“Sasha!” I screamed. Sasha came running and breathlessly answered “yeah, sir, you called me”.
“Cancel the meeting for this evening” I said.
“Cancel the meeting” I repeated. “Okay sir, one more thing sir, is Geet Madam coming to office today?” Sasha asked as I glanced at her she added “the file for Ms. Sweety’s project is with her” she continued. “I’ll get the file” I replied and stormed to my car.
I climbed the stairs as fast as I could. Dadimaa just came outside the room and I looked at her meaningfully. She sighed shaking her head and said “I’m bringing something for Geet to eat”.
Why was she making it worst?
I hesitated to enter the room. I saw Annie pacing the floor, her arm crossed with a serious look. I peered in the room and saw Geet; with a sad face, cradled to her left was Akshay stroking her cheeks and Geet’s other arm was plastered.
Annie saw me and a smile plastered her face and she walked out of the room whispering “good luck for the pacifying session” and winked.
Huh? Did I get her right? Pacifying session?
I sat at the edge of the bed, maybe with the most serious expression ever.
“Do you need a microscope to see where you’re stepping your feet?” I said sarcastically.
Geet groaned as she moved her arm and said “it’s all your fault” and groaned again.
“Accha? Meri galti? What did I do this time?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“Neither I would be thinking of forgiving you nor I would have slipped from the stairs and I wouldn’t have a plaster right now, see, it’s all your fault” she said pouting.
A chuckle escaped. I did not know where I was laughing because of her cute scowl or thinking that she was actually forgiving me and confiding to me that she was thinking of me.
“I did not ask you to think of me while descending the stairs though” I added grimly.
“Does it hurt?” I asked glancing at her plaster.
“So when are you taking me shopping” Geet said scowling again.
“Shopping? Are you out of your mind? In this state?” I asked worriedly.
“Why? Can’t I get out of the house with a plaster?” she asked annoyed.
“Okay…” I said waving my arms in defeat.
“What did the doctor said anyway” I continued. “Nothing particular, except I am having this thing” she said and looked at the plaster then back studying my face “for one week” and she sighed.
“Good ‘ only one week” I smiled.
“One whole week which means 7 days…do you know what that is!” she said exasperated. “Don’t worry time will fly” and I winked.
“You had meeting nah?” Geet asked staring at me. “Yeah, that’s going to be in thirty minutes, I told Sasha to cancel the meeting” I said.
Geet studied me again. What was she thinking? Was it what I thought right now?
Did I care for her? Why was I so worried? What was this new grouchy feeling inside feeling a soft and caring? How’d call that? What was it? I did not know what worried me more Geet’s plastered arm or this new softy thing inside of me.
“Well, you go to the meeting then you take me shopping” Geet finally said.
“Erhmm, are you sure?” I asked.
“Absolutely Mr. Maan Singh Khurana” she said giving me a slow smile. I smiled back.
“Fine then wait for me at the Mall” I said and turned to Akshay. Akshay smiled proudly at me and said “don’t worry Daddy; I’ll take good care of Mummy”.
“That’s like my son” I praised before going out.
Whoops! I was twenty minutes late. God, first of all I am accused defenselessly of being the culprit for Geet’s fall then I am late for our date. What did I just think of date?
Well you could that a date. It was sort of a romantic appointment with Geet as we were supposed to be spending the evening shopping.
Again this new sensation deep inside of me crossed my mind. What was this? Why it kept haunting me ‘ why from some days? I never had a problem to be alone with Geet before…then…
What was all this? Damn, wasn’t it confusing?
Geet pouted as she saw me. I gave an apology look but she did not buy it, too bad for you Maan Khurana, I thought.
“Geet, I’m really sorry…I got stuck…” I started and before I could even finish my sentence she opened the front door of the precinct and slammed it on my face. I took a deep breath and thought ‘ take it cool Maan.
“I am sorry” I tried again but she scowled at me and walked in the ladies section garment. Okay, I thought, need to try a different technique of apologizing. Well, it’s sort of my fault, first I hurt her then I arrive late on my date. It sounded eerie the word D-A-T-E.
Geet selected a white churidar for her and was checking the appearance in the mirror. I smiled. She looked pretty…maybe every colour suited her. Since when I started to notice all that?
Geet turned around for my opinion and I smiled “you look pretty in that” I remarked. She smirked and said “..’course I look pretty ‘cos I’m pretty”.
Was she sarcastic?
Now you know women; when they get shopping, its as if they never realizes how time pass.
Give you this, give you that Blow a kiss, take it back If I looked inside your brain I would find lots of things Clothes, shoes, diamond rings Stuff that’s driving me insane
You’ve got everything you need But you want accessories Got to hold it in your hand If I changed the world for you I bet you wouldn’t have a clue Don’t you know that I can’t stand When girls say…
I want, I want, I want,
But that’s crazy
I helped her with the shopping bags and we drove home. Her arms were still aching I could see from her face.
Akshay had already gone to sleep when we checked on him.
I followed Geet in her room; and deposited the bags on the dressing table.
“Shall I help you to put these dresses on the hanger? “I asked.
“No, just call Annie, she’ll help me with my dress” she said. Geet looked down embarrassed or shyly.
“I’ll help you” I volunteered. Geet looked at me shocked.
“Errh…just the zip” she said feeling herself blushing.
I want, I want, I want, but that’s crazy I want, I want, I want, but that’s not me I want, I want, I want, to be loved by you
“Bhai…I need to talk you…I mean…we need to talk to you” Annie said looking at me then at Vicky.
“Yes” I said looking at them. Annie looked uncomfortable.
Vicky tugged Annie by the arm and brought her in the room.
“Woh’we need to talk to you” Vicky said panic-stricken.
“Yeah” I said “why you both are scared” I said shaking my head.
“Woh…its some secret, that me, Bhai, Dadimaa kept from you…woh Geet Bhabhi also knows it” Vicky said.
Vicky did not call Geet ‘Bhiz’ that means it’s something really secrecy and troublesome.
“It’s about when we were kids” Annie said picking the courage when Vicky gave her a glare saying like “it’s not me who’s going to do all the talking”.
“Bhai…we…never like when you courted Riihaa…” Annie whispered. I felt as if I was hit by lightning. What?
I gasped. Annie was in tears “we wanted to tell you…but we were scared…scared that you might hate us” Vicky looked terrified as Annie cried.
“Tell me” I said softly sitting on the bed.
“We were never happy…we felt left out…you took no notice of us…” Annie said taking a deep breath.
“It was not like that” I said feeling my voice to wobble. How could they?
“We were kids” Vicky added. “Kids, bro, kids who did not know anything just pretending to be happy for their elder Bhai’s happiness” Vicky continued.
“How come I am the only know who know this last” I said feeling my temper to rise.
Annie burst “Bhai please…don’t…be angry with us…we did not comprehend anything about feeling…we wanted you to be happy…plus I wanted to pursue Chemistry in England, you know it nah, and I felt very left out when you took no care to us, I was a kid” she repeated.
“When Annie suggested about going to Britain for study…i thought it was a great idea for me; I wanted to be better and someday work like you” Vicky said.
“Dadimaa had felt it and Bhiz had heard us talking” Annie mumbled biting her lips. I was afraid that blood would ooze.
“But…we were not that heartless Bhai, when we heard about the accident…you know it…we came home directly…we were so guilty seeing you broken like that…and seeing Akshay…so cute, so tiny without a mother…we never thought bad about Riihaa” Annie sobbed.
“Just that you were too much involved together hurt us…you could say made us jealous of her” Vicky said softly.
“We never wish bad” Annie added nodding.
“We thought of telling you this before its too late or you get to know by yourself…sorry if we have hurt you…sorry…” Vicky added looking at the floor.
“Please Bhai try not to hate us” Annie added fixing the ground too. “We…we…love you very much…” she added fearfully glancing at me.
I was still in a state of shock.
“It’s okay” I managed to say. “I can’t hate you…” I added. “How can I?” my voice trailed.
“Do you forgive us?” Vicky asked.
“You never committed any mistake for me to forgive you” I added. Annie hugged me so swiftly like a hurricane and hurried outside still crying. Vicky looked so crush and left.
I felt…I don’t know how to explain…in simpler words terrible. I noticed a shadow at the door.
Geet looked at me with tears in her eyes. She hesitated to enter the room and ran and hugged me tightly.
“I was never a good bro…” I said crying on her shoulder…
The poor thing; he looked so broken. He did not deserve crying. He hugged my shoulder and cried his heart out. He was choking, his eyes puffy red. I did not know what to say except thanking Babaji for making me to land at the right moment.
“I-I-I wasn’t a good bro, Geet, I failed to keep my words to my mom” he sobbed.
It shocked me. How could he say something like that?
“Geet…I wasn’t a good big brother…I did not even cared about their little happiness” he repeated.
“No” I blurted out. “You were…you were…you’re…you’ll always be a good big brother” I remarked cupping his face, with one hand, which was wet with tears. I wiped his big tears as I talked.
“Nah” he said.
He shocked me sometimes, or always.
“You’re just saying all this to reassure me…right, nah” he said. Seeing him in this state made my heart to ache.
“No” I mumbled just right in his ears.
“I was! I am bad!” he said almost in a shout. He broke from the hug and paced the floor feeling hatred towards himself.
How was I going to explain him?
“I was so engrossed in my happiness that I did not care about my poor siblings! I just gave them a damn hell; and you say I’m not bad! It’s not you whose saying all this, it’s your love for me who’s speaking!” he said punching the wall in fury.
What was I supposed to make of that?
“Maan” I said softly “please calm down” I added nervously.
“How am I supposed to be calm” he shouted and the choked the last words.
I stood and I wrapped my hand on his shoulder.
“Look at me”, I said. He did. He got such cute and lovely brown ears. “He’s so handsome” I thought.
I almost forgot that I had a plaster on.
Damn this hand, I thought. I couldn’t even make him feel better, instead he was feeling worse seeing my hand plastered.
“Does it hurt?” he asked staring at my plaster.
“No” I fibbed.
“Look, that did not concern Annie and Vicky’s life, it was your happiness, your life, it was you who had to choose and you did the right thing”.
“And as far as the kids are concern; they were kids, and sure they would not like your involvement…plus you were always giving them 24/7 attention and now your apprehension had moved towards Riihaa…they were only children who wanted full attention, Maan” I said taking a deep breath and prepared myself for a harsh reply.
“Yes, but I could have asked them if they liked Riihaa…couldn’t I? I should have!” he said punching the door now. I shook my head. It was true that he should have paid a little more care and consideration towards Annie and Vicky but this whole Riihaa matter made me insecure. I tried not to show it.
“Maan…they were children! 13 years to 15 years; what do you expect from them” I said raising my voice a little and my hand ached. I winced. Maan looked super worried.
“Are you okay?” he asked. I nodded. Lies, lies, lie; Geet, I thought.
“Did you think why Anvesha and Vicky did not tell you before? Do you? Did you even think about it?” I asked.
“No” he mumbled. I smiled and looked at him. “They did not want you to know because they knew ‘ that when you would come to know you would take it to the wrong angle!”
“I guess so” he muttered. “Now don’t be sad” I said cupping his face with one hand. Ouch, that does hurt. Stupid hand.
“Let’s go, Dadimaa is waiting for you…”
Geet is so nice. There is something about her; which makes me think…she’s attractive and all…but one thing really bugs me. We were discussing about Riihaa for good’s sake yet for me; she tried to hide her worries. I knew she felt insecure…but one thing is really great about her ‘ she never…
I don’t have words to describe her…
She comforts me; she scolds me; she scowls at me; she takes care of my child…she’s awesome. I don’t know this new soft feeling inside… all fluffy…and all…
We were so close…Was I a weirdo to realize that I was inches so that I could kiss her. I mean the way she was comforting me; it was so intense.
No you were…you were a good bro…and you are one and you’ll always be a good big brother…
Her words were so lovely to hear.
The way she scolded me; I think I was way too disturbed to see how much she cared for me. I closed my eyes. The warmth of our hug popped from nowhere. Her eyes glaring at me intensely, somewhere in a corner feeling my pain, her lips shivered with my broken voice…
Her lips, pink ones; so…
I was supposed to be mourning for being a bad bro but right now what could you call what I was doing? Drooling…no, I am not drooling on Geet, I am not attracted to her, and I am only praising her a little that’s all. And I am not falling in love with her…definitely not. She’s only the mother of my little child; that’s all.
But was it all? Again; what was this new soft…Shut up Maan, shut up, you’re confusing yourself…
The way she takes care of me…it was like; I don’t know…
I keep playin’ it inside my head All that you said to me I lie awake just to convince myself This wasn’t just a dream ‘Cause you were right here And I should’ve taken the chance But I got so scared And I lost the moment again
Wait a minute…did I say I could have kissed Geet? What’s happening to me? Why? Was I really drooling on her? Then why I could see her pain while I was being pained; hurt. Heck, what would you call this? I knew she loved me but to what extend? Why I wanted to know. I started to get scared of myself. Why was I thinking so much…what was it after all?
Is your heart taken? Is there somebody else on your mind? I’m so sorry, I’m so confused Just tell me, am I out of time?
Is your heart breaking? How do you feel about me now? I can’t believe I let you walk away When, when I should have kissed you
I should, I should oh, I should have kissed you I should, I should oh, I should have kissed you I should, I should oh, I should have kissed you I should, I should oh, I should have kissed you
“Maan” Geet said breaking my thoughts.
“Huh” I answered bewildered. “Are you okay?” she asked worried. “Yes I’m” I replied holding her hand making sure she climbed down the stairs all right.
“I am not a baby to make me climb down stairs like this” she sulked. “I don’t care” I replied.
“I just want you to be safe and sound” I retorted. She gazed at me; she really got those dark beautiful angelic eyes. To be honest; she’s pretty.
When we finally reached the last stair; I saw Naintara pacing the floor in the living room. Something was tickling in my mind ever since Geet’s fall from the stairways. Did she deliberately push Geet? She hated her all right…but could she?
I decided to ask.
Naintara frowned when she saw Geet.
“How are you?” she asked showing lease care as she asked.
“I’m fine” Geet replied modestly. She’s way too modest.
“Naintara” I started my voice all serious. “I know you don’t like Geet being around…but did you push her from the stairs?” I asked.
Both Geet and Naintara gasped. “Maan…” Geet started “I slipped that’s all” she added looking at Naintara fearfully while she erupted “what do you mean” she almost said in a shout.
“You are accusing me of pushing Geet so that she broke her arm, huh, did you mean that” she stared accusingly at me. I did not blame her.
“You don’t like me all right!” she snapped and added her eyes filled with hatred looking at me and Geet; she replied “but I did not push her!” she said; this time she did not shout; her voice was broken in a muffle whisper.
“I did not” she repeated her eyes with tears. “Naintara…” I said “I am sorry…it’s just…that you hated Geet from the first…I…I…” I trailed. No words. Geet looked at me sadly and back to her “he did not mean it”.
Naintara was not listening, she was weeping.
“I know I am bad…” she choked “but I am not that of a horrible monster”. “How could you jiju…how could you think that of me” she stifled. “I did not mean it” I mumbled barely audible.
“You don’t like me that’s why you suspected me” she added tearfully. “I don’t even hate Geet” she added glaring at me with hateful eyes. “I don’t hate her”.
Now it was Geet’s turn to look shocked. “But…” Geet started and Naintara interrupted. “Jeez, you knew I was away when Di got married; I had given it a damn hell; enjoying my life at the fullest there…” she said wiping her tears but more came out. “And when I heard she died…i did not know what to do? I was all of a bad sibling…I rushed to India…she left me…and I had given her a damn hell…” she sobbed. Geet was almost in tears. She’s all emotional about siblings and relations.
“Pata chala that you were very broken from Di’s death and Akshay was born” she added still sniffling. “Then after some years I came to know you got married with someone else…”
“I was worried…what if Geet really treated Akshay badly…just in your presence she would cajoled him and when you’ll went away; she would torture him…it made me scared…so I came to check on you and Geet. I just wanted to make sure that Akshay was treated well…I am sorry Geet, all those rude words were just to make me satisfy thinking that my nephew is safe in this house” she added wiping her tears.
She did not cry anymore.
“I am sorry” she mumbled. “I am not a wicked murderess as you have thought” she said.
“I am sorry” I said. “I just wanted to know…so that I can be in peace” I muttered.
Geet cupped Naintara’s face and said “I don’t feel bad about it”.
“You don’t?” Naintara asked shocked.
Another specialty of Geet!
“No” Geet said shaking her head. Naintara smiled and hugged her. I smiled. “I am sure you’ll take care of Akshay very well” she said.
“And” Geet added softly “you’re not a wicked sibling…you did what you think was right…Maan did what he thought was right”.
Naintara smiled. “Thanks Geet”.
“By the way Maan Jeez” Naintara said turning to look at me. “I’ve already booked my ticket for Mumbai…tomorrow night I’m leaving” she smiled.
“So soon?” I spluttered. I could not help feeling more guilty that ever.
“Yes…now that I can rest in peace knowing Akshay is all well…I’ll be leaving soon” she smiled.
Geet looked troubled.
“No Naintara…you’ll have to spend time with him; you’re his only Massi after all…” she said.
“Geet you’re too nice’ Naintara said. I agreed with her. “But don’t worry…my wedding date has already being fixed now…” she smiled. “There’s lots to do home” She grinned.
“I won’t forget to invite you and Anniee…then you’ll have to take leave from work Jeez” she grinned cheekily.
“Of course I’ll take” I promised.
Geet looked dumbfounded. “You’re engaged?” she asked. It was rather a statement. Naintara embarrassed and shyly smiled.
“Wow” Geet said baffled but still “congratulations” she said.
Geet led Naintara upstairs chatting with her…
She’s awesome, I thought. I pushed those thoughts at the back of my mind…
Naintara…do come whenever you want…” I told Naintara. She smiled and hugged me back.
“As soon as Todd gets time, I’ll” Naintara agreed. Todd sounded like a dirty green frog. Yuck. Well maybe his looks were better. But ‘Todd’ sounded like a frog for me. Whenever she would mention of Todd I would picture her and a frog. Anjali always scolded me to have vivid imaginations. Well; maybe I do have.
1 hour later; Akshay came bouncing with excitement.
“Mama…mama…” he said excitedly.
“Yes…” I replied stroking his cheek.
“Help me to draw an elephant, will you?” he asked.
I kept pacing the room. What was this? Why was it affecting me badly? What was the reason of this sensation? What was it? Why was it affecting me? Why was it so strange?
“Maan beta, are you alright?” Dadimaa asked peeping inside my room.
“Are you fine? You must be taking a lot of tension; you so tensed are; business work, right nah” she said entering and sat on the bed fixing me.
“No” I lied. “Nothing is troubling me” I said.
“Are you sure?” Dadimaa asked raising her eyebrows.
“Yeah, positive” I replied.
“Since when you started lying, Mr. Maan Singh Khurana” Dadimaa said folding her hands on her lap.
“Err, I am not lying” I tried to sound convincing.
“Oh really, whom are you trying to convince; me or yourself” Dadimaa said smiling. “Just take a chill pill” she grinned. What’s up with Dadimaa?
“Both” I answered shrugging and sitting on the floor; near her legs.
She patted my head and asked “what’s troubling you, huh?”
“Everything” I replied in a weak voice.
“Everything?” she questioned; I mean she pressed.
“Geet” I said in a small whisper. “What?” Dadimaa said trying to hide her feeling of astonishment and excitement.
“What happened to her except her broken arm?” Dadimaa asked.
“Is the arm swelling?” she probed. “Nah, but ever since for some time I’ve been feeling strange; you know; something so soft inside of me; weird; making me feel so strange”.
“This sensation has been driving me crazy” I continued. “Do you know what it is? Why Geet’s face keep flashing in my mind?” I asked.
Dadimaa smiled at me; no; she was grinning. “Do you know what it is?” she questioned.
“No” I said shaking my head. I sure must have looked like a dweeb or a dumbo but I did not care.
“Well, I do” Dadimaa declared.
“Really” I asked eye-widened.
“Yep” she answered happily. She gave me a wide smile.
“So what is it? I keep seeing Geet’s face whenever I close my eyes” I replied. “What is it, Dadimaa, tell me, this sensation is killing me; it forces me to think so hard” I retorted massaging her legs.
“Well…I am sorry” Dadimaa said apolitically.
“Huh?” I was bewildered.
“Sorry…I can’t help you out; you have to figure it yourself…Okay…”
“But…when you know what it is; then why are you making me wait so much…just tell me straight; I will feel better; no need of keeping such intense suspense” I replied.
“Nah” she said shaking her head to answer negatively. “I can’t”.
“But why?” I asked pained. “Why you can’t? It’s not a sin!” I retorted.
“It isn’t” Dadimaa approved but continued “it’s something beautiful, something lovely; something that makes you go on cloud nine, something so soft…that it melts your heart”. Dadimaa was saying this so easily as if butter won’t melt in her mouth.
“Don’t worry” she said patting my head. “You’ll understand what it is soon…very soon…then you will accept it…” Dadimaa smiled.
“But how do I get rid of it? It’s troubling me; irritating me!” I growled like MK would usually do.
“You can’t get rid of it” Dadimaa answered. “It’s part of your life…you can’t…but you can learn what it is…why don’t you recall everything…slowly…you’ll understand…”
“But how? Do you think I am falling in love with Geet?” I asked eye-widened and mouth hanging open. Dadimaa smiled.
Her smile was a positive answer. I was in love with Geet! It’s part of you; you can’t get rid of it…
That means I have fallen for Geet…
“Pen down your thoughts, your feelings, your heart’s wishes and desires…confess…confide…it’s easier and will make you feel more relieved.”
Easier said than easier done. I paced the floor; and I thought.
Pen down your thoughts…
Ok. Pen down my thoughts; Okay, write a letter. Good idea, Maan. I ripped a page from a lying notebook and scribbled some words.
I am Maan…Maan Singh Khurana and you; Geet Singh Khurana.
As if she does not know that she’s Geet? How stupid! What do I write? Continue Maan. Continue…to write…
Well…have you ever felt soft sensation and it’s like pink fluffy thing, all soft that makes you gentle.
Maan…are you describing a newly bought night slippers for women?
Well…I don’t know what’s happening to me; when I closed my eyes; I see your face. Dadimaa says I fell in love with you.
I closed my eyes; yes, Geet’s face. Smiling and blushing in her white sari; she looked gorgeous. I snapped out of my trance.
See; I am going crazy.
I smiled at my letter. It sounded crazy; how Maan Singh Khurana could write such a thing. It’s stupid; I don’t care.
Dadimaa was right. I felt so relieved.
I closed my eyes again to see an angelic face.
Geet scowled at her friend; she said “yeah, I was camping on Mars, right?”
“Daddy…why are you smiling like this?” Akshay asked me.
He had slipped in the room; and I did not know it.
“Chalo…Akshay, you need a wash” Geet said smiling at me. She glanced at her plaster and her face lit up saying “youpie!” she exclaimed like a kid. “Tomorrow Doc is removing this!”
Her innocence; her words; her face…I am going crazy.
“Don’t ever leave me” I mumbled.
Shut the door Turn the light off I wanna be with you I wanna feel your love I wanna lay beside you I cannot hide this Even though I try Heart beats harder Time escapes me Trembling hands Touch skin It makes this harder And the tears stream down my face If we could only have this life For one more day If we could only turn back time
I walked in the corridor and I stopped. What was it? Why was this room closed? I examined the door. It looked good; the door had not a single dust on it? I tried to open it but it would not. It was locked. I had never notice this room before.
“Nakul” I called. Nakul came running.
“Yes, madam” he bowed respectfully. “Why is this room locked?” I asked. Nakul looked down and said “Ma’am, Maan sir ordered to close it”. Okay, take a deep breathe. I fidgeted with my plaster and asked “why did he do that?”
“Woh…after Riihaa’s Ma’am’s death; he ordered the room to be closed” Nakul replied.
“Oh…” I said. What was I about to say.
“What did this room contain anyway?” I asked.
“It was his Tai Chi Demonstration Room” Nakul answered.
“Alright” I said boldly. “Open that room and clean it” I ordered. Nakul nodded and went away. In these months I never saw Maan doing his martial arts. I know very less of marital arts; just names; karate; kung-Fu.
I wanted Maan to be like he was before. I was only trying; if he agreed; I would consider myself lucky.
Dadimaa entered Vicky’s room where Anvesha and him were fighting as usual.
“Akshay is better than you, guys” Dadimaa complained.
“Listen; I need to tell you something very important about your brother” Dadimaa said grimly.
Dadimaa grinned. “Your brother has fallen for Geet”.
Anvesha smiled while Vicky looked confused. “So what’s the big deal in this?” Vicky asked puzzled. “Even Bhiz loves brother; so what’s the great matter going on?”
“Duh, dummy…we know that Bhiz loves Brother; Brother too knows; but he wants to confess it, weirdo” Anvesha explained.
“Right” Dadimaa agreed.
“So? What do we have to do?” Vicky asked.
“If Maan asks you something related with love; just give him a complicated answer. I want him to be the old Maan again, understood”.
Why were they commotion in my room? Why the servants were trotting with buckets and wipers? I glanced around and saw the room was being cleaned.
“Nakul” I commanded.
“Yes sir” he replied meekly.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Geet Ma’am asked this room to be cleaned”.
“Does she know I closed that room myself?” I asked.
“Yes sir; I told her” Nakul answered. “Okay, you may go” I ordered and he left.
What was playing in Geet’s head? It had been almost 3 years I never did Tai Chi again. Something was really going on in her head. I must ask her or else I’ll accuse her of something for sure; knowing my tongue.
I shrugged and focused back on my letter. I had already written it; it was crazy but I did not care. I rather pen down my thoughts than stammering in front of someone; which I never ever did in my life.
A brilliant idea hit me. Vicky; the lover boy of his college; he was one for sure. I made my way in Vicky’s room.
I heard noises; well; sweet conversation between my baby and Vicky.
I guess Vicky was testing Akshay’s knowledge which was rather a very bad idea.
I peered in the room; I knew it was a wrong idea. Never mind.
Vicky asked Akshay “Akshay baby; do you know how many eyes a cat have?”. Akshay nodded and replied “Two eyes, Vivi Uncle” and smiled satisfied with his answer. Vicky was testing his arithmetic.
Vicky nodded proudly and continued “and how many legs?” he asked as a tricky question. Akshay stared at Vicky with a puzzled face.
“Duh, Vivi uncle; four legs of course; haven’t you seen a cat before?” Akshay asked. Vicky stared dumb founded.
Annie roared with laughter. I chuckled and entered the room. Vicky looked surprised and embarrassed.
“Sorry for eavesdropping” I apologized. “I couldn’t help it” I said stroking Akshay’s hair who still had not understood why everyone was laughing.
“It’s okay” Vicky retorted mortified.
“By the way Vicky I wanted to ask you something” I said reluctantly. Annie and Vicky raised their eyebrows.
“Well, imagine you’ve fell in love with a girl; how would you confess your feelings?” I asked.
“Oh” Vicky replied and stayed silent. Anvesha was grinning and nudged Vicky. [Maan did not notice though]
“Well, I’d sing a song; you know those mushy ones” Vicky said with a smile. Wrong idea. Sing and me? Never in a gazillion years!
“But Bhai” Annie dropped to the conclusion. “Why do you ask?” What was I supposed to say? “Nah, a friend of mine asked; so I thought to ask the lover boy” I forced a chuckle and found the nearest exit.
I made my way to Geet’s room with my letter tucked in shirt. I had decided if I couldn’t bring myself to say it; I’ll show her the letter. As the matter of fact; I didn’t want to show my crazy letter.
I took a deep breath and knocked.
Relationships are like roller coasters; they always drag you in middle of something and make you fell for someone. I could not help smiling. Akshay had drawn a cute cub and painted it blue saying he wanted the cub blue not orange or yellow.
I was pondering on Maan. He seemed to be going in a period of changes. He looked disturbed and always in a speeding mode. I guess Shakespeare was having some effects on me ‘ or maybe I was concentrating too hard on Romeo and Juliet.
I heard a knock. It was Maan. He looked nervous. He entered and fidgeted with his shirt. So I decided to lighten the atmosphere which seemed to freeze.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Nothing; just wanted to tell you something very important” Maan said.
My heart was beating furiously; okay; too quickly…
“Well, Geet” Maan cleared his throat. “I need to tell you something” he repeated. “Yes, I’m listening” I said.
“I…I…lo…I…I…” he stammered. It sounded 3 magical words that would make me go all dreamy.
He searched for something in his pockets and handed it to me. It was a neatly folded letter written in cute cursive letters; that is Maan’s handwriting. He gave it to me and turned his back to go. What did it contain?
Before going out; he added “I’m sorry for all the pains I gave you” and he left without turning back leaving me flabbergasted.
My hands trembled to open the letter. Was did he mean by “pains I gave you?” Was he going to hurt me more? I opened and took a deep breath as my eyes quickly went through it; my heart was beating more furiously.
I’m Maan, Maan Singh khurana, and you Geet Singh Khurana. I know it’s dumb; but I guess you saw how weird I was acting. In fact; it’s all because of you.
What did I do this time???
If your face wouldn’t appear every time I would close my eyes. It’ll be easier for us; I mean me. Geet; ever since I met you the first day in that park where you had scooped my child in your arms and had scolded me; I felt there was something about you. You know; like a spark or something. But I did not know anything more or else. Just that you became part of my life very soon; a brilliant and cute mother and keeper of my child. Akshay loves you very much. And I’m very happy that you made an entry that day. I apologize for every pain I gave you; for every harsh word I said to you.
As I said; there’s something about you; a spark. All the pains I gave you; all those harsh words I said; yet, you were by my sides; every time, as forgiving as ever…and made I realize and you’re everything to me…Do keep loving me and my small family as you’ve been doing…
The thoughts that keep haunting me was you ‘ I can’t bring myself to say it, so I wrote it…
I LOVE YOU very much…will you keep being with me throughout my life…
By the way; I’ve prepared something special for you; get ready by 8 pm and wear one of your saris which you look gorgeous
ears flowed from my cheek. Did he really everything he said? Did he?
Did he say he love me? Tears flowed. I was so happy, I was in cloud nine. He did say. My love did reach him. I was really so happy, immense in my joy, I cried. See Anj, he said he loved me, I am so happy.
He remembered the day we met at the park. After that day I pondered so much about him. Little did I know that his Dadimaa had seen me and had come with the proposal of marrying Maan Singh Khurana.
I remembered quite well as if it was yesterday; I was so shocked that butterflies were roaming in my stomach. Dadimaa reasoned that ever since Riihaa died 2 years ago, he was like that; lost moaning over his pain. But that day when he returned home; he was quite lively; playing with his child and laughing with him.
Dadimaa told me he talked to Maan about the wedding; Akshay needed a mother; and Maan; who had lost his mother since he was a child; knew how well, it was a pain. Maan was not personally happy with his decision; but his love for his child was so intense that I had admired his relationship.
It was so difficult to talk to Maan in the first two months; he ignored me like I was a stupid old rug in his house. Dadimaa tried to make it easy for me; so did the servants and the cutest thing ever was Akshay. He was 2 and a half, he came running to me and asked me loads questions.
Start of Flashback
“You…? You…mother?” he asked trying to use correct words, he was so innocent, Geet remarked.
Geet cuddled him and whispered “yes, I’m your mom”. Akshay smiled and cupped his face “okay! Dadimaa say…you come, tsshh…letssh, go and play!” Akshay said pumping his fist in the air.
Out of the corner of her eyes; Geet saw Dadimaa watching them with tears in her eyes.
End of Flashback
I thank Babaji millions of time. I was glad in my first meeting, I could change Maan in some ways; at least he was back. I read that letter for the 1001th time and again and again. I could not help smiling. Did I look hot in a sari? Or pretty?
I love you Maan so much. I better get ready, I thought.
“Wait a minute” I thought. “How was I going to wear a sari with a plaster?” The doctor said I had to go through this plaster; I mean bear this plaster two more days!
I went searching for Maan. All the realizations of this weird behavior hit me. Of course; didn’t he say that this new feeling of love for me was confusing him? Maybe that’s why he had been avoiding me.
Start of Flashback
“Maan, would you like some more pasta?” Geet asked playing with the spatula. Akshay giggled and commented cheekily “Daddy eats like a little girl”. Maan glared at Akshay and he shut quietly devouring his food.
“Umm, yes, Geet, some more please” Maan said eating. As Geet served the food; her hand touched against Maan’s skin, making him to jump in surprise. He did not actually jump; but felt electric current running through his veins instead of blood and his systems working vigorously. He had been getting these “attacks” merely by Geet’s touch. He wanted to stay away from these skin contacts so that he did not suffer any more from this killing thoughts and attacks.
“That’s it! Geet!” Maan suddenly shouted shocking Geet making her drop almost all pastas on Maan’s plate. “Huh?” Geet asked confused. Maan looked at Geet’s confused face and he sucked his breathe. “So much of innocence” he thought. “I can’t eat like that; it’s a giant’s food” Maan blurted rudely. Geet was hurt. “What’s happening to him?” she thought. “Why is he ignoring me like that?” she was so pained by his behaviour.
End of Flashback
I saw Maan standing at the door and looking at the room where once he was doing his martial arts. Again; my knowledge of it was extremely limited. I made a mental note to search some information on it later.
“Maan”, I called softly.
He turned and studied me; whether I read that letter or not. He looked quite surprised for me coming to find him.
“Are you angry on me for making this room being cleaned?” I asked gesturing to the servants. The room was so dirty that it smelt like puke that had never being cleaned on a cloth. I guess; this description is enough.
“No, just a little shocked” he replied stunning me as he held my hands and gazed in my eyes. Oh god; help me; because I feel all dizzy suddenly, I am surely going to faint now. He’s so handsome, my mind barely registered.
“I never wanted to hurt you Geet” Maan confessed. “I really…I really…didn’t mean to” he continued. Tears streamed down my cheeks. Oh god; that was a bad timing.
“Geet…” Maan was shocked seeing the tears. “I…I…I…am sorry, I guess I hurt you again…I didn’t want you to cry…” I wept more. He cupped my face worriedly. His wrinkles made him looked even cuter. “No…I am so happy…it’s like a dream coming true!” I whispered in his ears as I hugged him. He held back.
“So…” he trailed off.
“So…” I retorted pulling from the cuddle. “Are you coming with me tonight?” he asked eagerly. “Yeah…but…how am I supposed to be wearing a sari with a plaster?” I asked puzzled.
Maan turned red; dead embarrassed. “Well, I can help you…” Maan started and quickly added “if you want…”.
What? If I want? Wouldn’t I? Of course. Shyly I added “why not” and I winked walking away.
I did not want to hurt her; not anymore. She was a precious angel, which only needed to be well preserved; her love; her care; her affection for everyone. I made a promise to myself, no more hurting her, no more torture.
As I scanned her room; I realized that she barely bought something for herself with my money. It did hurt. It struck me that since I accepted Geet; why can’t see have my own room? Better late than never, right.
“Nakul!!!” the house echoed.
“Why are you after the poor servant since the morning?” Geet said with sympathy.
“Excuse me” I corrected “it was you who made him cleaned that big room” I smirked. Nakul arrived and I ordered “take all ma’am clothes and arranged them in my room”. Geet was shocked but blushed and said nothing. “Except for these saris” I added.”Whatever” she blushed and started to search for a sari. Wow, didn’t she have a collection; red, blue, orange, white…
White…it made me all dreamy how pretty and gorgeous she looked that day.
“Maan, should I wear this blue one or the orange one? Or this one while long sleeves?” Geet asked puzzled.
“Any which you like” I retorted. “But what do you like among them?” Geet asked. It made me blush a little; she wanted me to choose her dress. Everything could look pretty on her; the saris I mean. I debated my mind; blue, orange, pink… The orange one looked better. It was not completely orange type. It did suit her skin.
“Well…” Geet said blushing deep red.
Show me the diamonds, Show me the gold
Call me the answer
Call me anywhere
I don’t have a care, This is my world you’re so pretty, we’re so pretty Show me the silver
Show me the gold, you taking my name &
Don’t disappoint me, I see you smiling
Tie up my elbows
No Joke, Talking to the Devil
Talking to the Lord
Take me to Hell, Take me to heaven
For your sweet touch
[Rest upon your imagination, don’t go too FAR]
It was lethal. It was easy to see her reaction after my every action. I couldn’t help smirking. “I am going to get ready” I called as she pushed me out the room; red faced “see you downstairs”.
We left Akshay with Dadimaa and Dadimaa thought something was fishy going on. I think she did come to know when Geet blushed pinker and pinker as we bid them goodbye.
I sucked my breath. I hope everything was perfect, as far as I planned. Geet was not meeting my eyes. “Well, I’ll be waiting for you to confess” Geet said. “What didn’t I say everything in the letter?” I barked. “Nope, I want to hear from you” Geet smirked.
We reached the restaurant. I hope everything was perfect.
When I got down the car; I was breathless. I was barely breathing. It looked like an expensive restaurant. When I stepped inside, I was nearly fainting with the decorations. There were red balloons in shape of hearts and red ribbons.
Maan held my hand as my feet wobbled when we stepped closer inside. A small band was playing soft music; with violin playing and piano chords with soft acoustic guitar humming a soft tune. Three musicians were in a corner playing these instruments in a melodious tune. My heart was breathing heavily.
“I hope I am perfect enough for you…but not as perfect as you’re” Maan whispered huskily.
There was nobody else in the restaurant except us.
It had been booked. He had planned everything. I was feeling so excited about what the night held.
It was crazy as there were thousands of red roses and variety of red shade everywhere.
Maan helped me to sit on the chair, and he too sit down. He grinned seeing me in awe. “It’s so lovely…it’s so perfect” I said. His eyes glittered and he added “not as perfect and forgiving as you” he said so huskily that I went red.
“Geet” he said gently holding my palms into his. I lifted my eyes to gaze at him. “I want to mysterious secrets between us that’s why I’m taking the initiative to tell everything about me before we take this relationship to another step”.
[God! Guys what are you making me write…arggghhh]
“I…I had a love marriage when I was twenty. With Riihaa, Naintara’s sister. I knew she had a diseased but I never thought it could be so serious that I’ll lose her one year after Akshay was born. The gem of my life.”
“When she left me, I was devasted. I barely look upon Akshay…except that day when you came in my life, that day in the park, you…you made me realized what I had, a precious love, thank you Geet…” he said taking a deep breath as I smiled patting his hand.
“I never thought that we would get married though that day; but when dadimaa came with the proposal I was so angry…except she knew me too well, I too never had a mom, and I knew the pain, she said that you were the best thing for Akshay and you’re…”
“I know I had been harsh on you the first few months, but believe me, it was difficult, for two years I had lived alone, I did not have someone to care for except Akshay…but Geet, you were so patient, that you’re care and love did make me thing otherwise of this” he said holding my hand tightly. “I hope you forgive me for all my mistakes…”
“Maan…” I said softly and agitated “how can I forgive you…when you made no mistakes at all…” I continued.
Maan grinned “before we order something why don’t we have a dance?” I could see his eyes glittering.
The light shines It’s getting hot on my shoulders I don’t mind, This time it doesn’t matter Cause your friends, They look good, but you look better
It took a minute girl to steal my heart tonight (eh eh eh eh) With just one look, yeah
I’m weaker My words fall and they hit the ground Oh life, come on head, don’t you fail me now? I start to say, “I think I love you”, but I make no sound
Under the lights tonight You turned around, and you stole my heart With just one look, when I saw your face I fell in love
Maan’s held slid my waist. I closed my eyes. I never wanted this to end. His lips brushed my earlobe…
I closed my eyes sleepily. His words were ringing in my ears “I love you Geet, I love you…”
Start of Flashback
After the dinner; he slipped his hands onto Geet’s and said “I don’t want to make any promises…because last time I did, and you knew what happened, but deep inside I know, I’ll be able to keep you happy; I won’t let my past affect you…I love you Geet…”
End of Flashback
What could happen any better except Dadimaa rung thundering that Akshay did not want to sleep and wanted me back home, so we rushed home and found Akshay had fallen asleep on Dadimaa’s shoulder while waiting for us.
What could be any better? Huh?
Akshay came crashing into the room as soon as I stepped out of the washroom.
“What happened baby?” I asked worriedly. He looked pale. “Where is mama? She isn’t in her room” he asked sounded worried. “Oh baby” I said scooping him in my arms as he hugged me “look, she’s sleeping here” I said pointing to Geet sleeping on my bed. She was very tired, lazy girl.
Akshay looked confused at Geet then at me; then he poked me on the chest angrily. “I hate you” he screamed waking Geet with the word ‘hate’. Even I was surprised. He jumped out of the cuddle and sat on the bed sulking. Now Geet was so shocked seeing Akshay scowling and frowning at us. Geet patted his shoulder but he just shrugged off.
It got both of us upset with his behaviour. It was so weird for once. “Why did you leave me alone yesterday” he snapped glaring at me. “You were having a nap, so we did not think to bother you by waking you up” I answered smilingly cupping his cute face, I was on my knees.
“But you went to eat ice-cream without me!” he shouted angrily.
We couldn’t help smiling. Akshay was allergy with cold food stuffs so we would always heat ice-cream to make it liquid so that it was hot enough for him to eat.
“Okay, baby, we are sorry” Geet said giving him a cute puppy face and placed her head on his lap. Akshay stroked her hairs a little and then whined “Mama!” Geet was shocked and quickly jerked.
“You have forgotten your manners!” he added pretending to be shocked. He placed his hands on his hips and said “you did not brush your teeth!” Geet giggled and along with Akshay they went to the washroom.
I left to the gym.
Half an hour later
I felt that someone was peeping in the gym and drooling over me. I did not have to guess to know who it was. I stopped excising and pretended to sit down and saw Geet’s reflection in a glass decoration near the end of the room.
“Geet!” I called. Geet hid herself behind a pillar. I smirked. “I can see you…and your shadow” I smirked. She came out blushing red and glanced at me in my black vest before darting out.
As I wore my coat getting ready for office; I saw Akshay and Geet playing with his robots and toys. Akshay glanced at me then at Geet mentally making a note whether she was going to leave him and go away.
“Geet, Akshay, we need to go to Akshay’s nursery today, remember, your teacher wanted to do a briefing of what you learnt, and moreover you’re in vacations, so you’ll get an outing too” I added. Akshay smiled and looked at Geet “Mama, what should I wear?”
“Your son is very intelligent, Mr. Khurana” the nursery teacher said. I smiled and Geet squeezed Akshay’s hand. “He’s very neat and has a very good behaviour” the teacher went on commenting. “I am sure he’ll be a brilliant student as soon as he enter school”.
“What did your teacher say?” Vicky asked. We were going to drop him to his soccer coaching before I drop Geet and Akshay home heading to office. “He said I am good” Akshay said modestly. He got that from Geet.
“I doubt that” Vicky grinned mischievously.
“why? My son is very bright” I said proudly. Geet looked at Vicky with a questioning look.
“Akshay, can you name me 4 members that belong to the cat family?” he said giving me a challenging look. Geet groaned and defended Akshay “for goodness’ sake, Vicky, I bet you did not know about leopards and cheetahs till you were twenty!” Vicky turned beetroot.
“I know the answer!” Akshay said. It surprised us.
“What? Easy!” Akshay retorted. “Mother cat, father cat and two babies cat!”
Vicky was flabbergasted once again.
“I’ll drop you home” I told Geet and Akshay after I dropped Vicky.
“I won’t go home” Akshay declared.
” I want to go with you office.”
“But…what are you going to do there” I asked. AKshay glared at me.
“But I wan’t to go to your office TODAY!” Akshay screamed at the top of his lungs.
“But…son, what will you do there? You’ll get bored!” I explained.
“I want to go there; and that’s final” Akshay replied stubbornly.
Geet giggled and said “of course; Junior Maan Singh Khurana, you’ll go”
“Good Morning sir” Sasha told Me.
“Good Morning” Akshay replied holding my hand. Me, Geet and Sasha stood speechless while Akshay shrugged giving us an innocent look.
“Ehh, good morning” Sasha said trying to keep her smile.
I was afraid it was going to be a long day with the staffs and Mr. Junior Khurana…
Akshay was busy eating chocolates while I was busy discussing a project with my client. Akshay looked at us and saw we were busy. He cuddled on my lap and noticed I was not checking on him.
“I think this we need to…” I was saying when I felt two little hands cupping my cheeks. But Akshay was not cupping my cheeks he was wiping the chocolate that was stuck in his hands on my cheeks in front of my cilents.
I glanced at Akshay shocked. So was my client.
Akshay gave a little shrug and answered “I was searching for a hankie but you did not give me”.
Just then Sasha entered staring at me as if I was a ghost but she didn’t comment. Seeing Sasha, Akshay said “Sasha Auntie, can I get a coffee please?”
Sasha winced and answered “sure junior MSK” and left.
Geet entered the cabin and stood there catching flies with her mouth hanging open.
The client had his eyes fixed on Akshay who did not care and was playing with my pen.
The tension was so intense that the client broke into giggles. I turned red because of my little Junior MSK.
Sasha muttering something came and gave Akshay his coffee who sipped silently as if nothing happened.
Geet winked at me…
I smiled about my big family, Geet, Akshay, Dadimaa, Vicky and Anvesha. Everything was so fine now, sometimes its scary to think why everything is joyful.
I am not regretful of saying “I love you” to Geet. She deserved if after her every sacrifice for my family and my baby.
She’s like a superwoman, unable to describe this feeling that keeps making me smile everyday. What could I ask for more? Just saying I’m indeed very lucky…
Geet is just a perfect girl for everything…I am just so lucky to have her…I smiled…again
Shut the door Turn the light off I wanna be with you I wanna feel your love I wanna lay beside you I cannot hide this Even though I try
Heart beats harder Time escapes me Trembling hands Touch skin It makes this harder And the tears stream down my face
I know Geet loves me a lot; and I’ll try my best to give her every happiness she deserves. And she knows too I can’t live without her…she’s just awesome…
You know I’ll be Your life Your voice Your reason to be My love My heart Is breathing for this Moment In time I’ll find the words to say Before you leave me today
Close the door Throw the key Don’t wanna be reminded Don’t wanna be seen Don’t wanna be without you My judgment’s clouded Like tonight’s sky
I love her so much, I won’t make any promises; I just don’t want to hurt her; she’s just too precious for her. Last time I promised someone; everything was destroyed; I was broken in a nonasecond, this time, no promises; maybe I’ll lead a better life…even though I am confident that Geet will never let me down…
I just love her…and I hope one day I’ll love her too much..
8 Months Later
“Daddy…will it be a baby girl or a baby boy?” Akshay asked for the 99th of time since the morning.
“I don’t know baby, the doctor will tell us later…” I said smiling.
Akshay grunted “Daddy, I am not a baby!” he complained. “I am going to be a big brother!”
I chuckled softly as we strolled in the garden. “Okay, so you’re going to be a big brother…are you happy?” I asked feeling my heart to beat faster than ever.
“Nope” he yelled and jumped. I stood rooted and stared palely.
“I mean, I don’t want smelly nappies!” Akshay said nodding. I chuckled. “But, a baby is fun, I am going to boss around” he giggled as I chuckled softly.
“Come on, Mama is waiting for us!” I said tugging his arm.
Geet sat on the bed, with her big belly and a tired face. She smiled warmly when she saw us.
Akshay removed his shoes and jumped on the bed, cuddling next to her.
“Tired?” I asked.
“Try exhausted” she said scornfully.
Akshay placed his head on her tummy and he asked “where is baby?”
Me and Geet laughed. “Shall I read you a story?” Geet asked.
“Will you?” both me and Akshay said at the same time. Geet groaned “guys, you’re talking as if the baby is born” and rolled her eyes. I chucked the copy to her and she started reading trying to sound as enthusiastic as ever.
“…So the moral of the story is we should always be honest” Geet said smiling brightly. Her feet were swollen and she felt uneasy but did not care.
“Oh” Akshay said a little surprised. Then he looked meaningfully at Geet and said “sorry…I lied”. Geet giggled and asked “what did you lie?”
“I lied that you were not fat but instead you’re very, very, very big and you look like a balloon” Akshay confessed.
Geet was wide-eyed and shocked as well; I tried to hide my astonishment.
“You need a nap now” Geet said and started caressing Akshay in her you-are-tired mode. Akshay got the hint and laid down snuggling closer to her. I smiled and left them alone.
Geet’s scream filled the whole clinic. I was almost chewing my lips. Dadimaa was patting my shoulder and whispering “it’s normal, have you forgotten?”
No, I had not. Yeah, right, as if I could think properly right now. I muttered something. And then I heard Akshay’s outburst.
“The Doctor is M-A-D!”
“Huh?” Dadimaa said. I tored my gaze from the ward and stared at my son.
“The doctor is supposed to stop Mama from crying…and she’s making Mama cry more!” he said thundering angrily.
I almost chuckled. How innocent you’d think a nearly four year old boy is? Try my son. I ruffled his hair and mentioned him to keep quiet.
Just then Vicky tapped me on the shoulder and gestured to the doctor. The doctor was smiling broadly and told us “Congratulation Mr. Khurana”
“So what? Girl or Boy?” Akshay said impatiently. The Doctor was busy telling Dadimaa and Annie some precautions to take for Geet. Akshay tugged the doctor’s overall and asked “the boy or girl, doccie uncle?”. He looked so innocent that the doctor chuckled.
The Doctor bent on Akshay’s level and said “why don’t you go and check”. He winked at us and we literally burst into the ward.
Akshay was on the tip of his toes to see who was ‘hiding’ in the cradle. Vicky lifted him. My gaze fell upon pink fluffy clay. Okay, not clay, but that it looked like, pink candy type.
“Pink?” Akshay asked looking at Vicky for an answer.
“Pink? Pink is so…so girly” he sputtered. Geet gave a painful chuckle. “Baby, because a girl likes the colour pink”. I grinned so did the rest of us, well, nearly apart from Akshay.
Then after some seconds he spoke “so, the baby is a girl!” he said excited and then shut quietly, tapping his chin cutely thinking. “But girls are so boring; just dolls…But anyway, I don’t care, I’ll teach her manners and I think I’ll even play dolls with her…” he said mumbling softly. Geet winked at me. I seriously started to blush then the rest went out.
I kissed Geet on the forehead and she smiled gesturing to the baby girl.
“Yuck” Akshay mouthed as he climbed on the bed. And he made kissing type noises. Seriously I was getting embarrassed by a 3 and a half year old kid. I mean; my son; after all; our blood is the same.
“So what will be the baby’s name?” Geet asked narrowing her eyebrow.
Akshay sputtered and said “I made a full list” and then went red and shut.
We tittered and said “come on, let’s here”.
“Priyanka [Ya! Call me], Hannah [Remember he got a big crush on the popstar!], Geet, Maan…Risha…Misha, Tisha, Visha, Lisha…and…and…” he trailed off with a list of names.
“Maan? Geet?” Geet said raising an eyebrow.
“Oh…That was if ‘she’ was a boy” Akshay sniggered.
“But I got a better name” Geet said. It was my turn to be surprised.
“Its going to match your name Akshay” Geet continued.
“But he can’t be called Akshay, it’s a boy’s name and it’s my name!” he said scornfully.
I laughed. “Of course not”.
Geet nodded in agreement. “Yeah, but she can be name Akshita, can’t she?”
3 days Later
“Mama, what did u name the baby?” Akshay had asked for the zillionth of time.
I chuckled; I had been doing that a lot ever since we confessed.
“It’s Akshita, love” I said grinning.
“Ak…i…what?” he fumbled embarrassed. “It’s so difficult” he snapped as me and Geet laughed our heads off!
“Akshita” I repeated.
“It’s too difficult” Akshay snapped angrily and crossed his arms to his chest.
“But…” his eyes winkled evilly “Isn’t Maahi a nice name?” he said.
We both raised an eyebrow.
“Maahi?” Geet questioned.
“Yup! Maahi…” Akshay nodded enthusiastically.
“Maahi…that’s a very pretty name…” I said ruffling Akshay and went to ruffle Akshita aka Maahi’s soft cheeks.
“Nope!” Akshay declared angrily.
“This pest name is just mine! Only I will call her Maahi”.
We laughed again annoying our little Mr. Khurana.
Well, he did not know exactly what pest and pet meant though he knew what a nickname was. Obviously when Geet started calling him “My honey sugary” in her 3 months fearing that Akshay won’t be too happy…well, he was happy…but that’s Geet, as usual…
Akshay was so angry to be called “girly names”…
“Waaahhh” Akshita howled. She must have been hungry.
“I think she wants to join in the conversation” Geet added sheepishly.
Akshay and I changed a desperate look. Akshita cried tons; she was a great crier, and I broke the record for waking up just to nurse her for two days. Now I wanted to let Geet handle the baby…it was too much to cope with the howls and cries of Akshita. Geet understood and scoped Akshita in her arms to feed her.
“Yuck” Akshay mouthed and jumped out of the room.
“I’ll check on Akshay” I said leaving Geet handling Akshita.
“Hmmm” I replied.
“Was I a crier too?” Akshay asked innocently.
“Nope, you were a good baby…” I smiled.
“I think we need to take Maahi to the dentist” he retorted.
“She doesn’t have any teeth dad, and that’s bad!”
I chuckled. “No babies have teeth at birth”.
“Really?” he asked eye-widened.
“Did I wet the bed?”
“Yes, love, you did”.
“You are lying” Akshay said embarrassed.
“Every baby did, love.”
“Really?” he asked making a goo-goo type eyes.
“Yes” I said ruffling his cheeks.
“So you used to wet the bed too!” he declared happily!
What…you doing?” Akshita asked innocently. Akshay lowered his copybook and showed her. “Its difficult arithmetic questions, multiplications and additions” Akshay said highly important.
“Oh” Akshita said mouth-opened.
“What is that?” Akshita asked frowning cutely.
Akshay looked at her. “You’re a baby, you won’t understand”.
Akshita pouted and said indignantly “I am not a baby”.
“Yes, you’re, you’re only four years old!” Akshay said trying not to laugh at her sister. She was so cute, so innocent.
“No! I’m not! One day, you’ll see, I am going to be elder than you!” Akshita said scornfully. This time Akshay couldn’t help laughing and burst out loudly.
Geet entered the room.
“What’s happening, loves” Geet said placing her hands on Akshay and Akshita’s head and kissing their forehead respectively.
“I hate kisses Mama, I am grown-up now!” Akshay complained.
Geet chuckled and said “whatever, you’re still my baby…”
“I am not a baby” Akshay frowned. “Maahi is the baby here” he added. Akshita aka Maahi followed Geet-Akshay’s gaze.
Akshita couldn’t understand their arguments; they were too intellectual for her.
“Bhai is doing remitaal works” Akshita said as proudly and as importantly as Akshay had told her.
“What?” both Akshay and Geet said at the same time…
Akshita turned red.
“Arithmetical questions, Maahi” Akshay said proudly. Geet stroked his cheeks smilingly.
“Aiii” Akshita shrieked. It was dark, so dark in her room. She was sure that the Alfy Alien would eat her up, engulf her in his green dark fluid. It was so scary. She was so confident that after watching that movie, she would be able to sleep.
“I should have listened to brother” she thought.
She changed her position and kept shifting here and there on the bed but could not get any sleep.
She frowned. She could not sleep.
She walked and walked. For once, her parents’ room was so far that she was tired.
“Oh no” she gasped.
The door was closed.
She was too short to reach the handle. She hugged Bubbles closely. Bubbles was her pink pig teddy and she loved him a lot but not more than Mummy, nor Daddy or Brother.
She did a U-turn and reached her brother’s room. He did not like his door to be close. He once told Maan that in case his room catches fire, he could easily get out, or he can scream if someone could attack him. But Maan had explained him that this would never happen in their whole life but Akshay, being Maan’s shadow; was as adamant as him.
“Brother…brother…” she squeaked.
“2 multiplies by 2 is equal to 4, Ms. Owl…I mean Ms. Howlson” he repeated mumbling softly.
Maahi/Akshita couldn’t understand anything of what he was mumbling but she shook him hard.
Akshay stood straight squawking “Daddy’O thief…” and then
“Maahi…you…at midnight?” Akshay said trying to guess the time.
“I am having nightmares…” Akshita said softly. Akshay rolled her eyes and said “I told you not to watch that movie…”
“I hate when you tell me ‘ I told you…” Akshita whispered and snuggled to her brother.
“Daddy…I want to go downstairs” Akshita howled.
“No” Maan said firmly.
“Yes” Akshita said stubbornly.
“No and it’s no” Maan said adamantly.
“Yes and…” Akshita started buf forgot what else to say and went red.
Akshay was going bananas with Maan-Akshita’s every day argument. Geet, she was so fed up that she left the room.
“Daddy…” Akshay started.
“Tell her Akshay that I mean a ‘no’ and it’s my final decision” Maan said furiously.
Akshita glared innocently at her father.
“Daddy you’re so stubborn like trees” she sputtered.
“What?” Maan asked confused.
“Trees are hard, and your brain is hard too” she said crossing her arms over her chest and glared angrily at her father. Her eyes were brimming with tears. She could cry but she knew that her tears would not affect her father.
“Daddy…” Akshay said again. Both Akshita and Maan looked at him.
“Why are you even trying to win the argument when you know that you’ll give in” Akshay said grinning.
Maan’s mouth drop.
“Are you siding Akshita?” he asked slowly.
“Well…” Akshay cleared his throat “you will never refuse us” he said reasonably. Maan shook his head then Akshita added “Maaan…will you get me downstairs” she screeched.
Maan’s mouth dropped again.
“What?” he said slowly.
Akshay raised his eyebrow. “How do you know Dad’s name? I mean, I know it’s a nonsense question but how did you come to know dad’s name? Nobody ever calls him that” Akshay said.
“Akshay, do you always have to use such long logical question?” Maan asked. “For goodness’ sake, you’re just eight years old”.
“Like father…” Geet popped in.
She brought coffee for Maan and milk for the kids.
“Why do we have to drink milk?” Akshita asked frowning as Geet gave her the glass.
Before Maan or Geet could open their mouth, Akshay replied importantly “by drinking milk, we have strong teeth and strong bones”.
“Daddy…Daddy…this sock is for which leg…the right one or the left one?” Akshita asked.
Maan couldn’t help grinning; his daughter was innocent, so innocent.
“The left leg” Maan answered stroking his daughter’s cheek.
“Which one is the left leg? This one or that one?” Akshita asked.
Maan and Akshay snorted.
“Mother taught you that yesterday, Maahi” Akshay said shaking his head in disbelief.
“Daddy…where is Bhai and Momma?” Akshita asked.
“They’ve gone shopping, love” Maan answered glancing at her and focused back on his work.
“Why they didn’t bring me with them?” Akshita asked hurt.
“Because last time you went to Paradise, you cried so much that the shopkeeper had given you a free balloon before you could burst all the buyers’ eardrums” Maan smirked.
“It was not so!” Akshita grumbled angrily.
“I am working, love, don’t disturb me…” Maan said. Just then Adi entered.
“G-Gu-Good Morning, Sir” Adi said.
“Good Morning, but call me Ms. Maahi like my brother do when he’s furious” Maahi answered. Adi went red and Maan coughed.
“I mean your father Akshita” Adi cleared.
“Adi uncle play Giddy-up horse with me!” Akshita shouted jumping and stalking at Adi.
Maan thought for a moment “if Akshita plays with Adi, I’ll manage to finish this work…”
“Yes, Adi, play with her…”
“Go horsey…go horsey!” Akshita shouted in the living room.
“I…did…209 round Ak..shi…ta” Adi gasped for his breathe.
“So do 1 more then more and more till we reach 300!”
Adi flopped on the floor, exhausted.
Akshita was on his back, her legs kicking his stomach, he was her horse; Rogers!
“You guys stay quietly doing your work, I’ll just get a file and come” Maan instructed. Geet had gone to check on Meera’s triplets.
Akshay was doing some division and Maan corrected some.
He was brilliant.
Maahi was colouring some carrots and rabbits and she was doing them out of the picture.
A client entered the cabin.
“I want to meet Mr. Khurana” he said raising his eyebrow.
“Yes” Akshay answered. After all he thought, I, too, am a Khurana.
“I mean Mr. Khurana” the client cleared his throat.
Akshita glared at the client and screeched “Bhai is right, he’s always right! He’s Mr. Khurana” she said furiously.
The client was shock and stood rooted. Akshay thumbed up his sister. The client was still staring widely at Akshita then at Akshay…
Destined to live like this;
I do really miss;
All those times, we spent together;
Let’s live those memories forever;
You give me all precious treasures;
Which kinda make my heart always going on;
Everytime I see you, you give me dreams;
Dreams, to live and make them come true;
You’re a sweet little touch in my life;
Which make it kinda nice;
You’re my sweet wife Geet…
I am really becoming a poet; now…and girly too, writing in a diary…
Signing off; Maan Singh Khurana. 19/07/2012
“xyz’Arghh, I can even write my name with these alphabets, I still don’t understand why we need to use alpha in mathematics” Akshita muttered.
“Find the value of ‘y’ of that stupid object there; if the value ‘x’ is 49?. As if it’s my fault that the one who wrote this book was a fool” she continued to grumble under her breath.
“Why torture poor students” she said pitifully. “Plus, not everyone is a genius” she added complained.
“You are a serious weirdo!” someone else exclaimed laughingly.
Akshita scowled. “Wow, I just needed a big lecture from my super lame brother” she rolled her eyes. Ignoring her sarcasm, Akshay went inside; chucking her Mathematics workbook.
“Is it really necessary for you do talk to yourself?” Akshay asked chuckling softly.
Akshita glared at her. “That one question was enough to put me off my dinner”, she said. “And spare me your reflections!”
Akshay shook his head.
“Why are you so angry? And so desperate for this question’?” Akshay asked. Akshita did not dare to look at her brother.
Akshay grinned. “So it’s the stress nah, you’re scared for tomorrow’right, as if the new school would eat you up’right…” he said.
Akshita groaned. “Tell me do you have some supernatural powers…or else you are really abnormal” she said giggling.
“Nah, it’s just I’m wise enough to understand you” he chuckled and chucked her pillow to her.
“See, that’s it, it’s easy to make you laugh” he said sticking his tongue at her. “Bhai, stop being a small girl” she said mimicking him and sticking her tongue out.
Akshay rolled her eyes “as if I was like that”.
“Believe me, I’ll kill you if I came to know that you were roaming around with a boy in the school” he said. Akshita gave him a bored look.
“Do you really have to start this topic, last night you told me that about a hundrend millonth time” she retorted.
“As if Chaavi was looking…whoops I mean drooling at you when I accompanied you with your bananas type of friends to the coffee-shop, huh” Akshita said her eyes gleaming.
“I can smell something burning in the air, and I can see sparks too” Akshita added grinning. Akshay turned red. Whenever Akshita would talk about that girl with long black hair, he would avoid that conversation, inventing a lame excuse.
“Shut up, and if you smell something burning, it’s maybe your brain, fried in your head with your super dumb ideas” Akshay replied walking off the room quickly.
“By the way, Mom and Dad called you downstairs, told me to call you but you were so ‘concentrated’ on your workbook that I forgot to tell you” he said.
“Maan, you’re having these white hair'” Geet said playing with Maan’s hair.
“You know you’re getting old'” Geet added squeezing herself next to her.
Maan stared at her and said “duh, we’re getting old Geet” and sniffed.
Geet laughed and kissed his cheek and Maan turned red.
“Yeuccchhh” Akshay and Akshita made sick noises. “Is it really necessary to give visual demonstration” Akshay said in a grouchy voice and remarked “disgusting”.
“We just saw under 12 show” Akshita remarked
Meanwhile Akshita stuck her nose in the air.
Geet laughed while Maan coughed feeling embarrassed. Akshita noticed Geet smiling at Maan and groaned.
“So why did you exactly call us?” Akshay asked.
“Well” Maan cleared his throat. “Tomorrow is Akshita’s first day in her new High School” Maan started and continued “well, could you just look after her a little bit the first day”.
“Wow…” Akshay let out “I would have done that without you asking it, Dad” he grinned and winked at Akshita.
Akshita went upstairs all nervous while Akshay went around the gym for some practice.
“We’ve the best children of the world” Geet remarked.
“Every parent say that, trust me” Maan smirked.
“I had a terrifying nightmare” Maan confided. Geet giggled and said “the great Maan Singh Khurana had a nightmare” and she laughed.
“No, seriously it was horrible, I imagine Akshay and Maahi hating me” he said.
Geet looked at him perplexed. “You know about…about ‘that’, it occurred to me that Akshay loves Maahi a lot, then what if…you know…what I mean”
Geet’s cheery face turned in solemn. “I know” she said comforting Maan. “It will pass away'”
“Did I mention I had it for 3 weeks consecutive” Maan added. “That’s trouble” Geet added holding his palm.
“I think we should tell Akshay about it…” Geet said.
“No” Maan said startled. “Have you loss it?”
“Nah, but Akshay is growing up, I think he’s strong enough to take it, and its better that we tell him about it before he learnt it by someone else, and you know, if you watched soaps, you’d see youngsters’ reactions…” Geet said softly.
“Let’s just wait for some more days then, Akshita shouldn’t know about it though…” Maan said.
“You call the police if I don’t reach home at 4 o’clock, okay” Akshita told her brother; her eyes widened with fear.
“What?” Akshay asked.
“Have you seen how the place is huge?” Akshita said. “I bet I won’t even find my way home out of this compound”.
“You’re dramatizing everything, Maahi, calm down, it’s going to be fun” Akshay assured her.
“You bet” she mumbled nervously.
“See, there’s your Chicken Club of Friends; Fiona and whatever their names are!” Akshay pointed them to Maahi.
“Dude, she’s right, that Chaavi is really having a thing for you” one of Akshay’s friends; a big guy laughed at Akshay who glared at him.
“Wow, this place is huge” Akshita said looking up and down.
Fiona and Chandni laughed. “Stop being nervous!”
“You know my mom always have a fit, she says how she used to wear her salwar kameesz going to school and now I wear jeans and all…Dad always come in between and Mom was furious!” Akshita laughed.
From the canteen, Akshay watched her sister laughing with her friends. “Hmm, she’s Okay…we can go to the hamburger stand” Akshay said smiling.
“Wow…I thought you would never say it” another guy, looking like a geek.
“I don’t want to do this” Maan murmured. “Is it really necessary” he asked.
“Yes, it is” Geet said coming closer and squeezed his shoulder.
“It’s now or never” Geet mumbled in his ears and hugged him “it’s going to be okay, you see”.
“I hope so”.
“You called me” Akshay said entering and dumped his bag on the floor.
“Akshay” Geet said a bit angry “how many times will I tell you not to dump your backpack here”. Akshay scratched his head and smiled.
“What are those albums” Akshay said staring confusingly at them. Maan and Geet stayed mum and Akshay looked at them even more perplexed.
“I hate this, you are hiding something from me” Akshay said. He moved to take the album. It was a bit dusty.
“I’ve never seen that before…have you…?”
Maan and Geet did not answer. “Am I talking to myself?”
He flipped some photos and his face turned white. “Who’s this biii…”
“Watch your words, young man” Geet snapped angry.
Akshay looked at Geet.
“What’s that mom? Why this woman…whoops, I mean lady is with Dad…the whole album contains her photos, who’s she?”
The tension was so intense that it could be cut with a knife, no pull intended.
“Who is she? Can’t I know…? Well, I’m grown-up enough…I’ve never seen these photos anywhere in the house…Anybody hearing me? Am I talking to myself” he said angrily.
“Akshita shouldn’t know about this…” Maan said softly.
“Why?” Akshay said irritated. “Tell me before I think of something gruesome, ‘cos lots of thoughts are coming in my mind”.
Maan winced in pain.
“Shut it up, Akshay” Geet snapped angrily. “Akshita is still small, it would affect her small babyish mind, plus she loves you too much…”
“Why? It concerns me then…” Akshay said perplexed.
“Well…” Maan cleared his throat feeling more scared.
“I can’t understand…what do you mean?” Akshay said. Maan and Geet stayed silent.
“She…the woman in the photo…is your…is…” Maan said and stammered.
“My aunt, my grandma, my…what?!”
“Your mother…” Geet said softly.
“Ahahah…WHAT” Akshay said.
“Maan’s first wife…your mother…Akshay, Riihaa, she died in an accident, after some years, your dad got married again, not accepting me as someone who loves him; just a mere caretaker who loves you a lots…and then…then…” Geet said softly stroking Akshay’s cheek who looked devasted.
“Do you hate me?” Maan asked.
“Or me?” Geet answered.
“No…of course not, how can I? Except my brain is trying to add these puzzles…and this mean I’m not your biological son, Mom?” he asked seriously.
Geet hugged him and didn’t reply.
“We thought it was time to tell you that because you are grown up enough now to understand, we didn’t mean to hurt you, we really love you, Akshay…” Maan said.
“I know…but still…it’s hard to believe” he muttered.
“I don’t exactly know what does ‘biological’ mean but I guess I came at the wrong time, I hate this, this confession” someone else said.
They were shocked to see Akshita standing there, full of tears.
“What are you doing here?” Maan asked scared, angry.
Akshita shrugged and stood there rooted.
“Do you hate me?” Akshita asked to Akshay who was lying on the bed.
“Why? Nah, of course not, because you’re my little sister…” Akshay said. Maahi smiled and snuggled next to him.
“Remember when I was a kid I used to snuggle next to you when I felt scared and alone” Akshita said.
“See I wrote an essay, barely 3 weeks since we are in school and loads of homework…”
“Give me I read it…”
“That’s why Rome is a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, city” Akshay raised an eyebrow.
“I was having trouble making it 550 words, now it’s exactly 550!” Akshita smiled.
There was another knock.
“Oh, you’re here…I came to give you this photo…”
Akshay stared at the photo so did Akshita.
“I know” Geet answered.
Akshay nodded and gave Geet back. “I don’t need it, I have you that’s it”.
“We have the best children in the world…”
“I know” Maan said.
“Life will continue like this, with new chapters, new stories, new events, and our love…our children and their future, I can’t wait to have a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law…”
Dadimaa: When I’ll fall ill, and bed-ridden you’ll know, I will be so sick that I would die…
Maan smirked: Dadi, this sentence is getting so old; you’ve been using it for years.
Dadimaa glaring at Maan: Shut up, I will really fall ill, and it’s my final decision and you’re coming!
End of Flashback
Cool or what? Great, isn’t it? Maan Singh Khurana is powerless in front of his grandmother.
“Err…Geet, tonight Dadi organized a party here” I said. She looked at me confused and I shrugged saying “just got the news”. “Oh” she replied studying me carefully. She must have been trying to figure why I was not questioning her. When I asked her how was her camping trip on Mars, she was looking at me, her mouth enough wide-opened to catch flies. You’d laugh. I had smirked and told her to close her mouth, leaving her bewildered, I left for my room. I was dying to ask her how was the weather on Mars or if she saw some of her relatives or perhaps some aliens? Maybe then no…
Dadimaa called us; me, Geet, Akshay, Vicky, Annie and the whole crew of servants. She was briefing us how there was not a party at home for the longest period of life, I guess, till the death of a family member. She was looking very happy. But I wonder what was up with Geet and Annie. After Dadimaa left, I had gone to call Adi to cancel all my meetings and appointments and when I returned –
Annie said “Bhiz, do you know today’s Friday the 13th” Geet gasped and looked at the ceiling, I figured she was praying, “hey Babaji, you know what had happened the last Friday 13th, please help me to avoid committing such mistakes” Geet said still looking up without blinking. Annie stared at her confused, she also looked up and the back at Geet. “Hey babaji, help me, okay” and then Geet looked at Annie and said “why are you staring at me so strangely?” Annie turned red and mumbled “nothing”. Wasn’t she strange? She kept surprising me every time.
Fine, the party, whoops, I mean Dadimaa’s party was in the front year, a party in summer could not be better than outside the four walls, it’s Vicky the Viking’s thoughts. That’s what he calls himself. Dadimaa was off welcoming the guests, I am sure she might be gossiping there completely forgetting how irritated I’m.
Vicky and I were waiting for the ladies. Generally ladies take a out of time to dress up, now they’ll tie their hair this way or that way, this hairstyle or that shoe or they might fuss because of their gloss or lipsticks or their eyeliners. They stand at least 5 hours in front of the mirror. I sighed. “What are they doing?” I grumbled. “Bro, I bet they are trying the next heels” he said flopping on the couch. “Enough waiting, we are waiting since 30 minutes” I complained. “Actually” Vicky added helpfully “it’s been 25 minutes” I glared at him.
“ANNIE! GEET! Come down NOW” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “Now” Vicky repeated shouting too. I gave him one of my looks to shut him up. “Coming!” Annie said but till the next two minutes no one showed up. My patience was running out just then Akshay came behind me saying “Boo” We giggled and I admired him in his black jeans and clean white branded shirt. “How do I look Daddy?” he asked. I thumbed up at him. “Mama said I looked like a prince” he gushed. “You sure do”. He smiled and went to sit on Vicky’s lap. “Vivi uncle, you look good…”
Just then I saw Annie, in a blue party dress and blue heels coming down, I am very bad at fashion, never mind. I sucked my breathe when I saw Geet. Vicky gave a low whistle, I could not check his or Akshay’s expressions because I was too busy staring at Geet. She was draped in a white sari perfectly, white heels, white necklace or jewelries you add it, I never thought her hair was that long…
Annie and Bhiz were coming downstairs. Annie was as usual Princess Kate and Bhiz looked splendid. She was simply awesome. I just turned to check on Bhai and he was staring at Bhiz as if Angelina Jolie or Katrina Kaif just appeared in front of him, or worst. Even if Angelina or Katrina would appear, Bhai would behave normal not like me, freaking or worst.
Bhiz carefully climbed the stairs.
I had asked Annie about 99th time if I looked beautiful in this white sari. I checked my figure and powered my face. I applied my pale shade of pink lipsticks and brushed my hair. The white sari was excellent but did I look like a widow? Nope, because the jewelries were okay, not heavy at all and the heels too. But something was amiss?
Annie groaned when I mentioned what was amiss and she grunted saying “Sati Savitri symbol, how did I forgot? Vermillion and the…” Maan must have been angry as he had shouted our names while we were getting ready. I climbed downstairs carefully and saw Maan checking me out. Omigosh, I felt special.
Annie climbed quickly winking secretly to Vicky which I had accidentally seen. “Bhai, wait for Bhiz, till then me and Vicky will go, Zoe will be waiting for me!” and both of them hurried outside leaving me, Maan and Akshay alone. It must have been their plan! I turned pink when I saw Maan still looking at me when I climbed the last stair.
“Do I look that bad?” I asked softly as I approached them. Maan was taken aback as if he was in another planet before I asked him this question.”Eh? Woh…” he looked confused. “Do I look that bad?” I repeated. He shook his head and said “you look gorgeous Geet” I beamed like a Christmas tree at him. He looked surprised at his words and said “let’s go”
At the Party
Akshay baby had already gone to sleep. He was tired as it was 5 hours since his bed time. I had been around answering reporters’ questions and meeting the guests along with Maan. I moved next to Maan who was standing alone with a drink. He sipped his drink slowly. “Tired?” he asked. I gave a slight nod. “Get use to it, Mrs. Khurana” he smirked. I smiled brightly and said “maybe I might get use to it, or maybe not” He looked at me as if I was speaking Spanish or something. “What happened to you?” he asked. “I am just way to excited that you complimented on my dress” I said blushing “at least, ever since I am here” He snorted and I grimaced “wah, it was a really funny joke Mr. Khurana” I said. He shook his head in amazement. “Waise Maan, agar mein tumhe kuch kahoon toh you won’t take it bad, will you?” I asked. “Depends” he said. “Well, I am saying it because of my experience, not because that I want you, it’s because I experienced it too and it did not work – don’t try to let your past to come in your present and concentrate your future” I said. He looked shocked. I nodded and said “just try to do it”
I walked away, leaving him bewildered.
Start of Flashback
“Geet”, Anjali asked looking down below her bunk. Geet looked at the upper bunk. “Yes” Geet raised an eyebrow. “How long have you been collecting clippings on Maan Singh Khurana” she asked. “BT? Well, remember I was scrolling through the site of India’s newspaper – I noticed his photo and I was mesmerized for the longest moment, ever since I collect his photo, clippings and everything…See, I collect all his pictures and clippings from newspapers in this file” Geet said pointing to her drawer. Anjali took a deep breath and said “Geet, are you serious about him?” Geet giggled and said “yes, I am”. Anjali thought for a moment and said “Geet, he’s getting married…”. “I know, I wish him all the happiness of his life but that does not mean I can’t collect his pictures, it is not a crime” Geet laughed. “Maybe…not good night, we have Gary’s class tomorrow”
End of Flashback
I smiled but I felt my heart pierced by another horrible past. I knew why Anjali was behaving weirdly lately and I even saw her medical report but my step-sis had called me back, I did not get time to confront her and it was too late, just too late. I know how it is to feel that you’re a burden on every one.
I did not realize that one of the guest called me and I had smiled at them, they gave me a drink and I took…I remember I was looking for Maan. Oh right, I saw him chatting with a couple of guests, I went near him and said “Ma-a-a-a-n” and I smiled at the guests. I felt weird. The guests left and Maan looked at me shocked. I placed my hand on his shoulder and came closer and poked his chest “Maan, you look so handsome today-y-ay, did I-I s-s-s-ay that to…to you” I hissed in his eyes. “Geet” he said his eyes widening.
I was so surprised when Geet came next to me and telling me that she had experienced how it was in living a sad life. Her eyes were yearning for something…yearning for love…maybe I thought. She went away, leaving me amazed…Sometimes I wonder how many time she will keep changing herself from a caring mother to a funny bubbly girl to a broken and rejected girl to a house-wife…I wonder how many more forms I would see…
I was chatting with Mr. Black when Geet arrived bumping in me. She put her hand on my right shoulder and started to hiss “Maan, you look so handsome today, did I say that to you” It was so weird…so strange, the way she was bragging with the words…she looked like she was drunk! Yes, she was drunk as she was staring at me dreamily. “Geet, what did you drink?” I asked. She giggled, she looked really pretty “Every day I drink” she hissed coming closer. I pushed her a little…she was not in her sense. “Every day I drink poison of sadness…every day I d-d-d-rink, by the way Ma-a-a-n, did I tell you that I love you very much, ever since I was eighteen back in L-L-London” she hissed. She was just one inch from my face. First, there was sadness in her voice, her eyes were filled with terror then her eyes changed into affection…affection and care for me, when she said those words, it took me aback. Since she was 18? For goodness sake Maan, she’s drunk and she’s talking nonsense, right now, I needed to bring her in her room. I left holding her closely but she was drunk. She was going to chase a bat when I had to pull her by her waist. How is it difficult to control her? A bat, for hell’s sake! She hit against my chest and she gazed at me so lovingly. I was afraid, afraid of her looks. She smiled and pulled my hand and sat on the floor. “I am tired, I want to s-s-sit” she jeered. “Geet, it’s not the appropriate time!” I said. “I want to sit!” she said stubbornly. I tried to pull her but she was not listening so I dragged her and took her into my arms. She was gazing at me with those affectionate looks that made me scared. “I love you, Maan” she said and buried her head on my chest, shocking me to the core. She’s drunk for heaven’s sake. “Maan?” she asked gazing back at me with pleading innocent eyes. “Yes” I said looking at her as I shifted her weight and climbed the stairs, nearly reaching her bedroom. “Hmm” I replied annoyed. “Why are you like this?” she asked like an innocent baby. Huh.
I dropped her on the bed and she said angrily “can’t you be gentle with me for one time…for me? Look – I know you love Akshay and Riihaa but I am too a human, am I?” she asked absent-mindedly and pulled my arm, she dragged me so hard that I fell on the bed. She giggled and said “I love you Maan Singh Khurana” she giggled again like a teenager. I sighed and thought when she will get back to sense! She held my arm tightly and sat on her bed. “I want to tell you something”
“Asking won’t make any differences” I grumbled. “Right” she said burying her face on my shoulders. “I want to tell you a s-s-s-story” she hissed in my eyes. Huh. She was so close, her breathe was fanning my neck. She then started to pat her belly; her eyes were a bit red. “What happen?” I asked. “I am hungry” she said crinkling her nose. “Shut up” I said shaking my head and tucked her behind. She was sticking on me like glue. “So where was I?”
“You were going to sleep”
“Yeah, right” she said. I sighed in relief. “There was a girl, very, very simple, innocent but yet tangled in the complications of life” she started her story. Great, I thought she had forgotten about it. “Her name was…was…” she stopped and stared at me and smiled. “She lost her daddy when she was three, her family made her mother settled down…got married to another guy having 2 daughters”. I stared at her as her eyes were filled with tears and she almost choked her words. Maybe she was imagining herself as that girl in the story. Maybe she was wrong and just too drunk… “My mom tried to make everything peaceful, but the elder daughter did not like me, Geet, she managed to convince my mommy to let me go to study to England, London when I was 17. Mommy agreed” she said sadly. “She stole my mommy from me…I hate her…Maan, I was there, in London College, all alone, sad, when I even tried to be friend with my step-sisters. But the elder one always had a problem with me” she choked and shook my hand “why was it like this? Why? What did I do?” I stared speechless and let her place her head on my shoulders.
“I was so lonely in London, my younger step-sister was so kind that she lend me some jeans…I felt so weird, so strange, so lonely, I missed my home…then I met Anjali, my best friend, she was also from India but from Mumbai. We were soon so close to each other. Best friend” she said as a smile spread on her face. “But she left me too…like everyone…dad, mom, and even Anjali left me…we made friends with other foreign people, we were like a group, teasing, leg-pulling and all…”
“But one day, after 2 years, there was a phone-call, from Vijay, my step-dad, saying that Mom had passed away…see, she left me…alone…here…and Vijay got a heart-attack not lately and died too…I was all alone, in my old house, trying to survive…I had return from England…My step-sisters had gone to live with their mothers, leaving me all alone to live…”
I took a deep breath.
“Tell me what would I do? I knew you from newspapers clippings, and I came to know you…and…and…that you had a baby boy…he was so lovely and you know what, it was my Akshay, my baby…my…my…”
She dozed off…leaving me bewildered…with all what was happening…I closed my eyes…all I could see was…was…G-E-E-T
I managed to pull free from her grip. I did some research of how many percentages a person speak the truth being in a drunken state. Whatever. I will find it the next morning.
The first ray hit me. I quickly got up, showered and went to Geet’s room. She was not awake yet. So I paced her room waiting impatiently.
She woke up yawning up like a little baby. She stretched her arm and when she saw me she blushed red and looked down. She was quiet, I was quiet. The room was silent. Great, I am becoming a poet! Hey that rhymes! Whatever. “Maan” she mumbled embarrassed “I am very sorry…I don’t know, I just took a drink…I did not know it was alcoholic one…Maan, everything I blabbered, just ignore it…I was drunk, I was not in my sense” she finished looking extremely guilty.
“Right, even the one “I love you Maan Singh Khurana, do you deny it, Geet” I said coldly. She stared at me so shocked. She did not breathe. She kept staring at me as if I was a ghost. “I am waiting” I said. She closed her eyes deeply hurt. Her face was saying the answer. “Geet” I said quietly, “do you remember a little of what you said, please tell the truth, for Akshay’s sake at least”. I knew she would not deny it. I know she loves Akshay a lot. I don’t know much about Geet, except what she said if it was truth…but I know she loves Akshay very much even if he does not have a blood relation. I know I sound like those boring daily soaps but it’s the truth of my life.
Geet nodded. “I remember that I told you a story about myself…till I was left all alone…” she mumbled tears gathering in her eyes. The tears become blur and slipped down her cheeks. “Geet” I said hurt. I sat down next to her. She was trying to drape her body well with that white sari. She was trembling. I placed my hand onto hers. “Geet, please talk to me…was you left all alone on your own?” I asked. “Geet, trust me, I won’t hurt you…” she bit her lips, she cried silently and abruptly hugged me. I patted her back and I felt as if current ran into my body. Her skin was so soft…fair…creamy…”Yes, Maan it’s the truth…I was all alone” she mumbled. “Geet…try to forget it…remember you yourself told me that never live in the past, it always hurt…” she nodded.
“Ahem…ahem…” came a voice that shook me and Geet, broke our hug.
The first ray of the sunshine hit my eyes. I groaned and moaned. I flinched. I did not want to wake up. It’s so early. I groaned as I feel my duvet slipping down the bed. I sat on the bed and yawned and stretched. Amazing morning. My head feels so heavy as if there is a big stone of rock on it. Oh no! I drank something last night! I drank vodka? Beer? Whisky? Rum? Gin? I don’t know but It was an alcoholic drink. Maan carried me to my room alright…wait ‘ did I tell him something? Some rubbish?
The something turned out to be part of my life, the painful moments of my life. My eyes watered. I know I will cry. Babaji, why do you do this to me only? I know Babaji that you love me very much but I am not the only person who needs all troubles and problems in my life, do I? When I woke up, I saw a figure moving, I saw it blurry. I blinked for a couple of times and saw it was my Maan whom I said I-L-U last night. It was so embarrassing. He was pacing the floor waiting for me to wake up. I knew I was going to have an earful of the nonsense I had spoken and a lecture about my health and all. I mumbled embarrassed that I was sorry. Nope, he ignored it completely and asks if he does not hear it. He asks me if all I said was true including my confession in my drunken state. I did not answer but I know that it was well written on my face. He gave me Akshay’s sake. You know, Akshay is not my son, at least we don’t have any blood relation but I love him more than my life. Maybe it’s because I know that I cannot have my own child…I guess so, but anyway, I love this little boy not because he’s my Maan’s son but because he’s a child so lovely and I am so fond of him. I reckon that I started to love Akshay since the day I saw his photo printed on the newspapers headlined “Khurana Heir Born”.
Maan kept looking at me. I feel my cheeks going red and warn. I notice my belly part sticking out, my drape slightly going over my shoulders. More embarrassed that before, I pull it well. I know I was trembling…I don’t know what happened next except I fell in his arm like a hurricane crying helplessly. The hug was so warm, so comfortable. I could hear my heart beating 1 million times per second. You do the math. I wonder if he could hear my heart beat as it was so loud. I ignore this and hug him more tightly. I push my head on his shoulder slightly brushing my tears with his sleeve. Yuck, I wonder where my manners went!
“Ahem…ahem” broke us all apart. It was…Akshay clearing his throat seeing us in such a hug. I was so embarrassed. We pull apart, shy and I tried to cover myself more. Maan looked at me amazed, staring fixed. I blushed looking down. But Akshay did not notice.
“Mama! Guess what? Guess what!” he said breathlessly! He had already dress up and I was still in the same sari. “Wait a minute son” Maan cut him off. Akshay looked crushed. I pulled him on my lap and kissed his cheek. “Let you mama go and brush her teeth and take a bath…” he told Akshay. Akshay looked at me and beamed “Eww…Mama has not brush her teeth…smell…smell…smell…” he chanted and Maan glared at him. In my whole life, I think it was the quickest shower of all. Of course, Maan and Akshay were waiting for me. I smiled at them and Akshay jumped on my lap. “Mama…Papa…guess what?” he said. “What?’ Maan asked. “I told you to guess!” he said indignantly. Then he saw our confused face and blurted out “I know how to sing Twinkie Twinkie!”
“Huh?” was Maan’s reaction. “I mean Twinkle Twinkle” Akshay said rolling his eyes. “Sing” I asked him. Maan was smiling at his childish face. “Twinkle, Twinkle, little star…” he began breathlessly. After he finished, Maan and I clapped our hands. Maan gave me a big chocolate and I pulled him again kissing his head. “Miss thought us” he said proudly. Then he added cheekily “Twinkling twinling mummy’s nose, she looks like a ghost!” Maan gave Akshay a five and they both laughed out of their head. I poked Maan on his shoulder. “Wah…” I said sarcastically. “Mama’s a ghost!” Akshay chanted and repeated. “Fine!” I said indignantly “I won’t talk to you…both” I added and turned my back to them. Akshay whispered to Maan “don’t worry, I know how to pacify Mama, but what will you do?”
I did not talk to them…5 minutes passed. Akshay had gone downstairs. Maan also had gone. I stayed in my room sulking. Akshay entered the room holding a bunch of red roses. I smiled. Maan was standing next to him with a bouquet of red roses and white lilies. My throat went dry. Maan remembered my likes.
Akshay gave me the flowers and said “sorry Mama…but I joked” I kissed him again and he said stubbornly “I am grown up now don’t smooch all over me”. We giggled. Maan gave me the bouquet, his eyes shining. “Now, come on, talk” he ordered. “Because we need to go to work now”
I groaned. “Oh right” I rolled my eyes. “Bouquets for work” I sulked. “Nope” he said and added in a serious tone “Bouquets for you to talk to me, share to me”. My heart almost stopped. I looked shocked. “Geet” he said gently taking my hand in his “I want to know…but only if you…tell” he said huskily. My heart skipped a beat. I closed my eyes and nodded. “Geet, you know everything on me…and I want to share your pain…and I want to try my best not to hurt you again…” I nodded again. He leaned and squeezed my arm. Akshay got bored of this and left screaming “Ann aunt” at the top of his lungs.
How was I going to tell Maan? That Anjali died…I was left all alone…how I found him in the park…
Start of Flashback
“Look at the mess of this room” Geet grumbled. “Wonder why Anj is now! Argghh” she complained removing her bag and throwing it on the bed. Geet started to clean their dorm. Everything was up and down. She kept grumbling. She noticed a crumbled paper under Anjali’s bed. “Huh? What’s this?” she asked opening it. It was a report…a medical report…belonging to Anjali’s. She looked at it even though she knew she did not had the right. She was cheating on her best friend. But Anjali never told her of going to the doctor? So why was she hiding? Geet heart’s almost stopped when she saw the report…She wished she never read it…”FINAL STAGE OF CANCER” it was written!
I gasped. She sniffled trying to hide that she had already started crying. “Geet”, I said touching her shoulders; she was trembling, her eyes filled with tears, she bit her lips looking at me. I knew she was going to break down in some minutes. How could I have misunderstood her when I first met her? How could I be so heartless? She grabbed my hand for support. She closed her eyes remembering those painful incidents, like they were flashing in her eyes. “I did not know how to live alone, I got an email that mom was terribly ill…Vi told me that he had already booked tickets for me and I was coming to India by the next available flight…when I reached home I came to knew it was not a horrible illness…it was an disease which had no remedy…mom was safe, sound, away from all illness and sadness…away from this world” she said choking her words breathing heavily. “I felt so empty…” she mumbled continued. I made her sat on the bed, she was already weak. “And some months later Vi turned out to have diabetes and also left, my step-sisters, the elder one named Mansha and the younger and nice one was Meera, their mom called them to live with her and they left. Although Meera protested that she was not going to leave me alone, I told her to go…I was so scary to live alone…I never experienced it…I never got a chance to talk to Anj nor the others. I would usually get calls from my friends and yeah, Anj never survive…she left me too like others did…it was so horrible” she finished. I knew how it was to be left all alone…when Riihaa left me; it was like I was a living corpse. I wonder if I ever realized that I had a son to look after until Dadimaa scolded me enough and made me fill guilty and I took a decision to marry Geet. I hugged her and whispered “don’t worry…you’re not alone…even I felt that void in my life”. She snuggled closer, I let her, she was too tired to fight and lie, she needed to tell someone all this problem and it was me. “I…” she was continued but I shushed her up mumbling “I went through it”. She held me tighter… “I know, I saw you…” she said. “Huh?” I asked puzzled and she answered “the other day…you were in –…” she started when we heard a knock at the door. We broke up quickly.
“Bhai? Are you in Bhiz’s room?” someone asked. It was Vicky. “Yes…” I called. He opened the door and stepped in eyeing us suspiciously. “What were you doing behind a closed door” he sang. “What?” I cried and glanced at Geet who went deep red. “Nothing…” she fibbed “just talking…” she said and I nodded in agreement. Vicky bought the story and said “okay someone is waiting for you” he said and put on his headset and went away without telling anything who was waiting outside.
I saw a woman’s back talking excitedly to Dadimaa who was grinning, her smile million kilometers wide.
“Theek hein, tum Maan aur Akshay se bath karo, if they agree only then Geet will come with you” Dadimaa answered. The woman smiled still very excited. Geet looked like she knew the person. She smiled at me and I smiled back. She was happy, maybe the person was someone that Geet knew, but whoever it was it definitely brought Geet’s smile back.
“Dekho, woh aah gaye” Dadimaa said pointing to us. The woman turned and Geet grinned so did the lady. “Geeet!” she said excitedly, her eyes glittering with her excitement but Geet ignored her and scowled “I am sure you came to the wrong address – this is Khurana Mansion” she said looking away. Was she arrogant about it? Nope, she was pretending she did not know the girl but the girl looked hurt and then she smiled. “Kyun Geet, you forgot me” she said as sarcastic as Geet had replied her. “Yes, I forgot you…nahi, it’s you who forgot me anyway” she scowled again folding her arms to her chest. “Let me introduce myself then” the girl said cheekily “mein – Sania, the one whose brother had stolen your shoes and you had locked him outside the house in his underwear!” Sania finished. What? Underwear – Geet? Since I came to know her, she keeps surprising me. She blushed red and glanced at me uneasily. I also came to know one thing – Geet loves playing pranks! Then Sania seemed to notice me and came to greet me “hi, I am Sania, Geet’s neighbour and friend, I am getting married day after tomorrow, can Geet come to the wedding?” she asked. “Hmm, yeah” I replied shrugging “I guess she can come”. “Loh, mera matlab tha…that you too come! I mean, you’re my friend’s husband, right?” she said briskly. I was shocked –Geet was shocked too. She gave me a scared look. “Woh…kya hein nah Sani…” Geet butted in knowing that I did not like these things when I interrupted “fine then”. Sania beamed at me. Geet looked at me, her eyes shining with gratitude. “Okay, since you already became my jija now, then you should let Geet come to stay till the wedding – 1 night only…and she will come today itself” Sania said giggling. What? Hey man, what was this – no way, what about Akshay and me? I mean, office! “No” Geet said shyly “I can’t” she mumbled. “Kyun?” she asked suspiciously “you don’t have to cook, wash dishes…at my place, we will have loads of fun…even Meera will be there, she’s dying to meet you, Pinky too and lots of our friends” Sania said sadly. Geet looked happy for a moment and then said crestfallen “no, yaar, I got to go to office and mera beta, he can’t live without me for even a second” Geet replied. Geet was eager to meet Meera and her other friends but for my son’s sake, she would stay home without enjoying at her friend’s wedding…
I close my eyes, I sigh…my heart; broken…
I don’t know how long I’ll be like this…
I lost everything…nothing is mine…nobody I could call mine…
I lie all alone…afraid of this cold…I shivered…I cried…
Nobody heard…I hurdled in my cold corner…
Waiting to scream for help me…[first page]
We hugged. Tightly. I snuggled closer. I felt broken, tired…of fighting…I couldn’t take it…he patted my back whispering in my ears, his breathe fanning my neck. It was the second time we were so close…I knew it…I had saw how broken he was with Riihaa’s death. He couldn’t even look after Akshay. I had seen him…in the park…the other day…I snuggled closer hitting his hard chest. I felt safe, away from all worries…he was there for me…I knew it!
A knock! I hate this knock! We broke apart uneasily. I blushed and he took my hand on his, I blushed. Vicky entered and said that someone was waiting for us. We went; at once I knew who she was – Sania, my neighbour. She was there for me when Meera and Mansha left. She was able to make me smile in all the problems of my life. She abruptly asked Maan to let me go with her tonight. I guessed even Maan was startled with her straight-forwardness. I didn’t know how to tell Sania that I could not come over for 1 night. What would Akshay do without me? And who will take care of Maan at the office? How was I going to explain this to Sania. Even though I desperately wanted to go, I wanted to meet Meera and Pinky, have fun, play those dirty little pranks as if I was young again.
I gave Maan a sad look and denied to Sania but what Maan said next shocked me to the core and made me felt very special. “I assume that you can go” Maan said. I gasped looking at her. He gave me a goo-goo eyes, I met his gaze, staring at him without blinking. I knew I looked liked an owl with those big round eyes of mine. Scratch this. “But Akshay?” I managed to say it in a husky whisper still staring at him. Maan whispered to me “I know I am handsome no need to stare like that, your friend there is thinking you’re crazy”. That startled me more. And grinned whispering back “I know, I am crazy…in some ways…but I love staring at you” and I giggled silently. “Well, I can look after Akshay very well” Maan said defensively. I did not argue at this point. “See, scary cat…now pack up your bags, meeting at six at my house, see ya, thank you” she said waving to Maan and turned to Dadimaa adding “thanks Dadiji” and left.
Maan went upstairs to his room and I followed him. “By the way, Geet, I start getting scared to stay around you” he confessed. “Kyun? Do I look like an owl?” I asked hurt sitting on his bed but when he glared at me, I quickly stood up. “No, you play a lot of pranks” he smirked “you don’t look like an owl; instead you’re a very beautiful angel”. I blushed looking down. “By the way are you sure you’ll be able to handle my son” I said raising an eyebrow. “Koi shaq” he smirked again. “Nope…but over confidence kills” I grinned. “Abb jao…warna your friend will come and stalk at me for not having sent you to your girly parties” he smirked again. He was so smug! I was shocked! I mean, come on, I never saw Maan like that; I am talking about the angry Maan Singh Khurana here! I came closer and I pinched me, it was sort of a silly trick that I and my friends used to do. “Oh god, was The Maan Singh Khurana that smug?” I said puffing. Maan smirked again. I could not take it. “By the way, Maan, if you can’t handle Akshay…” I grinned challenging him. I love to play this new game with my Maan. “Then? Then you can do anything you opt for” he retorted. “Oh really, if I win that is if you can’t handle Akshay who will be missing me badly, I’ll kiss you on the cheek” I joked. Maan face darkened. I couldn’t take it, I stifled my laugh, then I started to laugh very loudly on Maan’s face. I covered my mouth and said still giggling “you’re face…for the first time, Geet Khurana made The Maan Singh Khurana scared!”. I continued to giggle. He did not go mad when I addressed myself as a Khurana…remember he told me I was his wife now…Maan was still in a state of shock after my abrupt laughter. He grabbed my hand and dragged me even closer. This closeness can kill…I started to lose my sense…”Theek hein, if you win…you will kiss me twice…if I win – I’ll…” he said. Twice a kiss was like a piece of cake for me! Maan, did you ever know how much I love you…? “Did you get such a big shock” I smiled. He smirked. My heart pounded. I waited. “I’ll…no…you’ll…umm…what shall you do? I’ll go shopping with you after the wedding” he smiled. What a bet! I hugged him and smiled and whispered just near his ears “done!”. Third Time! Party Time! I realized what I was doing, I broke apart, he was still shocked, I went pale…and closed my eyes in fear “I am sorry…I am sorry” I kept chanting in a mumble, I backed. Thank Babaji…he saved me from facing Maan. “Bhiz! Are you in here? Bhiz? Do you need help with your packing, accessories and clothing?” Annie called. I quickly answered rushing out of the room not facing Maan “yes!”
Annie sorted me with the dresses. Just then Maan came in and signaled to Annie with her eyes to go. She left; I was so scared that I did not dare to look in his eyes. “Why are you frightened?” Maan asked. I glowered and lowered my gaze fixing his chest. “I…” I mumbled. “Geet” he said shaking his head “I won’t throw you out of the house…” he continued. I did not dare to look at his face. “I would think twice before doing this…” he grinned. I looked in his eyes, he was smirking…I opened my mouth to apologize and he said my words “I am sorry – I did not intend to hug you, sorry” he imitated my voice. I gave a small smile. Just then Akshay came running in the room and looked at us. He said breathlessly “Mama…I’ll miss you” and he grinned. He gave me a big cuddle. I kissed his earlobe. “Are you sure you’ll be able to sleep?” I asked. He glared at me and frowned. “I will read you a bedtime story” Maan offered. He scowled. Maan and I exchanged looks. “I can live without you for a month” he said. “What?” I cried looking hurt. “Okay for two days…” Akshay smirked just like Maan did. “I will be able to look after myself” he confided “I am not scared…I am sure its Daddy who’ll come to sneak in your room at night to meet you”. Maan was so shocked so was I. Maan shook his head disbelieving it was Akshay who was rattling on. “Come on, it’s time” Maan said and offered me a help. I waved at Akshay and Maan. Akshay was on attached on Maan’s right leg pretending to be brave.
I entered the house, it was decorated very beautifully. Before I could even think of anything else, somebody grabbed me and hugged me. “Geet! I am so happy to see you again…hey bhagawan…look how you are the same? Do you eat? How thin you’re?” Meera said. I smiled and said “you sure changed”. “Yeah” Meera added sadly “I am becoming fatter and fatter” and she patted her belly. I was startled! “Meera…am I becoming an aunt?” I asked excitedly. She blushed and we hugged again. “I thought your son will come with you” Meera added. “Nope, he’s with his Daddy and he said that Maan will come at night to sneak in my room as if…” I giggled. She touched my hand gently and said “are you happy?” I smiled and asked “do I look?” she grinned and retorted “definitely!” We talked and talked, hours passed. I started to miss Akshay. It was the time I would get him ready for bed or sometimes I would read him a story. I glanced at the clock. Meera, Pinky and Sania were seated on the bed. “Yaar” Sania complained “it has not even being some hours and you’re already missing them”. I blushed. Meera and Pinky laughed like crazy, I chucked a cushion at them.
My phone started to ring. It was Maan. “Hello…” I greeted “aren’t you getting any sleep…no wait…you can’t get Akshay to bed” I smirked. Glancing at my friends, I left the room for privacy. “Worst” Maan said in a serious tone. My heart started to beat faster. “Maan…what happened?” I asked. “Nothing…” he replied. “Just come downstairs” he instructed. “What?” I asked confused. “Just come, nah”. “Alright” I answered.
When I reached outside, I saw Maan and Akshay leaning against Maan’s car. Akshay was fussing and Maan had his arms to his chest looking cross. I ran like a little girl and hugged Akshay kissing his earlobe again. “I told you” I said to him angrily. “Nooo” he said smugly “Akshay just wanted to see if you were sleeping well in this new environment” he said sarcastically. He was so sarcastic. Akshay frowned sulkily and said “yes” and turned to me. “Papa was missing you so I suggested to come here” he said proudly and hugged me. “Were you sleeping?” he asked. I shook my head for a no. “So Maan, where you missing me?” I asked. He looked surprised as I teased him.
“Time to go now” I told Akshay. “Alright, Papa had a nice time talking to you…bye”
What will you say? Maan was missing me or Akshay was throwing all the guilt on Maan!
What was I going to do when Akshay had been repeating: Daddy can’t we just go to see Mummy? I mean…if she’s fine and all that…
“Do you think she ate?”
“Do you think she remembered me?”
“Do you think she realized it’s my milk time?”
“Is she sleeping now?”
“Can I call her? Please Daddy?”
I had refused her inventing some excuses but he started to sob and I couldn’t bear my baby to cry…that is why I went to Sania’s place. I rang Geet on her cell and told her to come downstairs. Now if she ever do something without questioning me would be good. Geet came outside and was shocked to see us. As usual all the hugging‘s and kissing‘s went on and Geet smirked at me. “I told you that you wouldn’t be able to do it” she said. Yeah right…if only Akshay would have been more “cooperative”. In return Akshay blamed that it was me who was missing Geet to death. Geet giggled knowing he was lying and I added sarcastically:
“Yeah right, it was me who said – Daddy, can I call her now? Daddy is she sleeping, Daddy, did she eat? Daddy…did mummy…” I said and Geet smacked me lightly on the arm. Akshay had turned bright red and mumbled “see Mama, how he lies…he’s just a good liar” and I shook my head. Geet stroked his hair and smiled at me. “Yes” she said her eyes twinkling “he’s a liar”. What? Both of them are conspiring against me, that for sure. I scowled and Geet giggled, Akshay started to giggle and I smiled. We were like a happy family. I smiled and I looked at Geet. She was an angel. Akshay yawned. “Daddy…now I want to sleep” he confessed. “Do you want me to go home with you?” Geet asked Akshay and glanced at me. I was not going to bring him here in the morning! “Nope” Akshay said “I told you I can live but this Daddy, nah, he just like you too much” Akshay said. We were quite shocked but Geet blushed even though he was speaking anything to get attention. “Women” I muttered enough loud for Geet to hear “they always know how to turn red“. Geet glared at me and I shut up and looked as if I was scared. “Oh my god, save me, I am scared…” I grinned and Geet hit my arm again. “Can we go Daddy?” Akshay asked. I grinned again and we went home.
Not to be pushy, the wedding was okay. It turned out that Geet came wearing a blue sari with golden glitters or whatever you call that – borders! She looked so pretty…I felt bad…all those promise…I made…Geet caught me…again…
“What happened?” she asked as she dragged me in a quiet corner.
“Nothing” I replied. She closed her eyes and replied softly “Akshay was right you’re liar”. “I am not a liar” I snapped coldly. She didn’t look scare. “I saw you drooling over me” she laughed. “What?” I cried. She giggled. “Stop it” I said looking away. “No!” she said earnestly “I saw you checking me since the ceremony started…I know I look beautiful thank you” she blushed. I rolled my eyes “do you think you’re an angel?”. Okay, I admitted it that she looked like one. She looked hurt. Riihaa is dead, dead, dead, Maan, Dadimaa’s voice rang.
“All those promises you’d made to her are now over…life does not stop here…she’s dead…I know right now you’re angry for me telling you all this…but when she’s not here in this world – those vows…those promises do not have a meaning…yet – they have another meaning…you’re marrying Geet…all those vows…you’re going to do it again…you knew Riihaa did not die because of the accident…you knew she was ill…she had told you before your marriage…but you thought to spend her days with her…it had to go like this one day…Geet is your future…you had accepted the fact that one day she was going to go away from you…Geet is your future…you have to live with her…”
She had told me all that a few hours before my marriage to Geet. “Does it hurt that much?” Geet asked her eyes boring mine. She was closer. I snapped out of my thoughts. “Does it hurt?” she asked. “Yes…” I mumbled “a lot…” She read my mind and said “I am happy Maan…i know you felt bad about it…i did not mean to make you remember these things…” she said.
I smiled. “You know what’s better than that?” I asked and answered “you!” She smiled and patted my cheek “dadimaa told me…” I was confused “she did not want me to break after the…” she trailed. “She was right…” I said and returned her pat. She smiled. “Do you think we can work it out?” I asked. She smiled “I have my whole life…Maan for waiting…I’ll wait for you.” I smiled. “Than –”I started and Geet interrupted “don’t thank me – thank our destiny”.
I love it. Everything. The whole wedding was excellent. Maan, I’ll keep waiting for you…forever…
When we were back…everything was smooth. Vicky and Annie were still fighting forever. Akshay was still trying to learn “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and Dadimaa was still the “mistress” of the house ordering Maan.
I was busy fussing over the flower vase which Vicky had “accidentally” broken by teasing Annie and had tossed his elastic ball which had hit against the vase. It was a Japanese one which was so pretty. Annie was grinning evilly at Vicky and he was so crushed that his face was worth to watch. Maan was annoyed as he climbed down the stairs. He glanced at us and shook his head. I smiled. Dadimaa and Akshay came whispering about something and giggling loud. Just then someone entered the mansion. She pushed the door and trotted in a stylish way. She wore high heels and pants with a blouse that seem to be too tight for her and the colour did not match.
“The evil queen is back” Vicky whispered to Annie. “Yeah” Annie moaned “why has she come for?” Annie continued “I don’t like her”. I sucked my breath and thought “who was she?” Her face broke into a smile as she saw Maan, Maan did not stir and had a serious face. I glanced at Dadimaa, her face was twitched in pain and Akshay did not know why the house drew into silence. Vicky looked annoyed and tapped his feet. The woman’s eyes fell on Akshay and her smile grew wider. I could recognise her eyes but I could not remember who she was? Her gaze met mine and her smile changed to a straight line. She was not happy to see me, I could tell you. She saw my confused face and smirked “I am Naintara” she said. Naintara who, I wanted to ask. Why they called you evil queen? Why Dadimaa did not like you. I was still confused and she added “I am Akshay’s aunty”.
I was shocked. I never knew Riihaa had a sister. They never told me. I wanted to ask:
Maan still did not smile. “I am here for Akshay” she added as if it was not a big deal. “Can I stay jiju…I mean Mr. Khurana, I have that much right, don’t I?” she said smugly. Maan did not react “I guess you can” without throwing even a glance at me. She went and hugged Akshay. She signaled a servant to carry her bags and she went directly to the guestroom dragging Akshay with her leaving me staring in shock. Maan went away storming in a rage; Dadimaa went silently in her room avoiding my gaze. Only Vicky and Annie stared uneasily at me. “Err…” I started feeling nervous “I guess she has that much right” I mumbled. “I don’t think so” Annie snapped coldly. “Look, I know you had problems adjusting yourself when you were 13 but now you’re grown up, Annie” I explained. “It’s not about this” she argued “it’s about I never liked her…I don’t know why she’s here…” she mumbled. “It’s okay with me…” I whispered and thought if I had confidence in what I was saying. Get a life Geet, I told myself, she’s Akshay Masi and she has much right on Akshay than you do. She’s her real auntie, Akshay’s mom’s sister. “Bhiz…I don’t trust her intentions at all…just beware…I’ll be keeping an eye on her…no worry” Vicky said seriously. I thought that they knew more than they were telling me right now. It was all a mystery…a secret that they were hiding from me. I shrugged and said “I hope we – you are not making this as a big deal” I said. “If only…” Vicky muttered.
“Akshay…” I shouted “it’s your lunch time” I said bringing his sandwiches in his room. Akshay was drawing with Naintara…I did not mind, I did not mind…yes I do…I do mind, he would only draw with me! Naintara got up and came closer to me. Her eyes were filled with anger and hatred for me as if I killed her sister – yes as if I killed her sister… “I’ll make him eat” she said. “Huh?” I did not want her to feed him! “I said I will feed him!” she repeated. “Oh…Okay” I found myself saying in a small voice. She looked at me from head to toe “you’re beautiful…that must be what Maan jiju saw in you” she smirked. My heart sank. What did she mean? I did not bother to explain. I felt she knew a lot about me. And I knew nothing. I wanted to snap but I decided to ignore.
“By the way” She continued guessing my insecurity “I have more right on Akshay than you…” she smirked. “Of course” I said in a small voice “you’re his auntie”. She smirked again.
“Hmm…Geet, that’s what you’re name…you’re very different from Sis” she continued. ‘Sis’ must stood for ‘Riihaa’. I did not need to be told to know that I was the opposite of Riihaa for god’s sake. She checked me up and down again.
And she sneered “you’ll have a nice time…with me around” and I was baffled.
What did she mean? What was she going to do? Was she the Evil Queen? She chuckled and took Akshay’s hand dragging him downstairs leaving me speechless…
kshay barged into the room with his face white. He looked like he had choked. He coughed. He coughed badly, his nose was running, his eyes were watering, and his nose was red so was his cheeks. He hugged me and started to cry.
“What did you eat?” I asked.
“Daddy…” he said and coughed badly and continued “ice-cream”.
“What?” I was shocked. He had been warned by the doctor not to eat ice-cream then why did he eat? Why did Geet give him ice-cream? His lungs seemed to be blocked, I mean his respiratory system. I held his hand and dragged him to Geet’s room. Geet was fussing over the colours of her salwar kameez.
“Red…where is my red churidar…? Babaji…yesterday I saw it here and now…where did it vanish?” she cried. I grunted. Akshay coughed and Geet turned in shock. My eyes were burning with anger. “What happened?” Geet asked staring at me, her eyes widened with shock and then at Akshay. He coughed again holding his chest.
“What happened?” I remarked sarcastically. “That’s what exactly I was going to ask you!”
“Huh” she said confused. “Stop being all innocent” I snapped. “You knew he can’t eat cold food stuffs then why did you give him ice-cream!” I screamed. I clenched my fists. Geet looked scared but she did not back behind. “I did not give him ice-cream!” she protested. I did not take any notice.
“Oh really” I said drily. “Of course, why would you care ‘ he isn’t your child after all” I snapped icily. Geet stared at me mouth-opened. It just came into my mouth and I rambled. She made me angry. “Finally you showed your true nature” I screamed. “Shut up, just shut up” she raised her voice. “Akshay wasn’t with me all the day” she claimed. “Oh really…tell me then with whom he was” I rolled my eyes. Akshay started to cry and said between his sobs “I ‘ was…with ‘”and he sniffed “with…Naintara Masi” and coughed. He clutched my pants and buried his face. I looked at Geet but she looked away disgusted. I found myself yelling to a servant to call Naintara.
She looked dazed and asked “what happened?” and looked at a messed-up Akshay.”Did you give Akshay ice-cream?” I asked seriously. “Oh ‘ yeah, didn’t you tell your mother, we went to the ice-cream parlor”. “Naintara!” I gritted “Akshay doesn’t eat cold stuffs” and “he now has a cold”. “Oh” she said and looked miserably at Akshay “I am really sorry…Geet did not tell me that!”
“What?” Geet said startled. “Did you even tell me where you were going and where you were taking Akshay” she snapped hotly. “Why would I tell you?” Naintara said warily with a heavy sarcasm “who are you to me…?”
“Right” Geet muttered rolling her eyes and took Akshay by the hand who looked fearfully at Geet. “Come on, you need to clean up” she said and left. Okay, okay, so sue me for talking to Geet like that. I mean, when you’re angry, you don’t have control over your mouth, especially me! “Couldn’t you tell Geet before going?” I asked bitterly. “Why would I tell her?” she asked annoyingly. “Because she’s Akshay’s mom, she knows what he’s allergy of” I retorted. “As far as I know Geet was never Akshay’s mother” she snapped glaring at me. “But my sister was!”. “Stop it Naintara! Don’t you get it ‘ Akshay loves Geet and I love Akshay!” I snapped. “Oh really ‘ don’t tell me you don’t have a feeling for that girl!” she laughed coldly. I glared at her “what do you mean?”
“I mean that you do like her ‘ and sometimes I think ‘ you like her more than my sister!” she said her voice going high pitch. “Shut up” I glared at her and spat “don’t you say this”. She chuckled and looked away “see…you even forgot Riihaa Di” and glared at me miserably. “Don’t you see what this girl want ‘ your money Mr. Maan Singh Khurana, she wants fame and name! Loving Akshay is just a pretense to be closer to you ‘ for you to trust her…” she snorted “alas you are lost in her beauty to think all of that…”
“Naintara, stop it” Maan said in a calm but firm voice. Naintara shook her head in hatred and walked huffily away.
Don’t you see what this girl wants ‘ your money…she wants fame and name…loving Akshay is just a pretense… pretense…a pretense…
This voice inside of me kept ringing louder and louder every second.
Ignore, I reminded myself.
I stood gaping at Maan. How could he say that? I thought he understood me, but he never did. Slash, I thought we were going pretty good together but heck it wasn’t…
Was he just playing with me? I doubted so. I hated what he said but I could not reply back, not in front of a coughing sick Akshay.
Thank Babaji that he was too busy coughing and sneezing that he had not remarked Maan saying that “of course, he isn’t your child” damn thing. I hate you Maan, I hate you…I wonder why I thought he was like way too cool when I saw him on the television news ‘ I wonder why I liked him so much over his interview ‘ why I used to drool over his clippings … How I could thought he was mega intelligent intellectual when he was rambling nonsense!
I felt a shiver running through my body. It wasn’t a cold feeling, it was hatred. Why was I hating him all a sudden…because, whatever he said was right? Was it right that I was purposely pampering Akshay just to be closer to him? Was he?
Damn it Geet, he’s making you crazy. Nope, he may never be yours but that doesn’t have any connections between you and Akshay…hey babaji, why did you bring this man in my life.
Start of Flashback
Geet walked on the green grass. She heard a laughter. Children’s were laughing and smiling. She kept looking down and thought “whatever happened with me was destined? But what happened to MSK was horrible…for goodness’s sake Babaji, Maan Khurana had a son and you took away the mother of that child, what was his fault in that?” Geet thought as she walked silently.
She walked and walked in the park going in rounds. She saw a small baby who had just learned how to crawl. The baby was crawling on the grass. He was playing with the soil and had nearly eaten the soil. Nobody was taking care of him. The baby was a boy; he had on blue overalls and did not have any hair which was so cute. Geet was angry; she looked at the guardian and her heart skipped a beat ‘ Maan Khurana.
“Maan Khurana?” she whispered. Yes, it was MSK, he was too busy in his thoughts that he did not think about the child. She was still angry but she felt sad too, Maan looked lost obviously thinking about the lost of his wife. She went over and cradled the baby in her arms. She poked the baby and smiled. The baby laughed and put his finger in her mouth and Geet removed it shaking her head still smiling. Maan was still lost in his thoughts when his eyes widened and heard his son laughing. He glared at Geet and quickly stood up and demanded in an angry voice “who are you?”
Geet tried to answer but Maan snatched the baby from her. “How dare you touch my child? Who are you? Were you trying to attempt on kidnapping my child? Do you even know who am I? Don’t dare to mess with me! Do you know whose son’s you were holding? Don’t you…” he continued in an angry tone when Geet rolled her eyes and said “Maan Singh Khurana, hein nah, that’s your name and the baby must be Junior Singh Khurana” Geet said calmly.
“Who are you?” Maan demanded furiously, his eyes went red with anger. He held Akshay tighter. Geet spoke softly “I did not intend to hurt”. Maan’s anger was beyond control and said “don’t you dare, you are in deep trouble now, Miss, you should not have mess with me”. Geet lost her calm and snapped “yeah right, as if you were taking great care of the baby, nope, you were just morning on your loss”.
Maan was shocked.
“You know what ‘ instead of blaming others; try to find your own mistake Mr. MSK, you’ve lost someone precious in your life, alright, you can’t change the truth, but that person did leave a memory that cannot be wiped, your child, he’s a gem and yet, you are crying over spilt milk, just take care of your son instead” Geet said the last words more calmly. Maan was staring at her shocked. Geet herself was shocked. Tears formed and slipped down her cheeks. “I am sorry…sorry…s-s-orry” she muttered. She clapped her hand over her mouth and backed behind and ran away before Maan could say anything.
End of Flashback
“You misunderstood me at the first meeting and now you’re still misunderstanding me” I thought. Akshay looked at me, his eyes filled with terror. “Mama, I did not want Papa to scream at you” he weeped. “I was scared, I was a scary cat, I should have protested, I am bad, nah? I should have protested…Mama do you hate me?” he wiped.
I shook my head and kissed his cheeks. “Sshh, your Dad has a terrible anger” I mumbled. Hey ho, who was I persuading ‘ Akshay or myself. Maan peered in the room and entered sheepishly looking at me, I shrugged and looked away.
gave Akshay some medicine and made him go to sleep. He was tired, sort of tired of coughing. I slipped in my bed, covered myself with my blanket and started to cry. I could not help it.
Why was I crying anyway? All he said was true. I sighed and struggled with my pillow. I heard a knock. I did not answer or you’d say I did not want to. I was too tired for that. It was too much. How much could I take? To tell you the truth I did not know. I was broken. I knew, I sensed it was Maan. Yeah, he came to apologize. First he commited the mistake and then he came to apologize.
“Geet” Maan whispered. I did not move, I did not reply. “I know you’re pretending that you’re sleeping but it’s not a good tactic to avoid Maan Singh Khurana” he said. “Good guess” I muttered.
“Geet” he said louder. “You aren’t that dumb Mr. Khurana” I said turning to face him. My tears had not dried yet. “Huh?” he asked confused. I rolled my eyes and cleared my throat saying “didn’t you get the hint ‘ I want you to leave” I said eying the door.
“Oh” he replied sitting down next to me. He was really irritating me. “But I want to talk to you” he answered softly. So softly that…oh no, I won’t think about that. “And I don’t want to” I snapped back at him. He held my hand and I struggled for not seeing his face. I closed my eyes. “Come on Geet, you claim that you love me, and by shutting your eyes you won’t forget my face” he chuckled.
Under the lights tonight You turned around, and you stole my heart With just one look, when I saw your face I fell in love It took a minute girl to steal my heart tonight (eh eh eh eh) With just one look, yeah (eh eh eh eh) Been waiting for a girl like you
I glared at him. “Wow, I am scared” he giggled holding his hands up. “Shut up Maan, why don’t you even try to joke when you don’t know what is called humour” I snapped back. Maan bent closer to me and said huskily “are you still angry?” I turned my back to him and did not answer. Closeness…this closeness, it kills. Shut up Geet, you’re angry…angry…
“Alright, Geet, I did not mean to hurt you” Maan replied.
“Oh really, so you said all that for entertaining me, eh?” I asked. “Woh…” he stammered. “Nahi… Geet…” he mumbled.
“I am sorry, I should not have said all this, but in anger…I’ll…” he trailed off.
“I wish you would control your tongue, Mr. Khurana” I replied glancing at his broken and sad face. “Why are you calling me Mr. Khurana, it’s Maan for you understood!”
“Pata hein Geet, when I was in college, a lot of girls would drool on me” Maan started. Huh? “And I used to flirt with them all, one word and they all would fall on my charm…it would be that difficult for you to forgive me” and he winked.
I looked at him in shock. What did he mean by that!
“Oh really Maan, time will see that” I giggled. “By the way, I still can’t register you ‘flirting’ as you’ve said” I giggled. “Oh really” he said raising an eyebrow and bent down closer till our nose brushed each other.
I was sure my heart missed a beat! No more than one beat for sure! Then he quickly pulled back when he realized what he was actually doing and I shifted uncomfortably where the conversation was going.
“I was not supposed to talk to you!” I glared at him. “I am really sorry Geet” he said fixing his shoes. He looked sorry.
“I am not that forgiving, Maan” I replied. He gave a small slow smile and retorted “I know, that’s why tomorrow we’re going shopping to cheer your mood!”
“Oh really, you’re taking me shopping because I won that bet!” I grinned. He smiled.
With just one look, yeah (eh eh eh) Been waitin’ for a girl like you Been waitin’ for a girl like you
He smiled, a wide one. “You’ve got a beautiful smile” he complimented. I blushed and I realized that this man was just trying to hit the jackpot. “Keep your skills for yourself” I growled angrily. “I mean it Geet” he gave a soft chuckle.
Just then the door opened ajar…and Akshay entered sheepishly looking at us. By the time we were both smiling like fools. Then it hit me.
“You are not feeling sleepy…?” I asked.
He shook his head for a no and sat on the bed with the remote control. He and I are great serial watches.
“Papa which button, the red one or the black one?” he asked. Maan smiled and pressed the button to switch the television on. A show was going on. In that show there was a woman who fell in love with a pickpocket and so on.
Akshay stared at the screen and yelled in delight “maa, check, the Snake-Face is running away from the police and Cry-Baby is crying as usual! You had predicted what will happen! Maa…”
Maan looked shocked. He never knew Akshay used to watch serials with me. I shrugged at his gaze…
“What do you think will happen now? Snake-faced will be saved?” Akshay continued without realization that Maan was staring at him mouth opened.
“Mrs. Geet Khurana!” Maan exclaimed “what have you been teaching my son?” he continued horrified. I was trying to search for a proper excuse as my mind drew blan and as I was going pinker and pinker when Akshay interrupted urgently.
“Who…Papa…in this show it teaches us a moral” Akshay started. “Oh certainly it did” he agreed sarcastically. “What moral, son?”
“Well…” Akshay started and did not know how to continue.
“Well…Akshay is right” I added hastily thinking.
“Yes! Mummy is right!” Akshay grinned back at me. We are going to confuse Maan now.
“As I said Akshay is 100% right!” I continued trying not to grin.
“Perfectly, Mama” Akshay agreed.
“Okay! I understood that both of you did comprehend something…can I know the moral?” Maan asked exasperated.
“We should never steal and lie” Akshay added quickly looking proudly at Maan. Maan shook his head disbelieving that this was the future Akshay Singh Khurana who was going to rule over his whole empire.
“It’s bed time now” I said. Maan looked at me, a sad one and moved quietly holding Akshay by the arm.
Hah, Maan, if you would know I can never stay agree with you for a long time!
Morning! I hate waking up earlier. First thing that came into my mind. Tell Maan that I’ve forgiven him. I glanced in my room and found a note;
Dear Geet, I don’t know if you have forgiven me yet, but I still want to say sorry…Lazy bone!
I was late. It was 9.30 a.m. He could have woken me up, right nah…but he did not! How cruel.
Heck. Maan was in office. Oh god. I made a mental note to phone him and said. I started to climb down the stairs.
Okay. Geet. Take a deep breath, what will you say.
“Dear Maan, I accepted your apology since last night but I wanted to trouble you…but more like I wanted to know your real feelings for me -…
Aiii” I shrieked. I had missed a stair. No. I was falling down, down, down…
I screamed loud “MAAN”
I heard my cell ringing’
First Geet doesn’t talk to me, second, I don’t see her in the whole morning…
“Hello” I growled.
“Papa” says a soft voice.
“Akshay?” I replied perplexed. He never phoned me! I mean, he doesn’t know my number!
“Papa” he repeated breathlessly.
“Yes, baby, daddy is listening” I replied grinning. It was good to hear his voice.
“Mama had an accident!”
I felt as if I had been hit hard on the head. No please! Tell me I am dreaming!
“Beta, its not good to joke, it’s a serious matter” I replied angrily.
I heard a sob and Akshay continued sniffling “daddy I am not lying…mummy has a plaster on!”
“alright” I said hanging down. Shit, what did I do? Geet had an accident. Another accident…another nightmare of my life…
This could not be, it can’t happen…I can’t lose her…wait Akshay said she had a plaster on…
Annie chuckled at her name! Akshay was surely funny. My little son looked like an excited puppy racing here and there. But Geet was nowhere to be seen. Dadimaa went hugging and kissing his grand-children and telling how worried she was. But Vicky was restless…
“Dadimaa…where is our new Bhiz?” he asked. I rolled my eyes.
“What is a Bhiz?” Annie asked curiously.
“Ufff…dumbo! The word ‘Bhabhi’ short form, like ‘bhai’ I took the ‘bhi’ and added a ‘z’ to make it sound cute!”
“Duh” Annie said. Akshay looked at them confused.
Geet appeared in a green salwar kameez and smiled at them. “Hi” she said softly. Annie smiled and Vicky was staring at Geet his eyes fixed on her. Geet’s eyes widened and looked at me. I shrugged and she looked quite scared the way Vicky was staring at her. Annie chuckled clutching her sides and said “Bhiz, you have to get use to it!”
“Bhiz?” Geet said confused.
“Yes Bhiz” Vicky added. “Our new pet-name for our charming and cute bhabhi” he grinned. Geet gave me another weird look and I shrugged again.
“Bhai…our bhabhi is simply an angel from heaven and you don’t even know how to describe an angel?” Vicky looked at me shocked.
I bit my lips and saw Geet looking at me puzzled and thinking Vicky needed the mental.
“Don’t worry Geet, this is our Vicky, all flirty type” Dadimaa said.
“Okay” Geet said but I could say she didn’t sound persuade at all. “Don’t worry Bhiz, I am not mean to beautiful bhabhis” he chuckled. Annie just rolled her eyes and sat down on the couch.
“Waise…bhai, this is how we describe an angel…Beautiful appealing eyes, charming smile, craving lips, angelic face…and…” Vicky was saying when I glared at him to shut him up.
Geet was staring at Vicky in a weird way and she turned to look at me. Annie rolled her eyes while Dadimaa said “Geet, this is our Vicky, all flirty type as I said earlier.”
Geet gave a weak smile but I could see she was not totally convinced about Vicky being just all flirty type!
Annie and Vicky were busy sharing their experience to me and Dadimaa and partly Geet. Annie wasn’t quite opening to Geet and Vicky was busying himself with his lousy jokes. Geet had left. I was surprised to see that Akshay hadn’t notice that Geet had vanished. He usually is Mamma’s boy. He obeys whatever Geet commands; which is very good.
But Annie dragged me to concentrate back to what she was saying. Akshay went running and came back sitting next to me.
A few minutes later Geet came downstairs. She was going in the kitchen, when she started glaring at me furiously. I had never ever seen her in such a state! She was like a fuming bee! I mean, I never saw her angry! And that was completely new for me! She stood there, arching her eyebrows and frowning. Her eyes diverted again to Akshay. I took a glimpse at my son and remained speechless…
He was completely smeared with chocolate; he had already finished a whole packet of chocolate. There were some on his nose, cheeks and his hands were full of melted cocoa chocolate. I now understood why Geet had been growling at me like I committed a big sin!
“Bhai…did you hear what –”Annie was saying when she noticed me watching Geet then back to Akshay. Dadimaa, Vicky and Annie turned and saw an angry Geet with her arms folded to her chest glaring at me madly. Dadimaa tried hard not to giggle but only succeeded by going out of the room. Akshay hadn’t notice anything yet. He was too busy munching the rest of the sweet! “Ahem…Ahem…” Geet cleared her throat but still Akshay didn’t move.
“Akshay…am I disturbing you son?” Geet asked. Akshay looked up at her and stared shocked, he saw that the rest of us were staring at him. His mouth opened in an ‘O’ shape and he gave a small smile. “No, mama would you like some” he said extending his hand which was covered with melted chocolate. He gave Geet his most innocent look with his puppy-face. “You know, papa” he said turning to me and continued “you busy talking…me hungry…tell uncle to give chocs” he mumbled and looked at Geet. She stood there smiling at him and said “come on, let’s go and wash…”
I stared at the duo confused. Wasn’t she just angry now?
“Bhai…Bhiz looks so cute nah, especially when she’s angry!” Vicky grinned. Annie rolled her eyes and asked “Bhai…are you sure that she loves Akshay or is she just trying to impress you!”
“Come on Ann, Bhiz is really nice, you’re getting suspicious about anything!”
“Honestly Ann” I said horrified at that thought “me and Geet never had a proper talk, she lives her life and I live mine! If the only person can convince her it is Akshay and Dadimaa. And Akshay spends his whole day with Geet when Dadimaa was out for her trip” I said trying to control my anger.
“Sorry Bhai” Annie said “I just wanted to know, that’s all!”
I was feeling left out! Nobody needed me so I just moved into my room, alone; as usual. When I reached my room; I received a message from Romeo, my college friend. He had told me to check my email.
Seriously, this Vicky needed mental, yes, he needed it right away. Was he flirting with me? I didn’t know! Maybe it was his nature, he was really friendly. But Annie seemed suspicious about everything. Since I didn’t know this family quite well, I guessed it was better for me to move and go away!
Yeah, reaching my room; I checked my email; I got 5 unread ones and I didn’t believe it. I had nearly tears in my eyes. As promised Rommie, he made all my friends know that I was in India and I got tons of mails asking where I was how I am. Why I got married to Maan and etcetera etcetera…It was nice, I spend time replying to those. Just some minutes ago I was morning over my loneliness and now; even if they were in different parts around the world, I knew they could never forget me, this old Geet that I buried inside of myself!
Later when I reached downstairs, Annie, Vicky, Dadimaa and Maan were busy talking and I found Akshay devouring a chocolate. I wonder why I was angry at Maan and Akshay. But it didn’t last for long as I was smiling and I helped Akshay the next moment!
I wondered what will happened next? What was stored for me?
“Come on, Akshay baby…wipe your hands!”
I wanted to find Geet; yeah, right, the washroom. Yes, she was there, wiping Akshay’s face, laughing with him. Amazing…they look amazing!
“I don’t want you to finish a whole packet next time” Geet warned him.
“Or else…I will be bad mummy then” she finished.
Akshay chuckled and said “you can never be bad even if you want? Can you?”
Geet turned and saw me. She smiled and started to walk. Akshay ran away fearing that I might scold him, such an intelligent guy I tell you!
Geet mumbled “sorry” but I laughed at her. Yes, I wonder why I couldn’t manage my laughter and started to laugh loudly. She scowled and then she realized she had just scowled and turned beetroot. I tell you this girl is superwoman; she has different avatars different time of the day!
I stopped my laughter and said “Geet, I am sorry”
She didn’t reply. “Tit of tat” she replied softly. “Alright, now, listen, I think you should take the first move”
“Huh?” she looked at me confused. She’s so innocent, even her confuse face is like chocolate cadberry! Gosh, I want to eat chocolate!
“I mean you should talk to Annie and Vicky, be open, and friendly with them” I said. “Only then, Annie will be open and friendly with you, she’s very reserved but she is not bad” I said.
“I know…it’s like…they were used of…not me, and being home one day and saw a new face – isn’t very welcoming” I said sadly and hurt.
“Yep, I do agree, but it’s you who should start a conversation, only then relationships would progress with the other members” I said comfortably and gave a pat on the shoulder.
“Remember what your friend said – you’re precious, you must be kept well” I reminded her.
She looked at me tearfully and mouthed “thanks, I appreciate it” she said very slowly.
“No” I said. “I appreciate what you’re doing for me and my son, my family” I said. “You’re doing a lot, even when you’re being ignored” I wanted to bang my head against the wall for saying the last sentence – damn me!
But she smiled. And again whispered “thanks to me, I needed it, and I hope I will be able to rise on your hopes and your support; I will try my best…I pro…” she stated, I know she wanted to do her best, she didn’t want to fail nor let me down. She was happy that I encouraged her; so was I.
“You don’t need to promise” I interrupted “I know you’ll be able to do it, I am confident about you” I said.
She gave me her 1000 watts smile and I smiled too. She left…
I went back…
Was I day-dreaming?
Oh gosh, I wish I was night-dreaming! And this dream would never end.
What rubbish? Night-dreaming?
Heck, this doesn’t exist, see, I talk nonsense whenever I am surprised especially by Maan.
He was laughing out of his head and Akshay ran away leaving me…all…alone…creepy!
And…he encouraged me…he helped me to rise up and make a place in his siblings’ heart. He was so comfortable to talk with!
I scowled at him unknowingly, it just slipped and when I realized I felt my cheeks glowing red! Embarrassing!
He helped me! I like it! He was so right! I wish I could stand on his hopes and kept his word.
So I went to the dining table where Vicky and Annie were arguing and Dadimaa and Maan looked fed up already. Keeping Maan’s words in mind, I sat down. Annie was growling and Vicky was snarling.
“You guys are lucky” I said. Annie and Vicky’s eyes widened in shock and looked at me. Maan and Dadimaa smiled.
“Lucky? How?” Annie asked suspiciously. I managed not to roll my eyes at her! She’s so boring! Maybe it’s the first time, think Geet, think, if you were in place of Annie I think you’d do the same thing. I didn’t mind! I’ll get use to it!
“Can you live without Maan and Vicky?” I asked her. She looked thoughtful and was debating her mind for a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.
“No” she admitted. “Even if Vicky is the most annoying and boring person on earth, I think I can’t think my life with this dumbo” she agreed. Maan smiled. Vicky looked like he was hammered on his head. “Wow, I thought you hate me” he said surprised. Annie flushed and said “that’s when I’m angry, dumbo!”
Vicky turned to me and asked “Bhiz, you don’t have any siblings”
“Nope, unlucky” I said pretending to give them a hurt look.
Annie looked more thoughtful, I think she’s nerdy types! “Wow, I can’t live without Bhai and Dumbo” she said, I guessed dumbo was meant for Vicky. He’s quite that type!
“Don’t you get bored? With whom you used to tease and play pranks?” Vicky asked. Dadimaa looked shocked “honestly, Geet is a very quite girl, shy, mature and responsible!”
Annie looked at me as if I was abnormal! Maan was giggling in his food, Akshay was day-dreaming, I am sure of Hannah Montana!
“Actually…” I started shyly “this is the point where you get me wrong, Dadimaa” I said flushing.
“What?” Vicky was curious, sly fox; I think I have to find him a nickname – Slide Slick! Hehe…nice one!
“But you didn’t have any siblings?” Annie pointed suspiciously. Oh god, she reads too many detective books or watches many cops’ movies or it’s her sixth sense? Weird! But maybe again, it was all new for her to find me at Riihaa’s place!
“Well, I did have friends!” I said.
“Boys?” Vicky questioned immediately. Uff…yeh larka bhi nah? Annie and Maan rolled their eyes; Dadimaa was gripping on my story like those horror ones of Christopher Pikes! Hey, I’m also a reader when I was in my teens!
“Boys…including girls” I said. Akshay was staring at us as if we were some cartoons comics of his! Gosh!
“Did you play pranks?” Annie asked doubtfully. Vicky was staring at me as if I had grown a horn on my forehead!
“Yes…Revenge if that’s what you mean, when I was in college, my mate, boy…(specified for Vicky, stupido) put those plastic cockroach, you know, in my sandwich, while eating I felt eating a leg…” I paused and everyone got their eyes glued on me.
“Gross” Annie said, her nose, crinkling.
“…when I stopped chewing and see what it was, I got the shock of my life, I screamed, and…Nearly got kicked out of the canteen” I finished lamely.
Annie, Dadimaa, Akshay and Vicky burst into laughter! Maan smiled looking at me proudly. I felt so proud of myself!
“I can’t believe it, you nearly got kicked? What did you do?” Vicky asked.
I noticed Akshay glancing downstairs as if he was expecting a cockroach to jump on him…
Annie was waiting for my answer…hooked…
“What did you do?” Vicky asked Geet his eyes boring into hers. “Well, I ran away to the washroom’and then I planned revenge, easy and simple” she stated. “And what it is?” Annie asked. She’s way too suspicious this girl!
“Primo, I made one of my mates, Ghost we called to distract the one who played a trick on me. Secondo, I knew that Snowy, (he was as white as snow, so we nicknamed him Snowy), was scared of spiders” Geet told them her eyes shining.
Annie was really shocked “you didn’t put a real spider on his food! Yuck” she said crinkling her nose. “Of course not” Geet challenged, she looked like an eighteen student with a mind full of pranks. Vicky was staring at Geet obviously thinking how his angel could turn into a beautiful devil! Ha!
“Since we were going to have our Business class next, I had managed to go through his bag, dumping the fake plastic spider into his bag!” “What!” Annie cried. Everyone was waiting for Geet to continue her story. “And what ‘ the teacher came, Snowy was going to remove his B book when he…jumped on his chair, clutching his clothes fretfully and screaming like a little girl” she finished. “I…can…i-imagine this” Vicky giggled. Annie smiled. “He kept screaming like a lunatic that the teacher had to stop the class and make him calm down and we were always teasing him about the spider and he never got on my back again, believe it, every time he kept checking in his bag as if the spider gonna pop from there…and I used to blackmail him to do my Business homework or else I would put the video where he was screaming on Youtube” Geet sighed lost in her thoughts. Surprisingly Annie added “that was a real cool thing!” Geet smiled at me, pleased.
I had been talking some business matters to Annie who seemed to be interested rather than Vicky who kept yawning everything second. Geet had gone out with Dadi. Akshay silently slipped next to us with something in his hand which I couldn’t make out what was it.
“So Bhai…which college should I join?” Annie asked. Vicky was not interested in college but he chipped in “mix one, where there are tons of cute chicks” Seriously, one of these days…
“Mama!” Akshay exclaimed loud. “Mama has gone out with Dadimaa” I retorted. “No, no, Mama, here” he told me waving a photograph. “Lemme see” Vicky said snatching the photo and stared at it his mouth wide opened in wonder. “Bhai, why wasn’t I born some years earlier, I would have married Bhiz” Vicky said pleased. Annie snatched the photo and stared at it without blinking. I peered a little and realized why everyone was shocked. First I didn’t believe it was Geet, but who can change the fact anyway, not even me!
Yes, Yes, it was Geet, but in a different style. On the photo, she sat on a chair, giving an innocent smile while her hair brushing over her shoulders in a green kurti and blue jeans with basket shoes.
Behind he there was another girl; a brunette with sparkling green eyes who was smiling but was not as perfect as Geet looked. She was outstanding. I guessed she must have been 19 at that time. At the back of the photograph, in cursive letters were written “Sugar and Piggy”
“Sugar? Piggy?” Annie read amazed. “Sugar is Geet’s nickname” I said. “How did you know?” Vicky asked me grinning. I frowned and said “One of her friend met her and went on with a list of weird names including Piggy, so Piggy must be the greened eyed.” “Cool” Annie said taking another photograph. As she was looking at them, I kept glancing too, not that I wanted to look at them…
In one, Geet was bone-crushed with two boys and two girls. She was wearing above-knees black khakis and a lilac T-shirt matching her lilac slippers with her silky black long hair clipped with two butterflies clip; and grinning wickedly. Hey, wait a sec; am I a fashion designer or what? Annie turned the back of the photo and read: “Sugar, Alien, Monkey and Ghost” she giggled as she read the name ‘Monkey’. Monkey must have been one of the boys because Annie had been staring at one dreamily.
Vicky had a package on his hand and asked “what is this?”
“Stupid, open it” Annie grumbled. It turned out to be a CD and was titled ‘The dressers of Snow-White ‘ video by Romeo’ Vicky had read. Romeo name clicked in my brain and I remembered the funny guy at the boring party. Before we could say anything, Vicky went putting the DVD on. My mind raced to something “Akshay son, where did you find these?”
“On Mama’s bed, I took without asking, hopefully Mama won’t be angry” he said shocking me. Nobody reacted because they were already focusing on the screen. A voice boomed
“Hey, I’m Romeo aka Rommie” it said but we could not see any face. “Shut up, Romeo” another voice said. “Hey, I’m Lyndie but that doesn’t matter, what matters is how we are going to transform Snowy into Snow-white!” she said. The camera focused on Geet, she was wearing a pale yellow kurti and white jeans with white slippers slightly heeled. Don’t’ blame me ‘ I don’t know anything of fashion! “Hey, I am Geet!” said a grinning Geet and made a funny face arching her eyebrows “see, I could this cool idea to make Snowy looked like Snow-white, which is totally perfect, we will use blushes, make-ups and anyway, Piggy is here to help us ‘ Greek of Fashionita!” The screen went on a boy cuddled on his big Chemistry book and was snoring lightly deep in his sleep. And the next moment Piggy aka Lyndie was busy painting Snowy’s face with some make-up. Geet had been choosing which eye-liner to put like a funny teenager. The video was on how Geet, Lyndie and two more girls were painting and making a new person out of Snowy.
Geet came back standing in front of the camera “and here is our Snow-White” she said giggling. Vicky burst into laughter, Snowy was worth to watch, he did look like a girl cuddled into his sleep. Geet had got the brilliant idea to cover him up with a blanket ignoring his big muscles and hairy body.
Minutes later, Piggy was waking Snowy up. Geet was trying hard not to giggle. “Hey James, you felt asleep” another girl said. James blinked his eyes and believe it, he looked like a girl! Yes, he did! Then the next minute Geet burst into giggles and ran out of the room. James aka Snowy was so confused that we broke into laughter. “Hey Rommie, what are you taping?” James asked the camera-man.
Someone chucked James a mirror; he looked at himself and “AHHH” he shrieked so loud that the camera must have fallen off Romeo’s hand. And the video showed the other girls running from the room and James saying or should I say screaming at the top of his lungs “come here you bonkers!”
With his eyelashes like a girl, lipstick and clipped wig he looked terrific! I mean he was trying to yell at the girls but it turned out to be as if someone cracked a hilarious joke. He was red with anger plus with his makeup’he looked…eerie! We were laughing out of our heads except Akshay because he did not understand anything. All the speakers had a fluent and strong accent!
I glanced through the shopping mall and saw a little girl trying to wear a blue wig. I winced remembering an old incident in college where I was nearly put on Youtube. I was being filmed while singing crazily with my friends. And it was all Snowy’s fault. It was a payback for the spider! Well, I thought so!
I was really happy that Annie was finally getting along with me, thanks to Maan. She had laughed so much for the spider that she said I was ace. I finally got it that she was those girls who liked to hang around cool ones. Then Dadimaa asked me to accompany her shopping; Annie was too tired to join and Akshay had told her that she was lazy which made Vicky tease Annie more. I giggled at the make-up incident which nearly turned to be a disaster.
Start of Flashback
Geet ran out of the room. The next person was Anjali, she was running and she stopped to take a deep breath. “He’s going to kill us” Geet said mockingly. “He was ace” another voice said. Piggy had joined them and Alien was coming.
“Come here you bonkers!!!” James yelled loud. “Quick” Anjali said like a fanatic “he’s changing and he’ll come in a minute!” “Let’s run in the classroom” she suggested.
“No!” Geet interrupted “he’ll find us there, let’s go in the dance class, it’ll be empty anyway” Geet mumbled and sprinted off the corridor.
“This way” her friend guided “we don’t want to have a detention, do we?” she finished. “Yeah, if Principal finds us here, we’re dead, yeah breaking rule number 4” another one added. “Jam it Brainy” Geet said hotly and paused for a rest.
“I am hot!” Geet said sweating. Another lad who had heard them looked at her grinning and said “sure sweetie, you’re” and winked and got yanked by another guy who also winked at Geet who scowled and Anjali frowned “If BT hears this…”
“BT doesn’t know me, I am crazy for this BT…I wish he knew me though” Geet mumbled quietly.
“I know you feel low, he got engaged to some Riihaa Mehta” Anjali said dropping on her knees. “Come on, we’re nearly to the dance class, lazy-bone” another mate said and they started to plod in another direction.
They were all seated on tables in the dance classroom. The class was enough big for dances like ballet and salsa.
“Have you heard that crazy stuff song?” Anjali exclaimed.
“Yeah” Piggy said and started off singing the first line. Each of them took turned to sing and lastly was Geet.
Geet giggled and sang; but half of it was fits of giggles.
And then they felt as if someone had snorted! They turned and saw James with his camera filming them.
“Now I’m going to put this on Youtube, same as you threatened me for the spider” James smirked and said warily “Girls Spoils Brianna Cover” he said and snorted. Everyone looked pale and panicked. Geet went red. “No way” she said and walked over James, stamped on his foot. He howled in pain grabbing his leg and jumping as if he got an ant in his pants. But the time was enough for Geet to snatch his camera and delete his video.
If James would have really posted this on the net…
End of Flashback
I giggled seeing the wig. I had used a blue wig for making Snowy, Snow-White. It was a tit for tat, if James would have posted this video on the net, I would also have posted him and his spider. Yeah right, you heard it, Maan was going to get engaged to Riihaa Mehta at that time!
I snorted but immediately turned it into a cough. “Geet, do you like this?” Dadimaa asked pointing to a green salwar kameez which was really beautiful. “Well, if you’re thinking about Annie, I think you should try jeans and tops” I advised. “Arrey pagli, for you” Dadimaa said smacking her forehead and I gave her a little smile. “Thank you” I said and gave her a hug. She patted my back and said “everything will be alright”. I gave her a watery smile.
I reached home stumbling with all the shopping we did. Maan was at office, Annie was scoping through a magazine lost in her world, and Vicky was listening music on his ipod. It was nearly eight and Maan was nowhere to be seen.
Does he care to come home earlier? No
Does he know that someone or people are waiting for him? No / Yes
Yes might be for Dadimaa, she’s fond of him. I wish Maan would tell me everything; about himself, so far he only spoke about Riihaa, being hit in an accident and stayed in coma for two months and passed away. It must have been painful for her and painful for him to tell me and more sorrowful is that he couldn’t take proper care of Akshay, he didn’t know that I knew this. But still, I knew it was not all, something was missing, and I wanted to know it. I wanted to share it. Somewhere, somehow, in a corner I could feel sympathy but sometimes I wondered whether I too was feeling the same type of being…
I knew that the great MSK could not be rejected but I had a strange feeling. All these hatred, I kept it inside my heart, buried. Well, that’s what I thought. Only few people knew about me, two of them were already dead, and the rest were in different corners of the world…What would have happen if two or more people would hate me or my presence, nothing…just it would increase my pain…but luckily Babaji was kind this time it did not happened. Vicky or Annie was going great with me till now. Here I go again’boring myself with these thoughts!
“Hey Bhaiii” Annie said and smiled at him. She made ‘Bhai’ sound like her brother was some sort of don or goon. Whatever. “Hey everyone” he said. Was he tired or what? Working so much, he came home relaxed. How does he do that? No wonder he’s called the great MSK!
And I’m proud to be the Mrs. MSK. Cool or what? In the other way round, I’m not…because it’s just a public image. Inside what’s like, it’s full of endless pains and questions…
“Mamaaa!” Akshay sang giving me a hug, he ran like a lunatic as if I was missing for years…I smiled and hugged him back, stroking his locks.
We were having dinner. “Mama” Akshay said suddenly looking up at me. “You’re beautiful” he said keeping me amazed for a moment and I smiled mouthing “thank you”.
My eyes widened. Was Akshay going to tell…? Nah, he must have forgotten. He’s a kid after all.
“Mama, you look very beautiful in jeans!” Akshay exploded grinning. Geet turned red and gave a wary smile. “I guess so” she mumbled. I pinched Akshay lightly on the arm and that’s what happened.
“Ouch…Daddy…why did you pinch me! It hurts” Akshay complained rubbing his arm. Yes, my son ‘ stupid or what, he really knows how to get Maan Singh Khurana into trouble.
Annie and Vicky’s eyes widened and realized what Akshay was up too. “Woh, Akshay son, err ‘ did you watch your favourite cartoons today?” Annie butted in. Too late ‘ Geet definitely smelt something fishy. Akshay doesn’t understand comic series so he doesn’t watch any and Geet knows that. Annie turned beetroot and Geet was looking at us surprised and confused.
“Mama, you are funny, you paint boy red, blue, and green” Akshay said. Geet choked her food trying to add the facts whether we saw the CD or not. “And mama, the boy…” he was continuing when he frowned. He looked under the table and said “Vivi uncle, why you kick me?” he asked. So Vicky kicked him lightly on the leg and Akshay was making a big fuss! “Yes, mama, you won’t be angry with me if not with Papa, not with me, we watched the CD…you make boy turn into girl…” Akshay finished. I buried my face in my palm, Annie coughed and Vicky was trying to act all innocent. Akshay was smiling nave at Geet, at if he was all innocent, got us into trouble! “Akshay son, who watched the video?” Geet asked. “Me, Ann auntie, Vivi uncle and Papa” he said proudly. Annie coughed her and Vicky was looking for the nearest exit. Geet looked straight to me raising an eyebrow. I coughed a little and quickly added “woh, Annie and Vicky were watching, I just…” yeah right, I never lie and I’m stuck!
Dadimaa was looking at us curiously. Geet looked like she was going to scream out loud instead she blushed red. “You guys are seriously…” Geet started giggling when Vicky added hastily “bonkers!” and they fell laughing loudly out of their heads. I did not, wasn’t it embarrassing? “Gosh, people, this video was when I was nineteen, long years back, still very young” Geet said embarrassed. “Eh, you’re still” Vicky remarked and Annie nodded. “Yeah, yeah” Geet said sarcastically “freckles and all…I’m over twenty honestly” she smirked. “I wish I was born some years earlier, I would have married you for sure” Vicky said cheekily. Geet’s face changed to white. Annie giggled, I managed not to smile and Geet added quickly “err ‘ no thanks” she mumbled, kindly denying the offer. “Why?” Vicky asked “When you’ll get to know me, you’ll change your views”. Annie rolled her eyes. “Because…” Geet said “when I first met you I thought you needed the mental, sorry for that” Geet said shyly. Vicky scratched his head and added “it’s all your mistake Bhiz, I lost my sense whenever I meet a beautiful girl” Vicky said. “Cheek” Annie muttered.
It was stupid! I hated it! How could they watch that video? How could they! It was a silly prank that I took part along with my mates and Vicky, Annie especially Maan saw that. It was so embarrassing! Akshay was a baby’okay? But Maan? At least not him. I mean, for goodness’s sake ‘ I was just…only nineteen, and I was always full of cranky ideas. He could have plainly ignored this CD, couldn’t he? Phew, phew, phew…
2 days later
I was rushing downstairs quickly thinking that the stove was on. Anvesha and Vicky were discussing something quietly. Annie looked desperate and Vicky; bored.
“Puh-lease Ann, I am bored with the same thing, can you get over it? There are many fishes in the sea” he said dramatically. Eh? Fishes in the sea ‘ that means… “No!” Annie exploded “I want that fish!” She sounded like a little girl who lost her doll and wanted the same replica of it. Would it take time till they muck in? Answer: Dunno.
I raised an eyebrow and Vicky stopped complaining as he saw me. And he made that funny move with his eyebrow to signal Anvesha to stop talking. Annie turned around pink and said “sorry for the noise”. “You’re lucky your brother is out” I said nodding my head. Now I don’t know what made me say this but it just slipped from my big mouth ‘ Geet’s Big Mouth…
“By the way, you all have suspecting radar in your blood” I said and hastily covered my mouth. I wanted to pinch myself and they looked startled. “Sorry…I did not mean to say this, I wanted to say something else but it came it a different manner and what I mean was…” now I was confused what I was saying and what I meant? Whoops!
Vicky giggled breaking Annie into fits of giggles. It did not take long for me to burst into laughter. Soon we were three laughing crazily. I stopped and said “stupid people”. Vicky flopped himself on the sofa. “Ahh” Annie sighed. “It’s just…that we did not want…another Riihaa type to brainwash bro and separate us from our Maa ‘” Annie said as quietly shut up. It was something that she should not be saying…at least not to me. Vicky was glaring at Annie and he was getting up for the nearest exit.
“Mujhe kuch kaam…” Annie started to go after Vicky…when I found myself stopping them in a cold voice.
“Sit down here you two!”
My mind raced “why did they left for England when Maan and Riihaa had just got married'” I thought’
“Dadimaa, you here?” I asked. “Adi, you go and check these and do bring the blueprints” I ordered. “S-S-sure s-s-sir” he stammered and went away. “Why are you here?” I asked my grandma. “Bechara, why do you scare him so much” Dadimaa said looking at Adi’s fading figure. I smirked. “As Geet say, you may win the award of Best Temper…” and quickly stopped from saying further. Eh? Geet says a lot of things to Dadi apparently. I find her quite shy. “Whatever” Dadimaa said composing herself. “I came here to talk to you about an important matter”. “What important thing” I questioned. “Since Akshay is three, I expect you can send him to a good school”. No way, I don’t want my son to go to school, I mean, he’s way too young. But Dadi was right, it was the age where most of the children who join a school or a nursery. “Alright, I will find the best institution for Akshay” I said. Dadimaa nodded and said “Annie and Vicky are already going to university, and then what will Geet do alone at home?”
Huh? What will she do? Look after the house. I was going to answer her but she read my mind and retorted faster “then what are servants for?” Ok-kay, where was she getting at? Geet would stay at home some sort of…jobless. Caring for Akshay was her priority. Akshay would usually tell me that he would make his ‘mama’ to smile and laugh. Somewhere something rang into my mind…did she mean that Geet should start working here?
“Yes” Dadimaa said. Is she a mind-reader? “Huh?” “Yes” Dadimaa said again. “That’s what I’m thinking…” “You mean…Geet should…” my voice trailed off…I had plenty of questions…which had to be answered…
Everything raced into my mind. It was like a big briyani. I frowned at the two and waited for an answer. “I am waiting” I said crossly, my arms folded to my chest giving them a mean and angry look, stamping my foot. Annie was looking at her feet and Vicky, at the window. “You can watch the scenery later, Vicky, and Annie, you can check your nail polish later also, if you do respect me, you’ll answer to my question” I said broadly. “We do” Vicky whined. “It does not look so” I raised an eyebrow. Annie looked close to tears and she said trying to restrain herself from crying and said “because it’s all because of Riihaa!” “What?” I said. “It’s all Riihaa’s fault if we went to study in Great Britain” Annie said fixing her heels. I sat down on the sofa and signaled them to sit. “You seriously don’t believe that Riihaa was a bad girl and came to separate your bro from you” I said sarcastically “just like those daily soaps operas?” I asked. “But she did” Annie insisted looking up. “I don’t care” Vicky said still focusing his eyes on the window. I studied his face, I am very good a studying people. “No you’re not” I snapped. He looked at me startled. “You do” I said more softly “you pretend that you don’t, right nah?” he was going to deny but I added “Don’t lie, I know you do, inside of you, you care and love your brother” I said. Annie did look surprise so was Vicky. “Yes, I do” he snapped looking away. Then it hit me, who was I to question them? No-one.
“I am sorry’I think I don’t have the right to question you” I said meekly. Annie frowned and said “no’don’t say that'” she said in a whisper. “She was an evil queen” Annie said brushing off her tears. “I-I-was only thirteen when it all happened” she choked. Vicky gave me a sympathy look. “She still doesn’t forgive herself” he added softly. I put an arm on her shoulder. They were talking a five year old past. Yep, Maan had been married for some two and a half years to be exact. “I was then fifteen” Vicky muttered. “Brother would often tell Dadi about someone called Riihaa and he would often invite her in dinners at home’we noticed that brother was really fond of her and we later discovered that he was going to get married to her” Vicky said. He could burst into tears. They looked really heart-broken. “I know I am bad” Anvesha said choking her tears. I said in a whisper “I was also broken when I heard you Brother was getting married but that still didn’t stop me from moving on!” I said. I am not lying, I did move on but my step mom ruined all! They looked at me surprised but I added “please continue, I’ll tell my history later”. “After Bhai got married” Anvesha continued brushing off her tears “he completely forgot about us; he would spend most of his time with Riihaa outside”. “But that’s what normal young married couples do” I said. Annie looked at me, I shrugged and added “well, I do need time to understand your Bhai” “You already did enough” Vicky pointed out. “Vicky would console me saying that what life was” Annie continued and added “but he even forgot my International Concert! I had won the first prize and he did not even come! The next day I was so low that I never mentioned about it, Dadi was ill, Riihaa was always following Bro like a lamb!” Annie snapped as fresh tears came out. “He even forgot about my results'” Vicky added bitterly “I started to fool around in college then, feeling left out, Dadi was already taking care of us, we simply couldn’t add our troubles to her”
I held my breath as I knew what was coming. The decision’, the same decision that made them left their house’ “So one day, I was so pissed off that I told brother that I wanted to go to England for studying in one of the best college” Annie said. “And I also agreed, quite pissed off with Riihaa” Vicky said as he spat those bitter words. “Brother was against it at first but Riihaa said ‘ oh the kids want to study, let them” Annie mimicked Riihaa’s voice. “I simply hated her, she convinced brother with one sweet sentence!” “But, we did feel bad when we heard she died! We were having exams at that time, we really felt sorry for our brother, we didn’t like Riihaa but not so much for her to be’to be’dead” Vicky replied looking outside, ignoring my stare. I sighed “I guess, it was already too much for you all” I said. “Move on to your rooms” I said shoving Annie a little forward. They were surprised as I didn’t ask more questions. “Huh?” Annie asked confused. “Sweetie, I said; I think it’s already enough for today, neither you nor your brother and Riihaa was at fault, you were right from your view also” I added. “Your brother wanted to spend the best time with Riihaa, and he did, today, all he got, is Akshay and her memories” I added ignoring the pain in caused to my broken heart! Then I remembered Annie’s fishes “by the way, go and take a rest, I’ll come around questioning you later! Gosh I sound like an old cop!” I said pulling a face. Vicky giggled and said “you are funny Bhiz!” I chuckled, Annie smiled weakly. “Come on, forget about it” I said and winked at them. They were so surprised that I chucked a cushion to Vicky. He ducked and sprinted upstairs leaving Annie screaming at her top of her lungs “Dummy!”
Anvesha gave me a grateful look and said “thank you for understanding us, I wanted to tell Brother these things, but he will never ever talk to me” she added. As she moved upstairs, I called “Annie, if you tell him and explain, he won’t, as far as I came to know your brother'” and my voice trailed off. She smiled and squeezed my arm “why are you so good?” I grinned.
“What?” I spluttered. “What are you talking?” I said furiously. “Geet and office, no way! What will my staff think?” “What will they think” Dadimaa shot up, her eyes puffed with anger. “I mean” I said more calmly “she does not know these work” “Oh really, she’s more capable of this silly billy Sasha!” Dadimaa said. “I don’t want her to take Riihaa’s place! Why she should come here anyway?” I shouted back in a fierce tone. I knew Geet was really okay but there is not any place for her in my life! Dadimaa looked at me in horror and then she whispered painfully “I never knew you were such an ingrate!” she said. “What?” I retorted confused. “I never knew you were so selfish, you only think about yourself, have you ever seen the poor girl’s pain?” “Have you ever seen my pain?” I shot back. Dadi shook her head in disgust “alas Maan, I have to say that you are a really dweeb. I have always understood you Maan” she mumbled sorrowfully, she was obviously hurt with what I just said. I felt so lonely but nobody ever cared! “You needed time, I gave you, but you forgot ‘ Riihaa left and she’s not coming back! She can’t come back!” Pools of hot tears were forming. “She won’t Maan, she can’t, you have to live your life, your present, think about your future not the past’I know it’s though but it’s not impossible, take your time'” “I am sorry” I mumbled. She gave me a pat, she had forgiven me but the pain was still visible in her eyes “You feel lonely, nah, do you know it ‘ Annie and Vicky know it, I know about it…and…Geet also knows about it, son” What? I looked at her perplexed. She read my mind again. “Do you know last night Vicky came to talk to me about you, why you changed so much? I overheard Anvesha telling Geet that sometimes she’s afraid of talking to you, did you ever know?” I stared at her open-mouthed. “How can you keep living in your past when the whole world is moving…Dear, you got to live, at least not for you, for your baby…” “I guess so” I said in a low tone. “Talking about Geet, did she know all these?” I asked confused. Dadimaa nodded and said “yep, she does, though she never says anything, her eyes say it all, her sorrowful eyes full of endless emotions…I never ever ask her about herself but it looked like it was not a bright one…Geet knows that you still love Riihaa…she knows it all but she will never say anything…she’s just modest…though you should not take this as an advantage, she is making lots of effort of your Maan, just for you and your baby ‘ she is trying to keep this family happy…have you ever notice how Vicky love teasing her and Anvesha ‘ have you seen Annie talking to her so enthusiastically…I know something about her ‘ that she was a broken girl…who lost everything she had…” I looked surprised’again. “She didn’t tell me more…” I sighed so did Dadi. “I am sorry again” She ruffled my hair and said “but don’t say these things again…they hurt” I whispered “I know…”
You can never live in the past, look ahead of you, you have a future and you have a present to live…
I had my little 3 year old baby to look after; two siblings, one Grandmom and one girl whom I still did not know how to call? A Goddess as she keeps changing and surprises me every time or the-name-which-she’s-related-to-me? I worked till it was time for Akshay’s bed night story; another story! But it was late, I was busy wrapping another work that I completely forgotten about him. Damn me!
I reached home and frowned. I hated this sight. What was she doing anyway? What did she need to be all pious? Can’t she get it – I am trying my best but still she’s like pushing me. Once again I was wrong because she smiled and her expression turned bitter. She gave a little chuckle which made her eyes looked lovely and innocent. She brushed off a lock of hair and concentrated hard. She was reading a novel. Hmm, quite good hobby. And then she gave a small shriek.
“You?” she said startled. “Me?” I raised an eyebrow. “You scared me to death” she mumbled as she put a bookmark in her novel. “I was reading this” she said gesturing to her book “and waiting for you” “Why?” I asked coldly. She gave me a hurt look with her eyes and said “you can’t let the poor servants do this every day from dawn to night” “So you even sympathize the servants” I asked. “Oh puh-lease, Maan” she said. “By the way, I assigned Akshay to one of the best nursery” I said. “Why?” her eyes shot up in surprise. “Why?” I repeated. It was obviously a dumb question. “Oh’yeah…time flies so quickly” she muttered. Time to fly so quick that you don’t have even a second to think. “So you are coming with us tomorrow for his first day and his admission” I replied raising an eyebrow. She was in cloud nine. “Really?” she said surprised. “Yep” I said still amused. “Thanks” she said. “Why, you are his mom, nah?” I replied, well, it was true! She smiled again and said “you know it, thank you”. She turned to leave, talking to herself mouthing “thank you Babaji” when I interrupted her thoughts “Geet, one more thing, tomorrow you’re joining The Khurana Constructions” I added with my most serious face. “Huh?” her face was so puzzled. “You are joining the KC, what are you going to do at home without anything” I added repeating. Her face changed to a sad one and mumbled “Dadimaa asked you, nah? And you’re not happy with it, leave it, I will convince her that I won’t come” Huh? Why everyone has a telepathy system! She moved to go upstairs and I said coldly “nope, you’re coming, Dadimaa always says that you’re good at any work” I said raising my eyebrow. She turned to look at me with the most amused and innocent look “will you be able to do it?” I said smirking. “Are you challenging me?” she asked shocked. “No” I smirked again. She grinned; I noticed her teeth were perfectly white. She giggled and said “I am coming then” and gave her novel another look, “I don’t think I am ever going to complete this today” and entered her room…
Wow, she surprised me today’AGAIN…
I was not getting sleep, don’t blame me! I was flying in the sky, with happiness, slowly…slowly…I felt my eyes closing…Maan, thank you…I –
I woke up with the first rays of the sun. I was so happy. I remembered the Maan, his determined face, with an angry-confused look telling me to come to work at his office as Mrs. Khurana – or did he? And then I remembered about my little baby going to a nursery and will find friends around. I presume I won’t call him my little baby because he is a big child to go to a nursery. Whatever. I took a long shower and took hours to choose a good salwar kameez and brushed my hair looking at myself in the mirror. After three years, I noticed I had a charming smile and innocent eyes. How I would dup my friends or especially the lads to get a place ahead using my little tools…! Ah! I went downstairs and started to prepare the breakfast.
I tiptoed to Akshay’s bedroom and found him sleeping peacefully with his mouth opened like an ‘O’ shape. I giggled and stroked his hairs. “Baby…” I whispered to him but there was no answer. I slowly made him woke up, at first he was angry but then when he saw me, he smiled with his awful breathe! He had not brush his teeth yet. “Mama” he mouthed and cuddled under my arm. I giggled and said “today you’ll be away from home” He stared at me confused and mumbled “huh”, he was still sleepy. “You will go to school” I said. Then he shrieked loud “No!” and jumped on his bed and he started to cry “I won’t go to school, I won’t, won’t, won’t” he chanted. I grabbed his wrist and pulled him to my lap and gently said “why?” He looked at me through his tears and said “teachers are bad” I sighed and said “no baby, teachers are not bad, they teach us and correct us if we make mistakes, and you’ll make many, many friends, girls and boys, it will be fun believe me” I said stroking his hairs. He looked up smiling. “Arghh”, I said, “go and brush your teeth, it smells…” when Akshay chimed along with me “sooo horrible!” and we laughed off our heads.
“Ahem” said a voice. I was so scared that I nearly fell off the bed – thanks to – thanks to Mr. Maan Singh Khurana, the spy! He stood there, leaning against the door, his jaw tight with a serious expression, he looked like a cop and slowly his face broke into an incredible cute smile. I swear I felt my heart had skipped a beat! I tried not to blush while Maan walked to us and sat next to Akshay. “Ready?” he asked him. “Yep! I am going to make friends and bully others” he added happily. “Huh?” I said shocked. Bully? Where this word did came into his vocabulary? Strange. Maan chuckled and said “sure”. I was still looking at both father-son open-mouthed while Maan said “Geet, close your mouth, you surely don’t want to catch flies” Akshay giggled and added “after all, I am Maan Singh Khurana’s son“. I swear, my cheeks were on fire – from where my baby had got such attitude but Maan gazed at him proudly but I was not! “Who told you about bullying?” I asked Akshay regaining my posture. “Vivi” he replied proudly. I muttered something “this Vicky’s squashed brain, I’ll set the right thing out of him, don’t know what he made my child learnt” And the next moment, was more embarrassing!
“Squashed brain?” Maan raised an eyebrow throwing my looks. I stared at him with my eyes widened kilometers broad. “You…you…heard?” I stammered. He stood up and said to Akshay who was staring at us puzzled “baby, go and dress up” and turned to go without answering my question. When he reached the door way he spun and said “maybe I heard everything you said” and left leaving me…flabbergasted!
After breakfast, Dadimaa was smiling like there was a bulb inside her head; just scratch that, and looking at Maan proudly.
Geet…honestly, she’s a unique masterpiece! I love the way she made Akshay understand, I love the way she’s gentle with him, I love the way she smiles…heck, from where does this pop in? Squashed brain? What a name? If Annie learns this, she’ll change her trademark ‘Dummy’. I wonder why I feel that underneath this Geet there’s the real Geet like the one who just mouthed Squashed-brain. We were at ABC Nursery in the cabin of the so call headmistress.
The lady, Nisha, as she told us was cooing how happy she was to have our son in her nursery. She was babbling so much that it was getting on my nerves and to add salt in it Geet was replying to her every annoying question.
“I am so happy to have Akshay Khurana here in our ABC Nursery”
“It is because it’s one of the best here” I said raising an eyebrow. Apparently she did not notice.
“And to know you, Mrs. Khurana” she added. “Thank you” Geet said. “Well, I saw you, Mr. Khurana on TV, you were bagging the next big project of…now what’s the name, RJC, no, KJC…I can’t remember the name, so where I was…” I glanced at Geet, she was so irritating, and who appointed her as the headmistress anyway. Geet smiled and said “yes, that’s true” but I quickly said “we’d like to fill the admission form” I retorted sternly.
“Yes…yes…yes” she chimed and took out the form.
“Father’s name – Maan Singh Khurana” she mouthed and turned to look at Geet, “your name please” Geet looked at me thinking whether she should tell her name or…”Geet Khurana” I said. Geet was still staring at me while Nisha was busy filling the form. “Well, Mr. & Mrs. Khurana, you can check the class where your child would study” she said. We nodded.
Akshay was already excited to enter his new environment. “Bye Mama, bye papa” he said as he kissed us on our forehead and he added to me “I will bully” he joked, we smiled. “I’ll tell them that I am Maan Khurana’s son” he said winking at a horrified Geet as he disappeared inside. Geet stared at his moving silhouette and I said “come on, we don’t want to be late for office” She nodded and looked at me, her eyes filled with tears…Oh, no, I sensed danger – “thanks Maan” she mumbled. Why does she keep thanking me so much, eh?
As we entered the Khurana Constructions, several employees rose up to greet Maan and when the noticed me they added “good morning sir, good morning ma’am” Maan did not answer but he ordered “I want everyone in the conference room now!” Oh-oh. I found two pairs of eyes checking me out, up and down. I heard someone whispering “wow, she’s totally the opposite of Riihaa Madam” My heart sunk; maybe everyone here would expect me to be like Riihaa was. But I was not, I don’t like wearing American dresses and have short hairs…I am Geet, and I am not going to change myself…Maan turned to face the two women behind me, the one that was whispering to the other, “Sasha, Tasha, got it”
“Yes MK” Sasha replied. Maan looked irritated and said “then why are you staring at Geet, go!” And they flew like birds. I looked at Maan in the corner of my eyes scared. “Come on, Geet” he said and pushed me lightly on the shoulder.
I sat next to Maan on his right. “Geet” Maan said in the most serious tone ever “I want everyone to introduce themselves”. What was I suppose to do – stand up and introduce myself to them or just sit there and tell my name. I muttered to Maan “should I stand up?” He looked so startled of my whispers that he gritted through his teeth. “Nope” and signaled some guy wearing a big spectacles. He stood and looked at me “H-H-Hi Ma’am…I mean Mrs. G-Geet Khurana” he stammered, I smiled; he looked like the one who was scared of the MSK. “I-I am Adi” he said. I smiled and I felt very confident, yes, the same Geet who was not scared of anyone and would face the world and knew how to answer back. “Hi Adi” I said smiling to him, in a fraction of second his worry vanished and he smiled back. Mr. Chopra, Mr. blah-blah-blah, to Ms. Sasha and Ms. Tasha introduced themselves. Sasha looked the one who knew how to be MSK’s favourite, from her look I could say.
“Geet will be my secretary, she will assist me in my work” Maan told everyone. I myself was so surprised. Sasha was looking at me weirdly. I hate her from the looks she was giving me, I could tell you. I gave everyone a smile.
“Fine” Maan said “you may go” I raised an eyebrow to Maan as soon as everyone left. He was not the father / brother / grandson; this was MSK / MK, the great Maan Singh Khurana. “Come on, Geet, we’ll start working” Maan said walking to the door, he opened it and waited for me to step outside. “Maan” I said.
“Are we going to fetch Akshay?” I asked. “Yep, we are going” he replied. I smiled and followed him. “Thanks, Maan” I said. He turned and frowned “you know what you do – you make a list, then at the end of the year, you recite it and I will listen” he smirked. I scowled at him…He shook his head in amusement and I followed him, a smile spread wide on my face…
I hate this Arjun. I hate him. To whom shall I talk – Shaina, Neha…or…or Geet Bhiz. Geet Bhiz is the best idea. Shall I phone her? She’ll be with Bhai and if she picks my call, Bhai will be angry with her…I have to talk to her, I simply have…or else, Bhai would kill me…if he only learns…
@1 week later
Okay. So I was working with not my Maan but the Maan Khurana. And my first day was a great experience, an experience of dying with hunger. He’s the great but I am not! I was so hungry. One more thing – I was supposed to be calling my Maan – Maan. Isn’t it just great? Yep, I am having an awesome time in office. Simply outstanding!
“Geet, check this one” he told me flipping another file and engrossed in his work. I stood there and took the file, standing, I started to check. Fifteen minutes later, I handed him the file.
“Yes, Geet, go and bring me a cup of coffee” he said and focused back on the file. Fine. I went and made his coffee. Wait, does he like one cube of sugar or two. So I bought the cubes along with the coffee in a plate to him. Just then Sasha entered the pantry “just great” I thought. “Hi Sasha” I said. She gave me one of her cheesy smile, enough to put someone off his dinner. “Hi Rii…whoops I mean Geet Ma’am” Sasha said. She was doing all these purposely. I did not saw anything, but I managed to stop tears from falling off my eyes. I left. I tried to think of something else like what Akshay must be doing at school.
I thought I saw a figure lurking around the pantry…but again it must be my imagination.
“S-sir, I need to talk to you about Geet Ma’am” Adi told me. “Hmm”, I replied without looking at him. “She’s very nice” he said. Yes, didn’t I know she was very nice? Vicky was always harping how Geet was a great help in his life, how he would read his mind. That afternoon, we had gone to fetch Akshay early, after Geet’s first day working here, when we reached home, Geet went to freshen up, Akshay had fallen asleep in the car, so I dropped him to his room and peered into Vicky’s. He was listening to his loud blasting music in his headphones. He saw me and he grinned. Then he said “Bhai, from where you get these species?” “Huh?” I was so confused what he meant by species? “Bhai, I am talking about Bhiz, she’s a unique masterpiece specie, she’s simply amazing, in our third meeting, she told me how I was” he grinned. “Squashed-brain?” it slipped from my mouth. Luckily he did not hear me.
“S-s-sir, aap…are you listening?”
“Yes…tum kya keh rehe teh” I asked bewildered.
“Sir, Sasha is not doing the right thing”
“I mean, she keeps on pestering Geet Ma’am by pretending that she has mistaken her as…as…”
“As?” I said, Geet never told me anything. Adi looked so disturbed. He meant…as Riihaa. Just then Geet entered with a coffee plate and Adi left. “How many cubes of sugar you take?” she asked. Why she did not tell me anything? But one thing was sure; she was pretty good at hiding her feelings. And pretty too. “Geet, Sasha said something to you” She looked so startled that she stared at me open-mouthed for some seconds. She closed her mouth and swallowed “no” This time I could see plainly in her eyes that she was hiding something from me, because she was restless and felt uncomfortable. I don’t know what came over me and I grabbed her arm and dragged her closer. She was so surprised that she looked in my eyes to question me silently…I think I was holding her hand too tightly.
“You…you are hurting me” she said as she struggled to free her hand.
“I am asking you…did Sasha say something to you?”
“Stop lying and answer me!”
“Y-yes” she stammered and let her hand go. She looked at her toes and tried to restrain her sobs. Great Maan, well done, awesome job. “Are you okay?” I asked. She did not reply. “Geet, if Adi would not tell me, you would remain quiet, and bear the torture” I asked. “Geet, stop bearing all these and learn to answer back” I said. “I-I- didn’t want to hurt you” she stumbled her words. I shook my head and said “Geet”, I said touching her shoulders. She looked at me innocently and wiped her tears. “You are now Mrs. Khurana, you don’t need to fear anyone” I said. I was so surprised myself of what I was saying. Nevertheless, it was the truth. Nobody could change the fact. “Now go and wash your face, you look pretty mess up, okay, we’ll leave for home in a few minutes” She smiled and stopped short and the words ‘few minutes’. “Few minutes – are you sure – you did not mean 1 hour? Because I always notice your few minutes is equal to 1 hour” I glared at her, she giggled and left. Crazy girl.
Adi bhi nah, he’s a nice person, like a brother. At least better than the Gruesome Twosome, I mean Sasha and Tasha. So close, the way he, Maan, pulled me took my breath away, made my heart skipped a beat, made me feel dreamy, made me lost my sense; it was a good feeling…a nice one. He is so nice just like his son. No wonder I fell for him deeply. I gazed deeply in his eyes, he looked hurt…I figured maybe it was because I had to endure people’s gossip because of him and Riihaa. I did not mind as long as he could understand me. I was so happy, in cloud nine; he himself addressed me as Mrs. Khurana. That means, he does not hold any grudge for me mothering his child. Thank you Babaji…this is a blissful happiness…no words can’t describe it.
His looks kill me,
Make me die every time,
I gasp and dream…
Forever this dream mine
We reached home, Annie came crashing onto me. “Bhiz, bhiz, bhiz, I will ask you some questions and I will write the answers down” I glanced at Maan, he shrugged. “Why?” I asked. “Duh” she said excited “because I want to learn almost everything that I need to know about my new Bhiz, come on Bhiz, it’s almost four months since you are here” Annie said. She’s intelligent this girl. She plainly avoided the sentence “since Maan Bhai married you”. Now coming to Annie, as far as I came to know about Vicky, he seemed to suffer from a heart-break and tries to find the qualities of his dream-girl in every girl, not that I asked him it’s just a guess. Now Annie, last Tuesday, she came and told me she kinda had a thing for a lad called Arjun but he would ignore her the more she tried to get his attention. So I suggested her to ignore him. But Annie is very fast, she was pretending to ignore Arjun, and he was getting irritated but Annie is now all crushing over her friend Sameer. She says she likes Sameer more than Arjun. Whatever, I won’t bore you with her love-life just telling you that she trusts me to confide her secrets and I’m very happy with it.
Start of Flashback
“What are you doing?” Geet whispered to her friend. “Shhh” Lyndie retorted. After the class Geet asked “Lyndie what was that, you kept disturbing me in the business class!” she said crossly. Lyndie grinned and said “I found it!” Geet looked startled and asked “you found what?”
“How to impress lads!”
“Rule number 1: If they ignore you, plainly ignore them, if they tries to get your attention, you ignore them, number 2: if you want to go out with them, just be enough friendly with them, 3: if you want a smooch, just tell him he’s nice… (Geet mouthed ‘yuck’) 4: And all the qualities divided the weakness of the lads is equal to the number of percentage this relation can go on!”
End of Flashback
You’d laugh. But I did not need these stupid rules to impress Maan. If he would ever be mine, it’s all up to destiny. Maan slumped down the couch and Annie told Maan to stay here and hear the answers so that he could also know about me. I was blushing crazy.
I giggled and mouthed “Goolgappe” She and Maan raised an eyebrow and I shrugged. “Favourite colour” she questioned. “Red” I replied instantly. Red was my favourite. “Most lovable person” she asked. How was I going to answer this? How I was going to say that her brother was my lovable person. Her eyes shone mischievously as I stared at her numb. I smiled. “Friends?” she asked. “Crazy Clowns Club or CCC” I answered with a giggle, she also giggled and Maan was looking at me weirdly. “Favourite movie?” she asked. “Titanic” I winked and giggled. She giggled. I could see Maan was amused. “Most embarrassing day?” she asked. I giggled and said “when I nearly powered-chillyed my teacher” “WHAT!” another voice cried. It was Dadimaa, she was coming to talk to Maan even he was shocked. I turned red and answered “I had planned it for one of my friends but he came to know about it and exchanged his cup with the teacher but I managed to stop everything in the nick of time” I said. Dadimaa looked amused and turned to say something to Maan. “Oh-kay”, Annie said while Dadi was talking to Maan who disagreed whatever it was. “Favourite type of flowers?” Annie continued grinning wickedly. “Red roses, of course” I answered giggling. Just then two buzzing sounds started. One was Annie’s and one was mine. Who might be calling me! Annie scooted off; I, for instance was sure it must be ‘Sameer’. Whatever. ‘Pinky’ flashed on my screen and I pressed the ‘answer button’. I walked a little far away from Maan and Dadimaa, both were arguing.
“Oyye Pinky, ab yaad kiya Geet ko, hein na? All these days, I was camping on Mars” I started sarcastically before she could speak anything. And I started again babbling or should I say scolding her. “Nahi, nahi, how would you remember me, you are such a busy person, nah? Iss Sania bhi (prologue) nah? Mein uski jaan lelungi, she’s getting married and not any soul decided that it was important to inform Geet, hein nah? Haan, akhir mein kaun hoon? When I and Sania were neighbours everything ran smoothly but now…all of you…are evil, mein tumse baat nahi karungi” I scowled. Pinky giggled and said “Geet, remember I was in NY”. I smacked my forehead “haan, From New York to California to Washington DC to Delhi to Australia, who cares, definitely not me” I snapped back angrily pulling a face. “By the way, did you have a safe voyage, did you eat well, I hope you have not fall sick during your journey”
“Did you know that Rajji’s brother bought a Mercedes in Hoshiyarpur?” Pinky said importantly. “Lucky duck, did you know that Rajji had fallen off the stairs, she’s on clutches” she continued. “Oh my god” I gasped “is she okay now?” I asked. “Yep, you bet, her uncle gave her a laptop!” Pinky giggled. “A PC? Wow, lucky duckling, you bet her recovery was speedy! Chal, tell me why you phoned?” I questioned.
“Why can’t I phone you like that” she pretended to be hurt. “Yes, yes, drama queen, I know!” I giggled. “I was asking, you are coming nah, for Sania’s wedding?”
I gasped “of course I am coming on Sania’s wedding! I met her at the market the other day! She told me…ahh…okay…take care of yourself…eat well…okay, take care…bye…” I shut my cell off and turned to see Maan staring at me…Apparently Dadi had already left, leaving him staring at me…ah…
Oh-kay. “Oyye Pinky…” and “I was camping in Mars” were so absurd. I mean Geet was talking like this. I nearly laughed if Dadimaa and I did not start arguing. And the faces that Geet was making were simply funny. It was hilarious to watch her scold Pinky. My mind flashed to the recent event when Nakul had come and told Geet that someone named Pinky something-something had come to meet her. But honestly California to Delhi? How many times she’d keep surprising me like this? Do I know here well?
Well, Dadimaa had organized and planned at party…at home! Great! I was not even aware of it, actually nobody was. But I couldn’t care less! It was my home, my house and the party was for Annie and Vicky’s return. And I was arguing for not attending it. But Dadi’s great!
“Geet, so how was your trip to Mars” I could not help asking…”I guess, it was very hot, eh”
She stared at me…in utter shock…I smirked…Her face was just like a baby…
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…