' Book 2 - Our Lucky Mascot '
(This is the SECOND book of my famous sequel 'I am a Gypsy Prince')
16. A suburb; playing gadjo kids; huge four story condominiums.
For quite some time, Michail just stared at us, with a sad expression on his face.
I tried to read his thoughts, and was surprised to feel that he didn't want us to visit that gadjo town!
He was afraid the gadjo's would be too aggressive towards us, and that they wouldn't give us any food or money.
However, what else could he do but let us go and hope for the best...
Finally, my Big Friend wiped his tears, and told us with a sad voice:
"You know what you have to do? Please, be very polite; and try to produce some tears, to make the people feel more sympathy.
"Also, be as persistent as possible, telling the people you and your family are starving and don't have any food or money...
"Always be careful not to get lost in an unknown part of this big town; and never enter any house, even if they invite you in!
"Now, each of the most experienced kids will guide one of the younger ones; and all the others will set off in pairs, as usual.
"Please, return to this clearing before the sun starts to descend; or maybe earlier in case you are in any trouble.
"We will wait here for you, until everybody is back. Now, please, pair up; and I wish you all the good luck you need!"
Of course, Misha and I immediately turned towards each other, before any of the other youngsters would be able to claim my friend!
Too vividly, I remembered how Jonno had attached himself to my waiting friend, the first time we wanted to go together...
Misha seemed to have the same remembrances; but he asked me teasingly:
"Are you really sure you want us to go together to that town?"
"Well... not really... perhaps, one of the other kids will be more entertaining."
Misha chuckled; while he started to tickle my ribs until I squealed and begged for mercy.
Soon, I gave up, and promised to stop teasing him like this.
Of course, we were going together again, as usual!
We had never been in any doubt about that.
And, fortunately, we were still able to laugh, after Michail's sad face.
Now that everybody had paired up, Michail dismissed us, after again telling us to be very careful.
All eleven couples started to disappear into the surrounding shrubbery, choosing different directions.
Misha seemed to know the way, because he took my hand and determinedly followed a few others.
After we crossed the thick shrubs, we suddenly stepped onto some outstretched gray pavement...
For the first time, I stared in awe at the outstretched suburbs of a big gadjo town!
For a moment, I squinted at the bright sunlight and rubbed my eyes.
Then, I gasped, and didn't know where I wanted to look first...
Camp after camp showed up along endless roads, stretching out and disappearing into even more camps.
All the camps were filled with enormous two-story caravans without any wheels, haphazardly lined up along the various roads.
This wasn't at all what I had expected to see in the so-called 'gadjo world'; and I needed some time to get used to the strange sight...
In the meantime, the other couples and we parted, after wishing each other a good begging.
Each couple went its own way towards the town, walking off into different roads.
How did they know where they had to go, in this outstretched field full of crowded camps?
To me, all those strange gadjo roads were looking exactly the same...
I nudged Misha, and whispered into his ear:
"How do you know where we have to go, as all those camps look exactly the same?"
Misha started to chuckle at my confused face, but he told me in his normal voice:
"You don't have to whisper, as we're not in our woods looking for wary animals. Around here, you may talk, laugh, or even shout if you wish...
"We are now in a 'suburb', that is an outside of the town. The roads you call 'camps', are here called 'streets'; and most of them lead towards the center.
"Today, we are going to the 'central market'; which is the place that gives us the best chance to get some fresh food and a little bit of money...
"The other couples are going to other markets or big malls; except for Joc and little Jonno, who will visit the same market from the other side."
"But, all those gadjo 'streets' are exactly the same! How do you know where you have to go, without getting lost?"
"Well, have a look at this little plate... it shows a name on it. In every gadjo town, each street has its own name, while every house carries its own house number.
"That way, each single gadjo house has its own unique 'address'; consisting of the name of the street, the house number, and the name of the town.
"Thus, everybody is always able to find any single gadjo in the world; just by knowing his name, street, house number, and town where he lives."
Of course, I had to ponder this new information; while I followed Misha towards the 'suburb'.
Wow, those gadjo's had found a really clever solution, by using their 'street names' and 'house numbers'!
All the things Misha told me sounded very logical.
In our small community, everybody always knew where everybody else's caravan was, and the only things we needed to know were our names.
However, in this enormous town, having thousands of nearly identical caravans... oops, sorry, 'houses'... they had to use a more reliable system, to be able to find everybody else...
Maybe, those gadjo's were not that dumb, after all.
Misha and I left the gray pavement; and we entered one of the many roads that were called 'streets'.
Now, I had a closer look at the many lined-up gadjo houses along it.
In my eyes, they didn't look very nice; but some of them appeared to be a bit better, and a few even had small cultivated gardens.
I looked around curiously; but none of them seemed to have any campfire, not even a small one...
How would they ever be able to roast their animals, or warm themselves in the evening?
All the houses had a front door and windows, just like our own caravans; but their walls were made of many rectangular reddish pieces of rock!
No wonder they had no wheels and couldn't be moved away...
They would be way too heavy to pull them, even with the help of Michail's enormous truck!
Why didn't gadjo's build their houses from less heavy material, like wood and plastic, as our own caravans were made of?
That would make their lives a lot easier, and moving away shouldn't be such a problem...
A few gadjo people were working in their small gardens; or sitting on plastic folding chairs and talking to each other.
They were clad in dull and grayish clothes, quite opposite to our own abundantly colored garments!
I was sure I would never be able to feel happy in those boring and gloomy colors...
Could this be reflecting how gadjo's were feeling, inside their hearts?
No wonder they hated everybody else who wasn't like them...
A couple of fully dressed children frolicked around, playing games in their gardens and on the sidewalks.
They had to be very warm and sweaty by now, because the morning sun was already shining abundantly.
However, they seemed to be used to their dull and rather funny looking garments, and didn't complain...
Suddenly, I felt very happy to be living in our own secluded Gypsy camp, where we could go naked whenever we wanted!
I really pitied those sweaty gadjo kids, who didn't have any choice but obey their strict nudity laws.
Their King surely had to be a very goofy gadjo, to invent such a dumb restriction on behalf of his beloved subjects...
Or, didn't gadjo's have any King and Queen, or beloved leader?
But, then, who else would govern them?
All the time, Misha and I walked along the street, looking at a couple of playing gadjo children.
The kids still hadn't seen us; because they were playing 'hide and seek', looking for each other in and around their gardens...
This was the same game our own kids were playing all the time; and I happened to be VERY good at it!
Only little Dimi had been able to equal me in hiding and making ourselves almost invisible...
Would the happily playing gadjo kids allow us to partake in their game, for a few minutes?
It would be fun to outdo them, and I already planned to teach them a few things they didn't seem to know about proper hiding...
I let go of Misha's hand; and enthusiastically started to cross the road, wanting to make some friends.
However, Misha immediately raced towards me, grabbed my hand, and forcefully pulled me back!
He looked rather shocked, while he hissed:
"Please, don't go near them; because they will never accept us."
Now, one of the playing gadjo kids saw us; and, suddenly, he froze.
Looking at us with fear in his eyes, he stopped his game, and called his friends for assistance!
A moment later, all the gadjo kids huddled together, staring at us with hatred in their eyes...
One of them even balled his fists, took a step towards us, and gave us the finger.
Talking with a strange sounding accent, he told us:
"You are only a couple of filthy thieves and vagabonds! Why don't you leave us alone?"
He turned around, and yelled towards his house:
"DAD, those Gypsies are here again, and now they even brought their children!"
It was a bit difficult to understand his accent; but I was able to feel the energy of his words, and thus knew what he said...
For a moment, I was perplexed, and didn't know how to react.
Why were these children so full of fear and hatred towards us?
We surely hadn't done anything to deserve their strange treatment!
I only wanted to be their friend, and join their game to have a little bit of fun...
One of the gadjo boys stooped down, and snatched a small pebble from the street.
He took a step forward and threw the pebble at us; but he missed us by a couple of feet.
Another gadjo boy followed his example, throwing a pebble that bounced up and hit me against my leg...
Well, I was sure I could aim my pebbles a lot more precisely!
I was always perfecting my skills, by throwing lots of them across our waterfall, trying to hit a far away tree.
Now, I was able to hit even the tiniest leaf, from quite a distance and very accurate.
In our Gypsy camp, throwing things at each other was very rude and impolite, unless we were friends and played a game...
Thus, it was time to teach this cheeky little gadjo boy a lesson he would never forget!
I picked up the pebble; and swung my arm backwards to throw it back to the attacking boy.
Carefully, I aimed for his throwing hand, intending to rule him out for the remainder of the day...
However, Misha pulled at my arm and stopped me just in time, while he groaned:
"PLEASE, DON'T DO THAT!"
He dragged me away from the huddle, with a troubled face:
"You will only make them even angrier; and you can never win."
"But, why are they behaving like this? I am sure we didn't do anything to deserve their rude treatment..."
"I don't know why they do that... But, I think their parents taught them to hate Gypsies."
"That is crazy and total nonsense! We don't hate them, so why should they hate us?"
With a lot of regret, I let my pebble fall to the ground and retook Misha's hand.
It would have been fun to outdo them, and let them see we could throw our pebbles quite a lot better!
Maybe, then, they would act a bit more respectful towards Gypsies...
Misha just walked on, pretending not to be bothered by the now snickering gadjo kids.
Behind our backs, they started to yell at us and call us 'chickens'...
However, they didn't dare follow us or throw any more pebbles.
Who were the chickens here?
A moment later, Misha and I rounded a corner and entered another paved street.
I still felt a bit shocked, and didn't understand why any gadjo kid would ever hate us without even knowing us...
We hadn't done anything other than walk in their street!
Yet, they threw pebbles at us and told us we were thieves and vagabonds...
Maybe, their grown-ups had told them stories from their past, about thieving Gypsies; without really knowing us...
Just like our own grown-ups always told us their stories from our past, about nasty gadjo's and cruel witch hunts...
Yet, I was relatively sure we didn't know anything real about gadjo's, just like gadjo's didn't know anything about us!
Suddenly, I started to understand what might cause their strange behavior towards us.
We just didn't KNOW each other, but only assumed things...
Misha and I walked on and on; until we left the 'suburb', and entered a more dense part of the big gadjo city.
We rounded another corner; and, suddenly, I looked around with bulging eyes and holding my breath!
Feeling rather overwhelmed, I stared at block after block of enormous three-story, four-story, and even multi-story houses!
They were put down less haphazardly along their streets, but they were HUGE and very impressive, at least in my eyes.
They also didn't have any cultivated gardens, except for a few grassplots and lots of small parking lots filled with cars.
At first, I didn't understand why each huge house showed so many front doors; so I asked my friend:
"Misha, why are these houses carrying so many doors and windows? Are they 'hotels', with many rooms for guests?"
"No, but they are intended for lots of people living together. These buildings are called 'flats' or 'condominiums'.
"Inside the buildings, many families live in their own house, and every family has its own front door."
I looked at a nearby 'flat', or maybe this was a 'condominium'; and started to count, feeling curious about how big each inside house would be:
"Misha? I'm counting forty-eight windows in that flat; but there are only six front doors. Why does each family have eight windows?"
Misha started to laugh, while he patiently explained:
"Behind every door, a staircase leads up to several other floors. Thus, every house has its own front door and only two front windows."
I started to calculate... forty-eight windows; that had to be twenty-four gadjo families, living together in one huge 'flat'.
Suddenly, I started to feel a bit giddy at the mere thought of its vastness...
Twenty-four families, living together in one enormous four-story caravan, having four floors with staircases, and using two front windows each...
This gadjo community certainly had a weird way of life!
Now, I was very happy to be living in our own small caravan, sheltering only one family, needing only one floor and one front door...
After some time, I got used to the sight of all those huge 'flats', which all looked nearly the same.
They all had several floors, many doors with staircases, and lots of windows to accommodate many families.
I started to get a bit bored; thus I asked my friend:
"Misha? Where are we going now, and when do we finally start begging?"
"We are nearly at the 'central market', where we hope to find people with enough money to give us some small change...
"And, maybe, some booth owners will give us something to eat, if they are in a good mood and don't chase us away immediately."
I didn’t know what a 'booth' was, but nodded without asking.
Again, we walked on and on...
All of a sudden, we reached a huge square, crowded to the brim with all sorts of little vending stalls!
Again, I was totally in awe, and looked around open-mouthed and holding my breath...
Never before had I seen so many people, crowding together and paving their own ways around each other, seemingly in an everlasting hurry.
It was a real wonder they never bumped into each other, and always avoided stumbling across each other's feet!
Lots of busy sellers were standing or seated in their many 'stalls' or 'booths', loudly recommending their merchandise.
They tried to sell all sorts of food, clothing, knickknacks, and several nice looking gadjo things that I had never seen before.
Now and then, somebody stopped at a stall and bought something, before walking on and disappearing into the ever-moving crowd.
Immediately, the content looking seller restarted his vending talk, loudly praising his goods...
Suddenly, I felt lost in this constantly and hurriedly moving crowd and all the unusual sounds around me.
All the different energies around me started to pull at my nerves, making me feel dizzy and very unsure.
In our own secluded Gypsy camp, everything always was peaceful and in harmony...
But, here, nobody seemed to care about anybody else.
They didn't even look at each other!
I started to sweat all over; and wanted to sit down and close my eyes, in a desperate attempt to shut out all the whirling energies...
Fortunately, Misha saw my dismay; and he put his safe arms around me.
He told me to close my eyes until I felt better; and breathe in and out slowly and deeply...
To my surprise, that really helped!
Within two minutes, I felt quite a lot better, and reopened my eyes.
Wow. Again, my friend and teacher had taught me something very valuable I would never forget!
Misha smiled at me, while he released me from his arms and told me:
"You are not the first one who gets dizzy and disorientated in this strange cacophony of sounds and all different kinds of energy fields.
"Soon, you will get used to it; and, then, it will no longer bother you. Just keep breathing. Now, are you ready to start our begging?"
I nodded enthusiastically, and followed my friend towards one of the small food stalls...
I wish you lots of Love in your life, and Profound Peace in your heart.
Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'