December 7, 1941
There was lot of commotion in the neighbourhood. Known faces were peering from their window panes. People were scuttling across the road. The news was that U.S. forces had barricaded the area; and Takashi Mori's house was their target.
And in no time, they barged into Mori's house.
From the door left ajar I could witness the army handcuffing Mori. Probably, they were taking him away to some undisclosed camp location. A camp recently set up by the U.S. government in San Francisco.
Felber, his friend, hadn't failed to figure out all the foofaraw. It was expected; the arrest, the side-effect of being a Japanese.
“Felber,” Mori said, and then choked up.
An eerie silence had engulfed the farm space. Only Mori’s hiccupping cry could be heard now.
No, he wasn’t expecting any help from his Swiss friend. Only a nut case could think of confronting the self-aggrandizing U.S. army.
Felber could only gather so much courage to mutter,” Friend this would also pass.”
Teary-eyed Mori looked at him. Felber could see that the arrest had sucked the marrow out of him.
Felber kept murmuring, mostly to himself “Oh! God help him, Oh! God help him, Oh! God help him, over and over again until the chant unhinged from its meaning. He was still saying it when suddenly Mori spoke: “Felber, my friend, goodbye forever. If possible, sell off my flower farms.”
“I’ll do, whatever I can. And don't you worry, you'll make it back, safe and sound,” Felber assured Mori amidst flashing guns and thumping black boots. (thank heaven the army however, did not bullshit him, spared him from any kind of serious torture.)
The following day Felber logged on to a site called, “Your Estate, Your Price” to post an ad there.
“Orphaned Flower Farms Looking For Owners,” offered Felber’s wife, Vienne.
“Beautiful Tulip Farms In San Fransisco for sale,” said Felber.
Finally both got together and crafted this:
SMILING SCARLET FLOWER FARMS IN SAN FRANSISCO FOR SALE
Ten acres of beautifully landscaped SMILING FlOWER FARMS, exclusively growing scarlet tulips, for sale. Our farms specialize in both regular and rare tulips. You’ll find lovely purple, yellow, red, pink, orange and green tulips. The flowers have been planted and nurtured with loads of luv and care. They’ve brightened our lives and have taught us to SMILE always irrespective of the setbacks in our life. Welcome this Smiling Flower Farms into your life and welcome joy into your life, forever.
When Felber checked his email an hour later, he found out that there was a maze of suitors to choose from.
He got excited and started responding to their mails.
But the price quoted by the potential buyers was way too low, given that the farmland was owned by a Japanese.
Disheartened, Felber made up his mind; he’d take care of his friend’s farm land too.
Their friendship had got many heads turning. Takahashi Mori from Japan and Christopher Felber from Switzerland were next door neighbours who lived with their families in San Fransisco, U.S. Both Mori and Felber were into the same business: flower farming. Anyone seeing them interact would feel that they their friendship was eons old. Their flower farming business was going great guns. Tulip were their favorites. Their farms, in fact, was a dizzy kaleidoscope of color as tulips burst into life: Vivid purple, yellow, red, pink, orange and green tulips flooded their farm space. They planted, tended, harvested, priced, and even sold beautifully cut tulips together,to flower shops. Both friends were the Alpha and Omega of each other’s lives. Their dissimilarities in language and culture and physical appearance never came into the middle of their friendship.
But then suddenly the arrest happened.
Mori spent around 3 years in the camps. When the World War II came to an end, he and his family were released. While journeying back home, he kept thinking about his farms and his former friend. Whether he was alive? Whether he was taking care of his farms? Or whether he had forgotten him and kept the farms for himself, thinking that he would never make it alive? Only one-fourth of his mind agreed with him that Felber won't cheat on him, while three-fourth of his mind kept fighting against the one-fourth.
As he stepped down from the train, to his utter delight and dismay, he found Felber and his family standing to greet him with a bouquet of tulips. Mori was overwhelmed with emotions. He knew those flowers. They were his.
“Welcome home Mori,” said Felber,“ “but your farms are in RUINS.”
“I bet,” Mori said and gave a flowery laugh.
But when Felber presented him the cheque earned out of selling flowers from his farmland, Mori simply couldn’t resist his tears. He let his tears fall through.
“Why are you crying, dear friend,”
“Simply,” he said
He then hugged Felber and said, “Your friendship is priceless. Like an insubstantial wisp of smoke you could have easily chosen to forget our friendship and could have kept my farms for yourself but then you didn’t do that.”
”Stop this haranguing,” said Felber, “I just did what my conscience prompted, nothing more.”