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"Hey there! Where's Bhima?" A young man wearing fairly simple clothes sat in a seat next to Sergey. Sergey noted to himself that it was inappropriate even for pilgrims to dress that humbly.
"Bhima is talking to friends in the other cabin."
"Oh ok. I'll wait for him here if you don't mind."
Sergey shrugged, "As you like," and continued looking out the window. He didn't want to talk to the stranger. Staring at puffy clouds in the sun rays was a lot more exciting.
"Are you a friend of his?" The man touched Sergey's elbow with his elbow.
The latter turned towards him and said with no enthusiasm, "A friend."
"Lucky you. And lucky me. I'm his friend too. So, you and I are friends then. Are you with a group?" The stranger seemed affable and radiated simplicity.
"And I, alas, am not with the group. Going to Vrindavan for two weeks only. I have lots to do back in Moscow." The man sat back and relaxed." It's nice in Vrindavan this time of year! Is it your first time going to India?"
"First." Sergey's face continued to show no emotion.
"You'll make so many new and exciting memories! Usually, everyone is worried. Everything is different in India. Yes. Vrindavan is a splendid place. And there now so many Russian speakers there - the third largest population. You walk on the street... And, as the saying goes, 'everyone's name is Sergey.' Oh! We haven't introduced ourselves! I'm Alex!"
Alex burst into a peal of laughter. "Sergey. You didn't get offended, did you? It's true, though, in Vrindavan, Russian speakers come third in numbers after the locals and the Bengalis. What's your profession?"
"Physical ed teacher and judo trainer."
Alex carefully studied Sergey's appearance. "You look like it, but not too much. Your intellect is way too high for a physical ed teacher."
"Do you read thoughts?" Sergey cracked a faint smile.
"I feel people. From a distance," Alex sighed. "A part of my job."
"What's your job?"
"I can tell you because you're Bhima's friend. I am an average Russian millionaire. A son of average Russian billionaires." Alex looked at Sergey in anticipation. What would his reaction be?
Sergey smiled softly: "An average Russian millionaire? Strange. Maybe it's not the time yet. But it's written on your face that you are to be an ordinary Russian billionaire."
Alex looked slightly shocked. Then he grabbed his head. "Damn karma! I guess I will have to follow in my parents' footsteps."
"Don't you worry. There is good in evil too." Sergey's smile became more obvious.
"So this means, I won't become a sannyasi anytime soon." Alex lamented.
"Do you want to renounce the world?" Bhima was standing by the seat.
"Bhima!" Bhima and Alex hugged warmly.
"Haven't seen you in forever! Where have you been?" Bhima sat on the armrest.
"Oh! I took your seat. Here you go." Alex hopped up and tried to sit Bhima down.
"Oh, please," Bhima gestured Alex to stay in the seat. "Sergey, meet Alex. Alex is a good friend. A great guy. We distributed scriptures together in Siberia."
"You're too much," Alex's face turned red.
"Alex had told his parents that he was going on vacation to Hawaii. But instead, he joined our group and off to Siberia. But when his parents found out... Tell Sergey what happened!" Bhima winked.
"A grand scandal. But I withstood it. Heroically." Alex raised his arms like Rocky.
"We then told his parents a few things about the Vedas. And we also suggested that they worship Ganesha." Bhima remembered.
"Ugh," Alex recalled something. "Now that they're worshiping him, their business soared, and they opened two more companies."
"Well, you're not doing so bad yourself!" Bhima patted Alex on his back.
"I won't hide it," Alex said warm-heartedly. "I went from owning three companies to owning five companies. Sometimes I also advise my parents. Ganesha is a funny person!"
"Ganesha?" Sergey asked.
Alex, looking like an expert, commented, "One of the rulers of our Universe. He removes obstacles: for some on their spiritual paths, for others – in their business. He helps me in both. The key is to be pious and not to involve in sinful business transactions, like trading petroleum, forests, alcohol. Give to charities. Then, your life and work will be smooth-sailing all the way."
"Look!" Sergey exclaimed.
The plane was flying over the Pamir mountain range. It seemed like one could just put a hand out and touch the peaks. Sergey, his vision sharp, was first to see yogis meditating on the flat top of an enormously high mountain.
"What? Where?" Bhima and Alex looked out the window.
The rest of the passengers followed suit. Gasps on astonishment sounded in the cabin. Whoever had cameras nearby, immediately began taking photos and filming this unusual sighting. The plane approached another mountain. On grass mats, oblivious to cold air and blinding sun, a group of yogis was sitting in a lotus pose. The passengers were able to see their still and peaceful faces and their closed eyes, their hair bundled on tops of their heads and their tree bark clothing.