Oma’s heart felt heavy, as she stood in the crowd for graduation. She did not think she could bear it. Today was the last day that she would see her beloved Ashish. She would be returning to her country and family on tomorrow. Her time here in America had come to an end. Oma never thought that she would have become so attached to a people whose belief system was so different than hers.
Oma had come to America from Pradesh, India to pursue her education. Today she was graduating from one of the finest medical schools in America. What an opportunity she had been given! Her parents were so proud of her. She was the first female in her family to have accomplished this feat. Yes, there were other family members that were doctors, engineers and architects. But in her family she was the oldest girl and her mother had often said she would have the burden of trailblazer for her younger female siblings.
“Hi Oma, you seem so lost in thought, what’s going on in that pretty head of yours?” Ashish asked.
Oma looked up into the handsome face of Ashish, “I’m just very sad to be leaving tomorrow. I know you face the same thing that I do.”
“Yes, I know what you’re speaking of. But I am not sure that I will be as willing as you to follow thru with my parents’ wishes. After coming here and experiencing Christian teachings I’m not at all sure that I want to continue the Hindu beliefs and customs. Especiallly the one of being betrothed to someone I do not even know. It breaks my heart that you will not fight this issue with your parents.”
“I understand you’re being upset with me, but my parents have made great sacrifices for me and I cannot dishonor them in this way. I too, have enjoyed the Bible study that we have attended, but our beliefs go very deep. I will do what they want even if my heart is breaking now for you.”
The ceremony started and they took their places. Ashish could not help but think of Oma even as he went to the platform to receive his diploma. “How can I possibly let her go?” he thought. He was determined to think positive. His new found faith in the Judeo/Christian God, albeit new, it filled a place in him that had been missing. “I don’t know how but I believe God will work this out for Oma and me somehow, some way. ‘Dear Lord, I choose to trust you, and I put my life and my future in your hands’.”
The days and weeks had flown by with preparations for Oma’s wedding. She had yet to meet her betrothed. She only knew his first name, Gyandev, and that his family was well positioned in their community. She had hoped that he had changed his mind, but was told the delay had been due to business. Finally the time had come for the two to meet face to face. The evening festivities were designed to bring the two families together. There would be traditional dress and Hindi food for a pre-wedding feast.
Oma tried to smile for her mother’s sake but somehow the smile did not reach her eyes. The announcement came that the Kalsangrah family had arrived. Oma stood demurely between her parents in a beautiful Hindi gown with her eyes cast down. She wanted to run but her feet would not take her away. She saw a hand come toward her and lift her chin. When she looked up she was looking into the eyes of her beloved Ashish.
“Ashish! How? What are you doing here?” she sputtered.
“Oh my Oma! My first name is Gyandev, my middle name is Ashish . When I arrived home. I told my parents in no uncertain terms that I could not marry someone I did not love. They were devastated, they said at least look at the photo of the one you are to marry. They spoke the truth, the one I am to marry is you. It was answered prayer Oma! The reason for my delay in meeting you was I want to do missions work here in India. I applied and was accepted at one of the local hospitals for internship. I just need to know one thing, of your own freewill, will you accept me?”
With smiling eyes, Oma replied, “Yes, and your God too.”
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