I take a few days to prepare the talk. Flyers are nor required. Uncle says.
The kids and I pack for our stay at Sharon’s hotel. I am hoping I can stay for a week. I haven’t seen their country town before. I decided to be frank and call her up. She says , no problem . You can stay here. I will give you a discount for accommodation. The conference weekend is on me. I accept. Its a good price for that kind of luxury. Besides we haven’t had a holiday in a while.
We arrive at the hotel. They have arranged for a cab to transport me. It turns out to be a limo. Yay! Say my kids. What royal treatment. But after all I am giving the talk for free. I smile. A good start to the weekend. As we get out of the limo and walk up the steps of the Hotel, somebody says Hello! Remember me !
I turn around. It takes several minutes to place him.
I am here with my teenage Nieces and nephews.
I remember now. You are Fransisco Anthony John Richards.
Right! You remember my name.
I have been following your achievements.
What are you doing here.
I am here on invitation.
To attend my talk ? Yes and some sight seeing.
We can do it together.
Sure, why not.
He has a Doctorate in Business and works for the Government. Plush high paying job with lots of contacts.
I have been considering applying for a project. Big money. In the trillions !
I consider making him part of the team, but first I have to consider the feasibility of the project. That will take 1 ½ years. We can go haves on the money.
Do you remember the time we had to share a hotel room in Woodlands, Bangalore ? The aircon in one room was traded for better aircon. That’s how we met.
Of course I do.
The hotel manager explained to us that though it looks like 1 bed, its 2 singles and very comfortable. You will sleep really well. I have stayed at this hotel in my previous trips to Bangalore and I accepted the Hotel manager’s explanation. And it did turn out to be very comfortable.
So are you staying at this Hotel.
No...! We are in Hotel Marriot in the next street from here.
Hm... that’s a good place too.
I introduce him to Auntie, Uncle and Sharon. Auntie is my mom’s cousin and has the same name Katherine as me. Sharon introduces him to the other guest speakers.
Uncle shows me to our room. Auntie comes up and asks if everything is satisfactory.
Yes it is, I reassure her.
Its working says Uncle to Auntie and grins !
What is ? The air con :-0 Auntie smiles knowingly.
They leave us to settle down and freshion up. My talk is this evening
The kids and I have already had brunch on the flight.
So we opt for 2 pm lunch.
Who was that mom ?
A friend of mine from yester years.
He is not as tall as Vlk, Suri and Laxhmikanth and not as handsome but has a cheerful happy go lucky personality.
Come evening. My talk goes well and I answer the questions that follow. I have taken care with the presentation. I sit in some of the other talks. Auntie has hired a nanny for the kids. A reliable relative of Sharon’s. I promise to pay good money.
The kids have already had their dinner in the room. I enjoy the dinner and after chatting with some of the others in the room, head off to my room for a good nights rest.
The next day, I call the Marriot hotel. Fransisco is in the shower and I leave a message. He calls back 30 minutes later and we decide to take the Hotel tour o the place, keeping in mind attractions for the kids. His nieces and nephews are older than my kids. They have been getting on well and I am pleased.
After visiting Adventure world and the museum and having local cuisine for lunch, we head by. He invites me into his hotel for tea.
So you remember that I like tea.
Sure do. We chat for a while and i tell him about the project.
He is non committal.
I am busy but contact me when you get the project.
Its not now. Can you keep your calendar clear for 2 years from now.
I believe I can.
I tell him it has the potential for big money. He listens
I tell him with your contacts we can speed up the process.
He asks me if I am married. I say no, had kids by a no dad process.
Why did you not marry ?
There is plenty of time. No rush.
I also tell I have 10 defactos.
He asks what that means
I am a King and they are like King’s mates.
Ah......! Are you really a King.
He asks me where I live and tell him, in the City of Banff!
He is in Washington DC, his permanent home, just like Banff is mine.
At least it’s the same country
I ask him if he is in a relationship?
Na! I am happy being a Bachelor.
And no kids ?
No! He laughs! My family keeps me busy.
We have dinner at the Marriot hotel and head back to ours.
There are late night snacks and we take a generous amount to our room.
I watch TV and the kids are allowed to stay up late.
All the attractions in the town and neighbouring towns will take us 4 days to see. Doing it leisurely.
There are the caves, the chocolate and cheese factories, the water world, the fudge factory. We also plan to stay a day at the famous Caravan park 8 kms from our hotel. And then there is the clothing and shoe factory.
It has been an enjoyable week. He tells me he goes by the name Jhonno. We exchange addresses and emails and phone numbers. I tell him he can stay with me if he ever comes to Banff. Bring the kids along.
Ok! We print the photos we have taken.
I tell him I like beautiful things. And that includes people.
He nods. He knows he says. I am a connoisseur of fashion, clothing particularly.
I can spend hours in a clothing factory. And browse the net.
I head back. They are leaving today. I still have a day left and we decide to spend it by the Hotel’s pool.
The next day we head back home to Banff. The kids have another week of holidays. I receive email from a lady’s secretary. He says we met at the Hotel where I gave the talk on spacecrafts and asks if I can give a talk in Bangalore India on aircraft medicine.The conference is next year.I check the dates and I agree, after checking if Auntie and Uncle would take care of the kids for a few days and if their daughter-in-law would chaperone them. I will stay behind in Bangalore for 2 weeksand send them back early after 10 days. I invite Jhonno to participate and tell him if we can work out the details of the project, we have it made. Little did I know then that it would be a turning point in my life. I book the presidential suite. It has the highest security and privacy.
I receive a phone call saying my tender for the project has been approved , just as I land at the airport.I know I will be making big money, real big in the order of trillions, even after expenses. He has brought his niece along and a nephew. They have grown since I last saw them. Jeremy , Auntie’s son has sent email. His wife Carol is happy with the arrangements. They plan to take the Hotel guided tour of Bangalore for the next 2 days with the kids. I extent the presidential suite booking for an extra week.
I am waiting on the letter from the world governments. Jeremy sends a email copy. I open it up. Jhonno has arrived and we read it together. We are elated and I am feeling a little stressed. I have bagged the project not just for a planet but the Universe. Its a living for ever project. The aim is to make it available to everyone. Everyone has already been moved to perfect health. I open a 2nd email from Jeremy. He has spoken to Nicholas and Nicholas says if all of us get involved , we can do it in a month maximum. Work has already started on it. Jhonno and I are responsible for the communication side of it, convincing all governments to accept it.
Some governments will take a lot of convincing. Says Carol.
Yes I agree. How about you get involved.
Me says Carol. How ?
We will provide the training
The kids are responsible enough. We can take turns taking care of them.
Ok. Let me run it through Jeremy. He never says no to me.
We get talking about relationships. Jhonno has met a nice lady. It is love at first sight. His family is delighted.
Carol says when a man shows his body to you, then it means he is committing to be your husband. You are wedded.
Ainye...... says Jhonno
And how do I know the lady has wedded me.
When she allows a hug.
You know how difficult that is ?
Yes but when you get close, its possible.
But I have 10 defactos. I like all of them.
Don’t worry. They are all ready to be husbands.
How do you know ?
I can tell, says Carol.
Is it ok to have so many.
Sure why not! Says Jeremy. Its legal in our country.
And you are a King. They have already been playing Dad to your kids.
Yes that’s true
We get started on our project.
Carol gets up to order sandwiches and sharbats and goes to check on the kids.
All my defactos have written to me giving dates of their arrival and departure.
We hire a local consultant and he arranges accommodation, near Shenoy nursing home in Secunderabad. I need to stay a month. Close to all amenities. He says Secunderabad/ Hyderabad is the communications hub. While Bangalore is a business centre. The owner has already been contacted. Its the winter vacation for the kids. I ask for a lease for 4 months. Plan to see the place and get a feel of life here.
Sure ! That can be arranged. There is plenty to see here. There is a catering service so that you don’t have to cook major meals. You can order on a day to day basis if you like. And groceries can be delivered to your door.
The consultant also arranges clothing from a local store.
We make our choices online. Time for lunch. After a siesta we prepare for the evening conference. There are song and dance events and a fashion show for the kids while we are at the conference. They are exited. Such lovely clothes mom !
Next day we get up early and start work. We work at a steady and leisurely pace. After all we don’t want to suffer from burn out. My defactos are arriving in the next couple of days.
And as Carol said, all of them display their bodies to me .
So they are committing themselves. I decide to allow them a Hug at the appropriate time in the privacy of my room. They are put up in a nice hotel near by. So wonderful to have 10 mates – After all I am a King and I own the Universe. I need somebody to take care of my world.
2 weeks have gone by. I have seen Bangalore already. I just do a 1 day tour of the place. I also plan to visit Puddicherry. The place is famous for fixing eyes and I plan to get my kids eyes checked out there. There is an ashram there that I also want to visit. The hospital campus is said to be beautiful.
We shift to Hyderabad .I have already looked up places to visit while I am there. My career diplomat Indian friend is visiting for a day. She is poor and is allowed free travel, expenses paid for a day, once a year. I decide to fix that. I book accommodation for her and her family and transfer 1 eternity’s money into her bank account. Its a small amount for me and a large amount for her. We agree to meet up in Abids. I can also do my Career diplomat work here. All of us settle down. The gas cylinders for cooking re being set up, regulators and all, mattresses are being brought in and tea is being made for us. Some of the kids are getting a mild stomach ache and I fix that. I coax them to try the local finger food. Which they relish. They are having fun sliding on the smooth cool floors. The owner checks up on us and I pay the agreed upon rent.
There is air con madam but you will not need to use it. There is a park in the street behind this building. And there is a grocery store if you want anything.
I thank him. He introduces his wife to me. I ask him where I can buy an apartment like this. He mentions that there is one in this building. He owns it. We decide on a price after I verify that there is no water problem. He agrees to bring the documents for transfer of ownership. I have a Hotel in the Malaysia / Singapore region, so accommodation there is not a problem. All satisfactory.
I just have a day’s work here. The agency referred to me by the Bangalore consultant is taking care of the details. Terri Haines and Nicholas have arrived
They plan to stay with me for a month. My now other defactos also promise to visit us while we are here. My apartment will provide accommodation for them. I prefer to think of them as my Guy friends, American style.
Work is going well and as planned we will complete work in time. Carol and Jeremy are here with me. As I said I am a Indian citizen and so are the kids. I have valid documents for travel. The kids are exited. It is their first stay overseas. They have travelled with me before on short trips and we have only stayed in Hotels.
2018 March. I go to the beach. Heard there is an event today. Who do I see but Balaji , my 10thdefacto with Monique and his 10 year old daughter. He is teaching Monique survival skills in water. They are teaching a kid how to make sand castles and bath bombs. I also see Kase, a gypsy nomad like me.. I have requested Auntie and Uncle to move to Banff. They say why not ! We are renting after all. Besides we would miss the kids. They have a grown up son and he says he can easily find a Job in California. They persuade Sharon Auntie to move too.I find accommodation for them. And help them settle in. I saw all my defactos last year around Christmas, at the beach.
I now have a fellow staying with me. He needed accommodation and I after much consideration, agreed. We get along well for the most part. He is busy and so am I. My home has been renovated while I was in India.
I plan a 2 week stay in Malaysia this year. I call up Laxmikanth and say
Hi Husband !
Han..... When did we get married ?
Remember India, you showed your body to me and I hugged you.
So ? I do it all the time when I go swimming
Carol told me.... and I fill him in. I tell him I discovered there are many types of hugs.
The full on hug, the side hug, the rest my head on a man’s chest hug , non contact hug and so... on
No! You silly thing, that’s not marriage. You are such an innocent thing. You can’t marry 10 people, you can only marry one. There is no concept of marriage here.
What is it then?
Beat’s me ! I don’t know either. A 10th century thing probably.
No I tell him. Auntie has popularised the concept. You have to undergo some training before you marry.
A relationship is probably called marriage.But I can have plenty of guy and girl friends.
Yes of course you can.
What about divorce? Where did you pick up that word ? it does not exist. Such a word is not even there in the Millennium dictionary.
It does but is rarely used. And here I was thinking I had 10 husbands.
He roars with laughter.
A mate is sometimes called husband by some people.
Wait till I tell the others.
I laugh! Ok! Ok! Tell me what they say.
I look very different these days.
How so ? I have gone blonde. And I have fair skin now. I have a different hair cut.
You and fair skin ?
Yes, how will I recognise you ?
You won’t but with time you will.
How do you know that ?
I just do. I am the tallest fellow in this place. Meet me at Mullaloo trail. I come for a swim there everyday.
VLK is managing the beach front hotels these days.
I remember the last time I saw Laxmikanth
I had been experiencing ennui that day. The fellow who stayed with me has left.
Found a job in another city
My kids were doing their own thing and my friend was angry that he had to play dad again this year to his kids ! His wife is working. But affection takes over and he is ok.
I had been invited for dinner by them. They say they will pick me up at 7pm. I make arrangements for the kids. My cousin has moved to town recently. He offers to take care of them. I in turn send him the nicest food I have made.
I suggest a local eatery. Its Laxmikanth’s family’s business. They are open 24 /7 all year around and always have something to offer, even on a very hot or cold day, no reservations required. The food is great!
They own all the eateries in the world.
Little did I know they were managing this eatery this year.
We order and it’s nice food. He plugs ear phones in and listens to music.
The family comes over to say hello. I smile. They care about me and I need that. I have been going solo for 7 years and am feeling a little fed up of it all.
Not difficult as there is support.
I ask you are here. When did you arrive ?
Last week. We are managing the eatery this year, says a young fellow.
His sister says proudly. Its our menu.
Who are these kids ?
They are my grandchildren.
Got to go ! Supervise the kitchen.
Ok ! nice meeting you.
I think of asking about Laxmikanth but never get around to doing so.
We are finishing dinner. The kids are chatting away.
We get up to leave. My friend is paying the bill.
I look around and who do I see but Laxmikanth. He is tall ! And I have heard he is managing a taxi business.
He looks dark but I am sure its him. Such love we feel for each other.
I am feeling happy again. My day has been made.
I savour the moment. As we leave I look back. Nowhere to be seen.
What a pity, I was planning to talk to him.
But my friend is in a hurry. He has a night shift and he has to drop the kids home. His wife calls and says it’s her last day at work. She is taking a leave of absence.
A week later. Jhonno calls. I have made my money, we all have and are leading a semi –retired life. I still have my job at the Hospital. I ask after his lady.
Oh... she is a friend. I am planning to propose to her when I get to know her better.
Does she like you?
Yes she does. What is there not to like.
Ok. I have decided not to think of marriage anymore. I have decided to be celibate.
Anartham anarthanike dari teesutundhi. Most people are celibate. But they do tell tall stories at parties J
I have advertised for a house mate. Meanwhile I am teaching my kids about maintaining house.
They ask why don’t we mop everyday
We don’t want to lose the fairy dust left by the caretaker
Do we still have the cobra snake family we made at school mom ?
Yes we do ! They live in the front neighbour’s house.
Did you know one of my names is Naga mani as I could make diamonds from liquid from my head. I will show you how its done
That’s interesting mom.
These days you can get a Doctorate by the time you are 7. And start work at the age of 8. Easy work with lots of play. So get ready for the work world .
I tell them how age is calculated in the world. I also teach them physiotherapy.
How to fix themselves without medication for the most part. And palliative care as it is understood.
Balaji sees my advertisement and refers a friend. He is very young.
He is moving in next week. All sorted out. I teach them about love, the Ashwin way. As I was taught when I was young. Home schooling is very popular here. And so is long distance learning.
I call up Carol and tell her there is no such thing as marriage. Were you joking I ask.
I know now that there isn’t. No! I wasn’t joking. Auntie has explained it to me now.
I have found work at the council offices. My kids and I take up space in one of the council houses, all free and perks of the job. It’s a 5 year contract. Nobody asks about age these days. My house mate has his family stay with him while I am away. There is a cleaning service once a week and more if required and breakfast and lunch service. I settle the kids in and teach them how to handle ennui. The learning process continues. They are old enough to help me with the council work. I teach them about psychiatry. The council house has a long corridor and single rooms on one side. The other side has several rooms, but each can accommodate 6 beds. Their windows look out to a lawn. It used to be a psychiatric ward. People used to just walk in when they felt stressed or did not have accommodation or couldn’t cook for whatever reason or just plain lonely. They used to stay for a few days, have a health check up and leave. I like the place. Its more spacious than my home.I use the front room for council work and meetings. The house comes furnished. I check on my house mate. The family is doing fine. I broadcast my change of address and my friends start dropping in to look at my place. And catch up with me. They bring gifts for the kids.
Dads remembered you.
Yes they always do.
Mom what is sex ?
It’s something you do when you get married.
We are gypsies. We travel a lot. Yes we do, don’t we. If you ever have a poor body image , go to the Rotary club and look at the mirrors there. They will tell you what you really look like. It’s a lot of fun. And all of us look really good.
Yes we remember.
5 years on, my Council job has been extended for another 5 years. We move into another council house. It comes with a swimming pool. Life goes on without much hungama. There is no such thing as aging. I am a permanent 28. My house mate still lives in my house. I am free to visit whenever I want.
I see VLK and Laxmikanth on a regular basis. Suri lives further away and visits sometimes. VLK and Suri look a lot alike. It is difficult telling them apart sometimes as they are more or less the same height. My other defactos visit sometimes. I am content with my life. The kids are settled in life.I am 33 years old now but there is a living for ever and perfect health after all, achieved with very little medication. I am still single and unattached. I still love beauty. The City of Banff is my permanent home.
I am looking for safe new adventures.