Hanging out with Bill Harmon Jr. and Vinod Ramesh
He walked a few more feet and put his backpack down. He turned toward the crystal waters of the ocean before sitting down and pulling his legs up against his chest. He watched the waves gently roll in.
"Master Harman! It is so very good to see you today!"
Bill turned his head to the voice and squinted against the sun. He waved half-heartedly at the reporter for the India Gleaner. "Good to see you, too, Mr. Ramesh."
Ramesh plopped himself next to the teen and looked out over the ocean also. "A beautiful day, is it not?"
"I suppose so."
The man bopped the teen on the shoulder with a fist. “You do not seem convinced.” He observed.
“Not really,” Bill admitted. “I miss my friends back home.”
“Of course you do,” Vinod said. “That is ok. But this is an opportunity to meet new friends and make new opportunities.”
Bill shrugged his shoulders. “You sound like a dad.”
“Oh!” Ramesh exclaimed. “How do you know I am a dad?”
“That’s the kind of things dads say.”
The reporter concentrated on that for a moment. “I guess it indeed does. But it does not make it less true.”
The two sat on the sand and watched the waves lap onto the beach. Ramesh broke the uncomfortable silence. "I will tell you a story of a young man."
Bill leaned back into the sand and put his hands behind his head. "Great."
"He was a shy man who had a hard time meeting people. There was a girl.”
The teen scoffed. “Of course. It’s always a girl.”
Ramesh nodded his head in agreement. “Yes. Always. He thought about how he might meet this young lady and how to impress her. He made a plan.”
“Why didn’t he just go say ‘Hello’?”
“As I said, he was shy, and she was a different caste. That offered more problems.”
“Caste?” Bill asked. “What is that?”
The man pondered the question for a moment before answering. “In India there is a social system in which people are grouped by who they are and historically what their background is. Officially it is illegal to restrict jobs, education, housing, and other activities based on their caste, but it still occurs. Sometimes it is obvious but often it is subtle.”
“I understand,” Bill said. “We have similar problems in the U.S.”
“Yes. Discrimination occurs everywhere in different ways.”
“So, what happened with the young man?”
“To attract the eye of this girl, the young man built a plan. He began work with the school newspaper.”
Bill was puzzled. “I don’t see how that would help.”
Ramesh continued, “This forced him to overcome his shyness because he would have to speak to people he did not know to ask them questions to develop news stories.”
“Good idea. It didn’t take too long, I suppose.”
“Oh, no. Not at all.” Ramesh removed his hat and used it to wipe the sweat from his forehead. “He went to college and continued his studies.”
“At the same college she went to?”
“Yes. Part of his plan.” Ramesh placed the hat back on his head, but it wasn’t quite straight. “He became the editor of the college paper and dug deep into reporting and won many awards.”
Bill sat up and tried to brush some of the sand from his back. “And then he talked to the girl.”
The man grinned. “Actually, no. He was eating lunch one day and the girl sat down next to him and complimented him on a big story that he reported.”
“An interesting twist. What did he do?”
“He had worked on this plan for five years. This was not part of it. He had to think fast. He invited her to a coffee.”
“And they lived happily ever after.”
“Not entirely happy.” Ramesh noted. “They still had to overcome many family objections. But they have been together for more than 20 years now.”
“Let me guess,” Bill said suspiciously. “That young man was you?”
“Oh, no.” The reporter shook his head vigorously. “I have never had trouble meeting people.”
“My brother. He is the editor of the newspaper I work for, the India Gleaner. His wife sends me cookies. They are delicious.”
“What are you getting at here?” Bill hoped for a conclusion.
"Whatever happened was good. What has happened is going well. Whatever will happen will also be good. Do not worry for the future. Live in the present.”
The teen was perplexed. “I don’t get it.”
Ramesh picked up a stick and drew circles in the sand. “Accept your situation and make the most of it. Have you made any friends at school?”
“No. I don’t even know their names.”
“Mmm hmm,” he nodded and waved his stick down the beach. Several teens were playing volleyball and a couple others were riding surfboards toward the shore. One of them took a spill and splashed into the water. He resurfaced and grabbed onto the board and laughed hysterically.
“Not quite my thing.” Bill shrugged. “I’m more of a geek.”
An object thumped into the sand near them. The two picked themselves and approached the object. Ramesh picked it up. He brushed the sand off the small quadcopter.
A young man was rushing toward them with a remote control in his hand.
The reporter turned to the Ambassador’s son and handed him the drone. “An opportunity.”