She Believed In Arranged Marriages. He Wanted A Love Story!

Pihu and Bansi were family friends who went to become best friends and then partners for life. Their story might just make your day. 

Pihu and Bansi were family friends who went to become best friends and then partners for life. Their story might just make your day. 

“Hi, Pihuuuuu!”

Pihu was engrossed in drawing rangoli outside her house when she heard someone call out her name. She looked up and saw a motorbike had halted outside their gate. It was Bansi, she recognized him immediately. His parents had come to meet her parents sometime back. Their parents were close friends and had come to meet Pihu’s family since they had recently shifted to the city.

Pihu gave him an informal smile and got busy in her rangoli again. “Welcome to our city Pihu. Where’s uncle and aunty, I have come to meet them,” he informed her with a broad smile. She directed him towards the door with her coloured hands and indicated that her parents were sitting inside the house along with his parents.

When she finished her rangoli and joined the group. They were relishing the delicious samosas and jalebis that Bansi’s father had brought from a famous sweet shop of the city. On seeing Pihu her father introduced her to them. “Baba, I remember them, we had met once at a wedding long time back.” Pihu gave her father the details of their earlier meeting.

“Bansi is studying in the same college where you have taken admission Pihu. He is two years senior to you and he can help you with studies, he has also promised to give you his books and notes” Her father happily informed her. Pihu did not show much interest in the offer but thanked Bansi formally for the sake of her parents.

That was the first time Bansi had come to their house, but after that day he started visiting them often for different reasons and slowly Pihu developed a friendly attitude towards him.

Bansi was a simple but smart and intelligent boy who believed in simple living and high thinking. His passion for reading and love for music was a common point that helped them to connect with each other. Being new to the city, Pihu’s family was glad to get Bansi’s help to get around the city. He had grown up in this city and had all the information that was helpful for her parents. Her younger brother Devesh had also grown fond of him since he was the only friend he had in this new city.

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Bansi introduced Pihu to his friends who welcomed her happily in their group. She would often accompany them on their outings. Her parents were also happy to meet her new friends and were relaxed with the knowledge that she was in good company because of Bansi.

The group was part of a book reading club where they read and discussed newly launched books and shared information about what they had recently read. Pihu, who was an avid reader, loved the idea of a book club where she could meet people who shared her passion for reading. The formal relationship between Pihu and Bansi had turned into an informal friendship. Pihu often looked forward to spending more time with Bansi and his friends. Whenever they met, the discussion would mostly be about a recently read book or some newly released music album.

Almost four years had passed since Pihu’s family shifted to the city. Bansi had completed his post-graduation and was planning to study further for a PhD in Economics. Pihu had also taken up a job in a small firm after completing her graduation. She had also applied for a post-graduation course in communication at an evening college. Bansi was busy with his research work and could hardly find time to visit Pihu’s house. Pihu spent her whole week juggling between work and college, while most of her Sundays were given to completing college assignments. The two friends could hardly find time to go out with friends or attend the book club meetings.

One Sunday afternoon, Pihu’s mother opened the door and found Bansi standing in the door, “What a pleasant surprise, you have come to our house after almost three months Bansi. What’s keeping you so busy these days? Pihu’s mother asked him as he entered the house.

“Aunty, I have been busy with research for the thesis work that I have to do for PhD. For the past few months I have been very busy because of it. My thesis guide has time to meet only on weekends, with this hectic schedule I have no time to go anywhere”. he replied.

“My guide has gone out of town for a few days and I had some free time, that’s why I came to meet you.” he clarified.

“Aunty, I am going to stay for dinner, so please plan something delicious for dinner today.” Bansi made his intentions clear.

“Good that you came to visit us today, Bansi. I was planning to make Pav-Bhaji for dinner, and now since you are here I will also make some fruit cream to go along with it.” Pihu’s mother shared her plan happily. “Come to the kitchen, we can talk while I start with the preparations,” she said while walking towards the kitchen. They all sat at the table while she served them tea with some munchies and started cutting vegetables for Pav-Bhaji.

“You know Bansi, now that Pihu has graduated and found a good job we were thinking it’s time to get her married”, Pihu’s father told Bansi.

“I came to know that recently, Uncle, I heard my parents discussing it a few days back” Bansi replied plainly.

“What kind of a groom are you looking for uncle?” he asked and before her father could reply anything he turned to Pihu and said mischievously,

“Hey Pihu, have you not found anyone to marry you yet? Why trouble Uncle and Aunty to find a groom for you” He teased her further. Pihu gave him an angry look before she marched out and went to her room.

Bansi followed Pihu to her room after he had finished his tea and spent time with her parents.

“Pihu, I think an arranged marriage is a very boring affair. I suggest you find someone and go for a love marriage” he said as he entered the room. “I cannot even think of marrying a complete stranger, I believe in love before marriage.” he made a bold statement.

“Bansi, I believe in love after marriage,” Pihu gave her opinion. “I believe love marriages have a very high rate of failure. Marrying a stranger has its own excitement. What’s wrong in having an arranged marriage, after all our parents got married in a similar way,” Pihu made her point clear.

The debate about arranged versus love marriage continued for a long time. They both wanted to prove their point of view and were not ready to change their opinions or beliefs. It had to end finally when Devesh came into the room to inform them that dinner was served.

A few weeks later Bansi heard his parents discuss a match that Pihu’s father was interested in, someone who stayed in their neighbourhood.

“Maa, are you sure Uncle was interested to know about this boy from our area? What has happened to Uncle? Why is he desperate to get Pihu married so soon?” Bansi had lots of questions to ask.

“She has just finished her graduation and is doing a PG course along with a job. I think uncle should wait for a few more years before he plans to get her married” he said. His mother could not understand his sudden irritation and extreme reactions over Pihu’s marriage.

She tried her best to make him understand Pihu’s parents’ predicament. “Pihu is almost 21 now, and by the time her parents find a suitable match she will be 22. That is the proper age for girls to be married.” Those were the days when girls got married as early as they could and 22 was considered the ideal age for marriage.

Bansi could not sleep that night, his mind was clouded with thoughts about Pihu and her marriage. That night he dreamed about Pihu getting married to someone that her parents had approved of. The next day when he woke up, he was glad that it was just a dream. What he feared was the dream may become true very soon.

It was a Wednesday morning when Bansi came to inform Pihu and her parents that he had taken a drop from studies and was looking for a job. He said he got bored of the research and had applied for a job at various places. Pihu’s parents were shocked to hear his plans but did not say anything in front of him. He wanted her father’s advice and help to get a good job and left after speaking to him about it.

Within a few weeks, Bansi came with the news of a good job offer he had got from a big multinational company. Pihu was disappointed to know that the job was in another city and that he would be leaving soon to join his new office. Her parents invited Bansi and his family for dinner to celebrate his new job offer and wish him good luck before he left the city. Pihu was not happy about Bansi taking a job in another city, but she wished him luck and success when she went to see him off at the railway station.

After almost two months, Pihu received an envelope from Bansi at her office address. She was very happy to see it, as it was the first letter from him since he had gone. She opened it to find a greeting card saying, “Thinking of you, missing you, wishing we were together”. She was used to receiving letters from Bansi whenever he left the city, but this was the first time he had sent her a card. The message on the card confused her about Bansi’s feelings. They were good friends and she was also missing him equally but she felt the words on the card had some other meaning. She had sensed many times that Bansi had some special feelings for her, but was not sure because he had never expressed them clearly. She wrote back to him asking for an explanation and received a reply that said he will clear her doubts on his next visit during Diwali.

Pihu knew Bansi was planning a visit during Diwali holidays, which was almost two weeks from that day. The two weeks felt like decades for Pihu. As promised, Bansi came to meet her as soon as he arrived in the city. It was a Saturday afternoon and her office had given a half day leave to its employees because of Diwali. As she walked out of her office building she saw him standing at the office gate waiting for her. They went to a nearby restaurant, which was not very crowded and was perfect for coffee and a peaceful chat. It was not just Pihu, but Bansi, too, was eagerly waiting to express his feelings. They waited till the waiter had served them coffee and snacks.

“So…? Pihu questioned and waited for his reply as the waiter left them.

“Pihu, I fell in love with you the day I first saw you drawing rangoli outside your house. I used to find reasons to visit your house just to spend some time with you. Many times I used to keep waiting outside your college to meet you and talk with you. I introduced you to my friend circle with the hope of seeing you again and again.” Pihu was stunned when she heard his words. She did not know how to respond and sat looking at him without saying a word.

“When I heard Uncle’s plan about your marriage, I was devastated. I wanted to propose to you immediately, but I could not. I did not have a job, while you were already earning. How could I propose and assure you a better future without a job in hand? That’s why I decided to give up my desire to study further and started looking for a job. I can study and get a PhD anytime in life. But I cannot lose you Pihu, I cannot see you getting married to someone else.” He poured out all that was in his heart in front of her.

“Will you marry me Pihu? I can guarantee that I will always love you and keep you happy forever” Bansi finally managed to propose to her.

Though Pihu had some intuition about his feelings earlier she was shocked when they were revealed to her that day. His confessions made her realize about her own feelings for him. She had always considered him to be her best friend. Today she realized that he was a lot more than just her best friend. He was the only person who she trusted blindly, whom she cared for deeply. She understood at that moment, that her feelings for Bansi were nothing but love. It was love that made her think and care about him at all times. She felt protected, safe and comfortable in his company. She missed his presence and realized his importance in her life most when he took a job in another city. She realized how happy her life was when he was around. The words in the greeting card were true for her too.

Pihu confessed her feelings to Bansi at that moment. She was happy to finally realize that she was in love and that too, with her best friend.

“Bansi, I will be happy to marry you. You don’t know how much I missed you when you were away. I love you too and would be happy to spend my whole life with you!” she said with tears in her eyes.

They decided to give the good news to their parents immediately. Their parents were surprised at first but were very happy to know their decision of getting married. The only person who was not happy with the news was Pihu’s brother, Devesh. He had never imagined his life without his sister and was sad and angry with Bansi for planning to take his sister away from him. He felt like he had lost a good friend and a sister both at the same time. He finally accepted their relationship after a few days and was happy that his sister was marrying Bansi who was a close family friend.

Their parents met the next day for finalizing and making further plans. The engagement ceremony took place in a few days and within two months on Valentine’s day, Pihu and Bansi tied the knot in a simple ceremony amidst family and friends. It was the happiest day for both the families as their friendship had now transformed into a close relationship.

Pihu and Bansi are celebrating their 25th marriage anniversary today. They decided to celebrate this day at the same restaurant and at the same table. The coffee and snacks served by the waiter brought back the nostalgic memories of that day. Past 25 years started flashing in their minds like a film, and somewhere in the background Pihu’s favourite song started playing…

“Saanson Ko Saanson Mein Dhalne Do Zara…. Dheemi Si Dhadkan Ko Badhne Do Zara…. Lamhon Ki Guzarish Hai Ye…. Paas Aa Jayein

Hum… Hum Tum… Tum…. Hum Tum…….”

Top image via pexels

First published here.

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