Joined: 05 November 2008
Closing his eyes, Maan leaned his head against the cool windowpane.
5 years 2 months 16 days and 8 hours.
That's how long it had been...since the last time he had laid eyes on her.
Yet, there wasn't a day that went by, where the pain of losing her didn't incite a searing ache in his heart. An encompassing pain that made it hard to breath...hard to want to live...this life without her. Was there any sense in continuing to draw in each breath? Why must he?
When each breath brought with it the reminder that he was living this life without her by his side. Was fate so cruel as to give him a second chance at love, only to take it away from him? What had he done to deserve this? Why did she leave him?
As many times before, these questions gave way to thoughts of that fateful day when everything in his life fell apart. He relived each tortuous moment...as flashback after flashback...reminded him of how love slipped through his fingers. With that love...his dreams and his hopes for a new life slipped away as well. If only she had not...
The vibration of his cell phone brought Maan out of his reverie and back to the present. He knew who it would be...and a part of him desperately wanted to avoid this conversation. Yet, he knew he could not run forever. He had tried to outrun his past but it had finally caught up to him. It was time to face life again...no matter how unbearable the prospect.
Heaving a sigh, he pulled the phone out of his pocket and sat down on a nearby chair to take the call.
"Tum sachme aa rahe ho, na?"
Maan smiled faintly. Leave it to her to get straight to the point.
Maan: "Yes, Daadi. As I have told you many times before, I am actually coming this time."
Daadi: "Good. Just checking. I don't want a repeat of what happened the last time we tried to do this."
Maan noted annoyance in her tone, but he did not mind. He was guilty as charged.
Maan: "I know I've changed my plans last minute in the past, but it won't happen this time."
Daadi: "Humph. You have given a whole new definition to the word "last minute". Have you forgotten how the last time I convinced you to return to India, you made it as far as the check-in counter at the airport? We both know what happened after that. So, excuse me, but I won't be convinced of your decision until you actually are sitting inside the plane. Or better yet, when you actually land in India."
For a few seconds, Maan stayed quiet. Then, "I wasn't ready to come back, Daadi. I needed to be alone...to come to terms with the fact that..."
Maan closed his eyes, unable to voice his feelings aloud.
Daadi: "Maan...you can't live in the past. You need to move on. Accept the fact that she's gone and she's not coming back. You have been looking for her for 5 years now with no success. If she wanted to be found, you would have already found her. But she doesn't, son. Please, let her memories go, so that you can start to live again."
"What if I don't wish to live, Daadi?" Maan whispered.
This was the first time he had voiced this desire for death aloud to anyone. Somehow, this moment seemed right. It must be right, for if it was not, the words would not have slipped off his tongue so easily. There was truth to what he had just said. It hurt him to live without her...and he wasn't sure how much longer he would be able to hang on to this trivial life.
After a few minutes of silence, Maan heard these words: "We must all bear our burdens with a smile, son. I too lost my love at one time...your grandfather. But, I had to live because life cannot end, even if our loved ones decide to leave us. It must continue...you must continue for those who you still have left in your life. For your life is not your own...it is connected to others. If you decide to give into this despair, you will not only be taking your life but also killing a part of me. Do you really want to hurt me with the pain of losing you, when you know what it feels like to lose someone? Don't inflict such pain, son. Your Daadi isn't as strong as she use to be. I may have been able to cope with the death of my husband and son at one point in life...but I'm not strong enough to cope with the loss of my beloved grandson. I cannot lose you too. You're all I have left."
"Daadi," Maan whispered. "Please don't cry."
"I'm not crying," came a shaky reply. "Promise me, Maan, you will try to give life another chance."
Maan sighed. "I'm sorry, Daadi. I didn't mean to hurt you with my words. It's just that...sometimes, the emotions and feelings just get too much for me to bear. But, I promise, I will try."
A few seconds ticked by before Daadi continued: "Your flight arrives at 2 am, right? Okay, I will come pick you up."
Maan: "Nahin, Daadi. I know that you haven't been feeling well, and I don't want you to be out so late. So, just send the driver on his own to the airport. I'll be home before you wake up. I promise."
"I'll hold you to it, son."
With those words, Daadi disconnected the call.
Maan leaned against the back of his chair, folding his arms behind his head.
It had been a long trip, all the way from Canada.
In the past, he had always preferred nonstop flights, for they allowed the least amount of hassle. Yet, this time around, he had quickly agreed to this flight with a brief stoppage in Hong Kong. Perhaps, it had been just him subconsciously trying to delay his return to India. Or maybe, there was another reason he ended up taking this flight...like he was meant to do so.
Maan shook his head to clear his wayward thoughts.
What rubbish! What other possible reason would there be for him to choose this particular flight over another? It didn't matter anyway. In a few hours, he would be back home. Time had run out for Maan Singh Khurana.
He couldn't run anymore.
Suddenly, Maan heard the sound of thunder. Slowly, he got up from his chair to walk towards the big windows behind him, which offered a view of the various airport runways. The sound of rain droplets against the windows helped him relax. It had become a newfound habit of his...to watch the rain. At one point in his life, he had hated rain...considering it nothing more than a nuisance. All that changed the night he saw a beautiful girl dancing in the rain outside of a dhaba.
The name arose effortlessly on his lips, as he lost himself in the memories of that stolen moment in time.
Unexpectedly, Maan felt something hit the back of his left leg. He looked down to find a small ball near his foot.
Reaching down, Maan picked up the ball and turned around with the intention of returning it to its owner.
Surprisingly, a little girl stood before him with her hands behind her back.
Smiling, Maan approached her slowly, trying not to intimidate her with his overbearing height. Yet, his efforts seemed to be pointless, for with each step that Maan took towards the girl, her eyes grew wider with fear.
When he finally reached her, Maan crouched down on his knees before the little girl.
"Is this yours?" He asked her gently.
The little girl nodded her head slowly.
"Here, you can have it back."
The girl looked at the ball briefly before returning her gaze back to his face. "You're not mad?"
Maan glanced into the big hazel eyes staring back at him earnestly. He felt a tug at his heart.
"No, hun. I'm not mad. Here, take your ball," Maan replied with a smile.
The girl flashed him a big grin as she quickly took the ball from his hands. Briefly, dimples appeared on either side of her cheek, rendering Maan momentarily speechless. He'd seen cute kids before, but this one...she was something special.
What was it about her that reminded him so much of another girl? He could almost swear that her eyes looked a lot like Gee-
Maan quickly looked away from the girl. When would this stop? These constant reminders of her. Would her memories ever stop haunting him?
Surprised by the question, Maan glanced back to find the little girl staring at him with concern.
Maan gently patted her cheek. "It's nothing, hun. Why don't you run along to your parents...I'm sure they must be worried about you."
At his words, the girl's eyes filled with tears and her small lips began to quiver.
Panicking, Maan quickly said: "No, no. Don't cry, hun. What's wrong? Why are you crying? Tell me what's wrong? I'll fix it...just don't cry."
The little girl sniffled a few times before softly speaking: "I can't find mommy."
Sighing, Maan reached out to wipe the tears from her eyes. "It's okay, hun. I'll help you look for her. But you got to stop crying, okay? You don't want mommy to see you like this, do you?"
The little girl shook her head slowly.
"Good, that's my girl. Let me just get my bag, and then we'll go look for your mommy."
Maan got up and walked back to his chair.
He quickly slung his business bag on his shoulder, grabbed his coat and walked back to the waiting child.
Smiling, Maan said: "Okay, let's go find her."
As they started walking down the hallway, Maan felt a small hand slide into his palm. He looked down to find the little girl looking up at him. In that moment, he saw trust reflected in her young eyes...trust for a stranger who had promised to take her to her beloved mommy.
Smiling, Maan curled his fingers around her little hand.
A wave of peace and contentment passed over him, as he and the little girl made their way down the nearly vacant hallway. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but for some reason, he felt like he knew this little girl. There was an unknown connection between the two of them. Something familiar...
As the little girl walked beside him...hand-in-hand...he felt emotions in his heart. Emotions, he had long ago forgotten.
The last person to bring this sense of peace and belonging to his heart had been HER.
Part 1-page 1
Part 2-page 2
Part 3-page 4
Part 4-page 5
Part 5-page 9
Part 6-page 12
Part 7-page 14
Part 8-page 20
Part 9-page 27
Part 10-page 30
Part 11-page 32
Part 12-page 36
Part 13-page 40
Part 14-pg 45
Author's note: pg 46
Part 15-pg 56
Part 16-pg 64
Part 17-pg 77
VICKY's Picture-pg 77
Part 18-pg 82
Part 19-pg 95
Part 20-pg 101
Part 21: pg 112
Joined: 11 December 2007
Great FF, you've portrayed Maan grieving absolutly beautifully! Im loving the concept so far, the little will probably be Geets daughter wont she??Cant wait to read more, so continue soon...
Joined: 18 October 2007
Joined: 26 December 2007
Joined: 22 January 2010
Joined: 27 August 2009
Joined: 05 November 2008
Joined: 01 February 2006
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