I woke up; my cheeks streaked with tears, and found one girl sitting on my bed. She pushed me inside the bathroom and laughed.
“Sania, stop it” I chuckled.
I then realized what day was it today. I shivered. Everything seems to crumble. I remembered those days…
It was a moment of loving after!
My eyes were filled with tears; I came out with my bathrobe. Sania was grinning but it changed into a frown when she saw my tears.
She stroked my cheeks and said “it will be okay”
I frowned and mumbled “nothing will be okay”
Sania hugged me and said “I will miss you, Geet”
And before she broke in front of me; she ran in her room.
I wished I could end this life right now. But nope, I meant a lot for my mother and my father, they overcame every difficulty for me, and told me “whichever bad situation you’re facing never end this life”. But I wished it was easy to die…it’s easy to say, but difficult to experience it, how every breathe is taken from you…but every of my breathe didn’t count now, I was going to live through the pain! I was going to hell.
Another two women came and smirked. Her daughter said “I envy you; you’re going to get married in such big place where money is spent in a crinkle of second!” And they left.
I looked at my best friend’s photograph and tears filled my eyes again.
“Wish you were here with me”
I can be tough
I can be strong
But with you, it’s not like that at all
There’s a girl
That gives a
Behind this wall
You just walk through it
And I remember all those crazy things you said
You left them running through my head
You’re always there, you’re everywhere
But right now I wish you were here.
All those crazy things we did
Didn’t think about it, just went with it
You’re always there, you’re everywhere
But right now I wish you were here
How I wished you were here today, to console me and advise me that I wasn’t doing any mistake. I hold me and advise me if I was doing something wrong… Even if it was wrong; I just didn’t care…I listened to my heart and moved downstairs for the ceremony….
2 months later
I flinched. The bed cracked. It was morning. I wasn’t in a mood of waking up but I reminded myself – duties come first. I opened my first eye, my mind screamed “go to bed Geet, the bed is calling”. I ignored my inner voice and opened my second eye. I debated my mind. It was the crack of dawn. I hated to wake up. But I had to! I took my towel and my suit and entered the bathroom. I opened the tab and let the water to cool my head. My brain needed to relax, I knew it. It was two months, two very long months. The cool water drained my body. It was becoming relaxing. I wished I could stay under the shower for hours but I closed the tab and came out after fifteen minutes…
I looked at Riihaa’s and my wedding’s photograph. I caressed Riihaa’s cheek. How Riihaa was happy – how happy I was! How happy we were at that time. Riihaa left me and went away but I reminded myself I wasn’t alone! I sighed when I remembered something else – I wasn’t alone, Geet was with us. I had married Geet after Riihaa’s departure. I didn’t marry her according to my own wish; I had a compulsion, a very big compulsion, and a big responsibility, which I couldn’t ignore even if I wanted. Even if it was true that I still loved Riihaa today, after 3 years and two months. Riihaa’s memories were buried in my heart, her place; nobody could ever take her place. Geet was just a keeper of my house, my grandma and my…No, it wasn’t just mine!
I entered the kitchen. Nakul was already awaked. He was preparing coffee for Maan. The aroma of the sweet dishes was so impulsive. I stopped myself from looking at the delicious pudding in the bowl. It was so tempting. Pudding was always my favourite. Nakul had already finished preparing the coffee. I placed it on a tray, with my heart beating fast, I made my way to Maan’s bedroom.
I heard a knock at the door. I knew it would be Geet with coffee. How I wish I could avoid her 24/7 but it wasn’t possible. I also reminded myself that with or without Geet, it didn’t make any difference, Riihaa was always in my heart, and my heart was beating because of her, Geet’s presence didn’t matter. “Come in” I said.
Geet opened the door and laid my coffee on my bedside table and she glanced at me and turned to leave.
I couldn’t help but to glance at Maan. My mind stopped me but I listened to my heart again. I saw him alright, he wasn’t broken, he was alright, and then I turned to leave. How could I make this bleeding heart understand – even if I could make my wise mind understand the situation, my heart won’t just accept it.
Loneliness, I thought. Loneliness was my hunger, it was my disease, it was my pain, my solitude, my life, and it became my obsession now. I was used to stay alone. I am still alone despite everyone. I lost everyone that I loved. I was that unfortunate. This life had become a burden on me. I wished it was easy to end it – but my heart would never accept it.
How lonely could I be more?
I sighed and helped Nakul to set the table. I heard Maan coming for breakfast. I didn’t lift my eyes to check him, I didn’t dare to. I heard him sat down.
I continued to set the table while I could feel Maan reading the newspaper. Then my eyes got clued on the chair next to Maan. I heard a little whimper. Maan lifted his eyes. And Maan helped little Akshay to sit down…
I heard a little whimper. Maan helped little Akshay to sit down. I smiled. Akshay sleepy face made him a very perfect kid. Maan loved Akshay to death. Akshay was the child of Maan and his first wife Riihaa’s. Akshay looked up and smiled. “Morning papa, morning Geet mummy” he yelled loudly. I smiled again and said “good morning dear”. I let the rest for Maan to do.
I helped my little boy to sit down. “Morning papa, morning Geet mummy”, my son told us. I grinned at him. He never fails to make me smile. I loved the way he would greet us. I heard Geet answering to him and saw her smiling to my child. Akshay smiled back. I knew Geet let me continue the conversation with my son. So I continued. “Did you have a good sleep?” I asked him. Akshay nodded and looked at me grinning. “Daddy…Jody Jones said Martians are coming on earth today” he said importantly. I sighed. ‘Jody Jones’. Geet chuckled while she was laying my food on my plate. Akshay started to laugh even when he didn’t know why Geet was laughing. I looked at Geet; she was smiling and stroking my son’s cheek and asked him “Cereals?” Akshay nodded. “Yummy” he exclaimed as Geet poured his cereals. Then Geet sat beside Akshay and started to make him feed. I then started to eat.
I fed Akshay and he silently ate. I never knew to get attached to a stranger’s woman’s child. I loved Akshay very much. Ever since I came here, I never thought to love him like my own son, well, if I ever got one! I didn’t know Riihaa. I knew Maan and that’s was a very long story when me and my best friend…I rather… I felt Maan frowning. Oh no, I thought, he hated me, I knew it, he has always loved Riihaa whoever she was and I loved Maan. This was complicated; my life is always complicated; living alone… I knew Maan would scold me. And he did, his next word terrified my soul, “Geet, I would like to talk to you after breakfast”. I looked at him, he looked at me, and I could see he was jealous, jealous that I was looking after his and Riihaa’s son with so much of love and affection or perhaps because Akshay was becoming too much attach with me. Was it my problem? Was it the problem of my motherhood? Was it my meekness? I didn’t know – all I know was I got tangled in a strange and eerie situation. Breakfast soon finished and Akshay went to play with Nakul. I followed silently to Maan’s room, preparing myself for an emotional outburst.
“I don’t like you being too close to my son” I said. I wanted Akshay to always remember his mother – Riihaa. Geet frowned. And then something happened that never happened ever.
“Look ‘ere, Mr. Maan Singh Khurana, I am not a machine that you expect… I am a human being who has feelings… And I am not your housekeeper, plus it’s not my problem if I love your son, get that thing straight in your mind, I don’t do thing mechanically” she snapped at my face, shocking me. And she stormed off. I never expected her emotional outburst! But I was also impressed – Akshay wasn’t her son and yet she loved him and she just admitted it in front of me! I liked that – my son wasn’t motherless!
My face was filled with fresh tears. I entered my room and closed the door and flopped on my bed crying. I never expected myself to answer Maan like that. All I knew was that my mouth was opening and closing and the words came out like that itself! I cried – I knew Maan still loved Riihaa and I love him very much – was still again my mistake? Was it? The person who would always answer these riddling questions left me. I felt someone tugging my salwar kameez. I quickly brushed my tears and saw Akshay standing there.
“A-Akshay” I choked.
Akshay nodded and signaled me to lift him and I did. He cupped my face and said “don’t mind papa…he’s stupid” and he laughed. I laughed also with him. “He’s your papa and we should never say these things” I reprimanded him. Akshay frowned a little – his frown was somewhat crinkling his forehead which made him so sweet. “Sorry” he mumbled. And he continued in a whisper “papa won’t know”. I laughed and teased “naughty little boy”. Akshay hugged me and I kissed his forehead.
Suddenly my love radar went on. I felt Maan’s presence in the room. Had he heard our conversation? Was he angry with me? I looked towards the door – Akshay followed my gaze. He looked terrified and hugged me tightly. I looked at Maan patting Akshay’s back. Maan smiled and said “shall we go to the ice-cream parlour?” he asked us. Akshay looked shocked and quickly broke from the hug and cried “yay!” I smiled at his excitement. I was practically shocked too! But I kept my grudge. I smiled at Maan and quickly turn my attention to Akshay.
I need to apologize to Geet. I wanted to tell her everything about me, something inside of me was forcing me to do it. I wanted to tell her I was over-concerned about my child. So I took the ice-cream parlour as an excuse. I saw her smile for the first time. It was very catching. I had actually heard Geet and Akshay’s conversation about me. I wasn’t angry and I loved the way how Geet taught him manners! I made my way downstairs….
It was an excuse, I told myself, I needed to talk to Geet, right now, and I needed to apologize to her! Akshay was super excited. I could imagine Geet crying; almost, her cheeks were red, her eyes were puffy red. As I had said, I never thought of her sudden emotional outburst, maybe, she didn’t think about it too, it was the strong bond between Akshay and her.
What happened to Maan? I kept wondering. He just asked me to go out in public with him. He had never done that in the last two months, ever since we got married. My heart was telling me why you are searching for this mystery Geet, just enjoy the maximum with the crush and love of your life. I felt listening to my heart, and that’s what I was going to do when I could find myself listening to my mind saying Geet, what happened to Maan – why is he behaving like this? Like a gentleman? I sighed. I always failed to comprehend my mind and my heart – sometimes they were like foes, fighting and making me confused and sometimes they were right! I ignored those questions and followed Maan, accompanied by Akshay to Maan’s red Lamborghini.
“Dad, you’re not taking your Mec or your BMW?” Akshay asked. Akshay was very fond of cars, after he had watched the cartoons ‘cars’.
I chuckled at my son. I could see Geet smiling at Akshay. I didn’t look at her. I always had a fear that if I check Geet out maybe I would forget all memories about Riihaa. I love Riihaa and I can’t afford losing her memories too, it was too much for me. But I always wondered how a glance at Geet could make me forget Riihaa. Riihaa was my love, my life and even if she isn’t here, she’s my life and my love – our gem – Akshay was among us. I was just glancing at Geet and one glance would never make you fall in love? Does it?
“Because today I want to take the Lam” I answered stroking my son’s cheek. I signaled the driver to move out and let me drive! I sat down and through the glass I could see Geet helping Akshay with his seat belt. I wanted to watch what Geet would do? Where would she sit?
My heart was beating fast! For the first time I was going out with Maan. I wanted to sit next to Maan like a proper wife would do but I didn’t. He didn’t love me even if I loved it. So I wanted to maintain his little care towards me, I liked it; I didn’t want to lose this little attention he was giving me! So I sat next to Akshay and helped myself with the belt.
“We can go, daddy, Geet mummy and I, we are ready” Akshay said loudly chuckling. I saw Maan glancing in the mirror at us! I forced myself to turn my gaze and smile at the little boy who was extremely excited today.
I was surprised. Surprised that Geet never claimed her rights to me, if she ever did, I had prepared myself a pack of answers! She just sat backward with my son. She was busy smiling to him. I wondered if Geet ever felt pained with all this – looking after someone else child? I drove to ‘Captain Creamy’ and we reached there in some minutes.
We went off to buy ourselves ice-creams. Actually, I had a better idea; I made Geet and Akshay sit outside the parlour under a tree and went inside to buy the ice-creams. I whispered something to a man.
I then bought three cones of ice-creams for all of us; perhaps it would be fun sitting and eating under a tree, in open air?
I handed Akshay his cone and Geet passed on tissue papers to him. Akshay was very excited and started to lick his ice-cream quickly. Geet didn’t glance at me and giggled at Akshay “son, the ice-cream won’t runaway” she laughed. She had a musical tone!
Akshay was funny. He was very loving. A child that you can never be angry with. I glanced at my ice-cream cone and say there it was written in cursive red cream letters ‘Sorry Geet’. Huh? Sorry Geet? I quickly looked at Maan and saw he was looking at me with his deep brown unable to resist eyes! I looked at him, and he gave me a pleading look, I shrugged and I nodded my head and smiled. He smiled back, for the first time I saw him smiling at me! Akshay broke this moment saying…
“Daddy…mummy….I am in love!”
“What?” We both said alarmed!
Geet looked at the ice-cream cone surprised. I had asked that man to write ‘Sorry Geet’ on the ice-cream border for Geet! Geet smiled at me, I found myself giving her a pleading look. She had deep brown eyes! I smiled back – I realized it was for the first time maybe I was smiling at Geet!
When Akshay said “Daddy…mummy…I am in love?”
How can I accept this? My three year old son is in love! Rubbish! Totally stupid! I couldn’t help being alarmed….
“Mummy…Daddy…I am in love” my son said.
“What?” me and Geet said alarmed. My three year old son was in love? With whom? Who poisoned his mind? Who stole his childish heart? Oh my god, this was so complicated? Geet was staring at Akshay mouth hanging opened! I also realize I was staring at Akshay my mouth opened and eyes widened. Akshay was looking at us confused.
Geet handled the situation and patted Akshay’s back. “Umm…Akshay son, did me and your daddy heard well?” Geet asked looking at me shaking her head.
“Yup” Akshay said confidently. I was looked at Geet shocked. My son was talking none-sense. I didn’t know how to ask him and what to ask him, I wished his mother was here for these types of situations, I wished Riihaa was here to handle Akshay but Geet broke my thoughts…
“Beta, who’s the girl who stole your heart, won’t you tell your daddy or your mummy?” Geet asked lovingly, her gooey eyes settling on Akshay’s while she was talking!
“Hannah Montana” Akshay replied. Huh? Who was this Hannah whatever? What did she do with my son? My lovely childlike baby! What magic did she do on my son? Then again Geet’s musical laughter broke my thoughts. Geet held her stomach and was laughing loudly. There were tears in her eyes from laughing so much. She was trying to cover her mouth to avoid laughing but it was making the matter worst. Seeing Geet laughing like crazy, Akshay started to giggle too! Seeing Geet behaving like a kid and crazy made me crack a smile. Geet managed to stop. Akshay diverted his gaze to the playing corner for kids. And he exploded:
“Daddy…there’s Benita the Bunny, there!” he shouted.
When I heard Hannah Montana, I couldn’t stop myself from rolling down into laughter. I was laughing so much that my stomach started to ache, tears started to form in my eyes, it was so funny for me. With my laughing session, Akshay started to his slow giggle. And I noticed Maan’s cracking smile. His smile was killing me inside, this smile which I was dying to see these long painful years, this killing smile which me and Anjali saw in the newspaper clipping…
Akshay asked Maan that he wanted to go and play with someone called Benita The Bunny!
“who’s that darling” Maan asked. “There’s a girl in my class, she funny and boy, isn’t she loud – we call her Bunny, as she always wear a sweater with a bunny on it! Her name is Benita! Can I go now?” Akshay explained very fast and he was out of breath. He looked at me and I looked at Maan. I still hadn’t had the right to decide for Akshay.
“Sure, you may go but when we’ll call you, you come back” Maan ordered. I smiled at Akshay and I thought how I wanted this moment to be paused so that I could relish them more and more!
“Who’s Hannah…M-Mo…?” Maan started to ask and seemed to have forgotten about the last word. I chuckled. He looked tensed up for Akshay’s crush. He looked at me confused; obviously wondering why was I giggling again!
“Hannah Montana you mean” I said. He nodded “whatever” he answered slightly going red. I smiled at him and said “she’s a Hollywood diva, she’s a singer and actor and she’s very popular for kids” I answered importantly. “I am sure Akshay must have saw her in one of her shows for kids” I said. Maan nodded and sighed in relief. I could tell he was thinking those types of thoughts.
“Shall we go strolling around? I am tired of sitting” Maan asked. Huh? Was I dreaming? He wanted to go out for a stroll. I went along and agreed!
I asked her for a stroll. This was the best time for talking even Akshay wasn’t with us. As we wandered next to Creamy lot, I said “Geet, I need to tell you something”. I took a deep breath and looked into her eyes. She looked into mine and I quickly broke the session, “I want to tell you about me and Riihaa” I said. I knew she wouldn’t like it that I was bringing this topic on but this was the fact of our lives. She nodded and I continued “we met in Singapore…” I started. Geet looked in my broken and sad eyes and I added “we…fell in love…” I said heavily.
All memories sung in my mind. Then something hit me, how was Geet feeling! She was my second wife and how would a second wife feel when someone would talk about his first love whom he could never forget? How? Was I doing right?
I could feel he would burst into tears the next moment. “Shut up Geet” I forced my mind to tell my heart. To tell you the truth, these two are always fighting making me very confused. I knew his reality that he was going to tell me was awful, just like one of those I lived through. I remembered how broken I was too when I lost the precious person of my life. I looked at Maan, he looked guilty, sad, rejected… I patted his shoulder. I swear he never expected the pat but he sighed and continued.
“We…we met at the business trip and as…as you’ve could imagine…we-we f-fell in l-l-love” he said and hesitated the words. “We were really going great and we decided to get married, when we returned to India, we got married under the guidance of Dadimaa” he said in a completely broken voice. I could feel his pain. The pain of losing someone you’d love more than your life. “Some months later, I came to know that Riihaa was…I mean Akshay…” he said in a more terrible voice that made me scared that he would break down in front of everyone in the park. “I know” I said in a small whisper and he turned to look at me. I nodded for a ‘yes’ and he looked away trying his best to hold the tears that was forming in his eyes. “Just one year later, she died in a car accident…and I…I…” he said and didn’t finish his sentence and I knew the rest, maybe he didn’t know that. But I was his Geet, that’s what I thought; I knew every single event occurred in his life – his wedding with Riihaa and the birth of Akshay or even the painful car crash of Riihaa. I had seen his painful state which made me resolved to do this. I sometimes thought maybe two persons who lost the persons they loved the most would understand each other well, perhaps! But my mind always told me I was wrong…Maan could never…never sort of betray his love for Riihaa. “You were broken, so much that you couldn’t even look after 1 year old Akshay that Dadimaa persuaded you to get married again” I said. Maan looked at me surprised and whispered “I guess yes”.
Akshay broke his painful state which was very good, he got his smile back.
“Mummy…Daddy…this Bunny is insane, she told me I kissed her Bunny the other day, duh” Akshay said. I looked at Maan who smiled stroking Akshay’s cheek. I chuckled “which Bunny, the sweater or the girl?” I asked. Akshay turned and shot Benita or the Bunny a dirty look and tugged Maan’s pants and said “duh…Benita is a rabbit, let’s go Daddy…I don’t want to see her” he said gruffly and walked ahead of us. I grinned at his moving silhouette; Akshay was the only person who could make Maan smile at his most painful and sorrowful state. I looked at Maan, he got his lost smile back and nodded and jogged behind the quick boy. I tried to speed up a little but it was worst when you wore heels.
I didn’t know how I told Geet the whole story. It just came slipping from my mouth. I never expected Geet’s pat on my shoulder. It somehow made me stronger and more confident to tell Geet about myself and hoped that she would understand me and why I was over-protective about my son, I couldn’t afford losing him as well. I knew I sounded like a pathetic book telling something rotten. But this was the painful thing I did the last years, relating what happened in my life to Geet which I never did to anyone. I made my best to hold back my tears, and I could feel Geet knew that. There was something special about her which I couldn’t figure out what it was. It came surprisingly to me that she knew I couldn’t look after Akshay after Riihaa left me and she knew that I was so broken that I had argued a lot with Dadimaa that the next day she ended up in the hospital regarding the second marriage issue. I guessed Dadimaa must have told her why I got married to her and what were the real reasons I did so that she doesn’t have some sort of ‘false’ expectations for me to fulfill. I still wasn’t sure that Geet had understood what I tried to tell her indirectly. I wanted to tell her that I can never fulfill my responsibilities towards her as it’s too much for me, I wanted to ask her about it when Akshay broke our conversations. He was pretty angry and told us that he wanted to go home because ‘Bunny’ whoever was she had spoilt his jolly mood. I guess I smiled and Geet smiled back at me and now we are on the verge on reaching home.
When we reached home I found Nakul pacing the ground and waiting for us. He smiled when he saw Geet and quickly disappeared inside! I glanced back at Akshay and Geet who were tagging slowly behind tired. They didn’t seem to notice something. I was a bit curious why Nakul was behaving like this.
When we entered the house, Nakul told Geet “Geet Madame, there’s someone called Pinky Gupta waiting for you…” I didn’t know this Pinky whoever so was but Geet sure did! Her smile told me. She looked at Akshay and told him “carry on; I’ll come in a minute”. Akshay nodded and Geet ran away quickly. Leaving me confused, I walked in with Akshay.
Pinky! Pinky was here! My heart was dancing. Today was indeed lucky for me. I told Akshay to go inside with Maan. I ran outside the skirts of the garden. I was so happy…it had been a long time since I met Pinky, it felt ages. She was the only person whom I could call mine.
I went downstairs…in the garden…I saw a person sitting, his back facing me.
“Yes” I said. The person turned and left me speechless. I never expected this!
“Pinky” I gasped. Pinky nodded and said “Sania told me everything, Geet” she told me. My heart crushed into millions of pieces.
“Pinky…I…” I started when she cut me off.
“Geet…why…why did you do this? Tell me! Geet! Just give me one appopriate reason, huh, tell me Geet!”
I stared at her mum.
“I already lost her, but I never expected you to play with life, Geet…”
Pinky was angry from her facial expressions but I knew she cared for me.
“I love him” I finished…
I could tell Pinky was shocked. I could see her almost adding the facts. “Isn’t he…isn’t he the same one…whom you and Anj…isn’t he the same one?” she asked white-faced. “Yes” I mumbled. She closed her eyes to avoid her tears to flow out. She hugged me tightly and said “I hope you know what you did!” I nodded and patted her back and said “yep, I know, it’s good to see you back” I said. “I know” I whispered. We pull apart and she replied “I need to go” she said. I sighed and said “can we meet tomorrow?” “Sure” was her answer. I was so happy to meet Pinky again. I hadn’t seen her during my wedding; she was away to Italy trying to relax her mind a little. I smiled at my luck and moved slowly to the house…
I was very happy, it was as if today turned out my lucky charm! I mean, I met Pinky, she hadn’t come for my wedding with Maan, well for instance she didn’t know I was married to Maan. I was so happy, finally someone that I could call my own.
Without realizing, I was grinning like a monkey when I entered Akshay’s bedroom where he was busy colouring a drawing and Maan was seated on the sofa, checking on him and trying to do his office work too.
I sat next to Akshay, still in my reflection, I ruffled Akshay’s hair. He winced in annoyance but continued to work.
First of all, I didn’t know who Pi…Pink…who was the person named Pink whatever so came for Geet. I didn’t know Pink. I guess I didn’t know any of Geet’s relative. I gave Akshay a work to do and crouched myself on a sofa, watching him as he was trying to concentrate on his work which wasn’t letting me doing my own. I tried hard to be able to focus on my files. But I was really curious to know who Pink was. Maybe I should ask Geet? I mean I can let any stranger come and meet her, can I? But, who she mined it? I just hurt her and I didn’t want to start again since I am really bad in asking for forgiveness.
I was just turning to see Akshay when Geet entered robotically inside walking like a robot. Smiling, walking straight, sitting beside Akshay, smiling and grinning to herself and lost in her thoughts, she looked weird and scary. She was still smiling when she started ruffling my son’s hair with realizing it. Akshay hadn’t notice Geet, so he gritted his teeth and continued back to work.
“Ahem…” I said so that I could get Geet’s attention. But nope, she was still smiling. I cleared my throat out load. Geet jumped back into reality. Akshay looked irritated and scolded me “daddy…go and do your noise outside, you ‘disturbing me” he said. What? My son was chucking his father out of his own house. I looked at Geet with my furious terrifying eyes, she begged me a sorry from her eyes and she shivered slightly.
I walked to Akshay and kissed his forehead “Daddy…and mummy will leave, when you finished you come to me, okay” I said stretching on the word ‘mummy’ and glaring at Geet, I could see her muttering some words maybe prayers to save herself!
“Okay” Akshay said brightly.
“I..I..I am sorry” Geet stammered.
“Humph, you better be” I said angrily as we walked back to our rooms. She looked at me with a pleading look, maybe the next moment she would burst into tears. “Err – it’s okay” I said biting my tongue. The truth was I was never kick out from anywhere because I was famous and I could do anything in a jiffy. And here my own son told me to get out. But it was funny to see him getting angry which made him go red and it was difficult to distinguish if he was angry or he was joking around.
“Who’s P-Pink….?” I asked suddenly. I wanted to kick myself hard, “stupid me” I muttered. Perhaps I might have hurt Geet again….
Maan was super duper angry with me. Akshay had dared to chuck Maan out of his own place. I could see Maan wanted to spend some time with Akshay since most of the day he’s out at office. I felt guilty because of me; Maan had to compromise with his time-table.
Believe me when he was talking to Akshay, I was silently muttering prayers asking God to save me. I could tell he wanted to give me a scolding by this “Daddy and Mummy….”
I stammered ‘sorry’ to him and he replied more precisely snapped at me. I guess I could cry the next moment because he quickly added “it’s okay”. I turned to be completely shocked when he asked me “who’s Pink?”
He hadn’t got Pinky’s name right and that’s why he went red. I looked at him, he looked down feeling blameworthy for asking this question. I honestly didn’t mind because it was his house and he had the right to know who came in here to meet me, even if he hadn’t accept me as his wife.
“She’s Pinky” I said softly looking at my toes. “Okay, Pinky” he repeated turning a deep shade of red because of misspelling her name. “She’s the only one who will understand me even in the most painful circumstances of my life” I told him emotionally. He nodded and said “okay, goodnight.” It was for the first time he had spoke to me like that and bidding ‘good night’. After he went and closed his door, I flushed like crazy. I ran in my room and flopped on the bed.
“Thank you God for this beautiful day” I whispered to myself. I closed my eyes, I could feel tears rushing down my cheeks, but this was a beautiful feeling, coming closer to Maan and my encounter with Pinky.
Start of Flashback
College, London, 7.30 am
“Geet! Geet!” a girl shouted jumping like crazy while pacing the floor.
“Yes, Anjali, I am coming” Geet said and came dressed in her casual style for classes. “Do you know its already 7.30” the girl Anjali told Geet. “I know because I just glanced up the clock now” Geet chuckled. “Stop these silly jokes Geet” Anjali told her “if Madame Isabelle heard this, she would throw us out of this college” Anjali said seriously. “You know she hate lateness” Anjali continued importantly. “I know” Geet smiled at her best friend and wiped her face with a towel. “We still have 30 minutes before classes’ start you know” Geet replied. “I guess so” Anjali sunk on her bed. Geet climbed the top bunk and sat down removing her mobile and she turned to move down.
“Geet, what will you do after going from here?” Anjali asked.
“I don’t know but I would surely want to meet my charming Prince” Geet answered blushingly. Anjali’s eye widened and fussed pretending to be angry “oh, so now I even don’t know who this “HIM” is?” she snapped fussing around Geet.
“Okay, I am sorry” Geet giggled. “You know I was just going through some Indian Catalogues and found this, he’s incredibly handsome, I don’t mind falling for him” Anjali said taking out a clipping of Maan’s picture. Geet’s eyes widened and she muttered “did you know this?” and she took out a big file from her drawer and showed Anjali. It contained loads of pictures of Maan from magazines’ cuttings and newspapers’ clippings. Anjali stared at Geet shocked. “He’s Maan Singh Khurana, a famous businessman” she told Anjali. “I who thought it was just me” Anjali mumbled and both burst out giggling. “So he’s your prince charming?” Anjali asked. Geet flushed red and said “yeah, he’s the one”.
“From how many years, may I ask?” Anjali said.
“Since last year” Geet mumbled blushing red.
“Since you were 18?!” Anjali asked. Geet flushed and loaded her backpack with her books
“come on, we’re getting late…”
End of flashback
Start of Flashback
“Geet, Geet, what are you doing?” Anjali said shaking her best friend quietly. “Huh?” Geet said coming back in the reality. She arched her eyebrows and tried hard to concentrate on Miss Liz’s class. Anjali whispered “were you day-dreaming about that business tycoon”. Geet flushed to the core of her black roots. And she nodded approvingly. “My god, this BT has a bad effect on you, seriously Geet, you never saw BT!” Anjali cluttered between her teeth and following the class. “Who’s BT” Geet mumbled back. “Your crush, I named him BT as in Bussiness Tycoon” Anjali said giggling very slowly. Geet snorted and quickly regretted her act!
“Miss Handa and Miss Mehta, mind telling the class what’s so funny?” Miss Liz asked standing in front of Geet, armed crossed. “Sorry Madame” Geet mumbled “it won’t be repeated again” she muttered. “Good” Miss Liz snapped.
It was the end of the English Class. “Geet, I seriously think this BT is driving you crazy” Anjali chuckled. Geet smiled and said briskly “maybe…”
“Come on, the canteen’s going to be full of students, let’s go” Geet said rushing over…
End of Flashback
“Daddy…I wanna go to show Geet mummy this drawing” Akshay told me waving a coloured picture of a family. Akshay knelt onto me and said “this is me, you and Geet mummy”. He pointed to a family drawing; there was a man, his left arm twirled to a woman’s shoulder and a little boy tugging the man’s hand. I smiled. He was becoming very active these days. “Daddy…I wanna show this to Geet mummy” he whined as he reminded me. “Why don’t you go…yourself, Geet will be happy to see you” I said. I knew Geet loved kids very much. “I went” Akshay explained “but the door was closed”. I sighed and said “perhaps, mummy is asleep” I said. “Nope, she isn’t what time it is now?” Akshay asked. “Eight thirty” I replied. “Mummy doesn’t go to sleep when its 9.00” Akshay told me. Well, heck, I didn’t know that. I was amazed that Akshay knew what 9 o’clock meant.
“Okay, I finally said, “come on” I took him by the hand and proceeded towards the door.
The door cracked open. I peeped inside. “Daddy…peeping is bad manners, teacher told us” Akshay told me. Heck! What was I suppose to answer? “I am checking on your mummy, that’s all” I replied. I felt bad; I had never ever entered into Geet’s room.
Geet was sleeping, she was breathing deeply. She seemed to be sleeping and dreaming. Her hair was a little messy and she was biting her lips. Then suddenly, shocking me, a tear escaped through her shut hers. She smiled and moved a little, she continued to sleep. I wonder why she was crying. Was she having a nightmare or a beautiful dream? I guess it must be a beautiful dream because she had smiled!
I whispered very slowly to my son and said “mummy’s sleeping today, she’s very tired”. Akshay nodded and whispered back as I was turning to go. “Daddy…cover mummy with the blanket, she’s getting cold” he pointed out. I frowned. I mean, my son was so caring about little things. I wonder how. I opened Geet’s wardrobe and took out a blanket and covered her. She was indeed freezing; I saw her shivering and trembling. Then I smiled at my son and advanced to the door, Akshay following me.
I woke up at the crack of dawn. I had fallen asleep. Oh no, was my second though.
Akshay, was my third thought. I gosh, I had completely forgotten about Akshay, I had to give him his milk to drink, he hates milk. I had to ensure if he was asleep, I had to also ensure if Maan was asleep. I was sort of “off-duty” last night. Fishy, I dreamt about Anjali last night. I quickly jumped out of bed and took a shower.
I peeped inside Akshay’s room; Maan and Akshay were sleeping together. Hell, I forgot about that, Maan would surely roast me!!! He would make a barbecue out of me; I only wished he would understand it was an accident that I fell asleep. He hates excuses! Duh, even when you’re telling the truth and when he gives you that angry look – I’ll die the next minute! If I knew, I would have never…heck, this would never happen,
“BT is arrogant” I grinned. I inspected the room closely. Akshay had forgotten to wear his PJs. I am sure Maan forgot about it too! There was a mess of pillows and cushions on the floor, I sighed, and this was going to be long to clean…
I flinched; I woke up, I opened my eye and saw a figure moving. Thief! Duh, Maan, live reality, there such a tough security here, I thought lazily. I could smell fresh perfume. I heard someone trying his best not to make noise. I woke yawing like a fool and saw Geet watching me amused with my yawing. I made a complete fool of myself. Heck! Geet looked dead embarrassed and quickly turned around, flinging a cushion on the sofa. I looked the state of the room and groaned. I and Akshay had a father-son blast. It was a long time since we actually talked like this. And Geet briskly left the room. It took me a moment to realize that I was in my black tank top. Hell, that why she was “deadly” embarrassed! I hated that! I mean, come on… I checked on Akshay who was snoring away and wore my shirt and came downstairs where Geet was busy laying the breakfast. I walked past her and she quietly mumbled
“I am sorry for last night, just doze off without knowing”
“Eh, its okay, me and Akshay had a great talk” I said. “Yeah, I could see that” she giggled. She tried hard to abstain it. I knew what she was thinking – the mess of the room! I smiled and ate my breakfast when Akshay showed up…
I mumbled sorry to Maan and he seemed okay with it.
Akshay and him had a blast last night, you should have seen the room, gosh!!!
Akshay came toddling into the dining room; I pretended that I was angry. “Well, did you drink your milk before sleeping” I asked him. He looked at me frowning and then gave a dirty look to Maan. I helped him to sit and he shrugged at me. “Daddy didn’t give me” he said throwing the guilt onto Maan. Maan choked his food and retorted “hey, don’t blame me! I did ask you if you wanted to drink”. I raised an eyebrow. “We had lot of fun” Akshay said quickly, I could see Maan glaring at him. “Are you changing the topic” I asked Akshay and served him his food. “Well, I guess, you people had lots of fun, I saw the state of the room” I smirked. “Yup” Akshay said “I had fun, I even had a pillow fight with Daddy…”
“Yes, that’s explaining the cushions on the floor” I said as I sat beside Akshay and started to feed him with his spoon. “And…” I started; I could see Maan holding his breath with my long list of complaints… “I saw junk food packages…” I added. “It wasn’t me” Akshay shouted “it was Daddy, he told me to have fun” he defended himself. Maan looked at his son in horror with made me realize all the pinpoints were pointing towards Maan meaning I was scolding Maan indirectly. I bit my lips but Maan didn’t say anything. He soon left for office.I grinned as he went.
After he went, the doorbell rang. I personally went to open it and saw Dadimaa left grinning at me…
How embarrassing can it be to be scolded for your carelessness? I mean, I had planned to clean the room in the morning…well, I guess I had forgotten that Geet would wake up and would surely come to check on Akshay? Why won’t she anyway? And even for the pillows, how dumb can it be, gosh, I felt like a big dweeb! Moreover, the junk food – heck, I remember it was always me yelling over and going on and on about not eating junks and here do I go… Heck…! I had to eat my dinner quietly and hear Geet scolding both of us… Now it was even thwarting when Geet was scolding Akshay in a “quiet” sort of manner and Akshay, my very own son kept throwing all the blame on me – poor defend less father! Yep, I have to agree it was my idea to have some “fun”. I ate silently and here I am – driving for office…
I opened the door and Dadimaa was standing grinning at me. She looked in a great mood; she had been visiting one for her old friend living in the other part of the country. She’s the jolly and the person to be call very “person-type” in the whole mansion if you exclude little Akshay and the servants out leaving only Maan. Sometimes I used to think that he is just not a human-being! I mean, come on, he’s such a work-maniac that he can even work when there’s no electricity power with a candle light. Tell me – do “normal” human being work like this – he’s such a work alcoholic that he makes me dread for his health. I wonder how he treat and “threat” his poor employees. I pushed these awful thoughts aside and welcomed Dadimaa.
“Dadimaa…aap?” I asked surprised.
Dadimaa grinned and replied “didn’t want to see the old bone back” Oh yeah; I forgot to mention Dadimaa has the greatest humor in the whole mansion if you ask me! Even Akshay went on his dad…!
“Dadimaa…come on” I groaned “I am glad to see you back” I said and hugged her and she hugged me back and patted my back. “How is your friend?” I asked her as I signaled a servant to carry her luggage. “Shanti is very fine” she grinned back and we walked into the main hall together. “She doing very fine if you ask me, anyway how are you Geet?” she asked me holding my hand. She knows me very well. “I hope Akshay doesn’t trouble you a lot?” she asked. “Trouble” I smirked. “Oh…” she felt a sudden remorse of guilt and regret “I know…he is the only one talking to you” she said giving me one of her sad looks that she regretted what I was going through. I shook my head and denied her answer “nope, Dadimaa, Maan has started to talk to me, Akshay is a little naughty chatter as usual” I laughed. Dadimaa looked at me, her eyes widened with shock. I smiled. She smiled back and said “looks like the circumstances are changing…good!”
“Great-Daaadiiimaaa-Great-Daaadiiimaaa” Akshay shouted and sprinted from the dining room to us. He hugged Dadimaa and said between his breath, he was tired from running – “Great-grandmaa, how did I miss you” Akshay said. “Stop lying, naughty boy” Dadimaa said stroking his hair. Akshay grinned back. “What did you buy for me” he giggled. Dadimaa chuckled “here comes the real reason”…
“What?” Akshay said innocently nodding his head. He was so sweet…
Dadimaa and Akshay crouched on the sofa and I sat a little further watching and listening to them talking when Dadimaa asked “Geet beta, where’s Maan?”
I frowned and said “you know him, nah” Dadimaa sighed. “Yeh Maan bhi nah…he’ll never change!” I giggled and added “can he?” We giggled again and Dadimaa said “gao Geet, phone him and tell him that I said to come back home” she ordered me. “Kya mein?” I asked shocked – me phoning Maan at office was a dead zone! Dadimaa frowned and said “haan tum!” I could sense her inner words “go and try – better start living afresh”
I nodded but a fear inside of me kept haunting me. I knew Maan, he hated when he was being disturbed at office especially being called home early…
My hands were already sweating as I reached the phone. I could feel my body was hot from sweat! I dialed the number and waited…
Hmmm…I was so grossed in my work…I barely heard my cell ringing. Humph…a call from home…why was Geet disturbing me? Maybe it’s Akshay, I thought and groaned “Akshay go to the nursery” I mumbled. “Hell-o” I said and felt a heavy silence. “Hello” I said again irritated. There was no answer and when I started “jab baat nahi karna hein toh…”
“It’s me, Geet” a trembling voice said over.
“Geet” I repeated in a whisper. I realized it was the first time that we were talking on phone. The whole conversation sank into silence. “Yes…” I initiated the first move to talk.
“D-Dadimaa has come back home” she told as she stammered with the first word. “Woh…She wants you home as early as possible today” she told me. Oh no, I hated this – calling me early for almost nothing. “Err – Geet, tell her that…”
“Tell Maan that he is coming home early and that’s final!” I heard Dadimaa saying loud. “He’s not the only person who has work” she said more loudly. I sighed. I had to go. “Okay, Geet…tell Dadimaa that I am coming home!”
I sighed…I had to go after all!
My heart was beating a million time in one minute. You do the math! It was unbelievable. It was the first time that I and Maan were having a proper telephonic talk to be truth! It was wonderful! Everything seemed to become colourful suddenly… Little did I know what Dadimaa had planned!
When Maan reached home, he hugged Dadimaa and he chatted with her for hours when Dadimaa said something terrifying and also romantic for me, only…duh!
“Maan, beta, do you know Mrs. Khanna that lives next door?” Dadimaa asked.
“Haan” Maan retorted.
“Good, I want you and Geet to assist the party, she asked me to but I’m too tired for that” Dadimaa said sternly.
“What?!” both of us cried aloud. Akshay was sitting beside Dadimaa looking at us with his forehead wrinkling.
“I…I mean what…” I drew blank, I didn’t want Maan to think that I had a crush on him since I was an adolescent! I looked at Akshay and it hit me “what about Akshay, Dadimaa..I can’t leave him alone…” I said glancing at Maan in the corners of my eyes!
“Nope…me and Akshay want to spend some time together! Why Akshay?” Dadimaa asked.
“Sure Dadimaa” Akshay grinned. I could feel Maan wanted to shake Akshay!
“Geet!” he said in a serious voice “get ready” he ordered me making me to shiver. He was really very serious! I was scared. While walking to my room accompanied by him, I mumbled “sorry…I…” I didn’t know what to say so I just moved into my room…
He was looking so handsome… yaar…I was just drooling! He looked so hot in black…Uff…it was almost impossible for me to take my eyes off of him. Luckily he didn’t catch me!
I was looking everywhere examining every single rafter on the ceiling of boredom when I felt someone tapping my shoulder. I turned and saw Maan behind me looking bored too and stared in shock at the person in front of me!
“R-R-Ro-Romeo…” I stammered…..
Start of Flashback
“Yaar, guys how much is this water deep?” Romeo asked.
“Yeah, how much” Anjali chimed glancing over Romeo’s shoulder and giggled. The water wasn’t that deep!
“Why don’t you check it yaar” Geet giggled and pushed Romeo who ended up in the water with a big splash….
Dadimaa’s party was quiet boring that I was stumbling like to fool while walking. Half of the people were talking boring stuff like the two couple were made for each other blah’blah’blah’ stuff like that! I could see Geet walking and studying the vibrant colours. It was the first time she was in front of the place that is the media, as Mrs. Maan Singh Khurana. She was getting pretty much attention and attraction from the people over here. I managed to talk to some people and me and Geet were walking to meet Mr. Blue, one of the famous directors of movies. Hell, he’s always inspired by “every moving object” when’
What? What did I hear? I must be day-dreaming?
What on Earth was that? Somebody had called Geet by her name and it seemed like Geet knew the person very well and called him as “Romeo”. I hoped that I wasn’t going to hear Juliet in a minute. Geet and Mr. Romeo looked engrossed in their thoughts that I found it lousy. Heck, it was like the suspense in movies..
Finally Geet decided to break the eerie moment by saying..
“Oyye, Romeo, you here?” she asked startled her eyes getting wider and wider. Romeo shivered and answered “Geet..Handa..this name do bring some memories in the corner of my mind”. “Stupid” Geet snapped glaring furiously at him “memories with Geet isn’t bad at all, in fact it’s all funny ones until our last meeting” Geet answered creasing her eyebrow! Romeo guy snorted and said “should I ignore the day you push me in the Alaskan lake”
“Duh, Romeo, you’re so boring” Geet smirked and added “the water was 5 feet deep and god, you were already drowning when it touched above your knees” and she gave a him a scowl! Yes, Geet scowled at him! She looked so funny that I nearly cracked a smile! It looked like Geet knew this lad since a long time and she was stalking at him like anything! I realized that I was giving Geet and Mr. Shakespeare too much of attention and diverted my gaze away while grabbing a drink from the waiter.
Geet turned beetroot and turned towards me! I grinned cheekily at him and while sipping my drink. Her cheeks were going redder and redder by the minute!
“M-M-Maan” she stammered and Romeo guy chuckled loudly clutching his sides.
“Geet Handa stammering ‘ man, isn’t this breaking news!!!” he said through his fits of giggles! Geet went pea-green the next moment! I guess while snapping at the lad she must have forgotten about me!
But something was intriguing me ‘ what did he meant by ‘Geet Handa Stammering!’
“Maan, meet Romeo LaBotte my college friend” Geet introduced me to Mr. Romeo still green in colour.
“Romeo, meet Maan.. my'” and she stopped short as if she was grouping for words. I knew what she meant and why she stopped. She had never presented herself as Mrs. Maan Singh Khurana as I never accompany her anywhere. It was tough.. but the lad got it all straight!
“Your husband, right Geet, tell me how many things did I miss these long three years” Romeo asked. Geet settled herself with a shrug not knowing whether to be at ease.
“Many things” Geet replied and again reminded “how come you’re here, Rommie” she asked.
“Oh’I am R.BT, the famous news journalist” he whispered to us winking at Geet. “I travelled overseas for hot, hot spicy news” he said so quiet that I had to press myself hard to understand what he was saying. But Geet didn’t find it that way, she rolled her eyes and said “why are you whispering, Romeo?” she raised an eyebrow. Seeing Romeo’s face was worth watching, I used every ounce of myself to stop from an abrupt laughter! Romeo shrugged and said “I thought you would squeak out if I said it loud” he admitted.
Geet frowned and said “I thought you were studying law like all of us” So, Geet had been studying law, heck, I didn’t know that!
Romeo chuckled and said “I dropped out the last year and found myself good at writing news” he smiled. Geet smiled back and asked “do you have news of the others ‘ Lentil, Ghost, Alien, Pig, Fatty and Cheeky?” she asked.
Lentil, Ghost, Alien, Pig and err ‘ Fatty and Cheeky were quite weird names, duh, Maan, these are nicknames! But still they were stupid ones.
Romeo creased in concentration as if trying to remember who was Lentil and who Rice and Chicken were, whatever! He then grinned and said “Lentil ‘ Lyndie is a nutritionist in London, famous one, Ghost ‘ Patrick is teaching Maths at Markley, Alien aka Alison is an engineer, Pig, our Coleen is a well-known fashion designer, Fatty and Cheeky, the twins Lowther ‘ Janine and Karen are both working in their father’s business company” he finished grinning. “Wow'” Geet grinned.
“What are you doing now, Geet?” Romeo asked.
Geet turned dark, she lost her smile, and she slightly shook her head for a no to say ‘nothing’.
“Nothing?” Romeo looked shocked. Geet looked like she would cry. “You know it, Rommie, after…”
“Geet!” Romeo sounded wounded, “you have to move on, sweetie, and I know you’re strong” he grinned. Geet grinned back and she mouthed “look who’s talking”. Romeo went red and he waved to us “Geet, do give me your cell-number, when I meet the others; I’ll pass it around so we can keep contact”
Geet nodded and dictated him her number. Geet smiled and she said “shall we move on?”
I always knew this day would come
We’d be standing one by one
With our future in our hands
So many dreams, so many plans
Always knew after all these years
There’d be laughter, there’d be tears
But never thought I’d walk away
With so much joy, but so much pain
And it’s so hard to say goodbye
But yesterday’s gone
We gotta keep moving on
I’m so thankful for the moments
So glad I got to know you
The times that we had, I’ll keep like a photograph
And hold you in my heart forever
I’ll always remember you
Another chapter in the book
Can’t go back but you can look
And there we are on every page
Memories I’ll always save
Up ahead only open doors
Who knows what we’re heading towards?
I wish you love, I wish you luck
For you the world just opens up
But it’s so hard to say goodbye
Was I moving on? I always thought I was? But Romeo proved me wrong in a minute!
I was so happy to meet my college friend back. It was like reviving those memories! I had almost forgotten about Maan being there, I was so excited! I wonder why Maan was trying his hard not to giggle…
I, Romeo, Karen, Janine, Patrick, Lyndie and others were all my good friends. We had spent time together at college! We used to nickname each other, I was called “Sugar” and Anjali was called “Beauty”…I was busy snapping and stalking at the poor guy forgetting completely about Maan. It was brilliant those days, me, Anjali and Romeo was supposed to be learning law but Romeo and I dropped out. I dropped out after I came to India because I felt broken in every way and it was like there was no way of coming out.
I was stuck when Romeo motioned towards Maan obviously asking who he was. I didn’t know how it slipped from my mouth, it was the first time I was going out as Mrs. Maan Singh Khurana and it felt great because it was Maan who brought me here! Romeo and I chatted for some minutes and he clearly told me to move on, I should start using my abilities in my work again… but will anyone support me?
Me and Maan had arrived home. Dadimaa and Akshay were watching the television in the main hall. Maan frowned at Dadimaa and said sarcastically “Dadimaa, the party was really interesting” Dadimaa ignored his heavy sarcasm and motioned us to sit. We sit and I noticed Akshay yawning. “Baby’you need sleep” I told him. “No” he told me.
“No? But gosh, you’re worn out, love” Maan pointed out.
“Akshay wants to tell you something really important” Dadimaa told us smiling broadly at us.
“Yes'” Maan smiled back.
“Daddy’mamma, it’s about my marriage'”
“Marriage?” we both said utterly shocked.
“Yes, my dear parents, with Hannah Montana, I told you nah? When are you going to meet her?”
I stared blankly at the child…
I could feel Maan’s uneasiness so I butted in but I think it was a mistake…
“Akshay sona, your papa just told me that he will read you ‘The Princess and the Pea’, right now” I gushed.
Maan was never good at reading fairy tales’ I was a dead-zone!
A fairy-tale? Wasn’t it just perfect? My foot..! It was the silliest thing on earth. But Geet didn’t seem to be thinking that way. Akshay smiled at me and gave me his goo-goo eye and said “really daddy?” He was so excited that I didn’t have the heart to refuse the kid. “Sure son” I said giving Geet an evil look. Dadimaa just tittered and bid us good night. I was not going to read a fairy-tale..not before I questioned Geet about her stupid idea.
“S-S-Sorry” she stammered.
“Sorry” I mimicked and smirked. She shrugged her shoulders and pointed to Akshay, and then she whispered “he forgot all about his marriage”. Okay, she had a point; Akshay was still giving me her goo-goo treatment.
“Good night Maan” Geet said and bent down to kiss Akshay’s forehead “good night, son” she said. “Good night mummy, Daddy will read me a story” he said excitedly. Geet glanced at me and went off.
“Papa…shall we go” Akshay said dragging me into his room. I made him changed into his PJs and helped him to settle down. I grabbed one of the books from his bedside table and pondered how to start…
‘The Princess and The pea’ it read. I took a deep breath and started “once, very far away, there lived a king and a queen and they had a son…” Before I could finish, Akshay interrupted me “why they didn’t have a daughter?” he asked sleepily. Huh? What was I suppose to answer? “Because the king had only a son who was a Prince that’s why” I replied dumbly. Akshay hadn’t notice anything. “Okay” he mumbled. I had to finish this quickly. “The son wanted a good princess, a true princess, he had met many but he was not happy at all…”
“Why? How I am suppose to know, beta” I replied calmly. “Because you’re a papa” was his reply. Before I could answer, he popped in “he wanted someone good like Geet mamma!”. “Yes, baby, someone good like Geet” I repeated and I realized that these words were true. I frowned and continued… “One day, it was raining heavily, and at that night someone came in the castle… that is in the palace” I explained to my son. He closed his eyes and clutched his duvet and whispered “…and…”
“…and they live happily…” I finished.
“Why – what happened after the live happily ever af…” he said and drifted asleep.
Poor Maan, wonder how he must be reading to Akshay. That boy asks so many questions – why this, why that, why not this… Ufff… I tell him to promise not to ask question or I won’t read to him, yeah, last time I bargained with little Akshay and he didn’t seem to mind. At least I was reading to him… right? It was ten when I heard Maan closing Akshay’s room and walking into his… Be prepared Geet for an earful for tomorrow…
I went to sleep at twelve, believe it or not. Akshay kept throwing his stupid ‘why this-why that’ questions. I wonder how Geet manages him. It was around six in the morning when my cell started to vibrate.
“What the heck” I muttered frustrated. I pushed the reply button without checking the name.
“Yyyello…” I said.
“Good Morning Bhaiii” someone said jubilantly over the phone.
It took me some minutes to realize it was my baby-brother next line calling. “Vicky?” I said confused. “Bhai” he said in a hurt tone “you don’t even recognize me, your favourite kiddo” Vicky whined. “Excuse me!” someone snapped behind him “I was his favourite kiddo, not you, Viking” my sister snapped at him. “Shut up, stupid, nobody asked you…” Vicky cracked back. Here we go again…this was a never ending fight…
“Bhai, bhai, are you here?” Vicky said after two minutes. “Yes I am, will you talk before I get off my head” I said trying to keep my cool. “Bhai, you forgot again, today we’re coming back from university” he said exhausted. “Heck yes, I did, sorry” I said as sweet as possible.
“Anyway Bhai, we understand you’re busy” Annie said. This time it was her who spoke to me. I figured she snatched the phone from Vicky. “How’s the baby?” she asked. “Akshay is fine… now…he’s well off with Geet and Dadimaa” I replied.
“Geet?” Annie asked confused.
“Yes, Geet, Annie, you forgot?” I asked. She wasn’t present for my wedding.
“Oh yes, your second wife, that is Geet” she replied loudly and then mumbled “sorry Bhai, I didn’t mean to shout…Bhai, I am really sorry, I don’t know what came over me…I…” she said as she groped for words. “Annie, it’s okay” I knew she would burst crying the next minute. “Now, don’t be a cry-baby” I said giggling. “You’re very mean” she retorted giggling.
“Bhai, how the new bhabhi?” Vicky asked. The phone snatching session was on. Oh heck – Vicky, Mr. Flirt… His radar went on whenever a discussion about ‘girls’ is going on. “Fat-Slick” Annie teased behind. “She’s fine” I replied. “Nah, I mean how is she? How does she look like? Describe her!” he answered. This is Vicky…
“She’s a very nice person, Vicky, when you’ll come, you’ll know here” I said. “Bye, I’ll reach the airport in two hours, see ya” I said.
Maan didn’t mention a word about the fairy-tale. I was going to ask him later, not now.
I was helping Akshay to eat his food when Maan broke the silence and said “Dadimaa, Vicky and Annie are coming home today”. I didn’t know them. But I remembered Dadi mentioning about Vicky and Annie being the siblings of Maan.
“What…I’ve been waiting for them ages” Dadimaa replied happily.
“Who’s Vivi and Annie?” asked Akshay while chewing his food.
Dadimaa and Maan looked shocked. “Dear, he’s your Vicky Uncle and your Annie aunt” Dadimaa explained. “Ohhh” Akshay said amazed. “What is an uncle and an auntie?” he asked. Maan smacked his forehead and replied.
“Vicky is my brother that makes him your chacha and Annie is my sister which makes that your aunt” Maan explained. “Ohhh” he replied again.
“So Dadimaa, Geet, I am off to bring them home” Maan said to me and left.
“Bhaiii… how much I missed you…” Annie told me as she bone-crushed me. “Even I missed you” Vicky said. I helped the with the luggages and Annie seemed that she was taking a whole wardrobe of clothes home. “What’s in there?” I asked her out of curiosity.
“What do you expect Bhai” Vicky smirked before Annie could reply. “Girly stuffs…yuck” he said. “Shut up dweeb” Annie replied.
“So how’s the new bhabhi?” Vicky asked again. No…not again.
“She’s fine” I replied sternly. “Duh, Bhai you’ll get zero over ten (0/10) if you’re assessed in describing a person”
“Maybe” I replied absent-mindly.
“I am sure she’s all cool type” Vicky added.
“She’s is” I answered.
“I don’t think I’m going to like her after all” Annie said suddenly. It was new for her, I understood her quite well.
“You’ll change your mind soon” I retorted.
“But I still don’t think so” Annie replied.
When we reached home, Akshay was pacing the floor, Geet was nowhere to be seen, Dadimaa jumped when she saw us. “Hi Vivi uncle and Anni Aunn” Akshay greeted them…