Joined: 14 October 2006
As it was a Saturday, Geet did not have to go to work that day. She eagerly awaited Maan's return from Mumbai and wanted to welcome him with something special. After some thought she decided to cook Maan's favourite Italian food and settled on lasagna, a classic Italian pasta casserole dish which consists of alternate layers of pasta, cheese, sauce, meat, noodles and other ingredients. She carefully read the recipe from a cookbook she got from Dadi and followed all the instructions given in it meticulously. Since Dadi and she did not like continental food and she was in no mood to cook the dish for NT or Dev, she prepared enough lasagna to serve only Maan. Once she had prepared the layered dish, she slid the container into the preheated oven and set the timer to 30 minutes before leaving the kitchen. Unbeknown to her, NT who was watching her from a distance, came in and reset the timer to 20 minutes and tiptoed out without being noticed, with a smirk on her face for having sabotaged Geet's dish. As Geet was caught up in some other chore she did not notice the time and when she heard the beep of the oven, she hurried into the kitchen and turned off the oven.
She then took leave of Dadi to go to the airport to personally receive her husband. At the airport she got restless when she came to know that the flight from Mumbai was delayed by half an hour. Finally she saw him walking briskly towards the exit and ran towards him.
"Maan!" she called out to him.
He seemed surprised to see her at the airport and rushed to her with a broad smile on his face which made her feel weak in her knees.
"Geet! You are here?! Why did you take the trouble to come all the way to the airport? I would have reached home on my own."
"I know you would, but then I would have got to see you half an hour later than I am seeing you now. For someone who has been counting her minutes and seconds for the past two days, that is a lot of time wasted," she said.
"Did you miss me that much, Geet?" he asked, pleasantly thrilled that his wife longed to see him.
She nodded her head demurely. "I missed you a lot, Maan. Didn't you miss me?" she asked.
"More than you can imagine," he said and took her hands to his lips for a kiss.
Holding her by the shoulder he led her to the parking lot where their driver stashed away his small suitcase in the boot, and drove them home.
When they reached home Dadi greeted Maan with a warm hug. Dev, as usual, was not to be seen around and NT gave her brother-in-law a lopsided smile which he pointedly ignored. Dadi asked him to freshen up before joining them for lunch. Maan nodded and went up to their room with Geet in tow.
As soon as they entered their room Maan turned to Geet and said excitedly, "Don't move." He heaved his suitcase on the bed and unlocking it, he took out a packet. Geet looked at it curiously. He tore open the packet to reveal one of the most exquisite pair of gold anklets she had ever seen.
Smiling at her, he knelt on one knee in front of her and lifted one of her feet. He laid her foot on his other thigh and wrapped the anklet around her delicate ankle. Once he tightened the clasp of the anklet, he repeated the same for the other foot. He then looked up at her and asked her with an eagerness of a five-year old, "How do you like your gift?"
"I simply love these anklets, Maan. They are beauuuuutiful," she said.
She got up and hiking her salwar up a little so that he can clearly see her feet, she paraded up and down in front of him. The jingling sound made by the anklets as she walked brought a broad smile to his face. He got up and quickly covered the few steps between them. Holding her face between his hands, he enveloped her lips in a kiss. Geet's hands went up to his head and her fingers ran through his hair as his kiss deepened. After a few minutes they broke free, gasping for air.
Geet told him excitedly that she too has a surprise for him. He raised his eyebrows quizzically wondering what she was planning to give him. Smiling at him, she told him that she will reveal her surprise after he returns from his shower. Maan nodded his head and blowing a flying kiss to his wife, he pulled the towel from a nearby rack and went into the bathroom. Geet hurried down to the kitchen and taking out the container of lasagna from the oven, she cut it into pieces which she laid out neatly on a plate. She then put the plate on a tray and returned to their bedroom just as Maan pulled his ghanji over his head and down his torso.
"So what have we got here?" he asked excitedly and rubbing his hands, he approached Geet, looking down at the tray. "Wow! Lasagna! My favourite Italian dish! Did you prepare it, Geet?" he asked and stretched his hand out to take a piece. Geet lightly tapped his hand to get it off her tray and said that she will feed him herself. Maan smiled and dragged two chairs for them and making her sit on one, he sat on the other opposite to her and eagerly waited to be fed.
As she picked up a piece and took it to his mouth, she told him that she read up the recipe and specially made it for him. Maan was touched by her sweet gesture and gave her a broad appreciative grin before opening his mouth to receive the piece. Biting it, he grimaced for a second but quickly recovered and clicked his tongue, applauding her for making such a delicious lasagna he has never tasted before. She eagerly asked him if it really turned out so well because it was the first time she was trying out an Italian dish. Seeing him vigorously nod his head, she was tempted to try it herself. She took a piece from the plate, but before she could put it in her mouth, Maan grabbed it from her hand and quickly gobbled it up. Geet looked at him in surprise and took another piece. He snatched that piece too, thrusting it into his mouth. Soon there was only one piece left. Before Maan could reach for it, Geet made a dash for it and put it in her mouth. As she chewed at it she realised that the lasagna tasted horrible as it was half baked and raw. She rushed to the bathroom and spit it out in the basin, rinsing her mouth clean before returning to Maan.
"Maan, that was horrible. How did you eat all those pieces?"
"Sorry, Geet. I tried to prevent you from eating it but you were adamant," he said apologetically.
It is only then did she understand that he did not want her to know that she had goofed up in the baking.
"You subjected yourself to the torture of eating that yucky dish for my sake, darling?" she asked incredulously.
"Geet, you took so much trouble to make a dish for me. It is the gesture that counts. I love you for it." he said.
Geet's eyes brimmed with tears of happiness. Later as they were having their lunch with Dadi and NT, NT who was seated next to Geet bent towards her and whispered, "So, how was the half baked lasagna? Did Maan enjoy it?"
Geet jerked her head up and looked at her incredulously even as she gave one of her evil smiles.
"So, you were the one who sabotaged my dish?" Geet hissed in anger.
NT merely shrugged her shoulder in nonchalance.
Hearing NT and Geet whisper to each other, Maan and Dadi looked in their direction enquiringly.
Geet smiled at them and said, "NT and I were just exchanging some pleasantries, weren't we?"
NT smiled and nodded her head but cast a seething sideways glance at Geet. Once they had finished their lunch, Maan took leave from Geet and Dadi to meet a client. Dadi returned to her room to have a snooze. Before NT could leave, Geet pulled her aside and said, "Don't think you have won this round, NT. In fact, I should thank you for creating a situation which only served to showcase my hubby's deep love for me."
Geet then smiled at her mysteriously and quickly went up to her room, leaving behind a confused NT to stare at her retreating back.
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