‘No that’s not necessary. But I was wondering if not too inconvenient, I could stop by at your place and we can talk over a cup of delicious masala chai. You know, my body clock is upside down and I am wide awake. Would do me good to take a ride along the lake.’

About an hour or so later, his unpretentious burgundy Chevy Malibu pulls up in front of our house in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. His tall frame stoops down on our relatively low sofa. As we sip on our tea he gives me run down on his visit with our Japanese publishers Shueisha.

‘They love you down there,’ he tells me and also compliments me on the job well done.

‘That brings me to Hong Kong. We are about to conclude an agreement with Sally Aw of Sing Tao Newspaper Group. I would like you to take a trip there at your earliest convenience soon after the holiday rush is over, and help them set up and launch the Chinese edition.’

Hong Kong!!! In The World of Suzie Wong! He tells me in detail about the two principles. Sally Aw and the Playboy’s publisher designate, dynamic Albert Cheng. He shares with me what he has jotted in his notes and gives me Albert Cheng’s direct phone number and asks me I should call him in a day or two and establish initial contact. It all sounds so wonderful that I am absolutely thrilled. But at the same time, I sense in Lee a certain amount of discomfort. Telling me everything in minute detail, almost stretching it, giving me a feeling that there is something else hidden behind all of that nervous energy and that he is somehow having hard time leading up to it.

‘Well, I have taken up enough of your family time on this weekend morning. I better be going.’

‘Not at all, we are delighted to have you in our home.’ I say sincerely. Following that he says his goodbye to Carolyn and thanking her for tea and probably pats Anjuli on the head and prepares to leave.

‘There is something else…’

‘Yes?’

‘Come on out with me. There is something I want to show you.  A bit confused and a bit curious, I follow him to his car. He opens the trunk to the car and lifts out of it what looks like a framed painting. He shows it to me. It’s a water color of an Indian temple perched atop a steep hill, with the stone stairs leading up. He rests is against the open door of the trunk and lifts up two more paintings. One that of an Indian village iron smith working on his anvil right outside of his thatched hut and another one, a bit modern-ish of a woman with an infant raised up above her head.

‘They are beautiful.’ I say. Thinking he is showing them to me because of their origin.

‘I acquired them when growing up in India. As you already know, my father was in diplomatic service in Delhi. I just love them. Makes me nostalgic about the times I spent in your beautiful country.’ The way he stares at them with such fondness demonstrates one of those rare emotional moments of his otherwise stoic demeanor.

Still not getting why he is showing them to me, I wait.

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