The gypsy girl

About a gypsy girl

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1. Short Story

The gypsy girl

Aunt to niece. “We are all gypsies in this land. I will teach you all about the gypsy ways. Gypsies are fiercely independent. We tend to have free access to the world. All the world understands that. Gypsies originally were from Roman land but can now be found in many places in the world. Since we travel, a lot of learning is outside the schools.  We are free spirited. You must learn to move freely and safely in the world. I will teach you first aid, and the art of healing and how to handle fire safely. Also, how to cook, and know when food is safe to eat. How to travel well, and pack for journeys. Look for cost effective travel. Travel is an art. Not everyone can do it. We don’t marry. As modern day gypsies our wealth is distributed across the world. Become a gypsy king. “

“How do I do that Oh! Finally I am allowed to travel?”

Aunt “ Yes, You have the nicest coloured eyes. They will change colour with the lighting and brightness of the place. I will also teach you about medication made from herbs and medicinal plants that do so. Train for the contest. Here is what you do”, handling her a thumbnail drive.

“and here is your new laptop. It’s very light weight. All the best gypsies in the world come for the contest. If you are worthy enough of being King, you are given land and plenty of cash. Your uncle and mom will teach you self defence and how to camp.”

Gypsy girl Berri “ I was once badly beaten on the way to school. Will that happen again?

“No dear, that won’t happen again. We will move in fairly safe worlds. Your cousin is an accomplished doctor. He will be travelling with you.I will teach you to travel well.  We take care of the world’s children.  Any child can be ours for those few moments in time. You must understand and embrace aloneness. Conquer the feeling of love. Learn detachment and attachment. I will train you  in moving among men and women, and even in dangerous situations.  Never take a child away from its family. Become part of the family and visit on invitation only. Never impose.  Your cousin will travel with you wherever you go for the next 20 years.  We are always interested in exploring new worlds. You job is to discover new worlds and find a suitable place. Then we can all move there.  Access to the world is already available. As gypsies we train ourselves for travel. Our interests give us valid visa to these places. As a family we can live anywhere in the world, for any length of time.”

“Aunt, we have found a new world. Not many people here. It is called Amosze for Amber (world) of splendid zeal and energy.  Everyone here understands our philosophy of life. They all have to travel a lot because the land is huge. I am thinking of making this my permanent home base. So is my cousin. It will take us a month to get citizenship of this place. I am applying for you, uncle dad and mom.  Fill in the forms asap (as soon as possible) and send them back to me. I will train for the gypsy King here. It is a very interesting world. I plan to live alone. Cousin has found a job in the city of Herion. We have moved to Herion.  Once I become a citizen, I will be taught the ways of this world. We don’t have to give up our country’s citizenship. My winning the King’s contest is a given. I am living on the beach at the moment. It has a shower and restroom area and is attached to a park where stags roam free. Beautiful birds have made this part home. The weather is pleasant throughout the year and though it gets cold here, it is warm at the river front. There is a catering service I can use just across the park. I am enjoying my life here. There was a meeting of all gypsies on this land this week.  Wonderful, I saw all the people I wanted to see. The local gypsies are helping me settle in. I am looking to buy land near the river here and run a caravan park business for travellers. Plenty of international travellers come here. My knowledge of languages will come useful.  We will be travelling to nearby towns. Some of them are very small. The weather is a big asset but better to carry warm clothing as we can’t afford fancy cars. I am only 16. 2 gypsy kids will teach me local language and stay and travel with me. About 100 families want to become gypsies. Some of them want to visit our world. You can train them here. I plan to look for pearls.  I am planning to buy a ship-liner and travel. It will be more comfortable for moderate distances.  How I love the waters and outdoors. I have started improving my swimming skills.”

“Don’t go to the Tavern. They are not like our Taverns.”

“Ok”

Uncle “Glad you like the place. We will be arriving there some time first week of next month. Find a farm for us, close to a pond and with modern amenities. Your aunt and I are not total gypsies like you. We are from another land.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------

“Hey you cousin, is that your name ?”

“No of course not, it is  Ashby”

“You will get citizenship but you will have to show commitment, by one of you marrying into a family from this land.”

“ I am a gypsy. We don’t marry.”

“Hm...well then you can’t get citizenship.”

“ How about we negotiate. I will take on a girl and a child and they can be my family. She will however have to learn to be a gypsy.”

“Let me put it to the panel.”
A few minutes later “ Find such a girl, Here use this agency. They will help you”

“Ok”

Ashby to his cousin the gypsy girl Berri, “ I am meeting a girl. Want to come with me?”

“Ok”

They hire a cab to take them to the hotel nearby for a rendezvous.

“Hi, I am Marni’s dad. I have already met your family. We are prepared to consider you but she comes with 3 kids, her siblings.”

“More the better. Great! No problem.”

“She has one condition though. She will think of you as her mate, so you must like her a lot.”

“Ok. I already do. They told me about her at the agency and I like her profile and saw her on video. I understand her dad and mom are also prepared to be gypsies and willing to travel with us.”

“ Then shall we finalise the agreement papers?”

“Let me see the kids first.”

“Here they are, there is Marni in that corner.”

“Already seen her.”

Berri to Marni, “Are these the kids? They are lovely.” What do you think Ashby?”

“I will sign the papers now and Marni will come and live with us, with the kids. Her family can live with Aunt and Uncle on the farm.I will call her Marli. It is much easier on the tongue.”

“It won’t be easy Marli, says Ashby. I will be taking on more kids and I travel a lot. You will have to travel with me.”

“No it’s ok. I can handle it.”

And so the agreement was signed and Ashby given citizenship.

Berri is also given Citizenship as she has won the contest as a King and applied under the business category.

Aunt and Uncle and mom and dad have got in under the family category. They have shown themselves to be Berri’s business partners and family.

“Things sure do move fast here.”

“Yes they do.”

Marli’s dad explains the customs of Amosze land to Berri’s family.

----------

Ashby to Marli

“I will be visiting Iran next week. If I get the job, my family will help take care of the kids and their schooling. All of you travel with me. The contract is for 5 years.”

“But I don’t know the local language.”

“We will engage a tutor.”

“Hm.., It should be interesting. I have always wanted to learn belly dancing. Persian women are said to be beautiful. I understand they still have Kings.”

“The Americans also do. The President is seen as King and has to win the King contest as a pre requisite to be President. We will be living witha Parsi family. They are gypsies. I plan to move to India from there. I am planning to start a bus.

“What colour eyes should I get? Wonder how the Persians dress?”
“Ask Berri. She is an expert at makeup and the world’s customs.”

“ I would like to go to school too. Become a Doctor”

“That will be expensive.”

“I have some money stashed away. It will pay.”

“I wouldn’t dream of taking your money.”
“No it’s ok. It is our Amosze way to pay for ourselves as much as possible. Just pay for my ticket.”

“We are Amoszes.  We excel at handling crook money. Let us handle your earnings for you.”

Asby laughs “Ok, we are great at converting it to white money.”

“What is white money? Everyone should have some crook money.”

“Legal currency.  Na! It will all be legal currency. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

"We need integrity in the world for what I have in mind."

Berri to Marni “ Which India are you planning to go to?” There are several India’s in the world.”

“Hm... yes I know, We have 5 years to decide. I must learn about the Indian world in Iran.”

Ashby ”Pack and be ready for travel. If I get the job, I will book your tickets and you fly out in a week.”

Berri and Marni “ We are always packed and ready to go. Some of our belongings can come by ship. Much cheaper.”

---------

Marni “We have men here with breasts and women with lings here in Amosze land. They are called gals.”

“ Cross dressers?”

“No”

Berri “Hm.. Interesting”

“You are being polite”

“No”

Marni “No one is classified, as male or female when they are born. We let natural inclinations take over.”

“You will have to have a registration of relationship and a simple ceremony to celebrate the fact.”

“Berri, What about you ?  Found a fellow?”

“I am not looking. I am not interested at the moment.”

“Fair enough”

“Let’s have a ceremony at the river front park and spend the evening at the beach there, before you go.”

“Sure”

Soon after the ceremony, Ashby leaves for Iran.

Asby has emailed them. 

     “We will be living in a place of 15 to 16 houses. The people who live there are International. My colleague lives 4 houses away. He is Indian and has teenage kids. You can improve your Indian language with them. Learn to speak English in an Indian accent. It sounds very American. They are a strange mix of East and West. Very progressive and yet very traditional in their ways. They are from Bangalore. Our Parsi family lives next door. Our other neighbours are Persian with a British wife. They have plenty of mango trees in their backyard and they warned me not to be surprised if I see snakes. They won’t harm you but don’t go near them. There is a local village a few kilometres from there, in a fort. Its not easy to gain entry into the village. We will have to go to the town 5 kilometres from here for veggies and groceries.  I can arrange for them to be delivered once a week and fresh milk will be delivered to our door every day. It’s a lovely house. Huge with 3 large rooms, a huge hall and all come with en suite bathrooms. Plenty of kids of all ages here. One of the houses has a swing. The kids will be delighted, everyone uses the swings. The school bus will pick up and drop them off everyday.”

A month later. The entire family has settled down in Iran.

“Found a fellow Asby, while travelling” Says Berri. “I like him. He is an American gypsy.. His name is Allen. He is here for 3 years. Lives in a very Indian town in the USA. Everyone in that town is Indian in some way.  Maybe we can visit the place and I can move there with Uncle and mom. Dad and you can follow us later. Marni will have to pass the Doctor’s exams there to work there. Here are the books for that.”

Ashby “So you have made up your mind.”

“Yes, I have more or less decided to go. The world is a very safe place and I know a lot about the world. I can learn American ways from Allen. Big business opportunities there.”

--

Marni’s dad “It won’t be easy. Find out what jobs one can get and get family to train for them. We don’t have enough money right now for the business category visa. A job is the most likely but not the best way to gain entry.”

Berri “I am going to revive my fine arts skill and that will help me with business opportunities. Provide a catering service to medium sized firms, interior decoration, a call centre offering simple advice on any topic under the sun, among others. It being the Indian part, good quality services will be in demand by all age groups.”

“Let’s get to know the families in this neighbourhood. Proceed with caution.  They are from different countries. Think of our Parsi family as our friends for now. “

Marni “I am busy with my Doctor’s studies.  Berri can.”

“Ok”

“Berri and her mom visit their neighbours”

“Hi!”

“Hi! Come in. As Salaam Alaikum”

“I am Amira and this is my husband Abadan”

“Hello”

Maman , make some tea for us please

Sure dear. Won’t be a minute

Berri’s mom disappears into the kitchen.

Berri after a while, asks about the neighbours.

Amira “I can fill you up on the local gossip, what do you want to know?”

“More about the neighbours and how you gain entry into the village.”

“There is only way to first enter the village. You climb up the hill to the temple on top. From there you take the steps to the village. The main door to the fort is always locked. It is opened once in the morning and evening to allow vehicles to pass in and out. Once you get a pass, there is a side entrance you can use. I will take you with me next week.”

“What are the neighbours like ?”

“Very friendly. “Send the kids in your family to Ashby’s colleague’s friend’s house and they will be introduced to the other kids. School starts next month. It’s the end of the summer holidays soon here. There is a Gujarati family next to ours.  You will see the lady every morning from your veranda. Don’t worry. Their grown up sons and daughters will visit you soon. Curiosity will get the better of them. Their eldest is engaged to be married to a local Gujarathi. We are all looking forward to the wedding.”

“ I hear screaming everyday in house number 4.”

“Oh they are just talking loudly. Nothing to worry about. A Baha’i family lives in house number 5.  They know quite a few locals. They will introduce you to them, if you have the time for social visits.”

Berri decides to call up a dating agency. She has decided to settle down in the USA. But that will take 10 years. Meanwhile she thinks, I want kids. Kids to be born in the USA as a sign of her commitment to the place. Where do I get them? I am not the marrying kind and I have to find a like minded person. She looks up the local newspaper and comes upon a elite dating site. Her business is now flourishing but she doesn’t have to spend too much time on it anymore. Just a couple of phone calls and emails to co-ordinate the activities.

She gives her details. Not looking for marriage. But wants 4 kids. A person willing to migrate to the United States. Not too particular about age but must be healthy and extremely good looking and happy go lucky. In her work she has come across a man who meets this criteria. They have gotten to know each other well and she finds him attractive enough. She specifically asks for him.  And asks the agency to find out his details.

He is Indian with an American mother. Not married and 5 years older than her. However he is very healthy and looks much younger than his age. Not an athlete but tall enough for her. She is 5 feet 9 inches to his 6 feet height. The agency agrees to contact him and get back to her. She insists that he be told she is a gypsy girl.

A week later the agency contacts her and says though he is good looking, their compatibility is a low 40%. They have a more suitable candidate who is Indian and their match is something like 250%. His name Ashwin Victor Gupta. He is also 5 years older than her. They send her a photo and tell her he is 6 foot 3 inches tall and though not handsome, she would find him attractive on association. The dating agency is known to be very good. The gentleman is not interested in marriage and is going places, though only moderately rich at the moment. He has suggested that they have kids using the ‘Blue Lagoon poke me poke you method.’ Berri has no problems with that and  agrees to meet him.  She specifies Amira’s place. Both Amira and her husband work and only Amira’s Maman would be at home.

Ashwin Victor Gupta calls  Berri up “ Before we proceed I must tell you something.  . I have a kid.. I am raising him. He is staying with my brother’s family at the moment. . ”He is a American kid. He sees me as dad, American Dad. I am wealthy and his family works for me. He was born through surrogacy. His mother is engaged to be married.”

“Why don’t you marry her?”
“Nobody tells me what to do. Says Ashwin firmly.”

“I meant, why haven’t you?”

“I am not the marrying kind but I want more children. She is not interested. She will be in my life. Neither of you can be my wife. I want 5 more children.”

Berri tells him that won’t be a problem. After all, Americans have all kind of families and they seem happy enough. So do gypsies.

“ We will use the blue lagoon methods. Here is a CD. Get familiar with them. I can help us become American in 2 years time. I will put you in as my Lady if all goes well and we proceed.”

After a couple of meetings, Berri  has found that she is liking him more and more as the days pass by. At some stage he says he introduces her to his family and she takes an instant liking to them.   A month later, the agency gets back to her and says he has answered in the affirmative. However he insists the first child should be born by natural means. He says that’s the advice he has been given by his Uncle.

“After all you are going to be together for eternity. You must first understand how much you like each other.” Says the Uncle.

“It is essential for bonding. That’s how we do it.”

Berri asks Marni and her family if they will handle the business here in Iran with help from her. “All it will involve is a meeting and a couple of phone calls every month. As you gain expertise, you can handle more of the decisions yourselves. Half the profit will go to you and pay for your student fees.”

Marni and her family agree. Berri trains them on how to manage the businesses she has. Ashby has meanwhile found a permanent job here and suggests to Marni, “ Why not buy out the businesses? Berri, it will free up your money. We will buy you out in a year’s time.”

After consideration, Berri says “Fine by me.”

Ashwin Victor “ We are having a family get together in Bangalore, India. You will get a chance to meet my kid Arvind and his birth mom Amrita and the surrogate Leela. Amrita is American Indian. I have already shown you their photos. Amrita and her husband live in Los Angeles and Leela is with her Uncle in San Diego. Amrita is a good friend of mine. She wanted a child and her husband did not want any. So they worked it out. We won’t be living together. We will raise the kids the Blue Lagoon way. You will get plenty of help. We will have kids after we become American.”

Berri “ Ok, My parents and I will live together and they will help out too.” She is looking forward to visiting India. As part of her Art’s degree she is an expert at cooking, and that includes Indian. My mom and dad won’t be coming to India. Can we move to Allen’s town. The demographics is very American Indian. I can learn about American and Indian ways of life there.”

“Sure”

Berri to Ashby and Marni, “I don’t want to sell my business right now. How about 3 years from now?”

“Ok, any time you wish.”

"Sometimes yes. Amrita and Leela will help. I am a busy man. My career defines my life but I will make time for my son Arvind. We won't be moving to Allen's town. I have checked it out. We will move to Caulfield. There is a large Indian population there. And other groups. You won't find many gyspies there. There is a University near by, so you can take courses there.

A week later, they fly out to Bangalore, India.

Ashwin’s friend receives them at the airport.  It is 3am in the morning.  The house is an hour’s drive from the airport at this time of night.

Berri is pleasantly surprised to see how green the place is.

“You have come after the onset of the monsoons. Hi by the way , my name is Chetan Lee. And no I am not Chinese. I am American by birth, grew up there and I am visiting my family here.”


Ashwin to Berri “He is my childhood friend. His grandparents are our neighbours here.”

When they arrive , the family is just waking up. Introductions are made. Some of them are visiting from other cities.

Ashwin explains “ We have a family get together once a year”, as he shows her to her room.

The house is spacious for a city, with a courtyard and a well, with a couple of restrooms outside.”

Berri is staying for 2 weeks while Ashwin’s plan to stay for a month before he takes up his job as a Diplomat. After Berri will fly to the USA to San Francisco where her parents are looking for a place to stay. They suggest to Berri that she can contribute to local magazines and find work in a Drama company with her fine Arts degree. Berri decides to improve her American English skills and her knowledge of European languages while she travels with Ashwin.

A year later

Ashwin to Berri

“I have been given this wonderful posting in Australia. I have decided against having children for the next 7 years.  What do we do now?”

Berri to Ashwin “Don’t worry about it. Maybe you will find another lady when you are well and truly ready. Can you do me a favour and just pay the rent and bills for this month. I will in return get you a discount in the clothing you need to buy. I can arrange a lady to select suitable attire for you. Believe me, you will save heaps. Besides I will be travelling myself. We can keep in touch and can still be friends.”

“A pity. I really liked you”

Berri thinks to herself, “She needs to speed up her process of finding a job but that is her problem. She has been trained to be resourceful. It will take a few months to adjust. Staying in America is not a problem however. Dad has a job here and we are already Americans. I have become very American in my ways.”

6 months later Berri comes to a decision. As much as she liked Ashwin, a pity that it did not work out. I will have to think of it as dating, as the Americans call it. She comes to a decision. She has found a suitable job that pays reasonably well and is long term.

She decides to contact Ashy and Marni and find out about the first fellow she liked. “Hope he is still single. I am doing a Stanford University course in Vedic astrology. Ashwin got me interested in that. Get his date of birth, place and time. Let me check out our compatibility.”

Ashby and Marni call back and say he is still available. However he is planning to  leaving for Europe soon. We got those photos you sent us of yourself.  We will get him interested. He is European. His name you said was Terri, Terri Haynes. You look quite fetching. Though not conventionally beautiful, you are still very pretty. Even with so little makeup.“

A day later

“We have shown those photos to him. It’s obvious he finds you attractive but is not showing any inclination yet. Give him time to think about it. We got his birth details. He asked about you and how you were doing.”

Berri gets his chart checked out  by a prominent astrologer.  The astrologer says

“This is wonderful. Don’t hesitate. Make sure he likes you. He will go far in life and is sure to like you.”

Berri contacts Ashby and asks them to proceed. She invites them over and also puts in an invitation for Terri. They can stay with her. She asks Ashby to tell him that there are lucrative job offers in the United States. The job is his if he wants it.

Terri contacts her. “I got your number from Ashby. Yes I am definitely interested. Instead of heading back to Europe I will come to the USA instead. How have you been? I have got my Doctorate in fine Arts and Architecture. I am interested in the job the Space Agency has to offer.”

“Ok There will be a telephone interview and if you get that, the job is yours. I will send your resume to the recruiting agency asap”

A week later she gets a message that Terri Haynes has got the job and is flying out in a fortnight.

She offers him accommodation but he says “No worries, the company is putting me up in a Hotel for 4 weeks. If you don’t mind, help me find a 2 bedroom 2 bath furnished apartment for starters with a year’s lease.”

Berri to Haynes “My dad will help, there are apartments a Kilometre from where we stay, It’s close to town. Your workplace is a 5 minutes walk from there.”

Ashwin calls her up. He says he is doing fine. His job is tough but he is enjoying it. Leela the surrogate has moved in with him. She loves his boy Arvind and is his mother too in a way. He is thinking of committing to her.

Berri is happy for him. All has worked out as it should have.

Terri Haynes is arriving in an hour. Berri is picking him up from the airport. She can’t stop thinking of him. She knows him quite well, having worked with him. Hope he likes me. The concept of girl friend must be well known to him. After all, he is European.
He looks at her and she waves. “Hi! Didn’t recognise me did you ?”

“No I didn’t. You look fabulous. I mean it.”

Berri thinks “He has always been very nice. As nice as he is good looking. I am not beautiful but I can be pretty with a little effort and I have excellent skills, learnt as a gypsy.”

“I am from Austriana” She tells him

“Ah...! Ok! Can we get something to drink. This place is hot!”

Berri pulls up at a service station and gets drinks and hot dogs.

She has come up with an idea. There must be an adoption agency just like a dating agency. Kids who would have their parents but whose upbringing she would share. She would be an Aunt mom. If all works out, Terri Haynes can be her guy friend.

“I have put some food in your fridge and freezer just in case you feel like snacking in the middle of the night. There is a street directory and you can easily walk to your workplace. Location is a building in the University campus. I will drive you there tomorrow. It’s my day off.”

“Thanks”

“I am taking you to my place first. It has a TV and internet so you won’t be bored. Tonight I will drop you off at your Hotel. Your Apartment will be ready to move in 3 ½ weeks from now.”

She calls up a dating agency and they give her a number to call. It is called ‘Aunt moms’ ”

“So appropriate”  Berri thinks. “Since I am not the marrying kind, this would suit me better. I can have all the guy friends and girlfriends I want. I can work and raise kids too with a full time job.” Berri calls up the agency and leaves her number.

Berri’s dad asks after Terri’s family. Terri laughs. “I am an only kid. Plenty of cousins though. We are a large family.”

“Are you married?” Asks Berri’s mom

“No, I am a confirmed bachelor” Smiles Terri

He notices the “Aunt Moms pamphlet”

Berri tells him about her plan to help out with kids. Provide child care, tutor them, drive them around, whatever it involves. The agency can find her suitable families.

The agency gets back to Berri. “We have found you a family with 10 kids. They need your support for the next 20 years. You will practically become one of the family. Your first aid skills will come really useful, as also your tutoring and childcare skills and your other many talents. Will you be in this San Francisco?  They happen to be gypsies from Austriana.”

“I can get work in the same Drama Company that does not require much travel. Who are they?”

“They are called The Leonards”

Berri’s mom “They are our distant relatives. Wonderful! It’s a small world. All of us can visit them Thursday.”

Ashby calls Berri “ Guess where Amosze land is !  It’s in the USA. Amosze has officially been part of America for centuries. Wonderful isn’t it. “

“Yes it is. Why don’t you move here.”

“No I am happy with my job.”

Berri “Why don’t you send Marni’s siblings here. They will get a fine education here. Marni’s parents can move here now.”

“Yes, they are considering that”

“Wonderful. I do miss them.”

Terri Haynes tells her he is moving to Los Angeles, better opportunities there for Artists. He asks if she would like to be his girl friend and move with him.

Berri “But you have been here only for a month?”

“True but the job will lead to better opportunities.”

“I can get a transfer. No problem”

“So you will be my girl friend?”

“If it’s a long term commitment, yes I will.”

“Yes it is. We have known each other long enough and I wanted to ask you out when I visited you, but you were dating Ashwin Victor at that time.”

“The dating agency suggested Ashwin over you. But you were my first preference. Anyway we need to make up for lost time.”

“What do we do about the Leonards?”
“You can visit them and stay in touch with social media.”
“True, after all it’s a 20 year commitment.”

Berri’s dad and mom decide to stay back in San Francisco.

“We will visit you “ They promise. “You will be too busy to miss us.”

“No Dad I won’t be. It’s the same job in  a different place. I am so happy. Terri is a very nice guy.”

Berri’s mom “Yes he is. Have kids of your own some day. After all we are now American gypsies.”

“Yes mom”

“More travel. Oh... I love it.”

“Can’t wait to see Los Angeles.”

“Terri’s job has plenty of opportunities for international travel.”

Berri and Terri settle down to life in Los Angeles. Berri’s job hours are flexible and she uses the free time to explore the city. She can do a lot of the work from home or anywhere in the world. She writes scripts for dramas.

Terri has a job in a drama firm as a consultant.  Their opportunity for travel comes up. They will be travelling to Europe. A month long visit. Berri is excited. Terri has family there and they offer to take her around.

Terri says “I have seen it all before. Besides I will be busy. Take up my family’s offer. I have family in different parts of Europe. You can stay with them.”

“Oh! I am so happy she thinks. She is currently collecting material for a book she has in mind that requires knowledge of places.”

Terri says “Lets get married.”

“We gypsies don’t marry. We have what is called a common law wedding. We don’t register our relationships.”

“It’s the same. I have no problem with that.”

“It’s the same. I have no problem with that.”

A year later. Terri to Berri  “ I have this lucrative job offer from a Theatre company doing what I love doing. It will involve my moving away and I can’t take you with me. What do you suggest I do?”

“ Take up the offer. I will move back to San Francisco and live with my family.”

“I won’t be able to visit you very often and calling you will be a problem. I will only be able to talk for a few minutes.”

“I know! It’s ok I will send you email and I will read up on you in the news. I do love you and I can call and we can talk.”

“It’s been 4 years since. Terri has come for a visit and they are having a day out at the beach.

“Nothing has changed” Berri thinks. “ He still loves me and I love him more than ever. How I miss him. But it is about quality, not quantity in our relationship. I savour those precious moments when we connect.”

Terri To Berri “ Let’s have kids. It’s about time.”

7 years later

Terri and Berri are still very much in love. Terri has found a desk job and Berri and their now grown up children have moved in with him. Ashby has since moved to San Francisco and Berri’s parents continue to live with her. Berri continues to travel as that has always been her passion.

A fellow from Los Angeles calls her up.. “Any chance of finding a job there.”

“Yes, if you are willing to be flexible. Come stay with me. As gypsies your family becomes mine and mine yours.”

“You won’t feel lonely here.”

“Great! I would love to learn the gypsy ways.

“By the way my name is Jonathan”

“Look forward to meeting you” Says Berri

She turns and sees that Terri has come home.

“Hi Dear How has your day been ?” Terri to Berri “Hello my Darling”

“I have made lasagne today, your favourite.”

“I am going away again.”

“OH no! For how long ?”

Can’t say. Probably 3 years.

“Where to ?”

“India. “

“That far?”

“It’s not as far as you think. 9 hours by air with a 2 hours layover.”

“I will miss you. Will you send email ?” “ I will be travelling but you can email me.”

“Where will you stay?”

“Hotels probably”

“I won’t be able to reply though to your emails.”

Berri knows her husband “He is being evasive” She thinks to herself. “What could be the reason?”

She is a gypsy and knows the ways of men.  “Is he unfaithful to me? No. But he is longing for other women. I am probably right. And gone past the stage of guilt.  Will giving him love solve the problem? No it won’t. He has got the wanderlust. I won’t do anything. When did I ever bother. He will be faithful to me. Maybe flirting a bit will solve the problem, after all we are not moonstruck teenagers anymore. And he is still a handsome man.”

“Dear Terri”

“Yes Darling , my Berri”

“ Here is a call centre number. You can call from anywhere for the cost of a local call and pay the bill afterwards. Any problem you have or just need someone to talk to, just call them. But please be faithful to me. Flirt I don’t mind.  The call centre will also connect you to local families. You will be ok”

Terri with tears in his eyes. “ I will miss you. What would I do without you. It’s not a short term assignment. It’s for 10 years and I have responsibilities. I can’t visit home.”

“Never mind – the kids will soon be in University. They will visit you.”

“So it’s a goodbye” She thinks and sighs. How she loves her Terri “What will she do without him”

“No! I am a gypsy! I can handle it. I have plenty to do. I can always find out what he is doing. He will be in the news.”

"Dear Terri," Yes Darling" 

"We are not so young anymore. Why don't you write to me. The call centre will forward your letters within a day. I will pay the call centre bill here. After all we are making good money. And the kids will be earning soon. It's not the end of the world. Common the lasagna is piping hot."

"You always knew how to make me feel better.  It will be wonderful. We can flirt and renew our vows. We can date. You are right."

" I will find a way to visit you. You have forgotten that I am a gypsy. I can travel in luxury for a fraction of the cost to most people. It's time the kids learned the gypsy ways. They will travel with me.  Don't you worry Dear"

Terri digging into his large portion of lasagna "Whose worried? Not me! " He is happy. His problem has be solved. He can have his cake and eat it too. How did his Berri know what he wants, he wonders.

“I will attend the high school meeting with the Deputy Dean tomorrow

Next day

Family to Deputy Dean of school,  “My son and daughter are both born in the same year

We follow the calendar year. So can we please have both kids in the same class. They have been home schooled.”

“Sure why not. But she is tall – she can go to the next year and sit with the tall kids. He will be happier in the same class.”
“Now what do we do,” Think their parents. Their grandfather says ‘Ok, we will sort that out later. They have combined classes here”

Berri to Terri Haynes “All 4 children in school already ! Wonderful, I can start working more and help out with the family business. My  mom and aunt can pick them up from school.”

Jonathan arrives a month later. Terri has left and Berri is handling it well. After all she is a gypsy. She recognises Jonathan. They have known each other for a few years now. 

Have you changed your name ?

Oh this is my home name. My family calls me Jhonno.

Ok I have prepared the guest room for you. You can stay with us. I sure can do with the company now that Terri is not here.

It’s ok  I have arranged accommodation for myself.

Fine then.

She is missing Terri. She calls up some of her friends and says “Meet me at this nice restaurant. It’s not expensive. And you can just have a few non alcoholic drinks if you are not in the mood for dinner”

She dresses with care and arrives at the restaurant at 7 pm. You! Sit there and pretend to be Terri !

Oh no! I have already done that for my sister. 

“You don’t have to say anything. Just look at me as though you love me. Remember it’s an act. “

“I am not an actor”

“Please”

“Ok”

Her friends pamper her and she feels a lot better. One of them has brought her a bouquet of flowers, crimson roses –her favourite. She has missed Terri more than she cares to admit.  Her family has been very supportive she realises. 

"Just because Terri is not here doesn't mean you can't hang out with us, says her married friend Natalie. I entertain quite a few married singles and singles too. Join a network. Here is the website and group email."

She calls up Jonathan the next day. He doesn't talk about himself but asks after her. She chats away. She has joined a singles/married singles network and  her group arranges to meet up at the park overlooking the mirror at 6 pm. It's summer and there would be a cool breeze blowing. Arrangements have been made for the kids. She invites him to come along.

When she arrives she is introduced to everyone. They start a session on dating. After that she mingles with the other singles/married singles there.  The coordinator of the group tells Berri.” I have read your case history. You need to romance a fellow or you will fall sick. Then who will take care of the kids.”

“  Ok”  She says. How about Jonathan. She thinks.  He seems a nice guy. Na! Won’t do.

“What do you suggest?” 

“Here is a folder full of photos. Choose one you like. There is no rush. And we will put it on the Net” says the coordinator

 18 months have gone by and she hasn’t heard from Terri.  She calls up the call centre and they tell her he wants a Mistress.

So I was right. Thinks Berri. And sighs.  But she is a gypsy. After all, we were not technically married.  He was free to walk out anytime according to their pre-nuptial agreement if he gave her custody of the children.  She asks the call centre agent to send him the papers that need to be signed giving her full ability to make decisions regarding children.. . In a way she is relieved that it was all sorted out so quickly.

She thinks “ My children are still young. They have already forgotten Terri.  They used to call him Terri. He used to be so busy with work all the time and leave the raising of the kids to me. Besides he used to be away when the kids were young”

She has applied and got a job as a head hunter  (job recruitment)  for Film actors and Drama actors.  It will be interesting and challenging she thinks to herself. And the money is good. She can work from home.  She is also good with her medication skills.  She already has a job as a pharmaceutical  Manager at a local pharmacy. Both jobs require working from home.  She decides to think about Terri afterwards. She is not giving up on him yet. Where would she get such a handsome man and such a nice man too.  “I am confident in my ability to hold the interest of any man. The nature of our relationship has changed.  That’s all. “

She decides to fly out to see him. She tells the call centre and gets his address. She tells them she would like to be Terri’s Mistress and will be sending him her photo.  She has heard that he is leaving his wife.  As a gypsy she can look very different. She goes to the hair dressers and gets her hairstyle changed. She decides to re invent herself. She knows how to. She has a very changeable face. Just a bit of weight loss or weight gain and she will look like a very different woman.

The call centre calls her up and says Terri is no longer at his present address. He has left no forwarding address.

Berri is not worried. Probably does not know his address.  Addresses can be obscure in India and not so obvious at all. Sometimes even to the Indians. She smiles. She decides to wait a while and pens a brief letter to him to arouse his interest in her.  She hires an actress to play her part and dresses her up a little differently. She uses her gypsy skills and Ashwin’s help in finding Terri. Ashwin gets back to her and tells he has located Terri. Terri is doing fine and is living in what would be called a serviced Apartment. A family lives with him and they are taking care of him.  Berri sends her actress to India to Terri’s place. Maybe he doesn’t think it necessary to tell her about a Mistress. After all they worked it out before he left. He must be having a hard time getting a phone connection to her place. May have lost the phone number. Any number of things. She books accommodation for the actress Mala and gives her Ashwin’s sister’s contact number.  Mala is part Indian and is happy to oblige for a free ticket and accommodation in India.

 

Mala has returned after a trip to India. She is in a very good mood. “Yes I did visit Terri” she says and laughs “He did not even notice me until I placed your envelope on the table. Here is a video of him. Such a nice man. You are very lucky. He will be at this address until Deepavali next year.”

Berri is delighted. How different her Terri looks in India. He has tanned but not terribly. And he has grown a beard. He must be using the lotion she asked him to. She decides to visit him at the end of the year for New Year’s.. 

......And so their love story continues though they are separated by time and space......

%%%%The End%%%%

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