“A typical bollywood cliche… very cheesy and romantic!”
One beautiful evening, Sariga was sitting under the Banyan tree near her ancestral home, sipping over her favorite cup of masala tea. This was the moment of the day she enjoyed the most. With the lovely breeze blowing at her face,she felt at peace.
A few moments later Girish came by and joined her. Girish was Sariga’s childhood friend. After an unfortunate accident of her parents,when Sariga had to move to the village with her grandparents, Girish was the first friend she made. They both grew up in the same village and studied in the same school too. A very introvert child Sariga had always been. But somehow she got to be friends with this very talkative boy who used to sit next to her in class.
After school, Girish and Sariga , went on to go to the same medical college and even did their masters together in the US and became very successful doctors. After their masters, Sariga came back to her village Nandi, whereas Girish stayed back in US and began his practice there. Sariga had decided very young that she would one day become a doctor and come back to her village and practise here.
It was one of those vacations, when Girish had come down from the US to his village to visit his parents and meet his dear friend Sariga. Girish felt at peace seeing Sariga after a long time. In his one month of vacation, he was barely able to catch up with Sariga as she was always busy with her medical camp in the village. She was in the process of even setting up a hospital which he was very proud of.
Just 2 days before he was going to go back to the US, he finally got to meet Sariga at her favorite place in the world, under the branches of the Banyan tree.
There was something on his mind that he was waiting to tell Sariga. But was very nervous and scared, wondering how she would react. After so many years, he finally wanted to profess his love for Sariga. How he fell in love with her the first time he saw her in school. Their friendship had evolved over the years. Girish intuitionally knew that Sariga loved him too. But he had to hear it from her.
Both of them were randomly chit chatting. With a lot of courage, Girish held Sariga’s hand in between their conversation. Sariga looked at him, with a little bit of surprise but a smile on her face. He said the words his heart had been longing to tell her all these years and finally the moment had come…”I love you Sariga” he said. To which Sariga’s smile broadened like never before, and she replied “I love you too Girish!”
It was like a magical moment for both of them. Sariga expected this to happen someday, but she dint know that someday was going to be today. And then Girish said “ I love you, You love me, Let’s get married.” He continued, “ I am coming back 2 months later for a conference in Delhi. Let’s get married then. By then we can finish off your visa procedures so there will be no issues and we can travel back together.” The next moment what he heard from Sariga was not something that he was prepared for.
“I love you Girish… I have always loved you and will love you till the day I die.” She took a pause and contined “But I cannot marry you.” Girish froze for a second. Sariga went on “ Do you know why, every year, in the month of October I come here to Nandi. No matter whichever part of the world I was in, I would always come down here in October.” That was true, Girish recollected. Sariga would always plan her holidays to her home village in October. “Especially this year(2015) Girish, our Banyan tree has turned 90 years.” Girish was confused. “What has the Banyan tree got to do with us getting married?” he asked her.
“ When I had first come to this village after my parents died, I was only 10 years old. I did not understand what had happened to my parents. Broken shattered, I would always sit and cry. My Nana(Mom’s father) would always bring me to this Banyan tree and tell me stories about it and about my mother’s childhood. With time I got over my loss, and used to love my time with Nana under the Banyan tree. One evening, when I was around 16 years old, Nana and I were at our usual spot. . Nana was telling me how my parents had died. It was a car accident. And because of help not reaching them on time, they had lost their lives. I was shocked. He said, it was near a village just like Nandi, that her parents accident had happened. And as there was no hospital in the village, the people had to call for an ambulance from the city. By the time the ambulance had come, my parents had already died. That day Nana inspired me by the thought of becoming a doctor just like my parents. But not to go to big cities and practice but to come to our own village and set up a hospital here. So that people even in rural areas can get the right medical attention and their lives can be saved. It was under this tree that I had promised to become a doctor and come back to the same village and set up a hospital here.”
She looked on at Girish, “Nana is no more but I haven’t forgotten my promise to him. That day, under the branches of this very Banyan tree, I had decided, that once I become a doctor, I would come back to my village and help the needy people here. I took an oath to never leave the side of Banyan tree nor my village until the day I die.”
“You can take all the time you want and decide Girish, but I know what your answer would be and I have no problem with that at all”
With that thought, Girish left for US 2 days later. Weeks passed by and Sariga had not heard anything from Girish. In her mind, Sariga knew she should not be expecting anything either.
It was the next year(2016) December 31st, New Year’s Eve, cold and chilly, Sariga was as usual sitting under the tree and enjoying her cup of tea. When suddenly a vehicle stopped near her home. Sariga turned to look. She couldn’t believe her eyes, when she saw Girish get down from the vehicle.
She couldn’t believe what she was actually thinking. He came walking towards her. Knelt down on his knees, and said “ I am ready to spend the rest of my life with the most beautiful woman I have ever met in my life. The woman I love dearly and respect even more. I am ready to make your dream my own and spend the rest of my life with you here right near your Banyan tree…. Sariga, Will you marry me?” He had a ring in his hand.
We all know what Sariga’s reply was… 🙂