The Rich Trip

Chapter Nine

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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.

– 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

A sweet Ten to a New Beginning

Why do good things end?

Adiós, amigo!
Thanks for reading and catch ya next week.
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