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The Appearance day of Radharani was two days later. Like on all holidays, a joyous mood reigned all over the house and anticipation of something magical. A great feast was prepared under Milita's supervision. The neighbors, too, were licking their fingers after eating it. Milita, pleased, was watching how Pintu and his sisters were devouring the crepes with jam, sweet somosas, and other delicacies and saying, “Dear Mother Radharani, we made so many preparations for you. Please taste them through Your devotees. You, like our mother, feed us and protect us. Please accept our humble offering.” Nrisimha, running between the kitchen and the dining room and serving the prasad kept on repeating, “May our Mother be pleased with Her servants.” Stuffed Sergey and Bhima were sitting out on the balcony and admiring the lotuses.
"I never thought vaishnavas were such experts in preparing the most delicious food," Sergey hiccuped and spoke. "Why do you have the custom to feed your guests until they are stuffed to the brim?"
"We only eat like this on holidays and Sundays," Bhima patted his belly. "Just imagine: to eat very simply the whole life... But we are not recluses. We must satisfy our senses somehow. So, we satisfy them once a week.'
"And on holidays," Sergey added.
"And on holidays! Here is Sura coming over to satisfy her senses in a civilized way. With prasad!"
Sura passed another puddle, raised her head and mooed. Milita immediately appeared on the balcony.
"I'm coming. I'm coming! And where are our cats?"
Apparently, cats didn't interest Sura at the moment. She mooed again and began dancing, shuffling her legs. Milita blew her a kiss and went downstairs. Sergey and Bhima saw how Sura eagerly lowered her head into a large bucket and began to smack. Immediately, as if upon a command, Tina and Bala showed up. Tina approached the bucket which Sura was eating from, got up on her rear legs, and tried looking inside.
"Bhima, please tell Nrisimha to take some prasad out for these sweet kitties."
Tina confirmed Milita's words with the pleading, “Meow, ma-ma.” Nrisimha brought out two banana leaves with prasad. The cats orderly sat down, paused as if chanting a mantra before eating, and then began to feed.
"Mom, may I go see Amit today?" Nrisimha asked.
"His train arrives at eight."
"I asked you not to leave the house after seven."
"But Amit is coming. Nothing will happen to me."
"You can't be going alone."
"I'll go with him," Sergey spoke from the balcony. "Nrisimha, will you take me as your bodyguard?"
"I will," Nrisimha jovially exclaimed. He was always happy to talk to Sergey. Especially when there was no one else around. He could ask all sorts of questions. And get fascinating answers.
A gentle voice announced, first in English, then in Odiya, that the train from Delhi was forty minutes late.
"Let's see what's new at the bookstand," Nrisimha suggested.
Sergey and Nrisimha went to the station kiosk.
"I always come here. At times, you can get some interesting reads here. Books on Vastu, Ayurveda, stories from the Puranas in pictures. This is the best bookstand in Puri."
Books for every taste were sold there: mystery novels, magazines, comic books, thick books on Upavedas and slim books with stories from the Vedas.
"Nrisimha, how are you?" someone spoke arrogantly in broken Russian.
"I'm fine," Nrisimha answered.
A thin man of about twenty-five was standing by the kiosk, along with a plump woman wearing lots of gold jewelry.
"Is this your friend?"
"My uncle, mom's brother."
"It's nice to meet you," the man extended his hand for a shake. "Shriman. How long since you came from Russia?"
"A few months."
"How is it in Russia? Cold as always?" The man asked in a fake and mawkish manner, apparently pleased with his own joke.
The woman admiringly looked at her companion and dragged him towards the station exit. At least a dozen golden bangles on her arms also admiringly tinkled and stopped.
"I'm sorry, but we're in a hurry. Our best regards to your parents."
"Who is that?" Sergey asked, looking at the couple walking away.
"Dalai the liar and probably his wife," Nrisimha explained.
"Quite eccentric, isn't he. Where did he learn how to dress like this?"
With a pair of nice grey pants, a blue shirt with rolled-up sleeves, a dark-purple tie, along with tennis shoes, a baseball hat, and sunglasses, after eight in the evening, he sure looked like he had an outside-the-box fashion sense.
"I met him at a practice. His name is Dalai, not Shriman. He introduced himself as the son of the head panda, or priest, of the Jagannatha temple. He said he'd studied in Russia. At the Moscow State University.
Sergey pshawed, "Nobody dresses like that at the Moscow State, for sure."
"You should have heard the stories he told us!" Nrisimha continued. "That he first studied in Delhi and Cuttack. And that he was transferred to Moscow as the best student. And he's so wealthy and so smart. He introduced us to his brother. And, for some reason, asked us not to talk to him alone. But when Dalai went to Calcutta for a couple of weeks, the truth came to surface. He is not a panda. He was in Moscow, but he didn't go to Moscow State. He's just a liar. He lied to everyone in Moscow too: to Indian students and to vaishnavas. I am the son of the head panda of the Jagannatha temple!"