Joined: 14 October 2006
Joined: 14 October 2006
Next day being a Sunday, Maan went to meet Ali, his best friend since childhood. Ali worked as a software engineer in Maan's family business concern, Khurana Software Solutions. Ali married his own cousin, Rehana immediately after he finished his engineering. In the six years of marriage he has sired four sons, Aamir, Aarif, Amaan and Ayaan and, to Maan's shock, the fifth was on the way.
After the usual greetings, Rehana went in to prepare tea for him.
"Ali, will you not give your wife any respite?" Maan chided him mockingly as soon as Rehana was out of earshot.
"Well, what can I do, Maan? Every time we have a fierce fight we make up passionately soon after. End result - a peace offering!" he spread his hands to indicate his helplessness.
"So the two of you are still fighting like cat and dog?" asked Maan in amusement. "I thought you would have mellowed down over the years."
"Maan, you know me. I have always been the reasonable one in this marriage. But what can I do with an unreasonable woman like her?"
Just then Rehana came in with the tea and overhearing him complaining about her, she sprung to her own defence.
"Maan bhaiyya, don't believe a word this man utters. He is always claiming to have so much work that he has no time for his wife or his sons. Tell me bhaiyya, is he the only one working in your office? I am sure the guy is just using work as an excuse to stay away from his family."
"Tell me woman, which man in his right senses would look forward to returning home everyday to a nagging wife like you."
"Peace..... peace... peace," Maan intervened before the domestic bickering could snowball into a full blown fight.
"Ali, show some empathy for your pregnant wife and Rehana behan, give your husband dear a little margin. By the way I came here not to settle your battles but to invite you and your family to my wedding."
"What?" asked both of them in unison.
Ali rubbed his hands in glee saying, "Maan, so finally you are hooked, booked and are all ready to be cooked? Where is the guy who swore he will never get married for life and that he will never make the same mistakes we did? Has he fallen into the Mediterranean Sea enroute to Mumbai from London?"
Maan, turning red with embarrassment, bowed his head down.
"Ali, see bhaiyya blushing! I think he is in love!!!" exclaimed Rehana.
"Nothing like that," Maan said brusquely.
"Who is the girl?" asked Ali curiously.
"Her name is Geet Handa. We met at the university campus in London," Maan felt bad lying to his closest friend but he did not want anyone to know how he had met Geet and why they were getting married. Her pregnancy is going to come out sooner or later and he did not want anyone to suspect the paternity of the child. He did not know why, but somehow he felt fiercely protective of that unborn baby.
"So it is a love marriage after all! You liar!" Ali slapped him hard on the back.
Maan did not dispute him. All he said was that this marriage is not going to change anything for him, little realising that it was going to completely transform his life.
Three weeks later Maan and Geet were tied together in the bond of matrimony in a simple ceremony attended by his baba, his bua and a few of his close friends. This was followed by a grand reception for which, apart from the folks who attended the wedding, all the employees of his company were invited. This was the beginning of a tumultuous journey for the two 'strangers'.
Geet Maan Singh Khurana soon settled into the role of a homemaker, trying hard to put her turbulent past behind her although she could not completely forget it. Frequently thoughts of the misery, pain, fear, betrayal and anguish that she had gone through assailed her senses and made her want to disappear from the face of this earth. But she knew she owed it to her child to keep herself well. The baby's existence was not its fault but hers. In a moment of weakness she had given in to the man she had loved and trusted, not realising then that the man was completely unworthy of that trust. She no longer felt anything for him except bitterness and hate but she cannot and will not punish her baby for her own folly.
Her father-in-law took extra special care of her, ordering Ramu kaka to keep providing her nutritious food at regular intervals. He even tried to banish her from the kitchen but she wouldn't let him do so, stepping in to help Ramu kaka with the meals. Baba reminded her so much of her own father that she frequently felt like burying her head in his lap and pouring out her woes to him but she knew she cannot to do so. After all she could not confide her deepest sorrows even to her own father when he was around. There was no point revisiting the past, especially when those memories were so excruciatingly painful. So she tried to look forward to the future, a future with her baby. But she could not do this without feeling huge pangs of guilt, for Baba ceaselessly talked about his grandchild. Was it right to let the old man dream about a baby who will leave him soon after its arrival? Obviously not. Her conscience pricked her when the magnitude of their hasty decision slowly sunk in.
While Baba was a simpleton, affable and easily readable, his son was an enigma. She knew he was hardworking and humane. She also knew patience was not his virtue and his impulsive streak seemed to have created more problems for them than he sought to solve. She knew he was a glib talker and can talk his way out of the problems but she was fast realising that talk alone would not suffice where human emotions were involved. She could see that he was awkward around her, not knowing how to behave. The day before, he had taken her for her monthly check up. Although he made it seem as though he was doing it to please his father she knew that he did care, if not for her, at least for the life within her.
Only the other day, hit by a bout of nausea, she was rushing to the bathroom when she accidentally collided with him as he entered the room and threw up on him instead. While she felt thoroughly embarrassed and hurriedly tried to clean up the mess on him, he calmly put her at ease and washed her up first before cleaning himself, with not even a semblance of a grimace or revulsion on his face. She was moved by his act and wondered how an impatient and rough man like him can be so gentle and understanding in some respects.
She knew he cherished his 'singledom' very dearly so she never interfered in his affairs, trying her best to make her presence in their room as inconspicuous as possible. Noticing that his broad frame was cramped for space in their bed, she shifted their 'lakshman rekha' as she referred to the chain of pillows between them further to her side so that he could stretch himself more comfortably. He had a tendency to work late into the night, glued to his lap top. Although he offered to switch off the light many a times, she assured him that she was not disturbed by it. The truth was she found it difficult to sleep with the lights on but she pretended to be in deep slumber till he finally turned off the lights and went to bed. Every night she silently wished his sleeping form good night, and pulled the comforter over him before going off to sleep. She made herself scarce when he went in for his bath, returning to their room only after he got dressed for she did not want him feeling embarrassed dressing up in front of her. She knew that all these little things cannot compensate for his huge loss of freedom as a result of their marriage but she hoped she can someday return that freedom to him.
Her biggest drawback was her inability to take decisions on her own but be swayed by the decisions taken by others. Was it not her acquiescence to the decision of the man she trusted that entangled her in this situation? She did not seem to have learnt from her mistakes, for now she has accepted the decision of this well meaning guy, thereby compounding her problems for the future. What she will do when the time comes for her to leave Khurana Mansion she did not know. All she knew was that she cannot just pick up her baby and leave without any qualms. While she herself was indifferent about staying on in Khurana Mansion or leaving it after the birth of her child, she knew that her decision will affect the two men in the house in very different ways. While Baba would be heartbroken if she leaves with his 'grandchild', his son will be unhappy if she stayed on. She did not want to be the reason for innocent people paying for her mistakes but she knew she would end up doing just that.
Despite all her confusing and conflicting emotions surrounding the inmates of Khurana Mansion, she tried to remain cheerful and make the best of her time with the two men as long as she lived with them. As the days went by, she established an easy camaraderie with Maan and a respectful yet loving daughterly relationship with his father.
Part 6: = > Here
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Joined: 14 October 2006
Joined: 19 October 2009
Joined: 14 October 2006
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Joined: 14 October 2006
Joined: 19 May 2009
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