the receiver in his hands.

“Hello Mr. Deemon.” It was Hari.

“Good to hear from you, I was wondering …..” Demond started to say something but was cut short.

“I’d like you to come by again to our restaurant, Mr. Deemon. We need to talk more about our scheme. We can’t do it over phone, you know.”

“Yes, I understand. When do you want us to come by?”

“At your convenience. In a week or so?”

“That’d be great!”

When Demond and Nanji visited the Spice of Life, Hari was waiting for them.

“To my office, please. Are you hungry? Should I get you something? It’ll be on the house.”

Demond and Nanji said they were fine. Hari took them to his office. He stepped out for a while and came in and sat in his chair facing them. Arjun appeared with a plate of Samosas and two cups of tea.

“Well things are coming together, sooner than I expected,” Hari started.

He told them that his brother Ranjan had signed a lease for the restaurant. He said he will arrange for one of them to get the US passport and Visa with work permit for a skilled chef for the restaurant. Demond and Nanji have to decide which one it was going to be. Hari also promised to pay for his passage to New York. Whoever decides to go to New York would smuggle the cannabis buried in packages of spices.

“If you’re careful things will work out. Please remember that if you get in trouble I wouldn’t have anything to do with it.”

“Agreed!”

On their way back Nanji said he wasn’t interested in leaving Malawi. They decided to reduce the maize crop and instead plant more cannabis.

When alone in his hut Demond broke out in a hysterical laughter. He didn’t want to tell this to anyone, yet. He was superstitious that way. “Badri can help Nanji when I am away,” thought Demond. If things work out like he was hoping there was going to be better life for his brother and sister. He didn’t have any hope that he would see his father anymore. At least he was doing better than his father in taking care of the family. No one was staying hungry any more.

He had no idea what lay in his future and he really didn’t care.

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