8 mins 18.8K 8 mins 18.8K

‘Dad!! Please, I don't want to marry. Please don't force me.'

‘Sameer, I am not in a condition to argue with you. The doctor has given up on me as I won’t live for long. This is my last wish, and I believe that you would respect a sick man's wish.'

‘Dad, please don't do emotional blackmail. I need to concentrate on my career. I have just opened my restaurant, and I am not yet ready for the marriage. I don’t want to divert my focus on anything else.’

‘I know. Trust me. Sandhya is the best girl in town. She will always support you in your work. She is a good cook. Maybe, you can get inspired by her cooking skills. Why don't you just give a thought about her? Please look at the photographs at least, she is beautiful too.'

‘Dad, please… my restaurant doesn’t have any Indian food. I don’t need anybody’s help.’

‘Sameer, I may live maximum for 2 more months, and I have told you about my last wish. It's your call. I did whatever I could to fulfil your dreams by spending all my life earnings in your restaurant. So, now it's your turn. I won't ask you again, you can decide and let me know. I hope you would get back to me before I leave this body.’

Sameer thought about this genuinely. Every day his father's wish haunted him and felt guilty for not fulfilling his father’s last wish. So, he agreed to marry Sandhya. Since this was a forced marriage for him, he never accepted her as his wife. He never spoke her and spent most of the time in his restaurant, came home very late and left early in the mornings. Sandhya never complained, and she took good care of his father.

Soon his father died, and he wanted to get out this relationship as quickly as possible. He made all the documents ready and went home early to speak to her. She was cooking dinner, and he went up to her and handed over the divorce papers. She looked at him in shock.

‘I am sorry. I can't continue this. I married you only for my father's force. I don't want to spoil your life. So, you are free to go. I need a divorce. Please read and sign the documents, rest I'll take care.' Sameer said and started walking towards the door.

‘I'll sign, but…'

‘But! What?’

‘Only if you agree for my conditions.’

‘Oh, no problem you can let me know the amount, and I'll take care of it.'

‘I don’t need your money!’ She said firmly.

‘Then, property?’

‘No. Your time.’

‘What? You know how busy I am. I can’t give you my time.’

‘It’s your call Sameer. I’m ready to sign this, but I need your one month. We need to go to Kashi to immerse your father's ashes. It was his wish to go there before he died but he couldn't ask you for more, as you fulfilled his last wish. I know, you have just started your business, but I'm sure, you can arrange for someone to take care of it for just a month.'

‘For immersing ash, why do you need one month?’

‘After our marriage, you spoke to me for the first time only to ask for the divorce? Huh! Fine, no problem. I understand this marriage was only a deal for you to keep a dying man happy. But it won't be difficult for me to just come out of this marriage. I need to convince myself, that at least I tried. So, I need to spend at least a month with you, not as a wife, but as a friend. I promise, as soon we come back I'll sign this divorce papers.'

Sameer thought about it and agreed to her conditions. He asked his best friend to take care of his restaurant for a month and keep updating him daily. She wanted to spend this one-month trekking to places near to Kashi, so she suggested him to carry light luggage and clothes which are comfortable in trekking. It was her condition that they will use only the road transport for their journey and will live in small hotels or tents throughout their journey. He agreed, and they moved to Kashi.

The next day, they started their journey. Sameer never travelled by local buses in his life. He felt irritated but continuously reminded himself of this one month deal to keep moving. He didn't talk much with her on the bus. He just wanted to pass this month somehow. She had already made the hotel booking. So, once they reached Kashi, they moved straight to their room.

‘You booked only one room?’

‘Ya. I’m scared to be in a separate room in an unknown region. It’s for my safety. Don't worry you can trust me.' She said with a beautiful smile.

The journey was so tiring that, he stopped arguing and crashed on the bed. The next day they started the rituals for immersing his father’s ashes. They spent a few hours sitting by the river silently. Later she observed him upset and started talking to him. He shared his childhood stories, a few funny and memorable moments spent with his father. He didn't understand why he shared all those moments with her, but he felt good. She too shared her best moments spent with her family. They stayed a few more days in Kashi exploring the place. His days in Kashi made him befriend her.

After a few days, they started their trekking journey. Initially, Sameer felt irritated walking for hours together. He never found the network on his mobile to contact his friend to get the updates about his restaurant. Within a few hours, they had finished their stored water and food, and they had to walk for miles ahead to find small shops or a few people who could give them some water and food. He never had roadside food before because of hygiene conscious, and always ate in good restaurants. So, he felt strange eating out in small shacks or a seller walking by the road. Soon he got adapted to it.

The trekking was in hilly terrain, and he had never walked so much in his life before. So, he felt that he covered it all together in one trekking experience. Soon, he gave up and started scolding her for torturing him by bringing him to such places. Though he always complained and scolded her, she only gave a beautiful smile and encouraged him to walk further. She started sharing fascinating stories about the places around and made him listen to the birds chirping and enjoy the view of various flowers and trees around. This was something new to him. He had never experienced such things before. He always lived in cities surrounded by man-made things. Slowly he started liking the environment as he began to see things differently.

That night they had to camp on the hill to take rest. He helped Sandhya in setting up the camps, and she arranged for a fire camp and cooked food for him. He was surprised how quickly she did everything. She managed to cook something out of a few simple ingredients found on their way. Surprisingly he felt good about everything around. The fresh air, simple food, no stress about anything in the world, a peaceful atmosphere. No contact with the outside world. He spent a few hours talking to her, and she shared her previous trekking experiences.

The next day morning, she woke him up early to experience the beautiful sunrise. The experience what he felt was unexplainable. He was surprised to feel energetic and fresh after such a long walk of his life, the previous day. He felt good and started craving for more. Each day she made him experience new things, and he started loving the journey.

Soon the month came to an end, and she had already arranged for their tickets to go back home. Sameer was happy about his decision to join her on this journey. He was so delighted that he couldn't stop smiling. But there was no smile on her face. He felt strange as he was so used to see her smiling all day. He couldn't understand why. He had almost forgotten about their deal. Once they reached home, she handed over the signed document and wished good luck for his career and started walking towards the main door.

‘Hey! You are leaving?' His eyes were filled with tears.

‘Ya. Thanks for joining me. I enjoyed a lot. Hope you enjoyed the journey too.' She said with a lump in her throat.

‘Enjoyed!! I loved every bit of this month. These were the best days of my life. After my mother's death, I lived in hostels because my father was busy working and couldn't take care of me. I never got an opportunity to mingle with people or share feelings with anyone. I married you only to make my father happy. The first time I spoke to you only to ask you for a divorce. Yet, you always gave me a beautiful smile. This month what you gave me, was something which I can’t even explain. I felt for the first time that I actually lived and felt life. I never spent so much of time with anyone. I always felt that relationships are a burden to us. It is an obstacle for growth. But you proved me wrong. This one month you taught me so much about life and relationship that I couldn't understand in my 25 years. I know I had been a terrible husband, but if you give me a second chance, I won't let you down.'

He tore the documents, sat on his knees and said, ‘I love you Sandhya, will you accept me as your husband.'

She smiled and hugged him, and they began the new journey of their life. She helped him revamp his menu by bringing in a few Indian foods, and both did frequent trekking whenever possible and shared love and happiness around.

PS: Relationships are not created but built and the most important thing required is Time, not money. Invest in time and love to make your relationship stronger.

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