Proposal in Palampur
Updated: Apr 29
Having grown up on a staple of Shahrukh Khan films, I have been a crazy Bollywood buff until I started working in the independent cinema space. Irrespective of the great romantic movies I came across, I have always romanticised the idea of declaration of love in a classic Bollywood way. So when my partner who I'd been dropping not-so-subtle hints for a long time asked me to execute the whole proposal since I had a long checklist which he had to adhere to in case he was to execute it (which FYI he recently did on my birthday but I guess I have outdone him), I was like '"hell yeah! Let's do this!"
The idea of breaking stereotypes that men are to go down on their knees appealed to me and I was quite thrilled with the idea of being the boss of the execution. I had the reigns in my control. I only had to look for the right place. I am a peoples' person and Vicky is exactly the opposite and we were going to be in Bir-Billing for New Years Eve. His siblings were around so it would have been perfect for me to plan something with them in tow but since he prefers to celebrate special occasions in private, the challenge was to find that perfect spot. With the help of his siblings and Exsul Travel we found our perfect picnic spot in Palampur. On the morning of 30th, I had left a note on Vicky's bedside asking him to be ready the next morning at 1o am cause we were to go on a picnic. The whole day went with him asking all sorts of questions which I kept evading and told him it's a date to celebrate another year of togetherness. We reached Palampur by 11.30 am and were greeted by the warm team of Exsul who had kept everything ready for us. We then boarded a really cool gypsy with our hosts and had to wade through another 30-40 mins of rugged terrains to reach the spot. The drive was full of beautiful spots and bumps.
After a point you reach a temple which is believed to be hundreds of years old inhibited by a baba for over four decades when there was no connectivity to the temple. He grows his own food and survives the harsh winter all by himself. Tourists and locals who visit the temple keep him company and pamper him with good food and valuables. He took us around the temple while the hosts were preparing the picnic spot for us. All we had to do is spend a good 20-25 minutes here.
After that we took the keys to the other side of a tunnel that only the baba has and locals or tourists aren't allowed beyond the temple. We continued through the beautiful tunnel and views to finally reach a secluded spot under a tree where a table and two chairs awaited us. The team let us settle and left us with our food. In that moment, it felt that both of us belonged to that vast infinity and it was just the two of us. The joy of eating food in the open with nice chilly winter breeze blowing in your face was simply indescribable.
Just when Vicky thought this was all that this surprise picnic was all about- to unwind and be in each other's company, I went over to the team and told them I was ready to do it. I set up my tripod stand with the camera which by now Vicky thought was for my blog and let the camera roll. I had Nikki from team Exsul who was also recording everything slyly on her phone. Just when Vicky thought that we are now about to head back, I went down on my knees, popped the ring and asked him after a crazy rollercoaster of life we have had, will he marry me? He was so dumbfounded in that moment and ecstatic that he didn't know what to say. While I was happy to have finally made him cry, the irony of the proposal being that the ring did not fit (I blame his father for the incorrect measurement :P) but here we were celebrating our togetherness and taking it a notch higher doing what we both absolutely love doing- travel. That's how it was that we fell in love.
Obviously I wouldn't have been able to plan and execute this without the help of the amazing people of team Exsul and Vicky's siblings who recommended the spot to me but I knew I had to end the year on the highest note and I did exactly that.
All images © Kainat27