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Chapter 22: The Sword and the Lotus

Now my father was in a more embarrassing situation. He said, “He is not dead, I am his father. But he was right when he told me that I would repent. Now I am going to have to answer to the whole town that I am still alive!”

People started coming. Because I was going around the town, everybody saw me and they thought that my father was dead. People started coming to show their sympathy, and when they saw my father sitting in the shop they said, “What is the matter? Who has died? We have seen your boy completely shaved.”

And my father said, “It is all my doing. In anger I cut his hair, knowing perfectly well that he would do something, but this is the last thing.I will never do anything to him again because he is unpredictable.”

He said to me, “You can do one kindness to me - until your hair grows a little, can you come from the back door?”

I said, “You are again asking me to do something against my will. I can come, I can always come my whole life from the back door, but don’t tell me, because I will create some trouble.”

So he said, “It is okay, don’t come from the back door. Let me face the town. Anyway you have already moved around the town. Everybody knows - people are coming to sympathize and they find me alive. So it is only a question of a few days and they will all know that I am alive and you have done.And that opium addict - what to do with him? You cannot even communicate with him. You say something - he answers something else.”

He said to me, “I wonder how you manage to talk with him. For hours I see you sitting in his shop.”

I said, “He is one of the most lovely men. It doesn’t matter what he says, it doesn’t matter whether it relates to what I have said.I enjoy what I am saying, he enjoys what he is saying. We both enjoy - there is no question of communication. It is not a business, it is pure enjoyment. And he says such beautiful things that nobody can say when he is in his senses. Just the other day he was shaving the head of the great wrestler of the town and I whispered in his ear, ‘Just shave half the hair and leave half.’

“He said, ‘But he will be very angry, and he is a wrestler and I am an old opium addict.’

“I said, ‘You don’t be worried. I am here.’”

He shaved half of his head and then he said, “I have remembered something and I have to go immediately home. You sit, I will be coming.”

That was his way to escape from the shop.

The wrestler waited for a few minutes.then half an hour.. Then he asked me, “Is this man going to come back or not?”

I said, “I don’t think.because that man is an opium addict one never knows where he gets caught - discussing with somebody, he may not have reached his home yet. It is better you go.”

He said, “This is strange. With half my head shaved I will look like a fool!”

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