Episode 18: The Field Trip
It was a fresh morning. The sky was sunny and the scenery was bright. But it wasn't at the Ganesha Institute for the Gifted & Talented that this scenery was taking place at. Instead, the students of the prestigious college were all boarded on buses for a special field trip sponsored by the founder of the institute. Every year, Mr. Ghai allowed the students of the school to go for a field trip in a special place during holiday break. And this year, the students were heading to Manali, the cold, yet beautiful mountain area deep in Himanchal Pradesh. And it was after a long train ride, that the students were just heading near their cabins. And on bus 154, Shakti, Armaan, Saahil, Vicky, and Rishi were all seated, eagerly waiting to reach to their destination. And the group were all up to their own things. Armaan was reading a novel, Truth & Actuality. Saahil was sketching in his sketchbook. Vicky was playing games on his cellphone. Rishi was looking at himself in the mirror. And then there was Shakti, who was sound asleep near the window while sitting next to Vicky. "Yes! New high score!" Vicky exclaimed as he finished playing a game of Candy Crush. He then turned to Shakti, who was still sound asleep.
"Man! She's still sleeping!" Vicky exclaimed.
"I wouldn't blame her. She must have been really tired." Armaan said.
"Why?" Vicky asked.
"Because all night you were bugging her about your stupid Candy Crush game." Armaan replied.
"Its not stupid! Its better than digging your nose in some sissy book!" Vicky shouted.
"Would you shut it?!" Rishi told Vicky. "If Shakti wants to sleep, let her sleep!"
"If you guys keep shouting, she is going to wake up." Saahil said.
"Its too late for that." Shakti said as she opened her eyes.
"Wait! You're awake?!" Vicky asked.
"Yeah. For the past ten minutes." Shakti said.
"Then why did you still have your eyes closed?!" Vicky asked.
"Clearly because she was trying to find a happy place away from your nonsensical gaming world." Armaan responded.
"Hey!" Vicky exclaimed.
"You just had to wake her up!" Rishi shouted at Vicky.
"Did you sleep okay?" Saahil asked Shakti, turning to her from behind his seat.
"Kinda. But I can rest more when we get to the cabin." Shakti said.
And so, the buses had arrived at the cabins within the next five minutes. All the students boarded off the buses with their belongings. "I hope we'll be able to find our cabin." Saahil said.
"Shakti can lead the way since she's the girl of the house." Vicky said.
"But I'm in a different cabin." Shakti said.
"Wait! Why?!" Vicky asked.
"What an idiot," Armaan rolled his eyes. "Isn't it obvious? Girls have to have separate cabins from the boys."
"Oh yeah. So we won't see you until we head out." Saahil told Shakti.
"Yeah. Its okay. I'll be fine." Shakti smiled.
"Still! You call us if there's a problem!" Rishi exclaimed.
"Don't worry. I'll see you guys when we go outside later." Shakti said.
With that, Shakti left with her things and headed to the girls' lodge. The boys looked on in disappointment.
Inside the girls' lodge, Shakti walked down the halls, looking for her cabin. The guys seemed kinda sad, Shakti thought to herself as she continued walking. Could it be because I can't stay with them during the trip? Oh well. Hopefully, my roommates are nice.
Shakti then found her cabin at the end of the hall. She took out the room key she got prior to the trip, and unlocked the door, stepping inside. As soon as she entered in, she gasped upon seeing her roommates. Because they were none other than Kriya, Taani, and Aliya.
"SHAKTI!" Kriya, Taani, and Aliya exclaimed in unison upon seeing Shakti.
"You gotta be kidding me." Shakti said quietly.
After Shakti had stored her belongings near her bunk of the bunk bed, she was forced to sit with the other girls at the couch. "So what happened the other night? You like disappeared!" Kriya exclaimed.
"Oh...um...there was an emergency at um...my cousin's house. And I couldn't find you guys, so I just left." Shakti lied.
"Oh I see." Aliya said.
"Well something went wrong with our kitchen oven. Some smoke came out of it and we like passed out." Taani explained.
"Really?!" Shakti asked, trying to act surprised.
"I know right! So bizarre!" Kriya exclaimed.
"Anyways...forget all that," Taani said. "Let's continue our conversation from then."
"Conversation?" Shakti asked.
"Oh yes! We were talking about you and Rishi!" Aliya exclaimed. "Now be honest...is there something going on between you two?"
"WHAT?!" Shakti exclaimed. "No! Not at all! We're just friends! I'm not in any relationship with anyone right now!"
"Are you sure about that?!" Taani asked, giving a suspicious look on her face.
"I can understand." Kriya said.
"You can?!" Taani asked.
"Yes! Remember?! She has another lover boy...in the form of quiet chocolate boy Saahil!" Kriya exclaimed.
"That's right! And I see you're still wearing the same scarf and pendant!" Aliya beamed. "How cute?!"
"You guys like this?! Don't you remember?! We had a thing for Rishi! And I was totally into Saahil!" Taani cried.
"Oh get real, Taani. Its obvious they're not into you. Or even us. But even then...its so hard to pick the best one for our dear Shakti!" Kriya exclaimed. "The poor girl is so delusional that she doesn't even know which lover boy to pick. Personally, I would go with Rishi. He's perfect hubby material for you, Shakti!"
"But I think she should go with Saahil! I mean how cute is that! Quiet boy opens up only to her!" Aliya exclaimed. "And besides...I've even came up with a cute couple name for them! SaSha! How cute?!"
"Well I can come up with a name too!" Kriya argued. "Let's see...Rishi & Shakti makes...RiSha! Oh how perfect! I can settle them together in an instant!"
"Why don't you guys pair her up with some other guy?! IDEA! You talk a lot to Vicky...and Armaan, right?!" Taani asked Shakti.
"Well...," Shakti mumbled as her face was already turning pink like cotton candy. "I...I..."
"I know you do! I can match make you with both of them! Think about it! Armaan and Shakti! Or Vicky and Shakti! Then you'll be settled! And then I can have Rishi and Saahil all to myself!" Taani explained in an ecstatic manner.
"You're crazy! You can't make her have a two for one deal!" Kriya shouted.
"And neither can you!" Aliya yelled.
While the girls began to bicker like rabid cats, Shakti slouched in her chair with her face cherry red as she sat in utter embarrassment and confusion. These girls are even crazier than I thought! Shakti thought to herself.
As the bickering continued, the cabin phone then rang. Kriya went ahead and answered the call and then jumped for joy as she ended the call. "Who was that?" Aliya asked.
"Its Swayam! He and the other guys are already out in the hills!" Kriya exclaimed.
"Then we have to get ready and go!" Taani said.
"Are you coming, Shakti?!" Aliya asked Shakti.
"Uh...you girls can go. I'll come later." Shakti said.
"Suit yourself!" Kriya rolled her eyes. "We'll save this argument for later!"
Kriya, Taani, and Aliya got dressed in their winter outfits and headed out of the cabin while Shakti stayed alone at the couch. She then took out her cellphone and dialed Armaan's number.
"Where are you guys at?"
"We're about to head out in the hills. Why?"
"I'm coming out, too. But me at the other hillside."
"I'll explain when I come there."
And so, Shakti got dressed up in her winter outfit which consisted of a red coat, gray beanie, red mittens,white sweater, blue jeans, and red snow boots. Shakti carefully headed out of the cabin and out of the girls' lodge and then went to the other hillside where less students were hanging out. On the other side, many students were skiing, snowboarding, riding on ski lifts, or simply hanging out. The same things were happening on the other hillside. But there was a lot more snow to go around on the other side.
Shakti went up the hillside to find the boys together near a small stand for tea. "Hey, Shakti!" Vicky greeted.
"Hey guys." Shakti smiled.
"I'm so glad to see you!" Rishi beamed.
"But I saw you guys an hour ago." Shakti said.
"Rishi is like a puppy dog who can't stay away from that one certain person for a long time." Armaan said.
"Hey!" Rishi exclaimed.
"So why did you need to meet us so urgently?" Saahil asked Shakti. "Is everything okay?"
"Yeah. And who are your roommates?!" Vicky asked.
"WHAT?!" the boys exclaimed in unison. Shakti had just told the whole situation to the boys as they had some tea from the tea stand.
"I can't believe you ended up with those girls again." Armaan said.
"We're they troubling you like last time?!" Rishi asked Shakti.
"Let's not talk about that." Shakti said.
"So now what?" Saahil asked.
"I just need to stay away from them. They're hanging out with Swayam and his friends. So I'm just gonna stay with you guys." Shakti replied.
"That's fine with us," Armaan said. "So what do you want to do then?"
"I don't know. Whatever you guys want to do." Shakti answered.
"We can go snowboarding!" Vicky exclaimed. "Who wants to race me down the hill?!"
"I can't snowboard. So no chance." Saahil replied.
"I'll go." Shakti volunteered.
"You will?!" Armaan, Rishi, Saahil, and Vicky asked in unison.
"You gotta be kidding?! You want to go against me?!" Vicky asked Shakti.
"Why? Are you scared?" Shakti asked.
Vicky's face turned red. "Me?! Scared?! Please!" Vicky exclaimed. "You're on!"
And so, Vicky and Shakti both got snowboards and set themselves at the top of the hill to race while Armaan, Rishi, and Saahil stood to spectate. "So who do you think will win?" Armaan asked.
"Shakti better take that hooligan down!" Rishi exclaimed.
"I'm also going for Shakti. She's full of surprises." Saahil said.
Armaan turned to Shakti, looking at her. He smiled, thinking, Indeed she is.
"I hope you're ready to lose!" Vicky told Shakti.
"Funny! I was going to tell you that!" Shakti replied.
As the two got ready, Shakti didn't realize that Kriya was heading onto the same hillside with Swayam. Armaan, Rishi, and Saahil turned, gasping as they saw Kriya. "Watch me race down!" Swayam told Kriya as he then made his way to race down the hill.
"Kriya's here!" Rishi gasped.
"If she sees Shakti race down with Vicky, then even more suspicions will arise." Armaan said.
"We have to warn her." Shakti said.
"Ready?!" Vicky asked Shakti. Suddenly, Shakti's cellphone rang from her coat pocket.
"One second." Shakti said.
Shakti took out her cellphone and answered, "Hello?"
"I'm warning you right now." Armaan said.
"What?" Shakti asked.
"Beware...Kriya is here on this hillside."
"Just try to make sure she doesn't see your face."
Shakti hung up and put her phone in her pocket. She then placed her coat hood over her head. "Are you ready or not?!" Vicky asked, impatient.
"Ready." Shakti replied. And so, Vicky sped off and raced ahead, riding down the snowy hill. Shakti then tried to make her way down. But it was difficult, as her long and stuffed coat hood made it hard for her to see ahead. And so, her snowboard skidded along the hill sloppily. The other boys watched in horror. "This looks disastrous." Armaan said, rolling his eyes.
Shakti continued to ride down, despite the difficulty. But then, her foot slipped off the board and Shakti fell off the snowboard. As she fell, she ended up colliding into Vicky, who fell off his board as well. The two rolled down the hill until the end with Shakti landing right on top of Vicky.
Rishi gasped at the sight of Vicky and Shakti, while Saahil and Armaan shook their heads. "What the heck!" Vicky exclaimed. As he looked upward, his cheeks turned a soft red color as he looked at Shakti, who was still on top of him. Vicky gulped as he and Shakti were so close to each other. This is kinda awkward...I'm not used to this kind of closeness, Vicky thought to himself.
Then, Vicky and Shakti immediately got up, composing themselves. "Now what was that?!" Vicky asked.
"I had to wear my hood so Kriya wouldn't see me," Shakti explained. "And so, I kinda lost sight of direction."
"Well that ruined everything! I was winning!" Vicky whined.
Just then, Swayam had made it down the hill, right near Vicky and Shakti. He turned to the two of them and said, "Hey Vicky!"
"Hi Swayam." Vicky greeted back.
"Oh...is this your girlfriend?" Swayam asked.
"Huh?" Shakti said.
"What?! No! Why does everyone ask me that?!" Vicky whined. "She's not my girlfriend! She's-"
"Swayam!" Kriya called from the top. "Quit talking to Vicky and come back up!"
Shakti immediately put her hood back on. Shakti followed Vicky up the hill so Kriya wouldn't notice her. And so, Kriya headed off with Swayam. "That was a close one." Armaan said.
"Literally! They landed on top of each other!" Rishi cried.
"Oh get over it! It was an accident!" Vicky told Rishi.
"You didn't get hurt, right?" Saahil asked Shakti.
"I'm fine." Shakti smiled.
"So now what?" Vicky asked.
Armaan looked up to see Taani heading up the hill with some friends. "Now we panic. Taani is coming here." Armaan said.
"What?!" Shakti asked.
"Saahil, you two head off to the ski lift." Armaan ordered.
"Sure thing." Saahil agreed and then took off, taking Shakti by her hand.
"Why couldn't I go with her?!" Rishi whined.
"Oh shut up, lover boy!" Vicky shouted at Rishi.
"Who are you calling lover boy?! You hooligan!" Rishi yelled.
"I'd rather be a thug than a prissy ladies man!" Vicky retorted.
Armaan rolled his eyes as Rishi and Vicky continued to bicker. What idiots, Armaan thought to himself. I should have gone with her instead. Its better than babysitting these two morons as usual.
"Hey!" Taani greeted Armaan, Rishi, and Vicky as she came up the hill.
"Yes?" Armaan asked.
"Have you guys seen Shakti out here?" Taani asked.
"Shakti?! Why no! We haven't seen her since this morning on the bus!" Rishi lied.
"Yeah. What he said." Vicky agreed.
"Okay then. I guess she's still in the cabin." Taani said.
While Taani headed off, the boys looked on as Saahil and Shakti boarded on a ski lift. "Now what do we do?" Vicky asked.
"We'll monitor the situation from here." Armaan replied.
As the ski lift ride began, Saahil and Shakti remained calm as they headed upward. "You okay?" Saahil asked Shakti.
"Yeah. As long as she's not here." Shakti said. She then turned to the back, and gasped seeing Taani was in the seat behind them. "She's behind us!" Shakti gasped. Shakti immediately ducked and then got closer to Saahil, literally holding onto him. Saahil was startled at the amount of propinquity between them at the moment that he began to blush. "Sorry! I can't let her see me!" Shakti exclaimed.
"Its fine." Saahil said as he remained still while Shakti held onto him, clenching on his blue colored coat, while Saahil looked at Shakti's innocent looking face as the ride continued.
At the end of the ride, all the passengers began to get off. While Saahil and Shakti began to get off, Saahil noticed Taani almost turning around. He quickly turned away, pulling Shakti away and drawing her close to him. "What?" Shakti said, confused.
"Just remain still." Saahil said as he put his arms around Shakti to hide her away from Taani. Shakti's face was buried right in Saahil's coat, her face began to turn bright pink, as she felt like she was in the middle of a gentle hug.
Saahil turned around slightly to see Taani leaving and then he let go of Shakti. "She's gone now," Saahil said. "Sorry about that."
"No. Its okay." Shakti replied. Just then, the other boys approached Saahil and Shakti.
"That was close! She almost could have seen you!" Vicky told Shakti.
"Good job, Saahil." Armaan told Saahil.
"No problem." Saahil said.
"I could have handled it too!" Rishi pouted.
"They better not come back again!" Vicky exclaimed.
Armaan turned to see that this time, Kriya, Taani, and Aliya were heading in their direction together. "Too late for that. The whole trio is now heading here." Armaan said.
"You have gotta be kidding me! Don't these girls have anything else to do?!" Vicky shouted.
"We have to run now!" Shakti exclaimed.
"Where?" Armaan asked.
"Off to the woods!" Vicky proclaimed.
And so, Shakti and the boys made a run for it and headed away from the hillside, far away from the girls. They made their way among the many trees in the mountain side. Once they stopped, they panted, tired from all the running. "At least we lost them!" Vicky exclaimed.
"Don't you think we headed a little too far?" Armaan asked.
"Dude, we're surrounded by trees! What harm can they do?!" Vicky exclaimed.
"Are you sure nothing else is around here?" Saahil asked.
"Don't trust the hooligan on that one!" Rishi told Saahil.
"Hey!" Vicky exclaimed.
Suddenly, the sound of prowling caught the attention of Shakti's ears. "Uh guys...do you hear that?" Shakti asked. The boys then gulped as they began to hear the prowling as well. The group then turned around and froze in shock. A trio of snow leopards had appeared right before the group's eyes. "Did we just land in the territory of snow leopards?!" Shakti asked.
"Either that...or those girls are witches that can transform into leopards!" Vicky said.
"So...any ideas on what to do?" Saahil asked, gulping.
"There's only one way." Rishi said.
"What?" Armaan asked.
"RUN!" Rishi screamed and then took off like it was no tomorrow. As the others watched Rishi run, they turned back to the snow leopards and gave fearful looks as the leopards gave looks of anger. And so, the others screamed and took off while the snow leopards went after the group further into the mountains. Its official! Or maybe its been official! Shakti thought to herself as she continued to run off with the boys. No matter what the situation...boys will be boys!
Edited by -Meryl- - 17 January 2015 at 11:42pm