Gauri Kumari Sarma: A 23 year old science graduate, from Bareilly got married to
Omkara Singh Oberoi: A 27 year old arts and business graduate from Mumbai, like DBO.
Gauri and Annika discover that they are the heirs of Mrs. Anamika Dey, who is their maternal grandmother (dida) is living in the US. Gauri leaves Oberoi Mansion (OM) without saying anything to Om. On the insistence of her dida she changes her name to Astha Dey, because Astha was her birth name.
***** Story begins 1 year after Gauri left.
Annika’s facetime rings-
Astha/Gauri says “Hello! Annika didi, Good Morning! How are you doing?”
Annika says “Chhutki, I am missing you so much! I don’t have anyone to talk to anymore, who can understand my khidkitod (amazing) lingo. I wish you would reconsider and come back to our family.”
Astha/Gauri says regretfully, “Ani di! It isn’t possible! Om hates me too much! And you don’t know how much dida needs me here. She will never admit it, but in the past 1 year I have observed how she is slowly changing and becoming less active. Ever since I got my driver’s license, she started depending on me. She still goes out by herself, but less frequently than before. Di, I really don’t have the heart to leave her alone in this country.”
Annika, “Chhutki, I am so glad that you are taking care of dida! I wish I could be there for her and get to know her better.”
Astha/Gauri, “Di, as soon as my grad school summer break happens, I will come over with dida to visit you all in India.”
Annika, “O Bete ki! (Oh no!) I totally forgot about your grad school! How was your first day?
Astha/Gauri chirpily, “It’s been fabulous di! I am so glad that in the past 1 year I took some English language classes, to help with my language skills. I made a lot of new friends, both from India and from different parts of the world.”
Annika, “Chhutki, I am so happy and proud of you for making new friends, learning new things and living your life as an independent person.”
Astha/Gauri, “Yes, di! I am loving it all! And my college friends are awesome! But more than them I am glad that I found you and dida. You are my oxygen, while dida is my nourishment, and without you two I would have been lost when ma died. ”
Annika, “Oh, Chhutki! I miss you terribly. Shivaay has promised me that for my birthday we will come visit you and dida.”
Astha/Gauri, “Di, that’s super-awesome! Your birthday is on 6th Sept, which is only a month away! I have Labour Day (4th Sept) long weekend holiday coming up, so let’s plan some trip together.”
Annika, “Done! We will plan something.”
Annika, Shivaay, Rudra, Prinku, Saahil and Dadi decide to hatch a plan to reunite OmRi. Shivaay tells Om of a week-long trip to the US to celebrate Annika’s birthday at Yellow Stone National Park (YSNP) and Salt Lake City (SLC).
ShivOm arrive in US a week after everyone has spent time with Gauri and dida in SLC. Gauri is introduced as Prinku’s and Annika’s friend Astha. Gauri has changed so much that Om can’t recognize her. In her casual pair of parallel pants, a polka dotted top, and shoulder length hair that is tied up in a cute pony, she looks very different from the drab Chulbul or the brightly colourful Gauri. She has also developed a great American accent because of her classes and stay in the US.
Day 1 YSNP:
After breakfast, they drive in 2 cars to YSNP. Since Shivaay is jetlagged, Gauri offers to drive the Prius. While Rudy offers to drive the Accord. Shivaay, Annika, Gauri and Saahil are in the Prius, while Om, Rudy and Prinku are in the Accord. Dadi and dida decide to stay back and relax in SLC.
As soon as they enter the park they are treated to a gorgeous vista of a beautiful blue river, with the back-drop of green meadows and huge fir and birch tree covered hills. Astha is a huge nature photography enthusiast, while Annika loves family pics. So they both say at the same time: “Let’s stop! We must take a pic!”
Gauri stops the car, and Rudy parks his car as well. They get down and start clicking pics in Gauri’s DSLR camera, and Annika’s phone. Even Om, who was trying to take a cat-nap while Ru drove the car, gets mesmerised by the natural beauty of the park.
Since the parks vistas are gorgeous at every turn, with some new wildlife or beauty of nature in sight, the two cars are travelling at a snail’s pace. When the family takes a 4th halt within an hour and is still not even ½ way to Old Faithful, Rudy jokes to Prinku and Shivaay bhaiyya, “If we 3 also start clicking pics like these 3 PicOHolics, we will start looking like a National Geographic Crew.” The 3 siblings giggle and wait patiently for their PicOHolics to finish clicking pics.
Seeing OmRi’s passion for wildlife and nature photography, Annika winks at the others and suggests, “Astha you have been driving for over an hour. Why don’t you take a break and travel with Om in the Accord? I can drive the Prius. This way you two nuts can bond over your common insanity.”
Prinku adds, “I am bored with sitting in the back seat Om Bhaiyya! I want to sit in the front and enjoy the sunroof of the Accord.”
OmRi agree to Prinku’s and Annika’s suggestions. They sit in the back of the Accord, while Rudy drives it, and Prinku balances herself on the front seat to peek out through the sunroof and enjoy the cool breeze of the park. Rudy’s crazy song choices from his playlist, leads to a ragging of his music choice by OmRi and Prinku. Suddenly Gauri gets, silent. The music playing is Tu Jaane Na –Kaise Batayein, Kyun Tujhko Chahein, Yara Bataa Na Paayein. (You don’t know-How do I tell you, Why I love you, Why I cannot express it my love.)
The song is too close for Gauri’s comfort and she starts tearing up silently. Though Om was looking outside the car and clicking videos of the outside wildlife, he instinctively knows something is wrong with Gauri. He stops his videography and touches Gauri’s shoulder. Om says in his gentle sweet tone, “Astha, tell me what is wrong?”
Seeing this caring side of O, melts Gauri’s heart even more. But she steels herself from inside and tells her heart please stop beating so harhariyke (rapidly). She looks at O with a wistful smile and says, “You won’t get it. This song reminds me of someone I left behind in India.”
Om thinks (Yes, it’s reminding me of someone too. Someone whom I haven’t been able to forget despite my best efforts.) And says, “Oddly enough I understand!” He quotes a shayaari by Rumi- “Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” They both share a brief eye-lock -as the O Saathiya string instrument tune plays in the background (BG).
To lighten the mood Om says, “Rudra, since when have you become a fan of such romantic songs? Come on itne fun mahol mein kuch peppy music lagaa. (Come on, please put on some peppy music to suit this fun-filled occasion.)”
Rudy changes it to an item song-“Chikni Chameli”, which makes OmRi burst out in laughter simultaneously. And they both look at each other to give a “What to do with Rudra?” look.
Seeing this look of Astha, reminds him of Gauri. And he wonders why Astha has suddenly started reminding him of Gauri. He chalks out his sense of déjà vu to the “Tu Janey na” song, thinking that the song’s influence is reminding him of Gauri.
The family finally reaches their first main stop, Old Faithful (OF), where there are numerous active geysers that spout out steaming water at regular intervals. They learn from the park rangers that OF’s geyser eruption is almost an hour away, so they decide to eat lunch at the OF Inn.
OmRi sit nearest to the windows while eating and they happily chatter on. Om observes, “Look Astha, there are multiple people gathering slowly at that spot.”
Astha says, “The Ranger says that’s where OF geyser will erupt. Aisa lag raha hai ki log circus ki show ke liye gather kar rahe hain harhariyke. (Looks like the people are quickly gathering for a circus show.) Om almost doesn’t believe that he heard the word harhariyke, and wonders what’s going on with his eyes and ears?
Since Shivaay and Saahil are still finishing up their lunch, Annika tells the others to go watch closer to the geyser. The 3 think of staying behind to watch OF from the Inn and enjoy their yummy lavender coloured huckleberry ice-cream dessert.
When the OF geyser erupts the sheer magnificence of its height makes the crowd of tourists go “Ooh!” at the same time. Since Gauri and Om were sitting on the first row of seats, a huge stream of the geyser’s water splashes on them. Seeing that Rudy says raising his cute eyebrows, “O! Looks like even the Gods are blessing you two with charnamrit (holy drink blessing)!” At which Prinku and OmRi say in unison, “Shut up Rudra!”
OmRi wipe off the hydrogen sulphide smelling geyser water from their face and they all head off to the ice-cream enjoying trio.
For the next 4 hours, the group decides to explore the South-Western parts of YSNP. They take turns in helping Saahil hike to the various geysers and hot-springs. When it’s Gauri’s turn to aid Saahil in walking back to the car, from their West Thumb trek, she is busily chattering with him about his school and skipping a bit in delight. The gorgeous blue-green lake views, clear blue skies, and the emerald green pools and hot-springs makes it seems like a magical kingdom to Gauri.
Om is busy clicking panoramas. Right then on a slippery mouldy part of the trail, Gauri slips and falls down with a thud.
She shouts, inadvertently, “Anni Di! Saahil ko sambhalo! Nahin toh woo bhi iss mitti pe satt jaybey! (Catch hold of Sahil! Otherwise, he too will fall and get stuck in this mud!)” Annika being the nearest to Saahil, immediately rushes to catch hold of Saahil’s hand and prevent his fall.
Hearing the lingo, Om is absolutely sure that Astha is Gauri! His first response is anger towards everyone for making a fool of him. But despite this revelation, he being the nearest to Gauri goes to help her get up. And they share another eye-lock. (O Saathiya String instrument in BG)
Everyone gathers around Gauri to ask her if she is ok! She says, “No problem! No sticks and stones have broken my bones. Just my pride and dress are retired hurt!”
Om rolls his eyes and thinks: ‘God, this Gauri! What’s with the accent?!’
Rudy observes the confused, annoyed and in love look of Om and says jovially, “Don’t worry Astha! If you had any injury, I am sure O would be happy to help you out. Right O!”
Which riles up Om further, so he walks away from Gauri in a huff, flicking his gorgeous wavy hair. (Om’s tadi music plays in the BG)
The group returns to the cars and heads back to the OF Lodge for the night. During dinner, O is silent and he observes with a bit of amazement how Astha/Gauri gets along so well with his family. He wonders why he is the only one who feels this antagonistic towards her! Even little Saahil is enchanted and engaged with her charm. He decides to keep quiet about his Gauri discovery for the time being.
Day 2 YSNP:
The group plans to explore the South-Eastern and Central parts of the park. The hot-springs near OF were multi-coloured shades of blue, emerald green pools, whereas the hot-springs in the Eastern side are either muddy hot-springs or steam spouting pools.
The group enjoys a picnic near the deep blue Yellowstone Lake. The higher altitude at Yellowstone causes a bit of early winter snow in their trip. The snow fall in the park creates a 6 inch layer of snow on the ground and a partially frozen Yellowstone Lake. Seeing it Saahil and Gauri want to create a snow man.
Despite a lack of gloves and proper winter jacket, everyone helps Saahil and Gauri create a snowman with their freezing hands. They don’t have any winter hats, so they use Rudra’s cool summer cap, Annika’s vibrant scarf and Saahil’s baby goggles to create a tapori (street thug) snowman! For his nose they use a slice of apple cut like a triangle and for his eyes they use black grapes. After clicking numerous pics with the snowman, they head off to Artist Point in Canyon Village.
Seeing the Artist Point all are mesmerised by the yellow, pink, orange colours of the Yellowstone Canyon set against the gorgeous white blue waterfall. Every picture captured in the camera looks like an artist’s painting. Annika executes her Part 2 Plan.
Seeing Om’s wistful look at the waterfall Annika suggests, “Om, Shivaay knew that you would love to paint this spot, so we packed your painting gear for this trip. Why don’t you stay here with Saahil and paint the sunset? While the rest of us can go explore some of the difficult trails around here that Saahil won’t be able to walk to.”
When they are heading to the car Shivaay mentions to Gauri, “Why don’t you give Saahil some company too? Otherwise he will be bored.” Rudy hands over the keys to the Accord to her and they tell her to meet them for dinner at the Canyon Lodge.
While Om is busy painting, Gauri and Saahil click a dozen pictures of the canyon, the blue skies that change into yellow, then orange, then red, as the sun starts setting. After a while Gauri and Saahil decide to play a trick on the unaware Om, who is too engrossed in his painting. They use his spare paint brushes and paper, to paint all sorts of cartoon figures and captions. Saahil places a drawing on Om’s back, but the first paper flies away into the deep canyon because of the windy evening. He then holds the next drawing in place as Gauri takes a pic of Om’s captioned back and Saahil’s whacky faces!
After many pics Saahil says, “Di my turn to be a photographer.”
Gauri picks up the sketch saying “Snappy Snippy Hippy!” And holds it on Om’s back. As Saahil walks away slowly to capture the pic. Om gets aware of Gauri standing beside him. Without even looking he knows its Gauri, and he closes his eyes and draws a big sigh. Then he swiftly turns and grabs hold of her hand.
Right then Saahil clicks a pic of the two staring at each other. Om asks Gauri, “What are you doing?”
Gauri replies, “N…nothing! Just taking some silly pics!”
Om looks at the cartoon and caption on her hand and starts laughing at its silliness. He says, “If I am a Snippy Snappy Hippy! You are a Silly Ditzy Trippy!” And he quickly knocks the back of her knees with his legs and makes her trip. Seeing his antics Saahil and Gauri both start laughing. The trio then decide to create more silly captions for each other. And when a passing group of visitors comes by, the trio asks them to capture a group picture of the trio, while each of them hold a silly caption about themselves in front. They continue this tomfoolery for a while.
When the last remnant of the sun has finally set behind the mountains, Gauri touches Om’s shoulders and says, “Shall we head back?”
Looking at the tired Saahil, he agrees. Om doesn’t want his sunset painting to be ruined on the drive back. So he and Saahil sit in the back seat holding his painting gingerly. While Gauri cheerfully agrees to chauffeur them. She wears her cap and salutes Om and says in a Nepali accent, “Ok Shaab ji! (Ok Sir!)”
Gauri happily chatters away with Saahil as they play a game of “I spy with my eye”. And because of Saahil’s sweet innocent chatter, Om also joins in. He is pleasantly surprised at the ease with which he can converse with Gauri during the whole evening.
Day 3 YSNP: The group plans to explore the North-Western parts of the park today, where Annika executes Part 3 of their plan. When hiking on one of the Norris hot-spring trails, Annika and the rest of the group secretly walk away to a separate trail, which Om and Gauri engrossed in their photography don’t observe.
After many minutes Gauri, who wants to take a family picture, says,” Hey di, Saahil, all! Please gather here we can take a family pic with the view of the entire Norris area from here.” Thinking the rest are behind her she turns around, but to her surprise, she has been mistaking another family who were walking behind her as her group. Seeing no one behind her she looks up front and can only see Om ahead of her. She goes and taps Om’s shoulders, “Do you know where the rest of them are?”
Om frown, “I don’t know. I thought they are following us. They must have taken a different trail.”
Gauri, “Hmm. You are probably right. But why didn’t they tell us that?”
Om shrugs his shoulders, “I don’t know. Since we have almost reached the end point of this trail, we should go back and wait in the car park for them.”
When the two reach the car park they start looking for the others. They notice that the Prius is missing from its parked spot. Worriedly, Gauri thinks of calling them. But she realises that her phone was in the Prius. She had only carried her camera, a light jacket and a cap for the hike. She looks at Om. “Can you call them and find out where they are headed? I left my phone and purse in the Prius.”
Om calls all four turn by turn, but their phones are out of coverage. He says, let’s look at the map and see where the nearest restaurants and lodges are. They will head to one such spot for tonight’s stay. Looking at the map, Old faithful Inn is to the South of Norris and Mammoth Lodge is to the North. They conclude that the best bet is the Mammoth Lodge, since Annika had planned different inns and lodges as their stopovers for the night.
In their earnestness to join the others, they ignore all the different vistas of the park. On checking with the Mammoth lodge management, they don’t find any reservations under the Oberoi or Dey name. Frustrated Om, gets irked at the others for leaving them stranded. Though his phone’s reception is working at the Mammoth Lodge, they are unable to connect to the others’ phones.
Gauri sees Om getting angry, briefly holds his hand she says, “Om just calm down please! Let us refuel our refried brains, then we can decide the next step.”
After lunch Gauri says, “Why don’t we just try to enjoy the beauty of this place for a few hours? And we will keep trying their phones every hour.”
Om suggests checking out the Mammoth Hot-springs, which they had bypassed while coming to the lodge. The milky white beauty of the hot-springs reminds Gauri of a cascading milk waterfall. While it reminds Om of Snowy vanilla ice-cream steps!
The guilt of hiding her true identity has been digging at Gauri’s soul the past 2 days since she met Om. She had tried to reason with Annika and the others about not hiding her identity, but everyone had vetoed her out. When they reached the topmost part of the trail, Gauri indicates with her hands for a break, and out of breathlessness sits down on a park bench. Engrossed in the guilt of her secret she says to Om, “Omkaraji, I need to tell you something. I am Gauri, your long forgotten wife.”
Hearing Gauri tell the truth, Om who was taking a big gulp of water nearly chokes and spills the water on Gauri. Gauri gets up in a huff and tugging Om’s hands she pulls him down with her to sit on the park bench. She says, “Uff Omkaraji! You seemed to have taken tips from my Annika di in drenching me with water.”
She keeps holding his hand, and looks squarely into his eyes, “Ok, main sirf ek baar aapse saari purani batein kahoongi. Aur iske baad main koi aur safai nahin doongi. (I will only talk with you about the past this once, and after this I will never explain myself to you.)” Om nods.
“I didn’t agree to marry Kali Thakur (KT) the first time. He forcibly kidnapped me and kept me a prisoner in his house. And if you had used a little bit of your observation skills, you might have seen the chain he had shackled me with, during your stay at his place. The second time around, he threatened both your’s and bua ma’s lives, so I agreed to marry him willingly.”
“As for the muh mangi keemat (the price for my wedding) that KT was giving me, first time the keemat (price) was my mother and the second time the price was your lives. And your suspicions regarding my staying in your life for your money, that’s a baseless assumption of yours. All the money that you paid for my mother’s bills, I can pay you back now, if that would clear up your doubts. And don’t worry, I am not going to use my grandmother’s money to pay you. I work at my grad school as a research assistant, so I can slowly pay you off in monthly instalments.”
“Oh and yes, my legal name is Astha Dey and this is the real me speaking in this accent. I wasn’t really lying or deceiving you with my name or accent. I had hoped that you would recognize me. I even bribed Saahil with chocolates to have him call me Gauri di in front of you for the past two days, but I don’t know why you never noticed that.”
Saying her speech. Gauri gets up and starts walking down the trail to get back to their car, without looking back at Om. A huge weight has been lifted off her chest, because for ages she had been preparing this speech to tell Om things as it is and not how he perceived it to be.
Om on the other hand is confused on what to say to her. He can never find out the truth about KT, now that he is dead. But he could take her at face value about her independent need to pay off her mom’s hospital expenses. And a part of him already knew that the parts of Gauri he had witnessed in her Chulbul and Astha avatars, were actually the real Gauri. He just couldn’t figure out how to tell her that he had already recognised her and how to build a bridge of connection between them?
They both silently head towards the car. Om looks at the park map and decides that they could check out the North-East side of the park, since their group hadn’t explored those parts yet. At the Tower Roosevelt area of the park, they witness gorgeous canyons and stop to take pictures of the canyons. Seeing a tourist family try to take an unsuccessful selfie with the canyon backdrop, Gauri offers to click some family pictures for them.
The mother of the family being charmed by Gauri’s help, reciprocates and offers to take her and Om’s pictures. Gauri almost says no, but thinking this may be the last time she would ever spend with Om, she smiles and agrees. Om and Gauri are both a bit uncomfortable as the lady cupid asks them to come closer together for the pic. She jokes, “Did you fight? Is that why you aren’t smiling at each other? Come on, when you look back at this day, do you want to see grumpy pictures of yourselves?”
She says, “Ready, say cheese!”
At which Om replies, “Butter!” Which cracks up Gauri and ends up creating a cute pic of the two!
When heading to the car, Om realises that his phone battery is almost out. In addition, there is hardly any reception in this part of the park. Since the North-Eastern entrance is the nearest to them, they decide to check out nearby hotels for their evening stay.
While driving out from Roosevelt to the North-East entrance of the park, Gauri tries to lighten the mood, “The map says we can spot bears, bisons and mooses at this part of the park. We have already spotted multiple herds of bisons since the past 2 days, and even seen a moose today. I hope God will show us a bear too now.”
Om worried over the phone and lodge issues says sarcastically, “Of course, you and your God have a direct connection, so we should see a bear right about now!”
Gauri says, “I believe my Shankarji completely!”
Om suddenly puts the breaks on the car so hard that Gauri ends up leaning sharply on him, despite the seatbelt. She looks at Om in a “you crazy driver you” way and sees him pointing to her right. Right outside the window near the mountains they see a dark form moving amongst the trees and shrubs. At a distance from the car and about 15 meters from the moving form, a handful of people are clicking pictures in glee.
That’s when Gauri shrieks, “Shankarji listened to me! It’s a bear! And looking at its size, it looks like a cute cuddly bear cub!” She quickly jumps out of the car with her camera to run and join the group clicking the bear’s pics.
The cautious Om, parks the car carefully and follows her. Before she can reach too close to the bear in her enthusiasm, he pulls her back towards him. They get entangled in a brief hug, and Gauri looks up questioningly at him. Om whispers quietly to her, “The park guidelines say, we should maintain, 90 meters distance from any bears. Don’t go too close to the bear.”
She says disentangling herself and her camera, “But these people are doing it without any problems. Please let me go.” And she walks away, but with a little caution, because of Om’s warning.
Om sighs and says, “Kya karoon main iska? (What shall I do with her?) Always gets into trouble.”
While Gauri and rest of the tourists are busily clicking pics of the moving bear, a park ranger comes over seeing the crowd. He starts warning the people to walk further away from the baby bear. He says, “Usually a mother bear is around the baby bear. If she gets mad and protective towards her young one, it can be dangerous. If you people don’t start maintaining a 90 meters distance, I will have to start handing out citations to you all.”
Hearing this everyone slowly starts backing away from the bear. Gauri, immersed in her photography, barely hears the ranger. Om notices this and drags Gauri back, “The ranger is going to cite you, if you don’t back away from the bear.”
Reluctantly Gauri agrees. As the crowd starts slowly getting back in their cars to resume their journey, the bear starts ambling deeper into the forest and gets merged into the deeper woods of the park.
Night 3 and Day 4 YSNP:
It’s almost 10 pm in the night and OmRi have checked out at-least 15 hotels. None of them have a vacancy. By now they are too tired, hungry and frustrated. They eat at a small restaurant. And decide that their only option for tonight might be to stay in the car. By happenstance they find an open camp-site parking spot. Most of the parking spots are occupied by empty cars or trailers, whose occupants have likely gone to camp at a distance from the parking. The previous day’s snowfall in the park have turned the nights really chilly. So as soon as the car is parked, and the heater is off, they both start shivering. Their light jackets hardly provide any resistance to the bitter cold wind.
Om goes to the trunk of the car and gets out two jackets from his bag. Gauri’s bags were in the other car so she doesn’t have spare clothes. He gives one of his coats to Gauri. They also layer up on Om’s extra clothes before wearing the jacket. Looking at themselves Gauri starts giggling, “She pulls up Om’s cheeks and says, you are looking like a stuffed up teddy bear!” Om just grunts and walks into the car.
They sit in the car, but because their petrol is running low, they decide to not turn the heater on. Which makes them both start shivering after an hour in the biting cold night. Gauri says, “Can we go out and do some exercise to warm ourselves up?” She gets out and starts doing some jumping jacks.
Seeing her Om starts laughing at this stuffed up jumping doll. He suggests, “Maybe we could follow one of the camping trails and try our luck in seeking the people who are camping here.”
They start walking rapidly towards a spot that is 2.5 km away. Nearing the end of the trail. They see a bunch of tents and a campfire and spot a group of college students. They join the group. Om asks them, “Can we please join this campfire? I and my wife got separated from our group and we have nothing to help us with our sudden camping adventure.”
The students readily welcome Gauri and Om. The gals in the group offer Gauri some wine that they are drinking, but she refuses. Om also refuses the beer offered to him, since his de-addiction days he keeps himself away from any addictive substances.
The group was gathered around a campfire and were singing. Since there were 2 Indian, 2 Korean and 4 American students in the group, they take turns singing songs from their nationalities. They ask Om and Gauri to join. And amongst laughter, dancing, singing and marsh-mellows and the bonfire, the group end up staying till early hours of the morning.
The group exchange their life stories with each other, and hearing Gauri’s story since her adoption days, makes Om feel an unexpected tenderness towards her. Unknowingly they both had tasted a bit of spiked punch, which adds to the headiness of his feelings for Gauri. They both don’t realise when they had drifted closer to each other and their hands are entwined together as they chat along with the others.
In this magical night far away from his normal life, he can see the brightness of her inner love and joy. When the students can’t keep their eyes open they slowly start drifting to their tents. One of the gals in the group offers her extra sleeping bag to OmRi. She shows them how to keep the bonfire going while they sleep out in the open.
OmRi punch drunk in love and little bit of rum, are enchanted by the night. Instead of sleeping, they sit beside the bonfire and wrap the sleeping bag around them like a blanket. They can’t seem to let go of each other’s hands. Gazing deeply into Gauri’s eyes, Om says, “I have been wondering since morning about what to tell you. I recognised you on the first day itself, but I didn’t want to spoil Bhabhi’s birthday trip. So I kept quiet.”
“I haven’t been able to tell this to anyone, about how much I missed you ever since you left OM. I don’t know how, but you became an essential part of my life. And I think, I am beginning to fall in love with you.”
“I still don’t know what to think of the KT incidents, but I am willing to forgive and forget the past and start anew. I would like you to be in my life and as my wife.”
Gauri gets teary and says, “I DON’T NEED CHEESY ‘I LOVE YOUS’ JUST HOLD MY HAND AND TELL ME “I’M HERE FOR YOU.”
Om wipes away her tears and says holding her hand,
“I am here for you Gauri from this day on,
I promise to trust you and build a bond,
That’s as strong as the depth of my feelings,
For you my sweet wife who gives my life some meaning.”
Hearing his impromptu poetry, she smiles and cups his cheeks, “I’ll NEVER ASK YOU TO BRING THE STARS FOR ME, BUT I WOULD LOVE TO SIT AND WATCH THEM WITH YOU”…
And they both lie on their backs and explore together the magical enchantment of the skies above.
Epilogue: OmRi drive back to SLC the next day and join the rest of the family. And our OmRi live happily ever after….Of course after having sorted out their logistics with lots of takkar ki tadiwali Ishqbaazi (Head to Head Game of Attitude Filled Love and passion)
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