Denice contacted the first Patel and was ushered into his office.
Denice said, “I am the new head of SD-LA.”
The man nodded. He kept up-to-date on all things that could impact his business. He was a bit mystified about why Denice wanted to see him.
Denice said, “I understand your daughter is getting married next month.”
Mr Patel said “Yes. It is a very happy occasion for us all.”
Denice said, “I want to give you a gift for you to give her on my behalf.” Denice slid a boxed bracelet across the desk. She also slid an envelope.
The man opened them in turn. The envelope held ration coupons for two hundred kilos of rice and forty kilos of golden lentils. While the monetary value of the food was negligible it was very symbolic.
Mr Patel recognized the shop logo on the jewelry box. He hefted it, opened it, looked at the bracelet and then put the top back on it. He looked at the coupons then slid the box and the envelope back across the table.
“I cannot accept these. You understand my…um..caution. It has not been my experience that politicians or government workers give gifts without wanting something in return.”
Denice said, “Yes, I do want something. I need the counsel of a wise man.”
Mr Patel blushed. “I cannot help you with that.”
Denice said. “I did not mean you. You are obviously a very busy man. It is my hope that you accept these gifts. I need an audience with somebody who can give me guidance on how to get business in SD-LA back on its feet. Preferably somebody who is older and who has the prestige to speak for the hospitality industry in general.”
“I will tell you what.” Denice said. “I want you to hold on to those gifts for a week and think about who I should meet. I think a private meal would be sufficient to start the ball rolling. If introducing me to ‘wise counsel’ is something you cannot or will not do, then you can return the gifts.”
Denice slid the gifts back across the centerline of the desk. “Your call.” she said.
Mr Patel smiled a bleak smile. “You know you missed your calling. You should have been a sales person. I will have to give this some thought.”