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The Rich Trip

Chapter Seven | Part II – Camp

About

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Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction
.
A fictional description of a true story.

Previously on The Rich Trip…
– Rose and Jake liked each other, I was worried that things might go wrong

– Rose clarified that it was just a crush, he was not Jack from Titanic
– I realised she was right and maybe I was overthinking

Click here to check out Chapter Six


Chapter Seven

Back To The Land

Last seen: In my room with Rose, listening in elation about her budding love story with Italy’s Jake (and not Titanic’s Jack).

According to our schedule, we were visiting the Vasa Museum today. Like always, I read up a bit about the place before visiting.

The Vasa Museum
Around 1.5 million visitors every year enjoy the exhibitions in the museum, which describe the warship Vasa's history and life at the time; how, after 333 years at the bottom of Stockholm Bay, the ship was rediscovered and salvaged; and the research which is now underway to preserve Vasa. The Vasa Museum lies in the royal parkland, Djurgården, in Stockholm.

One by one, we were being loaded in a bus which was going to take us there. The bus looked like a long-distance AC two-seater bus you might have seen on Redbus. The exterior paint design was a collage of 16 flags of our nations and a large Lions Club logo on it, in the centre.

Rose and I climbed in the bus. Her face broke into a wide grin when she spotted Jake. She excitedly pecked him on his cheek while hopping into the seat next to him. They both looked so adorable. Behind them were Amby and Kay, who like me, were searching for a seat for me.

“Hey,” Damon waved to an empty seat next to him.

I gratefully smiled, hardly believing my luck. Ted had vacated the seat next to his for me. He was being a gentleman, I guessed.

“Thank you so much,” I smiled and took the seat willingly. He smiled back.

“So I-“ we said it at the same time.

“Sorry, go ahead,” he said.

I looked at his face so closely for the first time. I noticed things I never did last night while we were dancing. I was too busy trying to focus on the dance steps and not him. It was so so so tough, but I managed. His face had a cute scar above his left eye, it was vertical and went up to this hair. A mole on his left cheek and one on the right side of the nose. I could have easily mistaken it for a nose piercing.

“So, have you been here?” I continued our conversation, adamant about not getting distracted by his attractive features.

“Oh, many times. Stockholm is known for its water bodies. But haven’t been to Vasa. My sister wanted to. She was going to come here instead of me, but she had to work and save up for a car. She can come here after college, maybe.”

“Oh, great. My sister is doing the same. She is in college,” Amby interjected from the row in front of us.

“College? Er, isn’t this child labour?” I asked, obviously distraught.

They both laughed.

“My sister is 16. She didn’t know she can’t come anyway unless she is 18. Car is a necessity here and we get a license at 16. Washing cars is her summer job. So she is saving up. I’m sure you don’t need to,” Damon explained. Amby had plugged in her music and was staring outside at the green valley.

I was dumbfounded. Car at 16? Don’t they have cabs and autos? I had never heard of this. I know of entire families who survive without cars.  However, that didn’t catch my attention. Why did he say I don’t need to? Did he undermine my capability, or did he know we literally don’t need to?

“Er, hey, why don’t I need to?” I asked.

“Because gentlemen are chivalrous. Anyway, we are at the Vasa museum,” he answered and rose.

Whoaaa. What??? What did that mean? I’ll ask Amby later, I decided.


We read about Vasa inside.

Her cannon could fire 250 kilograms of ammunition in a single broadside, and when the heavy iron shot left the muzzles, they travelled near the speed of sound. For a brief few minutes, she was the most powerfully armed ship in the Baltic, if not the world, a floating fortress to be feared from Reval to Copenhagen.

Ironically, the warship was creating ‘love’. I could see Rose and Jake trying to forcibly look at it instead of looking into each other’s eyes. Such a coincidence that Rose was talking about another submerged ship last night, yeah, Titanic! I chuckled and shook my head.

The distinctive scent of rustic wood gave this place a homely, old library feel. I was strolling away from the lovebirds, towards Amby, Kay, Ted and Matt. Just then, someone caught me by my right arm and twirled me around swiftly. It was so soon, took me a second to catch my breath.

“Are you okay? Is something wrong?” I gasped.

“Wrong?” Rose snorted, “No darling, get excited for what can go right. I just couldn’t wait… had to tell you. You got moves, girl. Damon fancies you.”

Rose’s face was flushed pink and thrilled. More so than how it was last night while dancing with Jake. I felt yesterday’s dance workshop was not That great. I now understood. Turns out, Damon was equally nervous. It was surreal.

“Oh, come on, don’t act so surprised. It’s totally believable. I mean, look at you!  You are gorgeous. You are so different from how we perceived Indians to be. Also, you have that brown skin colour thing going on for you. Oh man, it’s so attractive here,” Rose confidently stated. And teased.

Wow, my skin? Their tan shade. I never thought of that. Damon was brown too. He was still a shade lighter than mine. I guess I had no choice but to believe that I actually had a shot with this dude. He was not Out-Of-My-League.


That night, we had an appetizing dinner of Kroppkakor (or Palt). Essentially, they are big and hearty potato dumplings filled with fried pork, cooked in melted butter and served with lingonberry sauce (sweet berries). We also learnt that Stefan lived with his mother. They followed the Islam religion and did not eat pork. Dumplings were made without pork for Stefan, Rose and I.

Muslim. Hmm. No wonder he looked so stunning.

 “Guys, I’ll go for a walk, yeah? Will see you around,” Rose announced and excused herself.

“Er, you sure, Rose?” Amby asked. She sounded concerned yet happy. She looked at my confused face and answered, “Rich, you can come to our room tonight.”

 Oh, oh! I got it then. Rose and Jake would be in my room. Wow, that was new.


When we reached our cottage, I took a left to go to my room. Amby dragged me in the opposite direction to theirs. Oops, right. Before we could wobble there, we heard a door in front of us squeak wide open. We took in the captivating sight. More fascinating than the Vasa warship. There stood the tallest guy of the camp, in a soft white linen shirt and blue pyjamas. He smiled understandingly – much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it. His hazel eyes locked into my black ones. Damon pointed at Jake’s empty bed in his room. There were no awkward hellos in that corridor. No pretensions. That made the whole thing irresistible.

I walked in, hypnotically.

Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

Adiós, amigo!
Thanks for reading and catch ya next week.
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Chapter Eight: The Sunlit Night

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Categories
The Rich Trip

Chapter six | Part II – Camp

About

(Click below to watch)

Got mail? Thank you for subscribing!
Please click on the URL at the bottom for the best view.

Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction
.
A fictional description of a true story.

Previously on The Rich Trip…
– Salsa workshop took place in the basketball court

– Jake was Rose’s dance partner and Damon was mine
– Jake liked Rose, I liked Damon

Click here to check out Chapter Five


Chapter Six

Didn’t fall, tripped

Last seen: Walking back after the salsa workshop for dinner.

What was that smell? Was that fish? Eww. I didn’t mind sitting at a table with people having cooked fish. I was used to it by now. The stink of the fish was usually buried by the flavours of its gravy. However, the odour of the fish being cooked, like at that moment, that smell was just- just- so yuck.

We left the warmth of the basketball court (where the salsa workshop happened) and had strolled into the chilly yet brightly sunlit night. It was 9 PM (The sun sets at 2 AM). We were just outside the dining hall. Damon, Amby, Kay and I were a step behind Rose and Jake.

“Yeah, it’s called Glasmästarsill. So Rich, sorry but maybe just some salad or potato for you (Vegetarian woes).” Rose confirmed that reek. “It’s a traditional Swedish-style preparation of pickled herring. I’ve had it countless times. You will love it, I’m sure.”

She might as well had spoken in Finnish because nobody spoke again. Except for Jake. He looked Taken. It was hard to tell whether he was really listening or just nodding. Huh, guys do that.


“I like him,” Rose blushed.

“Aww. I can see that! So Rose… tell me.”

“We just… we melted to the tunes of salsa. It felt like- like I knew him for years. You know that feeling when we think things are falling apart and then they suddenly fall together? And did you see the body on that boy? Oh… My… God. That’s what I was telling Amby when I tapped him today. This seems unreal. I can’t believe it is happening… don’t you see? Why did our numbers match today for salsa as dance partners? Something somewhere… clicked.”

“Aw Rose, he surely has a crush on you. I can say that from the way he looked at you while dancing in the court, walking back to the dining hall, listening to you excitedly talk about that fish. And it goes without saying that I’m happy for you.”

“But…?”

“Err… the thing is… When you tapped him today, are you sure he noticed you?”

“Oh!,” she smilingly rolled her eyes, “I know he looked at Amby first. I know what you are thinking. Stop being so crazy, Richa,” she laughed again and waved carelessly. “Come on, he is Jake from Italy. Not Jack from Titanic. We are in a camp in Sweden, not sinking in the goddam Titanic. I’m not Rose Dawson!”

“Err… but?”

“My God. Don’t put your little mind through such trouble. This camp is so short, this life is so short. Why regret anything?” She went on, “You’re sweet but I’m a big girl and I’ll be fine. We have a crush on each other, that’s all. Not like some Romeo-Juliet mad love story. You Indians are… I don’t know what you think. Chill, man.”

She was sprawled across her bed, absently twirling her hair. Her flawless innocence magnified the romantic aura of the room. I was wondering whether I should tell her about what Damon had asked me during salsa about Jake being interested in Amby. That was before the salsa workshop. I didn’t feel like popping her dream bubble yet. I wanted to believe that Jake did like her. Oh, and the hot bod did add more points. There was some magic in this ‘liking’ phase. I did not lie about Jake crushing on her. His face was clearly readable that night. He was smitten.

“Rich, I don’t know what’s gonna happen with Jake. He will either be a mistake or a memory. As simple as that.”

“But…?”

“But this camp isn’t forever”

“You know what? You are so right. Why regret? I’m sorry I just… This camp will be so dull if your mood is off. Don’t do something silly, okay?”

“Even if I do-” she paused and then her cheery tone became serious “You don’t take that stupidity seriously. I know I won’t. Nobody can dare spoil my mood!”

Rose leapt from the bed and engulfed me in a hug.

I had magnified Candida’s divorce and now Rose’s crush. Maybe Jake and Rose were on the same page.
I was having trouble reading that page.

Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

Adiós, amigo!
Thanks for reading and catch ya next week.
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Chapter Seven: Sunken Ship Back To Land

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The Rich Trip

Chapter Five | Part II – Camp

About

(Click below to watch)

Got mail? Thank you for subscribing!
Please click on the URL at the bottom for the best view.

Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction
.
A fictional description of a true story.

Previously on The Rich Trip…
– Amby and I watched The Truman Show

– Jake (Rose’s crush was crushing on Amby)
and Damon were roommates
I began crushing on Damon
(from the Czech Republic)

Click here to check out Chapter Four


Chapter Five
Sway To Salsa

MusicOn, GameOn, DamOn

Last seen: Watched The Truman Show with Amby.

Amby and I were walking towards the basketball court for the dance workshop. I could hear a peal of merry laughter behind us. It clearly belonged to Damon and Jake. After the intense Truman discussion with Amby, the salsa workshop was surely going to lighten our moods. I was looking forward to it.

The basketball court was speckless. Tony and Lynda, the campers who were also locals, were leading the salsa session. Lynda stood confidently. A gym bag was lying next to her, she wore gym shoes too.

“A total fitness freak, that one,” I whispered to Amby.

Tony, on the other hand, was nervous. He shakily waved, all the time holding on to his chair. Tall and lanky, yes. But not as fit as Lynda. 

“Hi, guys!” Lynda grinned widely, exhibiting all her teeth. “Everyone, gather around,” she clapped. “All girls, count 1 to 7. 8 is me. Boys will do the same. For you guys, 8 is Tony. Then 1 will pair with 1 and so on. Got it? I will be guiding the angles here. Remember, this salsa workshop is just for fun.”

Yes, salsa did sound fun. We were huddled in a group. My number was 3. Me, like all the other girls, waited for the boys to count.

It felt like I was noticing my #3 for the first time. He was taller than everybody. He was stunningly lean, in great shape. I could see his collar bones and muscles through the shirt. He had rolled up the sleeves till elbows, I am a sucker for that. And he had just smiled at Jake in conversation. Oh no, I was going to faint. His light brown sneakers, slightly unbuttoned linen shirt – all just worked. I’m no fashion guru but I know when I see a guy who knows what he’s doing. And his legs were the most appealing part of his body. They were so graceful. He was definitely involved in a sport or dance or something. He was not blonde and creamy skinned like others. He was wheatish, super-tanned and had short black hair. Tall, dark and handsome. Literally.

1. Rose – Jake

2. Kay – Matt

3. Me – Damon

4. Amby – Ted

5. Amy – Stefan

6. Maria – Mark

7. Bao – Chris

8. Lynda – Tony

Like everybody, I tried to focus on Lynda and Tony. They demonstrated the basic steps. The moment they asked us to try the steps, I was ready. The steps looked easy.

But I will be holding hands with Damon.
Oh My God. Damon.
Let me make sure they are not sweaty.
I quickly wiped them on my black shorts.

Music began and we got into positions. Damon took my hands in his and our eyes met. Surprisingly, I could focus. I was not an open-mouthed, wide-eyed idiot. I began to sway. Damon glanced appreciatively. After the basic introductions, he asked.

“Didn’t you come with Amby for the movie today?” He looked around before continuing, “Sorry for being so direct, but this camp is not forever.”

“Right, yeah. No, don’t be sorry. I get it.”

I nodded, masking what I felt by keeping a composed face. I knew Amby was not interested and I hated her for putting me in this position. I will let him down gently… and maybe he will see me as a completely different person… and maybe this will be a grand love story where he started by Amby and later realised that I was a gem of a person… and maybe we will laugh about it while kissing...
Why was he so handsome? It wasn’t fair.

Damon disturbed my daydream, “My roommate there, Jake, he saw you were my partner and I promised him to ask you if Amby’s single. But now, hold that thought. He seems to be enjoying himself with his dance partner.”

Together, we surveyed Rose and Jake. Damon was right, Jake did seem to fancy Rose.

Lynda applauded loudly, interrupting us, “Great going, guys. You did the basics and the sides. Now, let’s learn to turn and do the classic.”

It was SO difficult to take the dancing lesson seriously and to keep a straight face while dancing with Damon. Now that Amby was out of the way, I began to daydream of a new story…

“Where did you vacation recently? Sorry, the tan is so distracting,” out of nowhere, I brazenly asked Damon.

“Ah, the tan always invites this question. No, I am a water polo player.”

Ohhh… right. That made perfect sense. So he swam and he played.
The legs, the muscles, the tan. Oh my…

I knew Rose and I were going to have a lot to talk about that night.


Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

Adiós, amigo!
Thanks for reading and catch ya next week.
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Chapter Six: Rose & Jake, sitting on a tree…

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Categories
The Rich Trip

Chapter Four – Part II | Camp

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Please click on the URL below for the best view.

Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.

Previously on The Rich Trip…
– Met the absolutely gorgeous Ambrosia from Ireland
(Amby)
– Met the calm Kaelynn from Germany (Kay – Amby’s roommate)
Rose found Jacob from Italy very.. err… hot (Jake)
Click here to check out Chapter Three


Chapter Four

Was anything real?

Last seen: Having lunch with Rose, Amby and Kay.

When Rose asked me about which guys I found attractive, I didn’t want to keep quiet. I was having too much fun to care about gossips. I liked that Rose could add that blush to my face effortlessly. I answered softly.

“Of course, Stefan (the FCB jersey guy). But he is the obvious kind of a hottie. Meh. Amby is right you know; he is so overrated. Jake is good too, but umm… not so much. You see the guy there in that olive green shirt? He seems… nice, no? Oh, and that one in the grey hoodie too.” 

“Olive shirt guy is Damon. He is from the Czech Republic. He is not just nice. He is yummy!” Amby reported. I didn’t even bother to ask how she knew.

“Totally,” Rose approved, “And the grey one? Really?” 

“Oh – err – Maybe not.”

Her scepticism had influenced me. Yeah, I was gullible.

Charles stood where there was the podium earlier, holding a mike in his hand. 

“Hello! Good afternoon all! The Truman Show, here at 3:30,” he spread arms to point ‘here’, “After that, as you can see in the schedule, there is a salsa workshop for an hour in the basketball court, next to the lake at 6. Those who want to skip the movie can meet us directly there. Thank you, guys. See you.”

“Why show a scary movie on the first day?” Kay wondered aloud. 

“Huh? It’s a light comedy. I don’t mind watching it again,” I said. 

“I haven’t watched it. I’m with you,” Amby joined.

“I have but nah, I don’t want to,” Rose yawned.

“It was scary for me. For two days after watching, I kept thinking my life is not real. And here, at such an exotic camp? No way. This is mad,” Kay explained, innocently wide-eyed. 


Amby and I walked into the dining hall. It was turned into a coy movie hall. If not Truman, I’m going to have a great nap here, I shrugged. The chairs and tables had been removed. Mattresses were laid on the floor. The dark curtains were pulled, giving us more privacy. 

“Hey! Watched this?” Amby found Jake. He seemed so thrilled she had asked. 

“Oh hi. Amby, right? The film you ask? No, but Damon has watched it. My roommate here, he is from Czech,” Jake answered and dragged Damon. 

“Hi,” Damon said unwillingly. 

It seemed like he was forcefully brought there. He managed a smile and continued to ignore us. He was talking to another guy. But I couldn’t ignore him. Or precisely, his intensely smouldering looking face or the perfectly shaped legs his khaki-coloured shorts showed off. He was the tallest there. Whew. 

Kinda rude of him to ignore, but also – kinda hot. Thank God he was not Amby-fied like Jake was. Why did we like the bad boys? Why do they have to look So good?

The guy Damon was speaking to, saw us then. His grin was polite, “Hey Jake. Hi, I’m Ted,”

“Hey Ted, this is Ambrosia from Ireland and Amby, meet Ted from Austria, my music man,” Jake said.

“Hi Ted. This is Richa from India. Er, music man?” Amby asked. 

“Yeah,” replied Jake and continued, “He is the best piano player ever. Ted, show them some videos later, yeah? Guys, you have got to watch them.”

“Jake? Ted? The movie!” Damon called them.

Instantly, we sat. On my left were Damon, Ted and Jake. On my right was Amby. After a minute, Jake soundlessly crawled next to Amby and Damon smothered a laugh. 


While walking out after the film, Amby said to me, “To show this on the first day was a brilliant idea. It sort of affirms what Charles said in the morning. We must not take reality for granted. We should question it. Why are we are chosen?”

Not take for granted? Says the girl who takes her beauty for granted? How contradictory. Well, I didn’t want to argue. Better to talk about the movie.

“We are chosen to achieve something beyond our capacities. To risk it all.”

“No no,” she disagreed. “It is in our capacity, girl. Why would we be here otherwise? We just need to aim higher.”

I had not watched the movie with such depth. It now held a different meaning.  The way Rose brought out the fun side of me, Amby brought out the ambitious one. But why were they the opposites of each other?


Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

Adiós, amigo!
Thanks for reading and catch ya next week.
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Chapter F
ive: 1, 2, Cha Cha Cha

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Categories
The Rich Trip

Chapter Three | Part II – Camp

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Please click on the URL below for the best view.

Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.

Previously…
– Met Rosemary (Rose), the roommate from Finland

Eager to check out her tempting desserts (guys) before I can reveal mine
Rose was why I did not fear being lonely or homesick in the home-away-from-home. 

Click here to check out Chapter Two


Chapter Three

Desserts: For All Moods Of A Woman

The food was edible and I was grateful. That’s that. I did not want to think more about food. It didn’t matter so much now. I had company – A vegetarian who ate fish. But still… Rose was there. She would certainly find something aptly hilarious about it. We could simply laugh it off.

Ambrosia was not hard to spot. She looked utterly ravishing in a gorgeous yellow sundress. It had blue flowers on it. The dress showed off her subtle curves. She should not take the flag colours so seriously, I chuckled. Amby lined up in the buffet queue with a plate in her hand. She giggled at something another girl in the queue said. Next to her, a few metres away from the queue, stood a fair girl with light brown hair. They were tied carelessly in a bun. Probably her roommate, I guessed. As tall and as slim as her. But, not That obviously stunning. She wore a navy-blue tank top and taupe coloured hot-shorts. Her cream-coloured scarf matched the colour of the plate she was staring at. 

Rose asked Amby to save us a seat. If I look from the door, tables were close to each other, split into 3 rows x 2 columns. Amby, Rose, the lost girl and I sat at a table.  We were at the nearest one to the buffet. It touched the window. That made it the farthest from the door.  


Amby hungrily dove into her pasta. She smiled at the first bite, “Wow, dad was right. The food here is so tasty, isn’t it? Guys, this is Kaelynn from Germany – Kay. She is my roommate.”

“Oh yes! This is the best free food ever,” Rose said with a mouthful, “Hi Kay! Me Rose and this is Richa from India. Rich is not much of a food-person though. She likes desserts more.” 

Before I could respond to her wink, Amby waved to me, “Hi Rich. Sorry, some bad news for you, the desserts are not that great. I just saw some. But Rose, they looked better than that awful raspberry custard we had in Virginia. Remember?”

Rose shuddered at the memory and said, “Oh yeah, right. It made me want to puke. But no, there are more desserts here. Right, Rich?”

I smiled shyly and shook my head. 

Rose teasing me felt like I belonged there. Like I was a part of something. I was not ‘alone’ anymore. I wanted to hug her right there. She was somebody I was going to enjoy with, I agreed. 

Amby looked from me to her, wondering and waiting. Rose answered her unasked question, “So, you see that dude in the FCB jersey?”

Realisation dawned on Amby as soon as the words were spoken. 

“Ah, those desserts,” Amby teased, “That FCB dude is a tough catch though, and honestly, a bit overrated. He is Stefan from Macedonia. Almost all girls are eyeing him from the moment he walked in.”

Rose acted like her heart was broken. “But- but- he was my love-at-first-sight.” She laughed and nudged Amby playfully, “He would be an easy catch for you though. Any guy would be.”

“Oh, shut up Rose,” said Amby while shaking her head. “Stop laughing now and get up. Let’s go get some garlic bread. Do you guys want anything?”

Rose was still laughing as she got up from her seat. Amby tugged at her arm. 

I was jealous of their friendship. Yeah, stupid of me… I didn’t even know them. Still, that fun, that carefree laughter, it was envious. And suddenly, I was glad that Rose was MY roommate and not hers. Amby’s roommate had not even looked at the FCB dude. She did smile a little when Rose laughed idiotically. 


“Hi, Kay.” 

I hoped that like Candida and Rose, she would make that awkwardness disappear too. However, I wasn’t so blessed here. She didn’t even say hi. Just smiled back. We continued to eat in silence. Somehow, I liked this feeling. It made me feel calm. I could just… be. I wondered whether she was sad. I did not ask. She was so composed that I did not even feel sympathetic. Nobody would be able to guess she was upset. Was she?

I forgot about it as soon as Rose and Amby got back. 

Amby took a seat and started, “This girl is so stupid. She tapped that guy in the red hoodie just ’cause he was hot.”

Rose was not laughing though. She spoke seriously, “Girls, let me impart some knowledge. Just-a-tap always works. He turned around. We pretended like we didn’t know who tapped. He introduced himself. See? I didn’t even need a pick-up line.”

Rose was also pretty but next to Amby, not really. I considered myself pretty in India. I had a list of admirers and knew I am someone who can make guys skip a beat. But Amby…whoa. She was on another level. 

“Oh yeah, isn’t that Jake? Jacob from Italy?” Kay asked. 

Rose was hopeful, “You know him? Is he single?”

“I don’t know. Our moms are friends. She told me about him while convincing me to come here,” answered Kay.

Incredulous. Not the Italian part but the fact that Kay had participated. Was she into him? Maybe. Rose might have to back out… Cat-fight? And how the hell did their parents know each other? 

“One of our parents is Lions Cub member. Some have crossed each other’s paths sometimes, I guess. I didn’t know Kay,” Amby answered my questioning eyes.

“None of my parents is from Lions,” I replied in disbelief. 

“Oh, then you must thank your stars for being here,” Kay said.

“Yeah. Anyway, Rich? Desserts? Don’t you keep quiet girl,” Rose threatened.

I looked around and ducked. As if it was some kind of secret. This was fun!


Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

Adiós, amigo!
Thanks for reading and catch ya next week.
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Chapter Four: My Desserts

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Chapter Two | Part II – Camp

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Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.

Previously…
– Goodbye to Candida

An introduction to the camp: The Much Awaited Awakening
– Roommate: Rosemary from Finland

Click here to check out Chapter One


Two Mates Or True Mates?

I went to 141 to find Rosemary there, but it was empty. Her bed had some luggage she must have dropped in the morning. I continued to take in the room. After Candida’s, this was my second home-away-from-home. Well, it looked tidy. So did the washroom. Hmm. I didn’t know what else to check. I was more eager about meeting Rosemary. Where was she? 

“Hei, Richa,” Rosemary flitted inside.

“Hi, Rosemary. Let me help you with that.”

“Hei, Me Rose. Hauska tavata! Kiitos, thank you, the bag just looks heavy.”

Like her name, she brought the fragrance too. Not rose, but some floral perfume. Draped in a leopard-print t-shirt and athletic legs exposed by her shorts, I saw strength. Strikingly attractive, she played it down by wearing no make-up and flat shoes.

I didn’t know why I had created such abnormal anticipation. Why did I think she would be some celebrity or Goddess or something? She was just like anybody else. Okay, not ‘ordinary’, but not having a purple horn either, you know? 

“Veg in Europe… whew, that’s tough. Me veggie too.”

“Oh-My-God Rose, that’s the BEST thing I have heard since I arrived in this Goddam place.”

Hei beibi! Don’t say that!”

We hugged and just like that, the awkwardness disappeared. 

Okay, that was a simple yet smart opener. Why couldn’t I think of that? She was sharp, she had read the campers’ list we got (it mentioned the food preference). Rose and I were the only vegetarians according to it. I’d never been this happy about being a vegetarian. Maybe this was why we were roommates. Hmm. I certainly didn’t mind.

Rose washed the tiredness off her face. She told me she ate fish. That’s not being a vegetarian, I argued. They lived in a coastal area, she defended. She continued talking then.

“Anyway, enough about food. Let’s talk about desserts. Did you like any inside?”

“But the buffet won’t be served for another-” I paused, “Oh – oh. You mean – I get it now – you mean boys. Haha, right. But I didn’t really get a good look at any.”

“No way! I don’t believe you at all. Anyway, come, I’ll show you my temptations. Hey, before that, have you met Amby?”

“Amby?” 

“Did you notice that chick in the short denim skirt? She was in a black top and had that golden ‘infinity’ locket? The high-heeled leather boots? You must have noticed those tanned muscular legs? Slim and just… perfect. No no, she is not my girlfriend. Haha. All I’m saying is that she’s just too hard to miss. That’s Ambrosia from Ireland. She has not won any beauty pageants… yet. Can you believe it? Can’t she easily be Miss World or something?”

Rose chatted away like we were old friends catching up, “She was like, I’m not interested. Haw,  what a waste. Some girls just take what they got for granted. But thankfully, she is… she is not at all like me. Hahaha! Thank God. But there’s something about her… I don’t know… I still love her. Err, how do I explain this? She is the one reliable goody-goody friend we all have, whom our parents trust more than us, you know? Her father is friends with mine. They became friends when we had gone for such a camp last year to Virginia. So yeah, that’s how I’m here.”

“Of course, I saw her. Who didn’t? I was certain she was a model. I’ll surely ask her about it.”

“Perfect. You can ask her now. Let’s eat and meet, let’s beat this heat.” she chuckled at her lame rhyme. 20 DC was their summer, but not at all hot for me.

Rose was right. I had lied about the desserts. A few guys were clearly attractive. But I had met her barely fifteen minutes ago. Wasn’t it too soon to confess? What if she was a gossiper? She seemed like one. I couldn’t wait to check out her ‘temptations’ though. She seemed like fun. With Rose, the camp had begun blooming. Maybe we could joke about guys every night, I thought dreamily.

Rose was the reason I did not fear being lonely or homesick in the home-away-from-home. Also, I found solace in the fact that she could easily mingle. I did not feel like an ‘outsider’ anymore.


Together, we walked into the dining hall. The morning makeup had been cleared. Podium and danglers were gone. It looked like a regular dining hall now. It will stay this way for the next two weeks, I guessed. Ahead of the reception desk, in that same line, were two elongated buffet tables. Hidden behind was the kitchen. There were 6 white-marble tables with 4 chairs each. Looked cosy. It opened up to a deck. It was like the one I’d been to with Candida when she introduced me to the boat. I had a chance to click pictures here as well. Yay, that thought thrilled me and I stupidly grinned. There were a few tables there as well for outdoor seating. A stage in the corner overlooked those, I guessed it was for live music. A thick wall of window made of glass separated it from the tables inside. 

My nostrils smelled the creamy, cheesy and buttery aroma of light white-sauce pasta. It was satisfying comfort food which made me smile. But my mind was more interested in desserts. I mentally winked. 


Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

Adiós, amigo!
Thanks for reading and catch ya next week.
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Chapter Three: Amby & Desserts

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Chapter One | Part II – Camp

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Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.

Previously…
– First time abroad, was with Candida for 7 days in Sweden

Now, Candida has dropped me off at the campsite
– I feel excited and brave


Click here to check out Part I


Tabbed

Fagerudd Conference centre, Enköping

For me, goodbyes were like waves. Waves that always came back. No goodbye was ever ‘the last one’. But this one was – err – Permanent. That realisation stung me. I was Never going to see Candida again. Candida was my local guardian in Sweden, my host mother. She was not only an air hostess but also the kindest house hostess ever.  She represented Sweden for me. I was definitely not ready for this goodbye. Moreover, I was terrified by the ‘unknown of the camp’ hovering over me. 15 strangers. How will I – err – forget it. I kept chanting what Candida said to me, “You’re brave and you’ll be fine.”

It was a cloudless sky on the morning of my new adventure (inspired by Alice). It was the reason why I was in Sweden: This Very Camp. It was an international exchange camp organised by Lions Club. It had 16 campers (18-22 years), each representing their nation.

“Let’s get you settled?” Candida asked. I shook my head at my exceptionally gracious hostess. She had dropped me at the campsite – Fagerudd Conference centre, in Enkoping. 

“No. I- I NEED to do this on my own.”

“A-Are you s-sure? Oh-oh-okay. You’ll remember what I said, right? Promise me Richa – this is not the end.

I was certainly going to miss that face. That face signified the entire country, the entire continent for me. It was compassion in a human form. But at that moment, I HAD to be stern. If she accompanied me, it was going to get more difficult than it already was. I planned to just walk away without looking back. I wasn’t crying. But hugging her again would have gotten… gotten…. err…  It was hitting me harder than I thought it would.

I didn’t miss her as much as I thought I would. Just like everybody, ‘life’ happened. Right then, there were several novel experiences with some wonderful young campers. In India, the challenges multiplied. In fact, I’d not thought about any of this until this corona lockdown.


“There are 4 rooms in your cottage with 2 campers in each. So, 8 campers – 4 girls and 4 guys. There is another cottage next to it with 6 rooms. 4 for campers and 2 additional rooms. One is for Charles, your camp coordinator and one is mine. I’m Molly, a visiting doctor. You are in room 141. There,”  she pointed robotically. Then she paused for a breath and continued, “Your roommate is Rosemary from Finland. She has not arrived yet. Here’s your schedule and a list of all the campers. An introductory session by Charles will be held here. It will be followed by lunch. The space you see there doubles as your dining hall. Any questions?” 

“No, thanks,” I murmured, too stunned to form questions. I forced my lips to curve, then wordlessly took the sheets she offered.  

She stank of frustration. Bad day, I guessed. Huh, what-the-hell.

If I would have seen the sight first, Molly’s mood would not have mattered much.

The melody of water splashing on a rock gave rhythm to the clear skies and sparkling clean streets. 

‘Beautiful’  had become an overused adjective here. It was all beautiful until mentioned otherwise. 


My shoes made a tap-tap sound on the wooden floor with every step they took inside the dining hall. The reception desk was in the corner. The hall had been given a Swedish makeover from the simple decor it had that morning. Blue and yellow danglers (yeah, they fit in the flag colours wherever they can) dropped from the ceiling and excitedly danced in that lively breeze. Next to the reception desk was a podium. Charles, the camp coordinator demanded everybody’s attention in the sleek grey suit. It matched the velvet dresses wrapped around the golden wood of the chairs. He was undoubtedly more than six feet tall with a lean built. 

I should stop making the workout plans and actually get my a** to work the plans out.

I was never ‘overweight, but not even the fit abs-biceps-muscles type. I maintain that.

Facing him were several chairs sprinkled across the room. Some were occupied by campers like myself. I sat beside a pretty blondie. That was a routinely found appearance here, I idly observed. All stared at Charles, making me follow their gaze. His voice boomed through the speakers in that room.

“From the world’s 7 billion, you have been chosen to be in the humble land of 10 million. That’s such an honour. Make your nation prouder than it already is. I hope you use this time to learn from your batchmates, to lead groups when requested and to interact with people from different countries. You may have more in common than you realise. 

You are now in an important phase in your life. Many of the decisions you take will serve as the platform for your future. The subject choices you make, the organisations you join, the friends you make will all determine the path in life that you follow. This camp will certainly assist you to make those important decisions.

The foundation of success in the modern world is information. Every day we are learning. No matter what work you do or what age you are. Let’s use this time to learn as much as we can and go out there and apply the knowledge better together.
 
The main theme here is ‘acceptance’. The activities will include sightseeing and bonding. This youth camp is an important initiative of Lion’s club and supported globally.”

Wow. I was immersed in his every word. It was the awakening I needed. I will never get this chance again. I was gonna make the most of it. I resolved. Although, the ‘bonding’ he talked about was going to be challenging. But I won’t grow unless it challenged me, right? I will figure out a way to overcome that. After all, I was the chosen one.

I am grateful for those experiences. They give me a reason to write.
I feel blessed.

The room felt ignited with the right inspiration. Mimicking others, I cheerfully waved my arm at everyone when my name was called out. Good thing that they did not make us introduce ourselves. I was not prepared and had nothing to say. It was as easy as a classroom roll-call. Molly had rightly mentioned, there were 8 girls and 8 guys. 

  1. Ambrosia – Ireland
  2. Kaelynn – Germany
  3. Bao – China
  4. Me – India
  5. Rosemary – Finland
  6. Amy – Slovenia
  7. Maria – Russia
  8. Lynda – Sweden – Guide & Local Representative 
  9. Damon – Czech Republic
  10. Stefan – Macedonia
  11. Mark – Poland
  12. Ted – Austria
  13. Jacob – Italy
  14. Matt – France
  15. Chris – USA
  16. Tony – Sweden – Guide & Local Representative

Rosemary, my roommate. She would be the first person I’d meet. I didn’t listen to any other names after hers. Thoughtfully, a break was announced before gathering for lunch. I couldn’t wait to meet Rosemary. I hurried to my room.

Rosemary never disappointed me.


Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

Adiós, amigo!
Thanks for reading and catch ya next week.
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Chapter Two: Two Mates Or True Mates

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Chapter Ten

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Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.

Previously…
– Candida had an induction hob instead of a stove

I met Alice 12 years ago, an exchange student from Sweden who stayed with my friend
– Her family hosted youngsters from various countries, which she found intriguing
– Unintentionally, she inspired me to attend this camp
– Candida made mushroom toast with freshly plucked mushrooms from the garden

and neighbour’s home-baked bread

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The Ninth Mood
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A Sweet Ten To A New Beginning

The Last Time | End of PART I

I built a gorgeous sandcastle. Embellished it with dazzling seashells. I’m adorning it with blue and yellow lilies, like the ones Candida gave me at Stockholm airport. Oh… but… no-no-no. A gigantic wave comes. Nooooo! It is gone… I have only sand and no castle.

“What if I sink?”
“Oh, but my darling,
what if you swim?”

“Do you wanna ride the metro?” Candida interrupted my intense sandcastle daydream. I was glaring fiercely at the blanket of blue flowers outside that window. They danced like the waves who wrecked my castle.

“Me-metro? Wh-where do you wa-wanna go?”

“Nowhere.”

Hmm. Anyway, it was a much-needed break. Oh, and like right-on-cue, it started raining. Was I in The Truman Show? Haha!

People complain about the mess rain creates. But for me, rain means… something new. June, new class, new books, new teachers, it’s just… all new. It means ‘new chance’. There is something incredibly hopeful about it.


Rain was the perfect confetti from the sky
added to the weather of sweater
making us feel shy

I will be eternally grateful to Candida. I wanted to stay there, in heaven. The cool air with the warm melody of raindrops had set a lulling rhythm. A loud honk brought me to earth. Yeah, the metro train announced its arrival.

“Hey, what are you thinking?” Candida breezed.

“A moment ago, I was in paradise. Now, I know that tomorrow there will be 15 others at the camp, each from a strange nation.”

Better food, I hope. That is my strongest motivation right now!

“A week ago, wasn’t Sweden a strange nation too?”

“Yeah, but I-“

She had helped me become friends with this nation.

“You are brave and you will be fine. I’m sure.”

Those ten words meant more to me than anything in the world.

Candida continued after pausing to adjust her bag. We were riding the metro. It was smooth, serene and speedy.

“Isn’t the camp why you are here? Consider the next two weeks as a Land Of Learning. Observe, that’s all.”

“You make it sound so simple. But it’s-“

“Because it is! You have magnified it in your head. This is not the End, you see?”

“Err.. it is. It’s my last day here.”

“There is never an end. Not even to life. It just ‘goes on’. One journey to another, one soul to another.”

“Whoa. Kinda deep! I did not get it though.”

“Yeah, never mind. Just remember that tomorrow will be great.”

“How do you know? What if it’s not?”

“Then the day after tomorrow will be. Err… okay. Suppose you run to catch this train, but you miss it. Does that mean you ran for nothing? No. It made it easier for you to catch the next one.”


Strangely, this strange nation didn’t feel strange. Instead, it made me too curious to wait for more. I’m ready for the adventure that’s beginning tomorrow. From living with mom and dad to sleeping alone here to having a foreign roommate. Wow, what a great leap! Yay! I had googled all the tourist attractions before, but getting to see them in real? 

Aren’t the thorns privileged to have roses?


Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

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PART II: THE CAMP

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Chapter Nine

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Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.

Previously…
– Adam met Candida and I after dinner at Nina’s place
– I gingerly questioned him about his parents’ divorce and their current dates
– He used Irreverence – the technique of stepping back to look at it objectively
– For me, he was a wonder who made me rethink my beliefs

– Candida thanked him for dropping us home

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Eighth Wonder
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The Ninth Mood

Candida’s place | Adam’s room| Ninth Day

Irreverence? How the hell does Adam do it? He made absolute sense though. How did he make it sound that simple, man? Or am I an idiot to keep thinking about it? Nah, that can’t be it… Can we imagine our parents dating some other people and still be cool about it? Aren’t we raised to believe in monogamy? Can we still begin a new relationship? I didn’t ask him about Evelyn. Enough prying, no? Maybe next time. Hmm. Right now, I’m gonna sleep in the sun. Yes, sun. I have never seen the moon here.

My bladder woke me up the next morning. I crossed the kitchen while going to the bathroom. Did I mention that there was no traditional gas stove there? It was the first time I was introduced to an induction hob. Somehow, food was a battle I was losing in. In India, I complained about beggars next to roadside food. Wasn’t I craving the food now? Ironically, doesn’t absence make a powerful presence? And please don’t think only veggies struggle. Instead of potato, the non-veggies had a bland piece of chicken. That was the only difference.

I know we shouldn’t say this for food but… eww.

The food explained to me why Alice had not liked misalpav that day. Alice… She was the reason I was on the trip.

Alice… Who The F… Is Alice?

***

One year ago, I met Alice from Sweden. Alice was staying with a friend’s family. (like I am with Candida. The way I met Candida’s friends, she met us). We planned to take her to Lonavala. It was July and it was raining. Do I (or any Mumbaikar) need more reasons to go to Lonavala? Till date, it is a welcome break from the fierce competition and the brutal burns of an extremely fast-paced life and pricey dreams of Mumbai.

Alice was 19, one year older than I was.  The pearl-skinned brunette sat behind the driver’s seat. She was a few inches taller as I was. We drove straight to our favourite misal-pav spot in Lonavala. It was a small Dhaba near a lonesome, yet spectacular waterfall.

And then… Alice had a bite…
It looked as if she wore pants with a spring attached. She jumped and roared through gritted teeth – “Are-You-Trying-To-Kill-Me,” and after a pause for swallowing Frooti, “How-Can-You-Eat-This.”
Her cheeks were flamed, she had tears in her eyes. Frightened, we did not dare to get her to try again.

Food unites us, I believed. I didn’t anymore.

“Can I have an ice cream or a snow cone?” Alice cooed.

Oh My God. Was that her lunch? I was in awe. My hunger would have thrown a tantrum.


“Er, Alice – don’t you – don’t you – feel homesick? I’m sure you would – er – you would – get a cheese sandwich there,” I asked her timidly when we stepped out for having a snow cone.

“Not at all. I loved it,” she assured us. She then thoughtfully paused for a minute before continuing, “Since I was what – 7/8 I guess, I have seen people come home for such exchange camps. Never hosted an Indian though, maybe I’d have had an idea,” she chuckled. “There were youngsters from different countries and cultures, different jokes and languages, different hobbies and jobs,” she quickly added, “Different tastes of course. It fascinated me. I remember Kau Suki teaching my mom Sushi! It was yum! I craved such experiences. I always wanted to go to such a camp. Was waiting to turn 18. The year after, I left. There is just so much out there to learn from. Our life is 1/100th of a dot.”

***

I thank Lion’s Youth Exchange Program. And of course, Alice.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Adam and now, Alice. They made me realise that I must quit the futile complaining. I was holding a maroon mug and staring at the induction hob. Candida must have assumed that I was about to brew coffee. She broke my reverie by offering sugar.

Er no, no coffee. How can I afford to feel so disoriented? Certainly not when Candida generously gave me a lovely orientation. I have a camp coming up. The most exciting part of the trip had not even begun yet!

“Hey, thanks. Umm, can we have something else? My tummy is making noises.”

If I were home, I’d have opened the refrigerator or ordered something or called a friend to go out and eat or simply made Maggi.

“Wonderful! Just a minute. I’ll pluck something from the back-garden.”

Wh-what? That was the response to ‘I’m hungry’?

***

Twenty minutes passed until I inhaled butter.

That buttery aroma made me hungrier than I already was.

“Mmmm…smells delightful. What’s cooking?” Candida was dedicatedly at work.

“You are lucky! When I was plucking these mushrooms, Simon offered some bread he baked yesterday. Wow, I have not had this in such a long time! Thanks to you, we can all treat ourselves.”

“Baked bread alone at home? And where’s the butter burning?”

“Oh we don’t buy bread at stores as you do, you see? I brought some fresh mushrooms from outside. I’ll chop and add them to the butter. Spread it across the bread and roast it. You’ll love it. Simon’s bread is Divine. “

Whoa. I did NOT see this coming. I don’t even like mushrooms. This sounds so tempting though. I’m definitely gonna try it.

***

Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

NEXT
A sweet Ten to a New Beginning

Why do good things end?

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Chapter Eight

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Disclaimer

Our journeys are stories of our own.
This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected.
It’s not a guidebook or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.

It is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.

Previously…
– Candida promptly decided to buy a new bulb and change it herself
– I travelled in their metro and accompanied her to the supermarket

– Met Karen and Clay at Nina’s place for dinner (Candida’s cousin)
– Learned about amazing new jobs that were available
– Felt trapped in the job I had


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Seven Jobs
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Eighth Wonder

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Sipping coffee at Nina’s place

Coffee after a meal was a strange idea to me. However, today, I want to be a part of the group. Just to not feel left out, you know? Moreover, I didn’t mind being in the company of Karen. In retrospect, good I did. I’d have never learnt about those unusual kinds of jobs. I’ve been blaming my upbringing and culture for not letting me try. How long will I blame? Isn’t it time to stop blaming and start doing? We need some kind of guidance, though. Maybe this could be that? Maybe. 

“Hey hey hey. Great news! Didn’t you wanna meet Adam? He’s gonna be here. Wow! Be ready to leave, yeah? I’m just grabbing my bag.” Candida screamed joyously. She was halfway inside the balcony door but her legs were still outside. Shoelaces tied and shirt tucked in neatly.

Oh my God! Yay! Telepathy does exist. I was looking forward to meeting Candida’s son who had agreed to lend me his room. No, not because he was easy on the eyes (which he was, according to the pictures). It puzzled me how he kept his calm when his world was falling apart (parents getting divorced).

We hugged everyone goodbye. I hugged Karen twice. She was somebody I would be in touch with, I decided. Somebody, who radiated the feeling of warmth by making them feel loved. Clay was helping Nina clear the table and Karen had taken Tiger, their dog, for a walk. I could hear Candida talking to her mother on the phone.

“…Adam is coming to drop us off…Yeah, he’s so glad he is getting to meet Richa…I hope Karen makes it in time…He can’t wait to catch up with Nina and Clay as well…Yeah…Evelyn’s dad has lent his car…have told Richa to go downstairs…”


I was leaning against a parked blue car as I was waiting for Candida, Nina, Karen, Clay and Adam. I reminded myself to not bombard Adam with questions about his parents. I certainly would not have done that normally. I am not so good at opening conversations. I don’t even tell a lot. As they say, never reveal all cards in the first game. However, I was not going to have another game. So, that made this an exception and I had to get as much out of him as possible. I was calculating my questions. Their sum depended heavily on his responses. If he showed any signs of discomfort, I decided to quit. After Candida’s reveal though, I didn’t think he would be. I was still alert. This was a sensitive issue and not something to be discussed in the first (and the only) meet.

Adam’s car came into view. I was too focused on planning my line of questions to notice how happy the family looked. I anyway knew that was deceptive. People’s ‘showing’ and ‘being’, are poles apart. Adam’s more than six feet of lean physique smiled down at me. Not athletic like his father, but with Evelyn, he could make onlookers jealous.

How did he manage to begin a serious relationship when he was himself going through an emotional turmoil? I should not ask him about that in front of his mother. Although they looked relaxed, I won’t ask. I have my manners.


After Adam checked whether Candida and I were comfortably seated in the car, he continued talking to Candida. 

“Yes, mom. Andrew is doing fine, don’t you worry. I told him you and Phil are fine, too. And hey Richa, he says hi to you,” Adam said. He looked so…okay with all this. How!?

Maybe that’s what it is. Okay. Just okay. Maybe I am the only one magnifying it so much. I need to look at it like the way he does. In a detached manner. How did he make it look so uncomplicated? They are his parents, right!? Is he faking this? He has spoken about his dad and Candida’s current boyfriend. Unintentionally making it easier for me to broach the topic.

“So sweet. Hi to him too. Hey Adam, er… how do you do it? How can you be so cool with all this?”

Too direct and too quick, I know. But this wasn’t a long drive. I just hoped he understood my question correctly. I didn’t want to repeat and/or explain more. It would have gotten more awkward for me than it already was. This much bravery was enough!

“Hmm? With what? Mom and dad?” Adam seemed genuinely surprised. His tone was incomprehensible, I didn’t know if it was pleasant.

Shit. Had I said something I shouldn’t have? Nah. Don’t think so.

Adam’s eyes were glued to the road. They remained unmoved like it didn’t even matter. I simply nodded.

“Irreverence,” he saw my quizzical face and quickly continued, “I use that for my writing. You might also give it a try. It’s a unique, powerful and an extremely useful tool. It’s a tool to look at things in the third person. Objectively. I keep telling mom and Eve to practice it too,” he shook his head.

Again, how could he look so calm? Has he practiced this or are his facial muscles just fixed there?

“What does that mean?” I asked him again.

IRREVERENCE

“Er. I took a step back. I looked at them as two separate individuals. Not as mom and dad. Then, I did what I could to help them.” Adam spoke to me like I was a 9 years old child.

He said it like he was talking about the weather. Wouldn’t all our problems be resolved if we look at people like that? Without the attached relationship?

“And what helped your parents at such a troubled time?”

I am not done with Adam. I am gonna dig deeper, as much as I could.

“Letting them be. Oh and, not being a disturbed child.”

Disturbed child? Like a drug addict or something? That was such bullshit. How can anyone plan those things? Don’t they just happen? Was he simply showing off?

“You were that mature? Candida must be so proud!”

Hah. I did not mean it like a taunt. Nobody respected this dude more than I did. This was just unbelievable. How can divorces be that Routine?

“No no. I did not do it intentionally and yeah, they are both proud. I hope.” Adam laughed.

Did he just – ? Did he just Laugh? How’s he doing this? I am the only one crazy here it seems. What-the-hell?

Candida was listening intently and was prompt to answer his unasked question, “Undoubtedly,” she beamed.

Wha – what? What’s going on?


“Thanks, baby. Safe and smooth,” Candida hugged Adam after we got home.

Mother thanking a son for a ride home? I have never seen that happen, ever. I know there are millions of such ‘broken family’ stories, but this one I experienced for the first time. If I was making a list of wonders of the world, I will add Adam. I wish I had at least 10% of his bravado. The camp is yet to come, but could this trip be any more amazing?


Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. In case if you are not happy with the content and/or the images here, please write to me at therichdiary@gmail.com

NEXT
Den Nionde Mood

Second last day with Candida. But what’s with the new mood?

Adiós, amigo!
Thanks for reading and catch ya next week.
Oh and of course, show some love
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